i got an eMail from Lisa a few weeks ago. She's graduated and on her way back to take a job at a hospital not far from where I'm living. It's not even that she's renting a house with her life-long roommate close to my late-night stomping grounds that bothers me. It's just that she would slip my address into an impersonal 'how's everybody' kind of eMail to tell me this. Why'd she have to go and do a thing like that?
A couple of years ago, Lisa was my own self-prescribed therapy for pulling my head out of my ass; my delusional reason to live; the most attainable distraction from the misery of my dull and depressing life.
I must say, I mostly twisted her arm into getting into something that she really wasn't interested in getting into. Lisa just likes to fuck. And I can't blame her, except in that double-standardization of male shovinism that needs to keep women infurior to men in every sport - including the sport of fucking. And she's a pretty good fuck. (Almost as good as Marie-Helene.) At least I enjoyed it. I don't know for sure whether she enjoyed me, or the matches we wrestled. But at the time, I needed something more than the easy fuck I could get from her, something that I didn't know how to generate from within myself. I needed to remember what love felt like, because I didn't have any, and I didn't know how to go about finding it. She was there, and I pounced.
I often like to tell myself, in those mental dialogues spun out with imaginary audiences, that if Lisa hadn't been in the right place at the right time (my life), I might have stepped in front of a bus, void of any care in the world. Now I don't know how true that is. I often do the stupidest things, (or is it most stupid things) just to go through the experience of knowing what those stupid things are like to experience.
Anyway, what was created from a drunken fuck-fest turned into a desparate (and at times, pathetic) grasp for the worst kind of self-indulgence. I didn't much care for myself, but I was too scared to let go. All I could do was make someone else fill in the blanks for me. I made her do that by pouring on the method acting thick and heavy.
The whole affair was like putting my hand on a red-hot stove burner so that I might fully understand why my mother always told me not to touch the stove burner. Yeah, it really does hurt. Lisa's friends, my friends - make that singular: Jane - told us it was a bad idea to get involved so heavily right before she was to leave for grad school in some bum-fucked midwestern cattletown. (Even the drag Queens at Lucielle's gave her funny looks at her going away party.) Like setting a hook in her gills I just wouldn't let up. Even if it came down to guilt-tripping her for forgetting about me during one of the last nights with her college friends. ...christ; I'd forgotten about that.
For most of the duration of our thing we were apart. I was here, then in Montreal, then back, then in Denver. I took a long weekend from my intership and drove overnight to see her.
It's been almost two years since that weekend; maybe eighteen months since I told her to leave me alone. But I can't be mad at her. She was up-front and honest with me about how she felt, except when I made it more difficult for her to be so. The last thing she said to me was that she didn't have the strength to make the effort to keep up our friendship. And she meant it. About a year ago I wrote to tell her that I was doing fine (a lie, but it was such a nice sunny day I felt like I was telling the truth), and that after what we'd been through, if she couldn't make the effort, then it just wasn't worth it to me to pretend. I thought it was a pretty good letter. I'll have to dig it out to see just how stoned I was when I wrote it.
° ° ° ° °
In all honesty, I was glad, at the moment, to have recieved this eMail from her. At least she hasn't forgotten me, and, in case I had made a huge mistake in using her the way I did (and I think I did, but it was neccessary) at least she was (is? whatever...) more willing than any of those other unmentionables to make contact. (Am I to contsrue that as effort?) I could be diluding myself. Women seem to have this driving need, like beating their biological clock, to clear their guilty consciences after they rip your heart out and blenderize it into a bloddy mary or a long island or a black russian. Lisa served mine in a bitter cup of cheap coffee - black; no cream or sugar - but I was such a pussy I drank it anyway.
I told Angela about the eMail, and how crazy it makes me feel; I wish I could muster the same compassion she has.
( I would have talked to Sean about it, but Erin has since taken my place. He and I don't see much of each other anymore, which is probably a good thing because I was tired of waiting around to follow him, which is niether here nor there because he and I were never on the same page anyway.)
I wish I could congure the compassion Angela stirred up and live with Lisa's side of it. It's hard enough to know what to do with the rest of the life in front of you (especially in grad school) without having someone crying over the phone about wanting to spend the rest of his life with you. Yeah...I know. And I respect that. Who knows; maybe Lisa is a more emotionally stable person, now that she's not in school. (Not to suggest I would be interested in her again, but maybe she's not the placating liar I knew her to be.) She never could handle pressure. Why am I even upset about what happened?
On the other hand, Jane and Alex are much closer to the situation than Angela. Maybe not my situation in particular, but the three of us have all loved and been burned by trying impossible circumstances. If I were to use my head, I would compare the similarities of their experiences to my own, and figure out why the three of us have a tendency toward free-basing misery (although Jane seems happily involved now).
I wish I were a stable enough person to be able to hang out and have a drink with Lisa. The only thing that makes me feel better about being so shallow is knowing that Lisa really isn't a very interesting person. Not to me, anyway. She's very sweet; really beautiful, but she just isn't a thinker. She has nothing intersting to say. Aside from being the healer that she is, there's nothing else, no other level on which I might interact with her.
The best way to take off a band-aid is to get it over with as quickly as possible. I guess saying Hi when we bump into each other won't be so painful when it's apparent there's nothing else to say except take care.
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