Friday, Jun. 13, 2003
After I finished writing yesterday, I crawled into my bed with a book, trying not to think about all the worries swirling through my head. The main of them being what if this relationship I'm in with Amy isn't really as different from any other "romance" I've ever been involved with as I'd thought it to be...?
I seem to have slept on it fairly well. Had some wacky dreams that I don't remember. And when I woke up this morning, I was trying to clear all the moodiness away and find exactly what it is - or was - that upset me. What's the thread of continuity that always strikes the same sour key with me?
She has no initiative.
I popped straight out of bed and turned on the computer. I don't want to feel like this about Amy, so it's extremely important that I straighten out what it is that's bothering me and why. After I'd posted yesterday, (don't bother, it's in that other diary) I sat around on my ass chewing my mental cud, getting familiar with being mad at her and waiting for the strike of an epiphany to deal with it.
Then a couple of things struck me. Projecting my feelings onto her, as if she were the cause rather than the trigger. And being mature enough to own my feelings and to deal with them sensibly. Half of my black cloud was the inability to control those wild raging emotions surging through my head. I felt ashamed that, like a teenage girl PMSing, I'd let myself be upset all day yesterday and hadn't even tried to deal with it and make it better. Talk about tunnel vision: I was sure that Amy and I were falling into those corrosive habits of routine, in which everything becomes automatic, reflexive, to the point that nothing inspires the same joy and wonder as in the beginning. I was sure that even love-making had lost its magic. I was certain that she and I were over the proverbial honeymoon of our relationship; that we'd burned so hot and intensly over the last three or four months there was nothing left to fuel that kind of passion, however restrained we had been with it. I was seeing, at the end of that tunnel, the end of our relationship.
All because she didn't show any initiative in making love to me after I'd lavished her with a twenty-minute back massage. It brought back too many emotional impressions from memories of romantic gestures that went unaknowledged, unnoticed or unappreciated by past lovers and girlfriends. One thought that kept recurring in my mind was the line Amy had typed over an IM conversation just after the courtship had become a relationship: "I'm not like any other girl you've ever dated." Talk about a setup for failure: she'd given me a wall to stare at and in times of trouble, when my wheels started to skid on the blacktop, that's the wall I was headed into. When I got mad at her, lying there in bed wishing she'd do something; when I brewed over it all day, I was thinking of how she pissed me off in exactly the same way Lisa, Karyn and even Tiffany had. Each in their own way, they had afforded me that selfish minimalism of effort - most often after I'd gone way the fuck out of my own way to flatter their sensibilities. Each of them would take it but wouldn't send it back.
To project onto Amy the animosity I feel for characters in my memory is like blaming her for the failures of all past relationships. Wow...took me a long while to type that sentence...because I really don't want to believe that I would do something so childish. How unfair is that?! Double-plus unfair! Consciousness is a very tricky state of existence. We can be so acutely aware of hot and cold, of bright and dark, of loud and quiet, of fresh and putrid, of sweet and bitter, and of pain and pleasure; and yet so inanely unaware - unconscious! - so unfamiliar with the epicentral connection between heart and mind that in times of emotional disaster we cry out "Why, oh why is the sky falling?!"
Horomonal physiology is also quite amazing in its ability to amplify even the slightest peeve. Amy and I hadn't had sex in almost a week and in that entire time I had abstained from any and all sexual activity that didn't include her. Well, I'm not blind, of course; and it is summer time. I'd just restrained myself - for a week - from acting on any impulse that could have been easily indulged with mental fantasies of all the tank tops and short shorts. I'm not saying I hold her responsible for that; not even in my delusional tirade of self-righteousness. But there are two things a girlfriend should never do:
So there's the thing. Amy and I finally had really bad sex. My gawd. Now what do I say...?
It wasn't bad as in...well...bad is bad. Cold pizza is still cold. And I hate to be in a "serious" relationship and still have that cheap one-nighter mechanical, routine sex.
It was bad in a number of ways.
It didn't really matter. By then I honestly wasn't that interested either. So I turned out the light and she fussed with the covers and kissed me goodnight.
But here's the thing that really put me in the bad mood that lasted all day yesterday. She reminded me, lying there in the dark, that she still owes me a facial massage, a foot rub and a Bj from a "bet" I won more than a week ago. (I can hear her arguing, "Nah-uh, it wasn't that long ago.") Yet somehow she still gets away with one of my 20-minute massages...? I mean, sheeit, I got my technique down. I don't be ticklin' or nuthin'.
"What are you laughing about?" she asks.
There was no point in getting into an arguement because
It seems most women expect a man to be satisfied if she lets him poke her any way he wants to. Actually porno sex really turns me off. Especially if I haven't learned to enjoy straight fucking with the person I love in the manner I would someone I don't love. I try to maintain a distinction so that no one gets what they don't deserve. In my mind, the woman I love doesn't deserve to be treated as an appliance.
"You've been saying that for a week," I told her. "It reminds me of I shall gladly repay you Tuesday for a hamburger today..."
"Well," she said, "I don't know what that means." She continued with something I don't remember about making my payoff a priority (yeah, I know all about her priorities), then finished with her classic disclaimer: "I guess that's just the way it's going to be, then." Then she rolled over and we both went to sleep.
It's a scary thing to fight with someone you love if you still don't know each other well enough to know how to fight. Just because of how opinionated and sensitive I am, and because of how argumentitive and stubborn she is, she and I are going to have a lot of them. Now I understand why my sister Angela and my brother-in-law Ben went through that faze for about three or four years after they were married. They would "check in" with each other every three or four minutes, reassuring each other's sensitivity is protected and coddled and nurtured each other's easily-hurt feelings.
I feel like a big pussy, because when she asked if anything was wrong the next morning I said I was just hungry. And I feel like a big fat pussy because coming out of the Starbucks on our way to work she finally made some comment about my weight that everyone gets around to eventually. And here I am putting all this is my diary.... That's how hard it is to talk about, ask for help or attention, whine or cry over hurt feelings. It's a little thing, but it's exactly the same as ever. I shouldn't have to ask, should I? I shouldn't have to tell her to touch me or hold me or that I might want her to lead the dance.... But by the time I'm bruised, bringing it up seems petty. Being upset all day seems petty. Childish.
Last night I wrote, "I just wish she really weren't like anyone I've ever dated."
This morning, while my ancient monochrome PowerBook 160 (!) chugged through its startup calisthenics, I ran downstairs for a glass of oj and the morning paper. Before I actually sat down to write this, I felt a great urge to procrastinate. You know, nothing to get the creative juices flowing like the comics page.
I usually start my daily rituals in my drawers or yesterday's pants. And I usually draw the line on my otherwise White Trash habits at the front door: I never go outside without a shirt on. But somehow today I just didn't give a shit. It's early enough, I thought, that the neighbors and joggers aren't likely to catch me if I just step out for a second to get the paper.
I peeked through the little window in the front door so I would know exactly where the paper was when I dashed out to grab it. What I saw, instead of a newspaper, was a vase stuffed with five lavender-violet peonies. I just stared at them. What the fuck is that, I thought. For split second I wondered if the Mexican family who had clipped flowers out of the yard without asking were making a peace offering. There was a card stuck in between them and I squinted to make out the handwriting. I drew my palm across my mouth to keep that involuntarily stoo-pid grin from jumping off my face. I stepped out onto the porch and picked up the vase laughing out loud.
I didn't give a damn who saw me because I got flowers from someone who is nothing like anyone I've ever been with: I am so in love with her.
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