by Tholis Story
It wasn't love at first sight but now I'm seeing things in a different light
|A red faux diamond button down with leopard collar and cuffs. I shove it at Oscar. He rolls his eyes and groans at his reflection in the mirror. Holding it up I emphasize how the color enhances the camel tones in his hair, the gray in his eyes and the ivory of his pale skin. He laughs and reminds me he’s gay not of poor taste.
We walk to the food court and sit at the table with our egg rolls and cokes. Suddenly out of nowhere there’s two guys hitting Oscar on his back and side of his face. They’re laughing and joking asking who’s his girl, has he switched teams? They obviously love him but want to give him a rough time. I find them to be rogues and wish they would leave. Oscar introduces me to Evan and Thom-tom. Thom-tom stops what he’s doing and stares at me for a few seconds smiling sheepishly. I find myself taking in his chiseled features, olive skin, ocean blue eyes and black hair that he keeps shaved tight along with a thin but muscular frame. Catching myself, I quickly look away. After a few minutes they’re gone.
Oscar gets a raft from me on how obnoxious his friends are. They're from work and they’re good guys he insists. He continues they are rough outside but they would do anything for anyone.
Oscar runs to the bathroom. Pulling out my compact, I fix my chestnut spirally curls framing my dark mocha complexion and redo the makeup enhancing my charcoal eyes. I jump right up out of my chair when Thom-tom whispers in my ear that I look beautiful. Letting out a scream Oscar runs back having just left the restroom. He asks what happened. This creature scared me to death by coming up behind me I shriek at him. Thom-tom speaks up and tells Oscar he simply dropped his keys, saw Shoal in the mirror and commented that she was pretty. He said he had to go and slinked away.
“Shoal”,Oscar began his lecture. He reminded me that we’ve been best friends since our cords were cut at birth. We’ve done and been through everything together and we know everything about each other. He knows he’s my only friend because of my issue.
Borderline personality disorder is the formal term. It has a laundry list of symptoms intense mood swings, feelings of low self worth, harmful impulsive behavior but worst of all are poor relationship habits. We usually see people as either good or bad but tend to run people off before they run us off. In my case it’s caused by a trauma from a very young age.
My parents were killed in a head-on car crash on New Year's Eve When I was four years old. I was raised by my grandma but she died last year. Now it’s just me and my pups, Izzy and Pepper in this New York studio with all of grandma’s hipster eclectic, artistic finds. Creativity and artistry runs in the family, that's why I’m a freelance painter.
Oscar’s phone ringing brings me out of my thoughts. He hangs up and looks at me sympathetically. I ask for him to please not pity me. He insists he does not. Oscar has gone for every treatment that they would allow him to. He knows I’m stable but relating to people; I'm so not there. He felt I was rude to Thom-tom.
Thom-tom was a troll I exclaim dramatically with a twist of my head and swing of my hand. He needs an apology Oscar says furrowing his brow in seriousness. He’s your work friend I stand strong and I plan to never see him again. Oscar shakes his head in defeat.
Thom-tom can’t get this beauty out of his mind. Yes, she's a spitfire he thinks to himself but I want to know her, spend time with her. If I hadn’t have ruined it. What an ogre I am. I’ll probably never see her again.
The next night Oscar is with me in my apartment as I get ready for my support group. I don’t like going to these by myself but I can’t always rely in Oscar. He has a life and a date with a super hot guy he’s been trying to get to go out with him from his building. He’s over excited. Oscar kisses me on my forehead and tells me I’ll be fine. Have fun I yell out as he’s closing the door to.
I get to the meeting at 700. It’s not just for BPD. There’s people here with a multitude of mental health disorders. The group leader quiets everyone down so the meeting can start. She has us introduce ourselves and tell why were here. It’s my turn so I courageously pull back my shoulders, stick out my chest and say hello….she stops me. She says hold on ladies and gentleman we have a late addition. Oh my God … it’s Thom-tom.
I catch his eye and he stops dead in his tracks. The leader gently persuades him to come have a seat which he does. I can’t concentrate throughout the remainder of the meeting. Thom-tom doesn’t participate and stares at the floor blankly like he’s a million miles away. The meeting is called and I jump up to escape to the comfort of my car. He runs after me.
He asks me to wait he’d like to talk to me; apologize. Cutting him off I say that won’t be necessary. His eyes go sad. I almost feel sorry for him. Why did I feel so strongly that he was bad. Ok I say five minutes. He lights up and says there’s a little library down the hall.
Once inside he explains he has to be boisterous and loud with his work friends. That’s how construction guys roll. But he’s really very quiet and enjoys different things than they do. I’m interested in what he has to say. It seems we both like the arts, we’re both creative, we both enjoy moonlit walks. He loves to cook; I hate it. He is actually funny and charming. We head out in case the people are leaving. Oh no…the building was pitch black and the doors locked. We are in for the night.
I was a bit uncomfortable with the situation but he found two cots in storage and we set up a little area with some lanterns he also found. We didn’t realize we had stayed back here talking so late; it was 130 am. We settle in and fall asleep instantly.
The next morning maintenance pops in on us and we jump straight up. I explain what happened and we get our things together to leave. Thom-tom asks me to breakfast which I graciously accept. He is really very sweet. I couldn’t wait to tell Oscar.
Oscar floated into my apartment as if on a cloud. He sings that he is in love and had the best time on his date at Flerigio’s, THE restaurant. They have Italian fare, beautiful piano music, soft candlelit tables and dancing. He said he didn’t want it to end. They’re going out again on Saturday.
I tell him what happened at the meeting. His eyes squinted and his mouth went into a perfect o as he said uh oh. I went on to tell him about the entire evening and breakfast this morning, then Thom-tom and I are going out again tonight. I look adoringly at Oscar with my arms wrapped around his neck and tell him it may not have been love at first sight but now I'm starting to see Thom-tom in a brand new light.