Friday, December 30, 2005

Tag this...

Next year, this thing's gonna look a lot different...I swear.

1. What did you do in 2005 that you’d never done before?

Slept alone all year...

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any last year...I knew I wouldn't be able to keep 'em. This year, I'm goin' for it, though...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, but they're about to...

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

Not a damn one.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?

Peace of mind.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Jeez...I dunno. Wish something important had happened...

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Seeing my name on the big screen. And hanging out with Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Letting my guilt & my personal issues dominate another year of my life...

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had a wicked stomach flu...and I stubbed my toe really bad.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Well...hmm. I bought some socks that are pretty nice...

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My momma's.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Just about everyone else in my family. And Al Franken...

14. Where did most of your money go?


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Not much. Something woulda been nice...

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?

Bruce - Long Time Comin'

17. Compared to this time last year, are you

i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? 'Bout the same. Maybe slightly thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Ever so slightly richer...

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Looking forward.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Looking backward.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Helping my mom pack & then being sick...

22. Did you fall in love in 2005?


24. What was your favorite TV program?

The Shield. Ok, and Desperate Housewives...

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


26. What was the best book you read?

A Fine, Dark Line - Joe R. Landsdale. Read anything you can get your hands on of his...

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

There's new music to discover?

28. What did you want and get?

Not much...

29. What did you want and not get?

Peace of mind.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Devil's Rejects. Batman Begins was a close 2nd...

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old?

Turned 33; didn't do a damned thing.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

That's a dangerous question...

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?


34. What kept you sane?

My friends. And my momma.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you admire the most?

Trey Parker & Matt Stone

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

People blaming the president for the flooding of New Orleans...

37. Who did you miss?

Someone I probably shouldn't be missing. And my grandma.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

All my friends that I've met through this blog (you know who you are).

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005:

Don't take your family for granted. And get over it, already...

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"So you've been broken & you been me somebody who ain't. I know I ain't nobody's bargain, but hell...with a little touch-up & a little paint..."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

If we make it through December...

I have about 15 minutes to post, because my apartment has been invaded by my friend Kris from out of town, who's staying with me through the new year. Actually, she's Alan's wife's best friend, and she doesn't wanna stay with them 'cus they're living with Alan's parents while they get ready to move into their home, so I'm stuck with a roommate for a few days....which I have learned quickly that I am not accustomed to anymore. And, of course, we've been good friends for years, so there's not even any funny business goin' on since she's too hip to my bullshit; I just get to enjoy tampons in my bathroom & having my TV commandeered without any of the fringe benefits...

Plus, she & Alan's wife, in the past 24 hours, have completely turned my whole apartment upside down, thrown away things I didn't even know I had, re-arranged furniture, done something or the other to the kitchen that I can't quite place, and woken me up at seven in the goddamn morning so they could do freakin' yoga together...which apparently involves watching the Today show at top volume & whacking away on my computer while I'm sleeping 3 feet away because they're trying to get mapquest directions to a hair salon that's about a quarter-mile down the road. But, she cleaned my bathroom....god bless her.

Hope everybody's Christmas went well...or at least better than mine. My estranged family decided to ruin the holidays for my mom & I, but such is life....I'll tell ya' about it later if ya' care to hear. I'll post again as soon as I can; gotta keep it on the down-low while I have a guest here if I don't want anyone digging this thing up, but I know where I left off...

Oh, and thanks for the well-wishes; I feel better now; physically, at least. Don't order the swordfish...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Green Xmas...

Well, I spent all Christmas day with a stomach virus. Fun. I was sick in bed or the bathroom from after breakfast this morning 'til about an hour ago, and I still feel all funky, so...don't get too close.

I'll pick up where I left off as soon as I'm sure I can sit upright for more than five minutes...hang tight.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Ghosts of ex's past...part 1

Well, since I'm desperate for something to take my mind off the present, maybe I should take the opportunity that this yuletide insomnia has given me to do what I do best; dwell endlessly on the past...

Christmas. Always been a big fan. Even as I've gotten older, I've always tried to hang onto the Christmas spirit...just like I try to hang on to everything from my childhood, I guess. In any case, I'm always the first guy who has his tree up, I have my trusty santa hat that starts becoming my normal headgear around Dec. 1st of every year, and for the past several years, I've made it a bi-annual tradition to make my own Christmas albums as gifts for family & friends, and let me tell you: they do indeed rock.

Best Christmas of my life so far still has to be Christmas 1983. I was 11 years old, and I got a Colecovision for my big gift that year, and I still remember vividly driving out to Toys R' Us on Christmas eve & picking out a couple of game cartridges to play on it (Smurf & Cosmic Avenger), and unwrapping it all the next morning while Martha Quinn introduced holiday videos on MTV. I remember we actually had a white Christmas that morning, and I can still hear my grandfather cursing in the kitchen while burning the turkey as Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas" played on the TV.

Those were simpler times...

Then, women came into my life. Since then, I've shared many Christmases with many different girls, and for a long while, the running joke in my family (when we were still all speaking) was that one day, I would actually bring the same girl over for two Christmases in a row. Still hasn't happened yet.

The first Christmas that I had a girlfriend was when I was 16, and I was dating Andi. For those of you who remember, I took my first relationship deadly seriously...for some ridiculous reason, and that Christmas was no different. I figured that, since she had seen fit to grant me the time of day & allow me in her presence, that I had to go all out & blow her away with the best Christmas gift ever. I didn't matter that my family has never had a pot to piss in, I had made up my mind that I was going to buy her some expensive piece of jewelery...because that's what I thought boyfriends were supposed to do, even if you're 16 & so poor you can't pat attention.

So, I scrounged & saved, and, against my mom's will, I cashed in a $250 savings bond that had been left to me by an uncle I'd never met. I found out that Andi's birthstone was a garnet, so I looked in the Service Merchandise catalog & found a ring that I thought looked acceptable & contained the right stone...for slightly less than $300.

When I asked my mom for the extra money to cover the difference, she thought I was crazy. She told me that no 16-year-old kid was supposed to be buying his girlfriend a $300 ring, at least not any that we knew. I, of course, told her she was crazy, and that I was in love, and that if I didn't buy her an expensive ring, she just might wise up & leave me for some guy who would. My mom still thought I was crazy, and somewhere deep down, I think I probably knew she was right, but I was not to be deterred. Eventually, my mom said she'd give me the money, but that it would count as my Christmas present, so I'd better make sure I wanted it. Of course, I took the money & bought the stupid ring...

And you know what? I don't remember what she gave fact, I don't even remember what happened when I gave her the ring. I have a vague memory of being in her living room, with her Christmas tree all lit up, and exchanging gifts, but I can't remember anything that happened. She was extremely vain & materialistic, so I'm sure she liked it...but it didn't stop her from running off with my friend a couple of months later. And yes, after it was all done, I felt really stupid about that $300...

The next time I had a girlfriend during Christmas was Gloria, I suppose...and she was Jewish, so that was a little weird. I remember I bought her a leather motorcycle jacket just like mine, apparently to feed some vaguely West Side Story-esque fantasy about her being 'my chick', and plus I just thought she would look cute in it...which she did.

I remember I took her over to my family's house for Christmas, and in the middle of us unwrapping gifts, she broke down crying, saying that her family was never as close as mine, and she had always wanted to be a part of a family like that. If she could only see us now...

And, dammit, I can't remember what the hell Gloria bought me for Christmas, either. I remember her coming over on Christmas morning for us to exchange gifts while my brother & I were playing Spider-Man on his new Sega Genesis, and I remember giving her the jacket, but again, I can't remember much else. I'm sure she got me something nice, too...but I'll be damned if I know what it was.

The next Christmas would have found me just home from Colorado, and spending fleeting spurts...with Kara. As far as presents go, yes I know it's strange that I can remember conversations we had verbatim, and I can remember what she wore at times as clear as a picture, but I still can't remember what I bought her for a gift that year. I do remember what she got me, though. It wasn't anything was a t-shirt with a pretty lame drawing of The Punisher on the front, but it was something...from her. I remember I didn't expect her to even get me a gift, and when she gave that to me, I was as blown away as anyone's ever been by a t-shirt. She actually went out, thought about what I would like, looked for it, and bought it for me. I know that doesn't exactly sound like a herculean task, but you didn't know Kara....or maybe you do by now. Still have the t-shirt...

What I do remember vividly is the intense, passionate, sweaty sex by candlelight that we had in her bedroom for hours on end that night, while her family was right in the next room recovering from Christmas dinner. That one gave 1983 a good run for it's money...

And the next year was with Maria, and it wasn't too long ago that I talked about that, but what I remember most is taking her home to meet my family, and my mom pulling me aside, grabbing me by the arm, and saying "You better not let this one go!"; Kara had shaken mom up bad, you see...

I also remember that i couldn't think of anything to buy for Maria, so I fell back on the old leather jacket trick that had worked so well with Gloria. She appreciated the gesture, but it wasn't really her style, and I seriously doubt she ever wore the damn thing. Why in the hell can I not remember what any of these girls got me for Christmas?

After was a couple of years before I had another relationship that was going on during the holidays. This time, it was the first year that Veronica & I spent together as a semi-couple. I don't really think I had even commited to being her actual 'boyfriend' at that point, and in any case, I knew that I couldn't get her anything too nice, because Veronica was not only crazy about me...she was also just plain crazy, and I didn't want to make too much of a statement.

So, in the end, I figured lingerie was a safe bet; it was romantic, but it was also dirty, too, so it couldn't be all that serious & heavy. And, I have to admit, since she usually dressed very conservatively, I really wanted to see her in it. I remember she came over a day or two before Christmas, and all my idiot friends had just come home from college for the holidays on the same afternoon, so I shoved them upstairs & locked the door to give her the gift. She loved it & went into the bathroom to throw it on right away.

Veronica was a very, very shy & insecure girl, but she could cut loose & feel sexy when she was comfortable enough, and I remember her walking out of the bathroom, looking like she was trying to run & hide and be sexy all at once...and it was very cute. It didn't hurt that she had an amazing body, and.....alright, I just realized that all these stories are starting to end up with me having sex with the girl & forgetting what she got me, and I promise, that's not the case most of the time...I swear! It is what happened again in this particular case, but I'm standing by that statement...

The next year, Veronica was there again...sort of. It's a long story that I'll get to one day, but we had actually just broken up a few days before Christmas, so we didn't really spend it together. Instead, I ended up housesitting for Jerry while he & his then-wife went away for the holidays. Because I was staying at Jerry's house, and because Jerry is Roxanne's brother, Veronica became convinced that the reason I had broken up with her (which was, in reality, a long argument we had about the very different opinions we had about our futures, our beliefs, and our desire for children...all of which were found to be completely incompatible with one another) was that Roxanne was actually in town (she was working in another state at that time) and I was actually conspiring to spent the holidays alone with her at Jerry's house in some kind of Santa-Caligula scenario of her own invention. Never mind the fact that Roxanne was not in town, was, in fact, dating someone else, and had only spoken to me a handful of times in over 2 years.

So, what Veronica did was....well, I hesitate to even get into it right now. Basically, she flipped out, had one of her 'episodes' (that, if you stick around, I'm sure you'll get to know well), and caused me to have the single worst Christmas (and possibly worst day period, up to that point) of my life. In fact, what she did was so insane, that, unless I were to start the whole story from the beginning, there's no way it would even make any sense in any context you guys have. You'll hear it before long, but just know that it was not a fun Christmas that all.

The next year, I was single during Christmas, Veronica & I having broken up (again...after another breakup & reconciliation or two in between) in the fall. But there was something that happened that I should probably talk about. You see, there was this girl; her name was...Jenna; that'll do, I guess. To put it bluntly, in terms you guys will understand, Jenna was Alan's version of Kara. Yes, that Alan, one of my dearest friends. Now, before you start yelling at me, I didn't touch her! I promise...not at all. In fact, after everything that happened with Kara, my friends & I drew up a very strict set of rules concerning the dating of each others girlfriends; specifically, that it was not allowed, save without express permission. We all agreed to abide by the rules, and, for the most part, we always have, and so did I with Jenna. And trust me, if you knew Jenna, you'd be damned proud of me for saying that.

Alan & Jenna had met about 2 years before, and had dated until just a few months previous. They had met after he & Mindy had broken up, and from the moment he met her, Alan was different than I had ever seen him before...or since. The only thing I can really compare it to was me & Kara; it was that intense between the two of them. Only thing was, Jenna was sane. Not only was she sane, she was a swimsuit model, she was pre-med, she came from a weathly family, she had a great sense of humor, she was a blast to be around, and she was one of the single most beautiful girls that you could ever hope to see in your life. She & Alan got along great, and things looked bright for the two of them....until she got pregnant.

Alan, love him though I do, has never been the most...responsible guy in the past when it comes to sex. The guy knew that he was extremely fertile...he had already paid for three abortions by the time he was 23 years old, and I knew girls who wouldn't even sit across a table from him for fear of getting knocked up. But, still, something went wrong one day & Jenna wound up pregnant.

Both of them were Catholic, but Alan wasn't exactly an altar boy (actually, he was an altar boy, but you know what I mean), and he was not opposed to another abortion, if that's what Jenna wanted. Jenna was even more devout than Alan, and she wrestled with the whole dillema like nobody I had ever seen; the poor girl was just completely torn over what to do, and she & I became very close during this time. I tried to be there for the both of them as best I could, but when Jenna was mad at Alan, I would be the one she would call to talk about it.

Eventually, she decided that she wanted to have an abortion. She was scared, angry, and confused, but she knew she wasn't ready for a child, so she & Alan made the arrangements. She came through just fine, and the two of them tried the best they could to get past it & move on with their lives, and, for a while, they almost did....until she got pregnant again.

This time, she had been on birth control, and they had been extra careful, but somehow his super-sperm got through & it happened again. Alan wanted to marry her, but poor Jenna just lost it; she couldn't believe this had happened to her again, and she understandably flipped out. They decided to have another abortion, and Jenna was terrified that it would ruin her chances of having children in the future. She & Alan were still technically together, but we all knew the relationship wouldn't survive this one.

Alan & she began to fight constantly, and it got uglier & uglier. She called me up crying almost nightly, and it seemed like every day something else horrible would happen between them. Alan was devastated, too. He's never been very good at expressing his emotions, but I know he was just totally clueless as to what to do, and I probably would have been, too. I honestly did everything I could to try and keep them together, because I loved the two of them so much, but in the end, it didn't survive that second incident.

Alan eventually got over it...a lot quicker than I would have...and Jenna & I remained friends. During this time, Alan went back to school & met the girl he would eventually marry, Jenna went off to medical school, and I ended up dating Veronica. But, that Christmas, Jenna was home for the holidays, and one night, she came over to see me.

Jenna & I had hung out hundreds of times before, with other people or by ourselves, and though she was perhaps one of the most desirable women any of us had ever seen, my mind had never once wandered beyond the boundaries of the Rules; Jenna had been Alan's girlfriend...more so, she had been Alan's Kara...and therefore she was off limits questions asked. We were good friends & that was all I had ever even considered being. So, it really fucked my world up when she told me that night that she was in love with me...

...and it's almost 5 a.m. on Christmas morning, so that means cliffhanger time. I'll pick it up later today, I promise...

Merry Christmas, everybody!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

You'll be doin' alright, with your Christmas of white...

Well, I was gonna write a nice, uplifting Christmas message...but that all got shot to hell. Seriously, I hesitate to even write anything, 'cus the last thing I want to do is bring anybody down on Christmas, so you might just wanna skip past this & come back after the holidays.

In fact, maybe that's just what I'll do....never mind the bad news; just have a merry Christmas, everybody. Thanks for indulging me, thanks for giving a damn, and thanks for reading all my ramblings. You guys all mean a lot to me, even if you don't know it. Have a great holiday, never take your family for granted, and leave the cookies out for Santa....

Friday, December 23, 2005

Windows are for cheaters, chimneys for the poor....

"Hello?", I answered the phone.

Silence. Faint sound of Concrete Blonde playing in the background. Guess who? So, I went on.

"What are you doing?", I asked.

"Can I come over?", Kara said.

"Sure; what do you wanna do?"

"I just wanna talk.", she answered.

"Alright, then...come over whenever", I told her.

"Is anybody there?", she asked.

"What do you mean? I'm here..."

"No, like, is Alan or anybody else there?"

"Yeah, he's home, I think..I'm in my room. Mindy might be out there with him, why?"

"Ok, I'm gonna climb in through the balcony...", she said.

"The bal...why?", I asked her.

"I just don't want to deal with anybody else tonight, I'm just not in the mood...". I could tell that something was on her mind.

"You don't...want to deal with anybody?"

"No.", she said.

"So you're gonna scale the wall & sneak into the building?", I asked with a sigh.

"Yep!". Without a hint of irony.

"Alright....fine. Climb up the damn balcony, in full view of one of the busiest streets in town; see if I care. I'll just be here watching TV." Truthfully, I wasn't all that surprised. By that point, just climbing up a building was almost on the normal side of things for her. She hung up the phone & I went in the other room & told Alan that if he heard anything strange outside the window, not to call the cops.

About an hour later, I heard a sound outside and knew Kara was there. She opened the door from the deck & strolled inside like it was something she did every day. I remember wondering to myself, not for the first time, what she would look like dressed as Catwoman. I opened my mouth to say hello to her, and she cut me off before I had a chance. She just looked right at me & said "Ted knows".

Well, I thought, took him long enough to figure it out. "What happened?", I asked her.

"Well, when I came home the other night, it was late, and I walked in the kitchen, and he had made a big pot of spaghetti on the stove, and dinner was all set out, and he was just sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for me. He said he waited until almost 11, then he called my brother, and found out I wasn't with him..."

I remember she walked over to the desk where my CD's were stacked up & started picking them up & absent-mindedly looking through them as she talked. She'd look at the cover of one, scruntch her face up in this way she had, and toss the CD back down on the desk..totally destroying what little semblance of organization I had managed to maintain, and completely unaware that she was doing it. She went on...

"So, he asked me where I had been all these nights, and I asked him 'where do you think I've been', and he said 'I think you were with X'."

"Well, what did you say?", I asked her.

"I told him he was right. I couldn't lie to him...I'm a bad liar; you know that." Truthfully, I don't know if she was a bad liar or not; to the best of my knowledge, I never saw her lie to anyone about anything. "I told him I had been seeing you again."

"So...what did he do?", I asked.

"He wasn't surprised", she said. "He said he guessed he was just getting what was coming to him. Tit for tat, and all that."

"So, he wasn't mad?", I asked.

"No, he's just....I dunno, I guess I've gone & broken his heart now, too. I'm just a bad person, X..."

"No, you're not...", I said to her; trying to convince myself as much as her.

"Well, I know Ted doesn't think too highly of me right now...and honestly, I don't know why you do, X."

"Well, I don't know either sometimes, but I do", I told her. She hugged me then, and held on to me tighter than normal. I knew she felt terrible about the whole situation, and I knew she was upset, no matter how hard she tried not to show it...but inside, I was secretly thrilled that Ted had found out. I knew that it was petty, but it also felt good to have the shoe on the other foot for once.

"So, what happened when you left tonight? What did you tell him?", I asked.

"Nothing; he had already left himself. We were up all last night, and he was crying & upset, and when he got home today, we got into it again, and he said he couldn't handle it right now and left to go over to his parent's house".

"So, you haven't broken up, then?" I asked. Priorities, you understand...

"No, X, we haven't broken that all you care about?"

I figured the best thing to say was nothing at all, so I just kept hugging her. I knew that she was expecting the next question to come out of my mouth, and she knew that, even though I knew she didn't want me to ask it, that I had to, anyway. So, I did...

"Well...what are you going to do, then?", I said. She let out a big sigh before she replied.

"What do you mean, what am I gonna do?", she asked...knowing everything that was going to be said, before we even said it.

"Well, you're here now, Kara...with me, instead of trying to work it out with him. So, what are you going to do?", I asked. She broke away from me & started to pace around the room, in her way, twisting that lock of hair around her finger & sticking it in her mouth to chew on.

"You knew it was gonna come to this, Kara....I know it's no fun, but you've always known it would just come down to you deciding what you want.", I told her.

I remember she waited for a good, long minute, looking out the window before she replied. "But I don't know what I want, X...I never do. This is me we're talking about, here...". She was right; this was Kara we were talking about here.

"'ve just got to figure it out, for once. You can't have it both ways, know that." Before I was even finished speaking, she whirled around, pointing her finger at me.

"I don't want it both ways! I know you think it's all fun for me caught in the middle of this, but I'm not trying to have my cake & eat it, too....I don't care what you think! I don't want all this to be happening, and I know I'm just going to end up hurting someone who doesn't deserve it, and I hate that!", she yelled so loud the neighbors could hear. Good thing she had climbed in through the window, or someone might know she was here...

"So, who's that going to be?", I asked her.

"Who's what going to be?", she said.

"The person you hurt...who doesn't deserve it. Who is that gonna be?", I asked. She just turned, looked out the window & shook her head; she never answered me. After a minute or so, I walked over behind her & put my hands on her shoulders. She stood stiff at first, but after a second, she relaxed & leaned back into me. After another minute, I spoke again:

"I know this isn't easy for anybody involved, Kara...least of all me. And I know you care about Ted, and you don't want to hurt him. But something keeps bringing you here...something keeps bringing us together, no matter how far we drift apart, and I know you recognize that just like I do."

"I do...", she said after a moment; "It's hard for me not to be around you, X."

"Is it like this between the two of you?", I asked her. "Do you guys talk the way we do...get along the way we do? Tell me the truth...I'm asking 'cus I want to know."

She waited for so long that I didn't think she was going to answer, then she did. "No. Not like we do. We get along, and we talk, and we have things in common, but...."

"Not like we do?", I finished for her.

"No...", she said; "...not like we do."

This time, I was the one who hesitated. I just stood there & held her with her back to me, the both of us looking out at the streetlights. After a moment, I went on again:

"Then you know this is something special, just like I do, Kara. That's why you keep coming back here."

She turned around & looked up at me with those big, brown eyes, and I was lucky I didn't get hypnotized.

"I know it's special...but that doesn't make any of this any easier.", she said to me. She moved her lips toward me & we kissed. After a long moment, we parted & she spoke to me in a whisper:

"I don't want to think about it all anymore tonight..I don't want to feel bad anymore. Just kiss me again, please..."

Three guesses what happened next.

Afterwards, I thought that she might actually spend the night, but as the hours started to get smaller, she got out of bed & started getting dressed. I remember waking up to her squeezing into her cutoff shorts, and asking her to stay. She said that she had to go home...if for no other reason than to feed her dogs, in case Ted hadn't come home yet. I lied there while she put her clothes on, and didn't say anything else until she had gotten ready to leave. Then I just looked up at her & said what she was expecting me to say, anyway.

"So, what are you gonna do, Kara?"

She looked down at me and just stared for a minute, so I reached out my hand to her & she took it. I pulled her down on top of me & kissed her deeply. We broke apart & just looked at each other for a minute, before she said "I don't know....but I know I have to do something."

She kissed me again, grabbed her keys from off the desk, and hopped out over the balcony, landing on the hood of my truck & putting a dent in it that still exists today. I watched her disappear into the parking garage across the alley & drive away, and I remember I stood there, just staring out the window at the city, for what seemed like hours. Then, I got back in my bed, turned out the light, and closed my eyes...and realized that I still had absolutely no idea where I stood in all this drama...and no idea at all what was going to happen next.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sneakin' Sally thru the alley....

I've been sitting here for two hours now trying to start writing. I know that I've been whining about how hard all this has been to wade through again, and I know you're all probably tired of hearing it & wish I'd just get the hell on with it & get it over I'll try. Somehow.

The next evening, Kara called me again. She said that she was able to get out of the house for the night, and wondered if I wanted to go do something. Of course; anything.

She came over right about sundown, and I remember seeing her pull in to the lot from my balcony, park way down the alley out of sight, and watching her saunter up the stairs, twirling her keys around her finger. When she walked in the door, she did something I can't remember her ever doing before; she reached up & kissed me hello...and she smiled. I asked her what she wanted to do & she said she was hungry; she weighed 105 pounds soaking wet, but she was always hungry...

She asked if we could take my car, 'cus she was afraid we might be spotted out together...just like the old days, I thought. So, we drove around for a while in my truck, deciding where we wanted to go, when I suggested we try a steak place that had been a fixture in my neighborhood for years, but was always a little pricey for me to try out. Neither she or I were much of the fancy restaurant type (and to be truthful, the place wasn't all that fancy...but for us, anything swankier than Applebees was considered uptown), but I pushed for it and she got excited about the idea, so we went.

Kara & I had been out to dinner probably hundreds of times before, at just about every kind of place you could imagine, but this time, it was different; even though we had dated before, it had never been like we were on a real date...if that makes any sense. Maybe it had, but not often. Regardless, the dinner we had that night was one of the most memorable ones of my life; we talked for hours, we laughed, and after a while, the conversation started to drift to the subject of us.

I asked her again how she had been explaining all the time she'd been spending out of the house to Ted, and I remember she hung her head a moment, and said that she hadn't told him anything yet, but that she was pretty sure he suspected something already. She had told him that she had been spending a lot of time with her little brother, who had been having a lot of problems lately, but she knew that excuse would only work for another day or so, tops. So I asked her why she kept giving him excuses. The exchange went something pretty much like this, give or take:

ME: Why are you even making excuses that you know he'll just find out are lies; why don't you just tell him now?

KARA: Just tell him what?

ME: Well, that we've started seeing each other again, and that we've been talking about getting back together

KARA: All that is, is talk right now, though...

ME: It's all talk as long as you're still shacking up with him & not doing anything about it. What do you expect me to do, Kara, just let you live with him & come jump on me whenever you feel like it? You know I'll put up with a lot from you, but I'm not gonna be the 'other guy', even for you...

KARA: I know; you don't deserve to be the other guy. I just don't know what to do...

ME: What do you want to do?

KARA: I don't know. Right now, I want to be here with you.

ME: But you want to go home to him tonight?

KARA: I don't know what I want...but I have to go home to him tonight.

ME: Why?

KARA: Because I can't just leave him out in the cold like that, X; no matter if I might or might not want to. Ted's been too good to me, and I've learned a lot about myself being with him...half the reason I'm able to be so open with you now is because of that.

I had to admit, she had changed since she had been with him. She was kinder, sweeter, more affectionate...a noticeable change from the stand-offish little Kara I had grown up with. I knew that, no matter how much it pained me to say it, being with him had helped her grow into an even more amazing person, if that was possible.

ME: So do you love him?

KARA: Of course I love him.

ME: Are you in love with him?

KARA: I don't know....

ME: Are you in love with me?

I don't know. I know I love you. I know that you & I still have something that I've never had anywhere else. I know I'm drawn to you & I always have been. I just don't know what being in love is, I guess...or I'd know what I want.

ME: Well, I believe you, Kara...but you can't just have your cake & eat it, too. You can't do that to me or Ted. You have to make up your mind about what it is you want.

I remember she sat there for a minute just looking me in the eye, and then she just nodded. So I asked her what she wanted to do. She said "I want to go home with you, right now. I'll worry about later later." So, we got our things, paid our tab, and walked out.

As we were walking out of the restaurant, I instinctively put my arm around the small of her back while I walked beside her, as I had always done. That time, though, she really shocked me, and she did something else that she'd never done before...she reached back & held my hand, and we walked like that all the way to my car. I had never held her hand in public before...or anywhere outside of my bed, probably. I know it's the most normal thing in the world, but for her to do that, it was huge; that just wasn't something she did. It felt like the first time I had ever held a girls hand; it was like all the static electricity in our bodies passed between us. I knew how silly it was even then, but it just made me fall even harder & faster for the new & improved Kara. We sat in my car and we kissed for a moment before driving off.

We got to my place a few minutes later, but, parking in the lot across the alley from my building, we looked over and saw a ton of our friends' cars parked outside our apartment. Pete's, Mark's, Jay's, Mindy's...the whole gang was there, and neither one of us wanted to walk in there & face the barrage of questioning we'd inevitably be subjected to. So, we did what any two young kids in love with no place else to go always do; we made out in the parking lot like a couple of rabid weasels.

It was amazing; it was the beginning of the summer and the air was just right, the stars were so bright out you could see them even over the lights of the city, a breeze was blowing through the alley, and she was wearing this little, billowy, cream-colored summer dress that made her look like a Greek siren luring away the sailors. I remember we sat there in my front seat with the roof down & just kissed for what had to be a solid hour.

After a while, though, we were suddenly startled by the sound of a loud SPLAT hitting the windshield. We both jumped out of our seats & bolted up to see what happened. The windshield was soaked with water. Confused, I turned the wipers on & saw Alan & Pete standing up on our balcony, brandishing a pair of Super-Soaker squirt guns & laughing like The Joker. They let loose another barrage & arced it over the roof this time, spraying the both of us pretty good. Kara screamed & dove down into my lap, as I looked around the car for a way to defend myself, in case it came to that.

Of course, once they had broken the mood of our special moment, their work was done, and they strolled on back inside, rifles slung over their shoulders. We laughed about it for a minute, but afterwards, Kara looked up at my window & said "Your friends don't like me."

That wasn't true, I told her; they were just looking out for me. It wasn't like they didn't have reason to, I reminded her. Then, I remember she said "So why are you still here with me, then?"

"Because I love you", I told her. "I always have."

I wasn't looking for her to say it...I didn't expect it....hell, after all this time, I honestly don't think the possibility of it even crossed my mind...but she said it. She said "I love you, too".

I knew it, to a point; she knew I knew it...but she didn't say it lightly, and she knew that I knew that, also.

And so I just asked her "Then what's the problem, Kara? There it is, right there, all spelled out for what's the problem?"

"I don't know", she said. "You know me; I just do what feels right to me."

"Well, tell me this: does this feel right to you?"
I remember I grabbed her hand, pulled her to me, and looked her right in the eye as I asked her. I remember she opened her fingers up & intertwined them with mine as I put my other arm around her waist. "Does this feel right; right here, right now? Is this what you want, or isn't it?"

She looked at me for a minute & then kissed me once, for a long second, before she said "If I knew it was always going to be like this, right here; if this is really how it would feel if you & I were together again...then, yes. This is what I would want."

"So, what does that mean?", I asked her.

"It means what I just said; but there's no way we can know if it will really be like this."

"Well, it's like this now...and I can only imagine it would be even better if certain things weren't in the way.", I said.

"I know...but they are in the way right now, and I don't know what I'm going to do about them. I feel bad enough for the things I'm doing already." She looked down at her hands as she spoke. "I couldn't just leave him like that; not just running off with you that way; it'd kill him."

I got righteous in the blink of an eye. "Oh, but you could just leave me like that? Did you think I'd enjoy it or something? How much did you wrestle with yourself then?"

She got just as loud, just as fast; cutting me off. "I didn't just leave you like that! You know I had never promised you anything! I'm sorry it was different with you, but you know it was. I live with him. And yes, I did wrestle with it; you know I never wanted to hurt you, and I don't want to go through all this again!"

How convenient. "Of course you don't want to go through this again; you want me to just forget about the fact that I've always had to take second-place to every other guy who's ever been in your life that isn't me!"

Louder still, and two inches from my face. "I've told you I'm sorry as many ways as I can, and I'm not doing it anymore! But that's right; he isn't you! When I left you, yes, it hurt me, and I felt awful, and I never wanted you to be hurt, but I also knew you, X, and I knew that you'd be ok. I knew that Alan & Pete & Jerry would be there for you, and that you'd find some other girl before you even knew it, and that even if you never spoke to me again, that you'd still have Roxanne, and'd be ok somehow. I don't know that about Ted, and I know you understand what I mean. I'm the only girl he's ever been halfway serious with, and I live with him, and I know that he's got enough issues already, without me doing this to him!". By the end of it, she had lowered her voice to almost a whisper.

I didn't yell. "Well, you're already doing it to him, Kara...and you're doing it to me, too. And you've got to figure out what the hell it is that you wanna do, and do it...once and for all. It's all in your hands, just like it's always been..."

She looked out the window for a minute, still holding my hand, and said simply "I know."

I had to ask it. "So...what do you want to do?"

She looked back at me, still two inches from my face.

"Kiss you...", she said.

Damn her all to hell.....that's exactly what went through my head at that moment. What else could I do?

About that time, kissing in the quiet after the storm, we heard the voices up on the balcony again. I don't know how long they had been there, and I'm sure they hadn't just come out there to spy, but they were all on the porch, and they were all watching us. We realized that we weren't going to get any privacy that night. So, since it was getting late anyway, she decided to go on back home. I asked her if she wanted to stay, but she said "Not this time". I walked her back to her car in the garage across the alley, kissed her goodbye, and walked back home as she drove away to the catcalls & hoots of my idiot friends, whom I love so very dearly.

Throughout our entire conversation, I never had a moments doubt about how she was really feeling, or what she really wanted. It was just a matter of time. She'd tell Ted eventually, the path would be cleared for us, and the future would be wide open. I had not one single doubt in my mind then that we would end up together. I even realized how crazy that sounded & tried to find some way I could be kidding myself, but it just all seemed so right, and so sure, and so...fated.

You believe in fate?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Night moves...

My whole life with Kara had been one big series of stolen moments. There was never any time to just relax and enjoy being with her; very few times where I could just fall asleep peacefully, secure that nothing was going to shake my whole world up the next day. All the time I had ever spend with her, in a relationship at least, had been between the cracks; I felt like I always had to work to earn my way into her life, rather than her making room for me. I know she wanted me there, but it was like she didn't want it to be easy for me. At least, this was the way it had always been before that summer.

Since I had started talking to her again, it seemed like she was finally the one reaching out to me, even if it was in her own unique little way. I knew that, if I was Ted, I would wonder where the hell she was & what she was doing, but in any case, she was somehow making excuses to him, at least in the beginning, to come spend time with me...which was total role-reversal for me, since I was used to being in Ted's shoes. It was usually me that played second-fiddle, but I could see this time, that, even from the start, she was putting a good thing that she cared deeply about in jeopardy for me...and I didn't know what to make of that yet. I was still gonna run with it, though...

So anyway, she asked me if I wanted to see her that night. You know what I said. She drove over to my house...I remember she asked if Alan was home, which he wasn't, because she didn't want to see him & have to answer all his questions that she knew he'd grill her with...and we decided to go out to the park again, just like old times, with a bottle of wine. I had bought a (sort of) convertible since we had been together last, and we figured we'd take the top off, lie in the backseat, and just stargaze for a while. This is one of the things I've been saying for weeks now that I have no idea how I'm going to write. I still don't...but I'll try.

I realize now that I don't really remember a single damn word we said to each other that night...I can't believe it, but I don't. In almost every other way, it's one of the strongest memories I have; In some ways, I can almost still smell it...but I can't remember what we said. It's like the memory of the way everything felt is so intense, it was sensory overload on my memory cells.

I remember everything about the way she felt, and the way her hair smelled. I remember us lying in the backseat, me holding her, and the both of us laughing and tickling each other. I remember sitting up, and her crawling up onto my lap & sitting on top of me, and us kissing each other, and me running my hand up her thighs to her hips and squeezing her there, pulling her closer to me. I remember the wind blowing on us, blowing her hair into my face as we kissed & how cool it felt in the summer heat. I remember feeling her heartbeat through her neck as I touched her face while we kissed, and hearing mine at the same time. All those things, I can still smell, feel & almost taste now...but I can't remember a damn word we said there. Maybe we just didn't say very many...

Still, it was amazing. As much as I had missed her, something was definitely different about her. She was more tender; more affectionate. She actually seemed like....I don't know, but I could tell that being in a relationship, the first 'real' relationship she'd ever been in, had helped her tear down some of the wall she'd built over the years. She was more comfortable just....just being with me, and I'm sure it just drew me to her all the more, like anything needed to.

We went back to my place again that night, and I do remember some things that we talked about there after we made love. She finally talked to me a little bit about Ted.

As I might have said before; once I really thought about it, I was never that surprised that Kara had been attracted to Ted. Aside from him being smart & funny, he was also screwed up in many of the same ways that she was. He was also on antidepressants, he was neurotic; in many ways, they were a perfect match. But now, she said, as much as she cared about him, she was having doubts. But, she was also too worried to tell him about it. She knew that Ted was a fragile kind of guy, and that he would take the news harder than most, and knowing Ted, I knew that was an understatement. I also knew that, although it was part of what attracted her to him in the first place, a girl like Kara would eventually be drawn away to someone who would take care of her, rather than someone she'd have to take care of.

Anyway, I asked her if she'd told Ted that she had seen me, and what she was telling him to get out of the house like this. She said she hadn't told him yet, but that she knew she'd have to, because he would find out anyway...which was probably true; our grapevine wasn't really that long when it came down to it. In the meantime, she had told him she was out with her little brother. I remember telling her that she would run out of excuses to give him really fast, and she kissed me & said "I don't want to have to give anybody any excuses."

Still, she left that night at about 3 to head home, and I knew she'd be giving at least a couple when she got there. I remember watching her car drive out of the parking lot & wondering when I would see her again. I didn't think for a second that it would be the next night...

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I've been hit with comments & e-mails the last few days by people who are absolutely horrified to see how Kara popped back into my life & how quickly I...popped back into her. Just like my friends back then (and ever since), I've been asked why I let someone who had obviously hurt me so badly have the opportunity to do it again. Before I continue on with everyone yelling at me back through the past to 'stop!', I guess I should try to explore just what the hell I was thinking...

First of all, it wasn't the sex. Yes, it was amazing between us, but there's no such thing as bad sex when you're 22, and had that been all I was after, I could have gone elsewhere & appeased myself. It wasn't the way she looked, either. Yes, she was gorgeous, but so were a lot of other girls that were around back then...many of whom had not ripped my heart out & slept with half my friends, so, were it all just in the eye of the beholder, I could have beheld someone else. And it wasn't the fact that she was so unattainable, either. Sure, her unpredictability made her attractive, and it's only natural to chase after something that runs from you, but had she been any other girl, I would've put up with her drama for about 11 seconds before saying adios.

It wasn't the way that she treated me or the fact that she knew she had me wrapped around her finger & took advantage of it. I'm honestly not a glutton for punishment, and I didn't enjoy the way she made me feel sometimes or the pain I went through over her...and I certainly didn't come back for more of that.

I came back for the same reason she did; the connection we had between us.

I've said before how well we got along & how easy it was to talk to each other, but I don't know if I can really explain the full extent of it. We just knew each other. Our thoughts just flowed together effortlessly; we could talk about anything...anytime. She had this...I feel like I wrote all this already..or maybe I've just thought it a hundred times...she had this way of making you feel like every minute you spent with her, you were seeing the whole world for the first time. Everything was fascinating to her, and she made you feel that fascination too.

And she was smart, too. Scary smart. Aside from her feminine wiles, she was the best bullshit detector I ever saw. Woe be to anyone who mistook her for just some cute chick; she could argue with a tree & win, and she could make you think that everything you ever believed was flat-out wrong. She wasn't arrogant or obnoxious in the least, though; she had a kind of humbleness & grace about her that made completely disarming. I would be absolutely amazed by the things that would come out of her mouth.

I remember us sitting on the grass out in in the park for hours & hours on end, just looking up at the sky and talking about whatever came to our minds. We both laughed at the same things, and we made each other laugh. We could look at something & the same thought would occur to us at the same time, and we would laugh about it a minute later. And, when we were alone, and the rest of the world couldn't see, she would finally let down that tough-chick exterior she always kept up, and she would just be this vulnerable, brilliant young girl that it seemed like she only showed to me.

And yes, she was fickle, and yes, she was selfish sometimes, and yes, she was concerned with Kara's happiness more than anyone else's, and yes, she did me wrong...but all I can tell you is that, even through all that, the good was so damn good that it made me want to overlook the bad. I don't make any excuses for it, and I don't expect anybody to understand...I guess you just had to be there.

Then again, I was there...and here I am over a decade later still trying to figure it all out.

I don't usually do this, but there's a Springsteen song that always has & always will remind me of Kara; it isn't the specific words, so much as the feel of the song & what it says that makes me think of her...the good things and the bad things. And if you've never heard it, you should try, 'cus it's really good. And it's Bruce...and you can never have too much Bruce.

Mary, Queen of Arkansas
© 1973, Bruce Springsteen

Mary, Queen of Arkansas,
It's not too early for dreamin'

The sky is grown with cloud seed sown,
And this bastard's love can be redeeming

Mary, my queen, your soft bulk is reviving...
No, you're not too late to desecrate, the servants are just rising

Well I'm just a lonely acrobat, the live wire is my trade
I've been a change man at your laundromat,
And a wharf rat of your state

Mary, my queen, your blows for freedom are missing...
You're not man enough for me to hate,
Or woman enough for kissing

The big top is for dreamers,
We can take the circus all the way to the border

And the gallows wait for martyrs,
Whose papers are in order

But I was not born to live to die,
And you were not born for queenin'...

It's not too late to infiltrate,
The servants are just leavin'

Mary, Queen of Arkansas,
Your white skin is deceivin'

You wake and wait to lie in bait,
And you almost got me believin'

But on your bed Mary,
I can see the shadow of a noose...

I don't understand how you can hold me so tight,
And love me so damn loose

But I know a place where we can go Mary,
Where I can get a good job, and start all over again clean
I got contacts deep in Mexico,
Where the servants have been seen...

And no...I don't live in Arkansas.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Circling the wagons...

I came home that day and, after a few hours of tossing & turning, finally fell into an exhausted sleep. I remember waking up and wondering for a second if the whole thing had been a dream. It was almost dark, and I had wasted the whole day already, and with a million thoughts running through my head, I knew I couldn't just sit around the house. Alan wasn't home, so I headed across the street to the bar (not Chili's), and poured my heart out to the bartender while downing about 4 vodkas along with my hot wings.

I stayed there for a few hours, and when I started to leave, I remember I noticed the time & saw that it was much later than I had thought; waking up at 6 p.m. had left me a little disoriented, on top of everything else. I started to wonder whether Kara might have tried to call or not, and besides that, I was anxious to talk to Alan about the whole thing, so I rushed home, still half-buzzed & wondering whether I should try to call her if she hadn't already called me first.

I walked up the steps into our apartment, walked through the door, and everyone was there waiting for me. Alan, Pete, Mark, Jay, Mindy...all my friends were huddled around the room, and as soon as I entered, everything went silent. I knew what was going on right away: this was an intervention. Pete spoke up first: "X, we'd like to have a word with you..."

Alright, I thought, here we go. I guess I wasn't all that surprised, we had actually joked about doing this years before, but I was still impressed that everyone actually gave a damn. Now, I know my friends, and organization is not one of our strong points, so I'm sure it was more a case of everyone was already together & talking about it, and they just figured they all gang up on me once I got home, rather than some elaborately planned event, but still, here we all were, and I knew I was about to get the business...and maybe deservedly so.

So, they started with the "We're all a little concerned about these recent developments..." bit, and even though I listened to every word they said, I remember I sat there the whole time wondering how I was going to explain to these people that, no matter what they say or how right they might be, I basically had to pursue this. I knew that, since it didn't make any sense to me, it sure wouldn't make any sense to them, but I was like a man possessed...I guess I was a man possessed, and I would not be deterred. Still...they were right, and I knew it.

I remember I told them to basically not worry; that I had dealt with it once when it had all come crashing down, and I could do it again. I said that I was fully aware of how screwed up the situation was, and that I wasn't going to just run into anything blindly; if I didn't really think there was something there to pursue, or if I saw the same trouble starting to happen again, then I wouldn't do it. In other words, I lied. Hard.

Eventually, the makeshift intervention degenerated into everyone laughing & telling funny anecdotes about stupid things I had done in the past where Kara & other girls were involved. At that moment, sitting there in my living room, I did realize that, whatever happened, I was going to be ok. I had friends that loved me & wanted to look out for me, and I knew that they would be there for me no matter how messed up things might get with Kara. It was a good feeling, and it did give me a sort of confidence I didn't recognize before...but I knew it wasn't going to change my mind about anything I did.

The next few days were fairly uneventful, from what I remember. The week went by without me hearing from her at all, and about the only thing that I remember happening was me trying to call Heidi to ask her what she thought about what had happened, but I was never able to reach her. Otherwise, I just worked through the week & waited for the phone to ring, but it never did.

The next weekend, I remember, was...well, without giving anything away, it was the weekend that an annual event takes place here, that everyone basically uses as an excuse to go out & get extremely drunk in the park all day. I had to work that Saturday afternoon, so I didn't get to go along with Alan & Pete like we usually did. I remember I didn't really mind, as it was hot that day, and I thought there was a good chance of seeing Ted & Kara there (assuming that she hadn't dumped him yet), and as much as I longed to see her again, I didn't want to do it like that.

I got home late that afternoon, after most of the festivities would have died down. I remember I went into the kitchen to cook a frozen pizza for dinner when the phone rang. I picked it up, and it was Alan, with his customary "Hey, man.". What followed next, though, was anything but customary.

"Hey man...", I said back, "what are you guys doin'? Is the _____ over?"

"Yeah, man, it's over...", Alan said in his calm, nonchalant manner, "...and we're in jail."

Oh, fine. This is what I need.

"You're in jail?", I asked him.

"Yeah. Well we're in the drunk tank, really."

"Well, what happened?", I said.

"Well, they pulled us over, ya' see, and they asked Pete whether he'd had anything to drink..."

"Uh-huh...", I listened on.

"And, I guess he figured honesty would be the best policy to use, so he told the cop that he'd had a couple of beers..."

I remember just shaking my head as he went on...

"...and so they arrested us & put us in here, and now we're gonna need you to come bail us out, man. is that cool?"

Sure. What could be cooler? Nevertheless, I knew I had a duty. I didn't know if I had enough cash, but I had a duty; my friends were in trouble. I told him I would be there at the station in a half hour & hung up the phone. I tossed the pizza back into the freezer, grabbed my keys, and started out the door. Then the phone rang again.

I hesitated for a second before I answered it because I knew I had to run, but I thought it might be Mindy or someone calling to ask about Alan & Pete, so I picked up the phone.

Three guesses as to who it was.

The ten-second pause after I answered told me everything I needed to know, but I still waited for her to say "....Hi." She asked me how I was & I told her I was fine, and that I was glad she had called, but that I couldn't really talk right then. Before I had a chance to explain, she said "What are you doing? I want to see you.". And so we come to our first true test, I thought...

Well, I had to go; there was no way around that. I might have been hopeless in the face of Kara & her wishes, but I knew my duty to my friends had to come first; they had saved me when she had left me out to dry, after all, and even caught up in the sound of her voice asking to see me, I didn't forget that. So, I told her the situation and, wonder of wonders, she understood. I asked her how I could get in touch with her later, and she said just to call their house, that she would be sure to answer the phone, and if she didn't, just to hang up. I told her I'd see her later somehow & took off to Alan & Pete's rescue.

When I got to the police station, it turned out that I didn't have to break my bank for the bail money after all. Apparently there had been a problem with the breathalyzer that they had administered Pete's sobriety test with, and they were forced to let them go. I wondered at that point whether the universe wasn't playing games with me to keep me away from Kara, but I decided that, if it was, I was gonna beat it at it's own game somehow. The guys got their car & we convoyed home, me racing in front of them to get home in time to call Kara back.

When I got there, I all but rushed back to my room & dialed her number right away. She answered the phone, much to my relief, and asked me if I wanted to see her that night. Gee, I think I can make some time...

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Heat of the moment...

So, we decided to take her car back to my apartment, leaving my truck back at the bar. All the way home, we could barely keep our hands off each other. When we finally did arrive, the first thought that went through my mind is how Alan was going to have a heart attack when I marched Kara through that door. Remember, the last thing he heard about Kara was that we were now barred from going back to Chili's again, lest I run in to her & Ted there again, god forbid. I knew, even in the middle of all my unbridled passion, that this would be good for a laugh...

When we turned the car off, she sat there for a second not moving, with her hands still on the steering wheel. I though for a moment that she was going to have second thoughts about coming in, and my heart started to sink right away. Before I could say anything, though, she had hopped out & we were on our way up. I walked through the door first; Alan was laying on the sofa in the front room watching TV. I told him hello & he started to say "
Hey, man", but in the middle of the second syllable, Kara walked through the door behind me, and it pretty much trailed off after the 'm'. She smiled that big smile at him & said "Hi, Alan!", and followed me straight back to my bedroom. I gave Alan a look that told him no, I didn't know what the hell was happening, either, but that I was gonna go find out, for god & country.

We walked into my bedroom, I shut the door behind us, and we were all over each other in seconds. Kara & I might not have been compatible in a lot of ways, but behind closed doors was not one of them; it was like we were made to do that to each other, if we were made to do nothing else together. We made love until the sun was nearly up, barely talking the whole time.

One thing did happen that I remember; I was lying on my back, she was on top of me, and right after she came, all of a sudden she burst out in tears. I didn't even realize what was happening at first; I had never seen her cry that I could remember. I asked her what was wrong, and she said that she felt guilty, because she knew that she should be at home with Ted right now, but being there with me just felt so good. I didn't know what to say, so I just kissed her.

We fell asleep, exhausted, in each other's arms, only for her to wake up not soon after in a panic, wondering what she was going to tell Ted when she got home.
I remember I sat there, sleepy-eyed, on the edge of my bed, watching her get dressed in the shadows from the streetlight outside, and feeling a hundred different things at once. I was still drunk with her very presence, and only now was it really starting to hit me that she would be leaving here & going home to Ted. I also remember feeling a slight twinge of satisfaction in knowing that she had cheated on Ted with me, and I started to wonder again just where this triangle was going to lead. I wondered what Alan would say, and what the rest of my friends would think. And, aside from that, I remember just how amazing she looked getting dressed in that light.

After she was dressed, she grabbed her keys & started to almost run out the door. I had to all but grab her to stop her from escaping without saying anything at all. I asked her if I would see her again, and she told me that she didn't know how, but she knew that she wanted to. Then I asked her about Ted, and whether she was going to tell him what happened. She said that it was too soon to think about; that everything had all happened so fast...which I sure couldn't' argue with. Then I told her that I loved her, and kissed her goodbye. I watched her from my balcony as she peeled out & drove away.

I didn't sleep a wink that night. I couldn't have slept if you'd pumped me full of morphine with a demorol chaser. My mind was swimming in a different directions at once, and I couldn't even begin to make sense of things. For one thing, I'm pretty sure I realized fully that getting mixed up with Kara again was a bad idea in any case. I also realized that, no matter how mixed up the situation was or who was involved, that I was completely, totally, 100% powerless to stop myself.

I was off work the next day, by the grace of god, but I remembered I had left my truck at the bar across from work the night before. I knew Alan had work early that morning, so I figured I'd ask him to drop me off on his way into work; I figured I'd be fielding a hundred questions from him, anyway. I remember I went into the kitchen to make some coffee, and Alan came waltzing out of his bedroom, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. I looked at him with a big smile & told him good morning, but he didn't bat an eye; he just gave me his customary "
Hey, man", and wandered off into the bathroom. Fine, I thought; he just woke up. He'll remember what happened soon enough... I made myself some cereal and, when he came out of the bathroom, asked Alan if he could give me a ride over to pick up my car. He said it was no problem, and then went into his room to get dressed. I wondered if maybe he had been asleep when we came in last night & thought it was all a bad dream. Hell, maybe it was, I thought...

So, I got dressed & ready to go, and when he was ready, we locked up the house & got into his car...still not a word. I remember I lit up a cigarette & turned on the radio after a few minutes went by & he still hadn't said anything. I figured that, if he didn't remember it, maybe it was for the best; it would give me a chance to figure out what was actually going on without all my friends breathing down my neck & telling me what an idiot I am, right though they might have been.
I finished my cigarette & tossed it out the window...still not a word. After a few minutes, we pulled up to the parking lot of the bar. Just as we pulled alongside my truck, Alan stopped the car, turned to me, and with a completely deadpan look on his face, simply said "So, I guess we can go back to Chili's now, huh?".

True story.