Thursday, September 29, 2005

Don't give me no hand-me-down love...

It was Valentine's day. It was a Friday, and although we hadn't really made any plans, it was just a given that we would see each other that night...unless she found something she'd rather do. We hadn't talked about it being the holiday, just as I dared not talk about her being my girlfriend, but I knew I was going to try to do something special, nevertheless. I hadn't gotten a job since I'd come back to town, so that afternoon, I pawned some comic books for some quick cash & set out to buy her a present.

I should probably say before I go any further that I am, without a doubt, the worst possible shopper on the planet. I am terrible at picking out things for girls, totally clueless when it comes to fashion, still have no concept of women's sizes, and and I f*cking hate being in a store for more than 90 seconds with all the ads & mannequins & thick perfume & the goddamn shoes. Shopping to me should go something like this: A man stands outside a store & thinks to himself "I'm cold.". He goes into the store, and 2 minutes later he's outside with a new coat. He thinks to himself "I'm not cold anymore." Shopping's over.

So, I brace myself for it & choose the least possibly painful place; the local hippie store; you know, with the jewelry & the little carved incense holders & the skull bongs & the flowered dresses...I figure there's gotta be something unique there. Now, if I didn't already face enough of a hurdle, Kara had to be the hardest girl to shop for on the planet; she wasn't a girly-girl at all; she didn't wear makeup (she didn't need it), she didn't give a damn about clothes, she didn't wear jewelry to speak of, she didn't wear know, now that I think about it, I should have just bought her a damn album - there was a Tower Records right under the hippie store - but I wanted to be romantic, so sue me.

As I'm there perusing the tie-dyes & lava lamps, I feel the panic start to set in; the walls start to close in on me, Hendrix's eyes keep following me from the blacklight corner...I knew I had to get a grip & get out soon. As I moved down the aisle, I saw a little jewelry rack with a piece hanging off it that caught me eye; it was a necklace, a little black arrowhead set inside a silver casing with a plain, black cord. She wasn't the necklace type really, like I said, but something about this just looked like her; she didn't have the blood, but she had semi-Native-American looking features, and she liked that whole aesthetic, so I thought it might just be perfect. It was cheap, too, so extra bonus.

So, I bought the necklace & headed home to see if my mom had some little frilly box to wrap it in. I was proud as hell of myself, if I do say so; I actually thought I had gotten the perfect present. It was pretty, but it was very simple; it was a piece of jewelry, which was a boyfriend-type present, but it was cool & understated enough to not raise any flags; and, above all, I really thought she would like it. I stopped at a little stand that sells roses a few blocks away & bought three red ones, just to hedge my bets. I was going to stop and get something simple I could make for dinner, as well, but I remembered at that point that roses are fucking expensive & I didn't have enough cash left over, so home I went.

She called at about sundown & asked what I was doing; I told her nothing much, and that she should come over, 'cus i had gotten her something. She asked why I had gotten her a present, and I told her because it was Valentine's Day, to which she immediately reminded me that she wasn't my girlfriend, and I didn't have to buy her anything for Valentines. I was fully expecting this, so I just said that it wasn't a big deal; I had just felt like getting her something, and not to worry - it wasn't an engagement ring or anything like that. She laughed and said she'd be over soon, so I hung up the phone & started to get ready.

My mom didn't have a box for the necklace, so I figured I'd just do the old trick where you tell 'em to turn around & then you drape it over them & clasp it behind them, and they look down & say "Awww, I love you" & kiss you & then you both live happily ever after. Then I remembered who I was dealing with & figured I'd have to skip that last part for now. So, I sat there on my couch for a while, watching TV, waiting for her to arrive. I had the necklace in my hand, and after a few minutes, I absent-mindedly began twirling it around on my finger. I didn't even really notice I was doing it; I was just watching the TV, when all of a sudden, the necklace flew off my finger & shot across the room. It hit the wall behind my bed, and I heard a faint 'snap' as it did. I got up to go pick it up & as I reached down, I saw that when it had hit the wall, the little teeny tip of the arrowhead had broken off, leaving a jagged tip.

Oh fine, I thought, this is all I need. I studied it to see if I could maybe glue the tip back on, but it was a pretty small break & god knows where the tip flew off to. I thought that maybe she might not notice; maybe it was a special, blunt arrowhead or something. But I didn't really have time to form a plan, 'cus right then I heard Kara's car screetch into the driveway at her customary 40MPH. I had only seconds...and there was nothing I could do. I put the necklace in my pocket & went to answer the door.

I opened the back door & she strolled right on in past me & headed back to my room. I followed her back & reached out to give her a kiss. She intercepted me on the way to her lips as she sometimes did & gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, before looking up at me with those big brown eyes, smiling & asking "So what'd ya' get me?"

I took a breath, stepped back & pulled the necklace out of my pocket & held it behind my back. I told her to close her eyes & turn around. She said "Oh, come on, just give it to me!", but I told her to turn around again & she finally did with a little pout. I reached over her & put the necklace around her neck, but before I could fasten it or say anything, she bolted forward out of my arms, giggling & grabbing the necklace, saying "I want to see it!".

She held the necklace up to look at it, and I immediately launched into my explanation: Look, baby, here's the deal; I went and picked this out for you, and I thought it would look really pretty on you, and so I was sitting here waiting for you & I was, like, twirling it around on my finger, you know, and then all of a sudden, it just flew out of my hands & it hit the wall! It only happened a second ago, and I didn't have time to even see if I could fix it before you got here, 'cus you walked right in, and if you want, I'll get you another one or something, but I wanted to go ahead and give it to you, because it's Valentine's Day, and I love you, and...

The necklace hit me square in the face. It caught me right under the eye, and I guess at that point I should have been glad the point was broken. Then she threw her keys at me, too, and as I ducked, she started yelling at me; What the hell was I thinking? I buy her a present for Valentine's Day, when nobody asked me to do that, because I'm NOT her boyfriend, and then when she gets over here, I hand her something that's already broken, with some lame sob story to back it up as soon as she walks in the door. And do I think that some stupid little necklace is going to somehow trick her into thinking that she's my girlfriend, no matter that we spend every waking hour we can together? And didn't she remember me buying Gloria some kinda fancy earrings for Valentine's Day, and all she gets is this stupid necklace? And why the hell would I buy her an arrowhead anyway; she's not Native American & she's tired as hell of people saying she looks like it? What the hell was I thinking?

Well, I figured at that point, the safest thing to do was just to keep quiet, 'cus anything I could say at this point could potentially be explosive. I had never had anyone get mad at me for tying to buy them a present before, but I guess I should have know that, if anyone was going to, it would be her. So, she shoved me aside, picked up her keys, left the necklace, turned to me & said "I'm going to Laurie's!", and walked out. I remember I just slumped right back down onto my couch without even looking, and just went into shock for moment.

Ok, I thought to myself, so she's a little high-strung, neurotic, and fiercely independent sometimes, and maybe a wee bit crazy, but still....what just happened? I knew there had to be something else wrong; she wouldn't be that mad just over the necklace; there's something she's not telling me. One possibility was that she had known full well it was Valentine's Day, and had found herself actually looking forward to it, and that had freaked her out, and so she blew up. Things like that had happened before; Kara wasn't exactly the most comfortable person expressing her feelings...or even having them sometimes. She would get scared & freak out often when she would find herself getting too close to me for her comfort, and I thought...or hoped, that was what had happened. Either that, or she's done something she feels guilty about, and is freaking out about me doing something nice for her when she feels so guilty; that had happened before, too.

Whatever the case, she was gone, and I knew I wouldn't hear from her for a few hours at least; I could go out & head over to Laurie's or some of our regular stomping grounds & probably find her, but she wouldn't want to talk to me still. I'd have to wait 'til later that night, when she'd inevitably calm down, feel bad & call me....and sure enough, a few hours later at about 11, she did.

I answered the phone knowing it was her - nobody else called that late - and was greeted with the customary 5 seconds of silence, followed by the usual "....hi!" I could tell she wasn't mad anymore, and I breathed a sigh of relief; my mental state was pretty much dependent on hers back then, and I had been pacing the last few hours. I said 'hi' back, and she said "Ok, I'm sorry....but you shouldn't have bought me a present." I asked her why, and she said "Because I didn't get you anything..."

So, I told her it was ok that she hadn't gotten me anything; I didn't want anything but her in the first place, and I just wanted to give her something I thought she'd like. She said, "Well, it was nice, but didn't have to".

I said "Why, because you're not my girlfriend?"

"X (remember, she always called me by my initial), please don't start this again..."

"Why not, Kara? Just how many weeks & months on end do we have to be together constantly before someone's your boyfriend? How many nights do you sleep with them ,or tell 'em you love 'em? Sometimes I think you just don't wanna say I'm your boyfriend just so you'll have an excuse if you feel like sleeping with somebody else I know!"

"You know it's not like that; I just don't like that word..."

"Well, what word would you call me, then?"

"You're X."

"And that's all?"

"And you're special. And I care about you. And thank you."

"So, you liked the necklace?"

"Well, it was sweet, but I don't really wear jewelry, you know that....and besides, it IS broken"

"Well, I said I'd get you another one..."

"No, that's ok, don't do was sweet tho. Thank you."

At that point, I figured I'd take what I could get & quit while I was ahead, so I told her it was ok, we made up, and we were laughing about something else a few minutes later. I was almost becoming used to little episodes like this...and truthfully, I'm sure the fact that she was so explosive & unpredictable was one of the reasons I loved her in the first place, but I still felt like I was fighting an uphill battle. Even so, we went on to talk for our customary 2+ hours, and then we said goodbye so she could go to bed.

After I hung up the phone, I picked up the necklace off the floor & decided I might as well put it on...I kinda liked it myself, after all. And it looked pretty sweet on me, I thought; the broken tip gave it character. I wore that thing night & day, never taking it off, for another 2 years.

The necklace...


Blogger Manda recalled...

my Grandma used to sell stuff like that necklace.

she really does sound neurotic. if only i had men chasing after me after acting like that.... hehe :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2005 9:06:00 AM  
Blogger Charlotte recalled...

holy crap, the stuff you put up with!

Thursday, September 29, 2005 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger PAINKEY recalled...

Poor thing, what a freakin rollacoaster! cant wait to read more:)

Thursday, September 29, 2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Mint Tulip recalled...

She reminds me so much of a good friend of mine...who did more or less the same thing on her last birthday when her (then) boyfriend decided to pick something out on his own and not get her what she asked for...slightly different situation, but the same reaction. *shakes head* Maybe it's just my family that says from day one "Say thank you and act like you like it whether you do or not and no matter who gives it to you."

Thursday, September 29, 2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Ophelia recalled...

I believe your title is from The Guess Who: "Hand Me Down World"

I agree with the previous comment; Kara should've just taken the gift from you, smiled and said thank you. Did she really have to throw it at you?!? I know you have said that she's an emotional rollercoaster, but doesn't she understand they other people have feelings too?
Great writing...keep it up!

Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer recalled...

I hate Kara. I know you loved here and I'm sure she had her redeeming qualities, but I can tell you from a womans point of view that "So, what'd ya get me" is the first sign of (if not a totally money grubbing wench) a girl who is more about what she can get from you that how much she likes you. I've been that girl (I hated myself then too). since this blog is to help you, let me give you a hint... any time you here tose wors or any form of "what'd you get me" matter how much you like her.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Trixie recalled...

Be glad you didn't end up with Kara. It would have been a dsyfunctional mess.

Kara was probably suspicious of you as she observed how you treated Gloria and knew that if she remained noncommital, she could manipulate you. She was right, it worked. But then she was stuck playing the game, knowing it was the only way she could have you; by not really having you.

Well, that's my take on it, for whatever it's worth.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 1:41:00 PM  
Blogger bamajane recalled...

How long were y'all together? It really took some moxie on your part to put up with that mess!

Thursday, September 29, 2005 2:05:00 PM  
Blogger chick recalled...

mint tulip, sometimes people project what they see in themselves onto others and doesnt always mean its the right projection. I have asked my parents, friends & bfs "hey what did u get me" right after they tell me they got me something and its a surprise. Its a natural reaction ...curiousity, u might have heard that word once or twice in ur life? i think Kara experienced the same...she was curious and excited ...doesnt make her a gold digging wh0re.

I do believe she felt guilty for not getting him anything and she is getting close and i think a way for her to not "feel anything for exbf" is by getting mad at him...she is rationalizing to herself so if they dont end up together she wont be the one hurt.

blah blah i can go on. ill stop.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger ExBF recalled...

I will say this; when she was asking "What did you get me?" it was not at all in a greedy way; she was just excited. Kara was the least greedy or materialistic person I ever knew....she had her faults, but that wasn't one of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger ExBF recalled...

And Trixie; I never thought of her looking at Gloria & I's relationship and thinking anything like might be right. I don't think she ever conciously tried to manipulate me, but she knew I would do just about anything for her, and I know she used that to her advantage sometimes...

Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ana recalled...

Shes a bitch hands down. I dont care how any of u try to sugar coat it shes a bitch. That girl put u thru hell absolute hell and u being the guy that u were took everything she thru at you and ignored it. One thing i've learned from my past expierences is that a leapord cant change its spots.
She completly overreacted so she didnt get you anything she could have just said "i'm sorry i didnt get you anything and now i feel bad" instead of throwing a gigantic hissy fit at you DUDE U DONT EVEN LIKE SHOPPING and u went thru all of that for her and for what?? just to be spit on and then crawled back to? God she didnt appreciate u coz u were always there and she knew u were always gonna be if it were me i wud have told her that id had enough of her babish crap and when she was ready to grow up and act her age then we cud talk END OF STORY.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 8:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mint Tulip recalled...

I didn't have a problem with the 'what'd you get me' since I do that too, but with the throwing it and storming out. :o)

Friday, September 30, 2005 8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Moon Watcher recalled...

hey, I look forward to your next post. I read your whole blog yesterday. I can relate to what you went through with Kara so far and since I'm a chica, perhaps I can give you some insight.
In highschool my best friend was a guy. We talked on the phone every night for hours, we'd go fishing together, do everything together. I loved him so much. But I couldn't bring myself to date him. While we never slept together or even fooled around, I was in denial of the fact that he was absolutely crazy about me. When I would come to terms with it, I'd try to imagine myself being attracted to him, or being in bed with him and I just couldn't change the way I felt. He worshiped the ground beneath my feet and would have treated me like a princess throughout eternity, I'm sure of it. Now we aren't even friends because it just got too wierd. I now think the reason I wasn't attracted is because it was too easy to have him. Perhaps you presented no challenge to Kara and .. this next part is crucial.. she wasn't ready to be treated like a princess. You loved her more than she was prepared to be loved, more than she loved herself.
I miss my friend.

Friday, September 30, 2005 9:00:00 AM  
Blogger ExBF recalled...

Good perception; I know that was part of it...or I've always suspected, anyway. I was just too easy for her, and she just had too many things to run after in life to slow down for me to fawn over her....

In later years, we just chalked it up to bad timing, but I guess that didn't turn out to be the case, either...

Friday, September 30, 2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger michelle recalled...

One trick to buying for someone hard or if you hate the stores like I some catalogue shopping and feel the person out to what they like in the catalogue

Friday, September 30, 2005 8:46:00 PM  
Blogger SHROUDMASTER recalled...

Someone will treat (or in this case mistreat) you only as much as you allow it. Big warning sign when an act of kindness is repulsed. Living with the ups and downs of someone else's fragile psyche is pretty sad and exhausting. Hopefully this isn't how the rest of the Ex's go, otherwise its gonna be a long cold winter

Monday, October 03, 2005 9:09:00 AM  
Blogger lori recalled...

good love feels good !!!!!!you feel good when you are with that person and bad when they are away not the other way around. she needs to like herself before she can like you and if my man said here is some dirt that i brought back for you i thought of you when i was standing on this pile i would cherish the freakin dirt...... you will one day get the love you deserve...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 9:59:00 PM  
Blogger Chelle recalled...

I haven't finished the whole blog yet but:

1) You let that girl walk ALL over you! I understand that you were in love with her. Girls like that thrive on your...pandering (for lack of a better word) to their every whim. Sounds like she also needed to grow up a bit. Yes, she was just out of school, but she was acting like a 13 year old or something. Hell, I don't know.

2)I am anxious to read about the "rest of the story" because it's familiar to me. Even now, it seems that I'm happy unless I'm bored. I have repeatedly done things in my marriage(s) that I know I shouldn't do, but I just do it. I'm wondering if you find an answer if it will relate to me also! (I know I'm pathetic)

3) I don't think you should be surprised at all of the attention that your story is getting - I hate to use a cliche, but we've all been there. Love, unrequitted (sp??) love, loss, heartache are in our gene pool.

4)Please continue to share your story, but be careful to not OVER ANALYZE. Maybe your circumstances aren't all that unusual - you've just not put it all out there before.

Just a few thoughts. have to continue reading now!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 3:43:00 PM  
Blogger Donald recalled...

I worshipped my Kara as you did yours. And when she realized she could get anything and everything out of me, we married. After 26 years of having rugs pulled out from under me, asking 'How High?' when she said 'Jump', goals set that I could not achieve, and hating the feeling that I was her trained puppy on a short leash, we are divorcing this year. And I will be back at the beginning, except older, more weary of the 'games', with fewer real friends and even fewer prospects for a tender relationship, more alone, and completely disheartened. But mostly ashamed of myself for the waste of two lives. Oddly enough, I still love her more than I can imagine, and will never be completely happy without her in my life.

(Moon Watcher's comments were very perceptive)

Monday, February 26, 2007 7:11:00 PM  

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