Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Moving Backwards, Then Gunning It: Six Years of a Broken Heart with Mr. Oil Slick

So I had a moment of weakness. Or eleven.

I just couldn’t help myself. When I hear that voice on the other end of the phone, it makes me want to rip my clothes off then and there. And when that voice shows up at my door wearing an earring and a black leather jacket, that’s usually just what happens.

I know in the long run, the choice I make to take him back over and over again will hurt me far longer than it will make me feel good. In fact, the pleasure I get is so fleeting. Maybe it lasts a week or two, maybe a day. The pain has lasted six years. I hate that I’m so weak. Even more, I hate that this man knows this and plays on it with such ease. He doesn’t care what happens to me after he leaves. That’s not his problem. It’s mine. And it’s serious.

I was emotionally healthy before I met him. I’d just come out of a four-year relationship with a man who adored me. He was honest and faithful, kind and respectful. He never left me. I left him.

When I met Ari I no longer had stability or love surrounding me every day and I suppose I was searching for it in strange places. Like in the Indian restaurant where Ari worked. In the beginning, I didn’t think he was a bad boy. He seemed shy and gentle. We’d talk on the phone for hours, every day for a week before he even asked me out. We didn’t kiss until our third date. He wasn’t very good. In fact, nothing about that experience made me desire him. But several days later, when he sensed my hesitation, he said something that shocked me: “Show me how you want to be kissed.”

That’s every woman’s dream. A customized boy toy! I was hooked from that moment forward. Once I showed him what I liked, he showed me things I didn’t know I liked. Things I’d never felt before. He was a genius in the bedroom. It was like dirty dancing in the belly of a volcano.

Soon, I became a slave to his touch. I’d wait by the phone, taking it with me in the shower, just in case he called. I’d wait up long past my bedtime in case he wanted to come around for a late-night visit. It seemed I couldn’t sleep without him. I couldn’t work, either. I was always thinking about him. He was like a drug. When he didn’t call, I started blaming myself. It must’ve been my hips. Or my ass. I wasn’t a good enough lover. My hair was too greasy.

Because he didn’t want me, I was convinced no one else would either. That’s why I needed him to come back. When he did, I felt worthy again. I was confident and secure. You can imagine, then, that if this ridiculous affair lasted six years, so did my emotional instability. I flirted with highs and lows, vacillating between self-love and self-hatred. I tangled with passion and hung on the edge of frigidity. I lost myself in a big way.

I had a chance to find the girl I’d lost all those years ago when I returned from pastry school in London last January. London was a marvelous place. Full of museums, great boutiques and a steady stream of my one weakness – images of Ari everywhere I turned. It was two years since I’d last seen him, yet now he was all I could see. Every day. On every corner. Standing next to me on the tube. Gathered around a table in a Soho curry house. Talking on a cell phone. And in my fantasies every night.

I sent him an email and his response included several exclamation points and an urgent plea to call him as soon as I got into town.

“When are you gonna make me some pastries?” I could hear him cooing as he typed.

It reminded me of the time he worked at the Cheesecake Factory and acquired an entire pumpkin cheesecake.

“I want to bring it over and lick it off your body,” he teased.

Obviously he remembered the delicious year we spent Thanksgiving together and wanted to recreate it with something a bit more pliable than pie.

But that was then. And this was now. It had been long enough and I’d finally recovered from the last time I was strangled by his disappearance from my life.

I was sweating when he opened the door. He looked the same, but his hair was longer. He had a bigger earring and much more confidence. In fact, I detected the stench of bravado. I stood by his dresser and he turned on the radio. I placed my hands over the buttons on my coat, knowing that as long as I kept it on, I’d be safe. He had different plans.

“Wouldn’t you be more comfortable if you took off your boots?” he asked.

He had a point. They weren’t helping the sweating situation, after all. I took off the boots. And I might have removed my blouse, too (seriously, it was really hot in there).

He pulled me to him and wrapped his lips hungrily around mine. It was a marvelous kiss. It was tender, yet wild, passionate, yet gentle. The difference between this time and all the others, however, came from the fact that his kiss was no longer enough. Nor was the feel of his hands across my stomach. Nothing, not even the warmth of his breath or the way he pulled me toward him, meant anything anymore. I only came for answers.

“Why did you leave me?” I asked, lipstick smeared across my face.

I’m sure it was a silly question to a guy like Ari. Why not leave? Leaving is what he does.

“I leave when things get too close,” he said. “I was in love once and that was enough. I only want to have fun.”

I wished I could have made him understand how fun it was to sit by the phone every night, wondering why he didn’t want me. On this particular day, however, it was fun looking at this man on the bed next to me, the one with a flashy earring and tousled hair, and realize he no longer had any power over me. He had so little, in fact, that his repeated pleas to stay or the way he looked at me with ink-stained eyes, stirred nothing but pity in me.

How many girls had he flirted into bed that week? Even worse, how many of those women believed they were the only ones? It made me sick to think I used to be one of those girls. A girl who would give everything away for a little bit of adulation and physical pleasure.

I felt very light when I stood up to slip on my shirt and slide on my boots. And I felt happy too. I vaguely remember him saying something about “next time,” as I opened the door to leave.

“Next time, you’ll be alone,” I said, not looking back, moving forward for the very first time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this post! Such a true story with men like him. So they have been hurt and now they just want to hurt you. I'm glad you walked away.