The moon was a waxing gibbous, but it lit up the sky with arrogance, like it was already full.
“So,” he continued with a cool indifference, “are we separating?”
She wanted to chuck his string bean body down 78 flights of stairs and she simultaneously wanted to wrap herself around his left leg and beg him to never, ever leave.
“You know, it doesn’t have to be so dramatic” he said.
But all she heard was, “I was sent here to confirm all your worst fears: you are unlovable! I will abandon you now! You will die alone! Cheers!”
She stood there without a jacket on, with tears streaming down her face and the fog rolling in, wishing with all her might that she could disappear or at least faint. She stuttered something about being hurt and something about how it’s cool if he’s not hurt, and then she walked back to her car in the moonlight without taking a single breath.
“It doesn’t have to be so dramatic” echoed over and over in her mind until she felt like a schizophrenic.
She felt betrayed, like she had been stabbed in the heart repeatedly and left to die in the swell of Ocean Beach, left for the sharks, while the person who stabbed her caught the next wave with the carefree reckless abandon of a lotus leaf just drifting on by. She felt shards in her stomach and cacti in her throat. She felt the insides of her soul leaking out through all the insignificant pores of her body. Like a slow drip coffee that no one would ever buy. I’m not a human I’m a sieve, she thought. I’m a bitter soundtrack of only Alanis Morissette songs except it’s not fucking ironic.
Yeah, I guess you could say she has a flair for the dramatic.
That’s what the doctor told her when she was 8 years old and it was summer and she tried to do a one-handed cartwheel in her best friend’s yard. She waited until no one was looking to try the trick in case she failed brilliantly, which she did, and snapped her wimpy right arm bone in two places.
She sat in the emergency room with her high-strung parents and screamed her pretty little head off for nearly two hours straight until they finally called her back to reset her zig-zagged arm. That shit musta hurt and for some reason she needed to scream to let everyone else know just how bad it hurt. Like in the movies, when someone screams and the shot pans out to show the planet Earth and then the entire Milky Way, that’s how loud she screamed. She had no real sense of tact. Tact was for normal people who got the manual on How Life Works.
She sobbed her way into the x-ray room and when the doctor remarked, “you certainly have a flair for the dramatic”, she felt just as enraged as she does now. But afterwards she forgot because she loved having her blue cast. She loved every time she got asked to recount what happened to her poor arm. She loved every signature from every kid in her class, maybe they didn’t all like her but they all wanted to sign her cast. She loved getting to skip cursive practice. Her mom even pulled out the family’s 90’s camcorder to record her entire rendition of exactly what happened in exactly her own words, laughing at her daughter’s every grandiose detail. Melodrama has always come quite natural to her. She has an innate talent for exaggeration. She probably would have made a great hellfire and brimstone evangelical preacher, but even at 8 years old she kind of thought God was for people who were weak and afraid. It was only later that she discovered how weak and afraid she felt a lot of the time.
Her whole life she’s been told she’s a drama queen. She played the leading role of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz summer camp production, but she didn’t have much use for theater as a hobby. She lived it. She’s the type of person who could really hold the energy of a room in the palm of her hands. She commanded attention. Maybe she was a tad manipulative or maybe she just felt things oh so strongly and oh so deeply. Even when she was calm she was still a storm. Her last ex boyfriend told her that when she was happy the whole entire world lit up with joy, but when she was upset it sucked everything good out of the world, like there’d never be light again. She didn’t really hear him at the time, she just felt loved.
I think she’s just always been that person wearing her bloodied heart on her sleeve for the world to see. Like a blind dog with one leg just limpin’ down a busy street and you think bless its poor lil heart but you’d never truly wanna get close to it. Her feelings are like a mercurial volcano, they erupt dramatically and then harden and cool and go dormant. Like the cinder cone volcano she had trudged to the very top of with him, huffing and puffing, and then she told him I LOVE YOU and he just looked at her robotically and said THANKS. Lava material, for sure.
Later that night she sat on her bed in a ripped white t-shirt that used to belong to her newest ex-boyfriend. His stupid bike lock was sitting there in her carefully constructed bedroom, and she vowed to never return it unless he first returned the 4 books she let him borrow, even though she had no interest in ever reading three of them. She chomped down fistfulls of butter-drenched popcorn and told herself she was going to go to bed without flossing her teeth because her life was now in shambles anyway. Why bother? These were end times.
Four weeks ago they watched Perseid fireballs streak across the Milky Way on a volcano in the wilderness, miles from anywhere they’d ever been together before. Four weeks ago having his baby seemed intriguing, like maybe she should quit her job, stop pursuing her goals and just birth his twins and move in with his mom. It seemed like an okay back up plan. Four weeks ago fantasizing about what she might name the twins seemed like a good use of her fucking time. But just two weeks after that she’d had enough. She felt like she could never see him again and not even notice his absence. She felt repulsed by his Golden Boy smile and the way his whiney voice said beeeeeeeeeeebe, and how there’s always specks of sand all over him, and how he’s prone to sucking his thumb like a goddamn three year old. Maybe she was just pre-menstrual or woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but she couldn’t stop thinking I HATE MY BOYFRIEND. She hated the way he said stuff like “welks” instead of “you’re welcome” and how he smelled like organic soap and lemon and salt water taffy, and how he texted her routinely just to tell her that he’s hungry. So after doing the back and forth agony dance, she broke up with him.
Now instead of imagining their hypothetical twins and whether they’d have his beach blonde hair and ocean colored eyes, she imagined her premature funeral. She mourned the perfect future she’d now never have (thanks to him). She imagined all the poetics of the note she’d leave behind and all the hypothetical theatrics that might surround an accidental death. She imagined how her dying might finally make him feel something, how he’d rue the day he ever failed to meet her needs. That would show that sniveling garden snake not to toy with her precious emotions.
The story of her dating life is basically sporadic unrealistic fantasies in between wanting to die. And still, through it all she just kept waiting for him to change back. Back into a person she could actually love, which she didn’t realize yet really meant back into a person he simply just isn’t and never was, a person that only exists in her self-centered mind. She had gone to his house to break up with him and in between breaking up with him she said “I love you” for a second time and he responded with, “you’re really unique”. But she didn’t wanna be unique and she didn’t want to see the ugly truth of the games she played.
She hated him and she loved him. Yet what she didn’t realize yet was neither of these sentiments were true. What was true was she wasn’t getting what she wanted, what she thought she wanted, what she thought she deserved. She didn’t realize yet that she didn’t actually know what she wanted, and that the world didn’t actually owe her anything. The world didn’t revolve around her and it was a rude awakening, one she had several times a day and yet it never got less cruel. She would certainly do better if she knew how.
She flossed her teeth and went to bed.