Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Idlewild south....

Alright...don't have much time today, 'cus I got a million things to do before I leave. Actually, I have everything to do still before I leave, 'cus I haven't packed a damn thing or gotten anything ready...but what else is new.

And yeah, I actually feel good about the trip. My back isn't looking forward to the 8 hour drive, but I think if I can survive that, I'll be ok. With any luck at all, I'll be able to blog from down there, and hotel rooms usually put me into a pretty introspective frame of mind, so maybe some good stuff will come out of it. Regardless, I'll be back on Sunday, so if for some reason I can't update 'til then, just know I haven't been kidnapped by Moonies or nothin'.

Talk to ya' soon...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Run to the hills...

Well, that didn't last long...

Actually, I don't mean that...I'm ok. I'm just a little bummed out today 'cus I found out my friend Alan is going to be moving out of town in a few weeks. His wife Bess has been pushing him to move a couple of hours away, basically just so she can be close to her equally-crazy, co-dependent mother. He's been resisting it for a while, now, but he got a job offer there that, for whatever reason, he feels would be a good opportunity, so he's finally relented.

Which is, as everyone who knows them says, the worst possible decision either one of them could ever make. First of all, Bess comes from a rich, ultra-white-bread family of doctors, and she is completely obsessed with money, at the expense of either of their happiness. So, of course, to hell with where he might want to live, she's gotta go where the money is....and, conveniently enough, where her mother is. She's been very unhappy since they've moved back to town, but the truth is, Bess is unhappy anywhere she goes, and she tends to make other people that way, too, because of it. Not to mention the fact that her mom is one of the most vain, pretentious women that I've ever met, and her being around is not going to contribute to a warm, happy environment, for Alan or their kid.

We tried to explain to her the other day that grown, married adults really shouldn't base their lives around how close they can be to their parents...especially if said parents are still alive, healthy, live just 2 hours away, and happen to own a private plane that can get them here within a half hour, anytime they want to come visit! But whaddya gonna do?

Alan is going along with it basically just to appease her, just like everything else he's done since they've been married. He's sacrificed his own happiness more times than I can count, just to try and ease her neurosis or give her what she wants, but this is, in my opinion, the biggest mistake he's made yet. First of all, since she's pregnant & still working, he's going to have to move up there without her for six months (!) and live alone with her parents while he works his new job, and she's going to have to stay here, living with his parents, until her due date in July, when she's going to leave her job. Now, Bess is the most co-dependent person I've ever met, so how in the world she thinks she's going to survive without him here is beyond me, much less how the hell he's gonna survive living with her parents.

And god help us all when the kid gets here, 'cus now, they're basically going to be under her mom's thumb the whole time, and she's going to end up being that Great Queen Grandma type, who completely controls the kid's upbringing. I asked Bess yesterday: "So, basically, you want to run off to the mountains & raise your child in total isolation from the real world, surrounded by all the rich, bluehaired, old-plantation-money white-bread people?", to which she really didn't have an answer...but that's what she's gonna be doing.

And yeah, it's their life & they're gonna do what they're gonna do, but Alan's only been back in town for not even a year now, after spending the last few years living 8 hours away, just because that's where Bess wanted to live at the time. And so yeah...I'm a little bummed that my best friend is leaving again just when we were starting to settle into our old routine (albeit much to his wife's dismay; another reason she wants them to move is so he'll spend less time with his friends...that makes sense, doesn't it?). But, its not that far, and maybe at least the job will be a good opportunity for him....'cus I don't think the rest of it will. I dunno....much as I complain about her, I know he loves her, and they're my friends, so I want 'em to be happy. I just don't think they're gonna be until she gets some therapy...no matter where they live.

As for me, though, I'm still in a good mood, aside from all this. We leave tomorrow night for Savannah, and I'm still way behind on the stuff I need to do first, but I'll work it out somehow. I plan to have net access while I'm down there, so I'll keep in touch....maybe I'll come back with a good story or two. If I get to see the beach while I'm there, even for 5 minutes in 40 degree weather, I'll be a happy man...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Weather is here, wish you were beautiful...

You remember that necklace that I bought for Kara that one Valentine's day, that I ended up wearing after she threw it at me? Well, like I said at the end of that story, I wore that necklace day & night for the next two years, but, one morning, while I was dating Maria, I woke up on the sofa where I had fallen asleep watching Letterman the night before, and the necklace was gone. Vanished. Nowhere to be found. I remember I felt like it was some kind of sign, even though I don't believe in that stuff, and I knew then that it was probably a good thing that I didn't wear it anymore...much like what I was talking about the other day. But what I remember most is that, the next morning, when I got up, I didn't even realize that it was gone & I wasn't wearing it until halfway through the day...and knowing that I had been able to let go of that little part of my past made me feel like a million bucks.

Well, I have no idea why, but for some reason, that's sort of what I feel like today...

Nothing new or spectacular has happened, at least nothing that you guys don't know about, and no, I didn't get laid this weekend or win the Wingo...or even get any new sunglasses...but somehow, right at this moment, life is ok. I'm in a damn fine mood...and it was a pretty nice day here today, too...

I mean, it's not like I'm usually a big gloomy gus or anything (although some of the things I write might make one think otherwise), but I've definitely had a shortage of genuine, unprovoked good moods lately. I'm sure I could find something to feel bad about if I tried hard enough, but I've got no plans to do that. I've had these kind of isolated moments in the past...a point where I just suddenly realize 'hey...life ain't so bad!', and they've usually been a sign of good things to come, so I ain't gonna argue with it.

Maybe it's the fact that I might have a pretty big break in my career on the horizon, assuming all goes to plan. I'm also actually almost looking forward to my trip this week...or at least, I'm certainly not dreading it anymore, and that's a big step. I know it will probably do me a world of good to get away for a few days...it always does, even when I don't want to go. Especially when I don't want to go. I used to travel a lot for work, and I worked 3 months out of the year in Europe for a couple of years, so I got really burned out on travelling for a while, but I realized today, that it's been almost 3 years since I was out of town for more than 2 days, and I know deep down that I can use a change of scenery...and the scenery down there is pretty nice.

And you know what else, I'm almost glad that I got that e-mail from Veronica last week, because it really just served to put my mind at ease, in a couple of ways. I know that if she had really wanted to contact me, she would have by now, one way or another...and she hasn't. And even better than that, I know that if she were to contact me, it wouldn't really bother me all that much anymore; if I had gotten that mail in the state of mind that I was in just a year ago, I would still be sitting by the door with the blinds drawn & a shotgun in my hands. So, for me to feel as fine as I do after having her try to poke back into my life speaks volumes.

And I was thinking to myself that, in the past, when I've had these moments of clarity, so to speak, I've never been able to hold onto them for very long, so I better find something to help me hang onto it this time...but I think that might be the mistake I've been making all along. I don't need to find something to help me stay in a good mood; I need to be able to stay in a good mood just because that's the way I want to feel. When I broke up with Kara the first time, I remember telling myself that my goal was to be able to wake up in the morning & be happy just for no other reason than I was alive...and I think I had the right idea back then. It might have been the only right idea I had back then, but I think it was a pretty good one...

So, I'm going to try that again...starting now. Today. Right this minute. Sure, I've still got more problems than a mathbook, but so what? I've got less than some people I know, and at least I'm trying to figure mine out without looking for it at the bottom of a glass or dropping out & joining the scientologists. And yes, there's a good chance that I won't figure out the answer to what's gone wrong with my love life all these years, and there's just as good a chance that I'll never meet anyone that makes me completely forget about my past, and I might not ever recapture those feelings I had back then...but I don't think I'll be alone all my life, either. I might not live happily ever after, but I'll live.

And no, I'm not done dissecting my past, and yes, I will get back to my story soon because there's still a lot of things I think I can benefit from writing down. And yes, we're still pretty far away from hearing about the stuff that actually led me to start this project, but maybe by the time I get there, it won't bother me to re-live it as much anymore...

Have a good day, everybody...Carpe goddamn Diem.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I just flipped the channel & Rushmore was on TV, and the scene that was on contained a quote that didn't really strike me the last time I saw it, but this time, seemed to sum up everything about my life right now:

MAX'S DAD: You're like one of those clipper ship captains, Max. You're married to the sea.

MAX: Yes, that's true.


But I've been out to sea for a long time...


Turn & face the strange...

I got a new car today. Well, it's not exactly new, and in some ways, it's barely a car, but still. Turns out that Alan's brother-in-law just got a nice, new company car, so he decided to give his old Infinity to Alan's brother, who, in turn knew that I had been having trouble with my truck for months, and gave me his old car. So, I have comfortable transportation again for the first time in many moons.

For the last 12 years (actually, since one week before Kara & I got back together that last summer), I've been driving my same old trusty Isuzu; it's an '89 model (sorta like me), and since you all know how I get really attached to things, I've been holding on to the thing for dear life until she's all but fallen apart; the convertible top has a hole in it the size of Kansas, the heat doesn't work, the radio does not exist, since I gave up after someone cutting through the top 3 times to get to it, the left blinker on the front fender blinks at about 1000 rpm's, there's a dent in the hood from Kara jumping on top of it to get down from my balcony (I wonder if looking at that every day for the last 12 years has had anything to do with anything...), the driver's side door doesn't open from the outside, and sometimes the headlights don't work when it rains. But goddamn, I love that truck...she's stuck with me over the years.

I've had every opportunity in the world to get rid of it before & get something newer...but I've just never been able to part with it. I even got a little cheap Honda a few years back to drive around on cold & rainy days, but it blew up after about a year. My friends are sick to death of looking at the damn thing, and since we've driven across the country in it several times, the damn thing has inconvenienced them almost as much as it has me over the years, so finally Alan saw a way to get me out of it; like I said before, I'm not sure what I'd do without my friends.

But I'm not sure what I'll do without my truck, either...I'm really gonna miss her. But today, as we were driving around, getting the paperwork done, I started to wonder if this isn't, in some small way, just the kind of change I need to start making more of in my life.

Like, for example, I've got this pair of sunglasses that I bought about 4 years ago, right about the time Roxanne & I broke up. I was in a store buying some new shoes to wear on my upcoming trip to Europe, and I saw this pair of ruby-red shades that just called out to me....I figured they just might help rose-tint my world, and right then, I sure needed it. I've worn those things constantly for almost 5 years now; they've been all over the country & around the world with me a dozen times over. I once dove into a freezing lake to retrieve them from the bottom. I stopped an entire convoy of trucks shipping out from a warehouse in the south of France because I knew I had mistakenly left them in a cabinet loaded inside one of the trucks...I had never had people cursing at me in 4 different languages before. I've basically only seen the world through these glasses for as long as I can remember now.

And when I first bought them, they really did rose-tint my world; they have some kinda crazy filter on them that makes the whole world more vibrant; Elaine says everything looks like a nuclear holocaust through them. But, as I was driving around thinking about it today, I started to wonder if I couldn't be looking at things differently....literally. I mean, I still love 'em, and they're still way-cool, and they still kinda make me feel like Cyclops from X-Men, but maybe it's time for a change. I used to have these ultra-cool yellow ones, that J.C. ended up with....everything looked like a magic-hour sunset through those things....maybe that's what I need. And I know these are ridiculous little things, but these are the kind of thoughts that go through my mind...

I get used to things. That's the understatement of the day, and you probably knew that already, but I do. I'm not a fan of change, and the older I get, the more I find myself trying to avoid it in all it's forms. I guess I've always been that way, to some extent. I saw The 40-Year-Old-Virgin recently, and while I loved the movie, when I was sitting there watching it with my friends, I got a little indignant at what I saw to be one of the underlying messages of the film.

For those of you who haven't seen it, without giving anything away, the main character is a 40-year-old...well, virgin, who lives in an apartment filled with action figures, comic books & posters from the band Asia. He eventually meets a girl who likes him, supposedly for who he is, but who also proceeds to tell him that he needs to grow up, sell his toys, take down his posters, and be a man...which he proceeds to do, after which, they live happily ever after...or at least long enough for him to have sex.

Now, first of all, Asia was comprised of former members of Yes, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and there's only so much you can make fun of that without making yourself look stupid. Secondly, I, too, live in an apartment filled with much of the same things...if not on such meticulous display...and am most certainly not a virgin, and have never considered for one second that I might should take my framed Spider-Man posters down or hide my action figures because some girl was coming over. In fact, I've always used them, somewhat consciously, as a sort of test, if you will; I figure if the girl, whoever she is, can walk in my house & see past all that stuff, then everything else should be smooth sailing. If she can't, well...her loss. I like my stuff.

So, when, in the movie, the virgin is told that his only path to finding love & happiness is to basically give up everything he's loved since childhood, I got a little miffed, and called bullshit. Angela was over watching the movie with us, 'cus we were at Alan & Bess' house, and when she agreed with the girl in the movie, I calmly reminded her that, in fact, she herself had countless amounts of sex with me, in many rooms in my house, in full view of more than a few action figures, and had never complained about it before. So there.

But, you know, I watched the movie again, and while I still don't agree with what I think it's trying to say, the main point is that the guy was stuck in a rut in his life, and he didn't even know it...and that, change, every once in a while, is good. I ain't throwing away my Asia poster, but I have to admit, at the heart of it, they might have a point. So, I'll start with the new car....and maybe I'll go shopping for sunglasses...and then maybe, I'll actually find the energy to try and change something really important....

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Here & now...

Well, I feel much better today.

Never heard back from Veronica, and at this point, I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth; I'm just gonna smile & say thank you. However, I really don't feel like jumping back into the story proper & having to write about her right now, since I just spent the last few days with the specter of it looming.

So, since I need something else to write about, and since a couple of people have asked, I thought I'd update you all a lil' on the family situation. Mom is still staying over at the spare room in my brother's place, and she's doing ok, I guess. I know she's cramped & doesn't have her own space, and she's had some trouble sleeping at night because of her Restless Leg Syndrome, but she's a tough one, and she's hangin' in there. Grandpa hasn't been doing so well the last few days, but he's already held on longer than anyone should at his age, so I guess that goes to show that our family is stubborn about everything, even death. What I'm really dreading is, after he does finally pass away, having to deal with the rest of the family at his funeral, where I'm sure my grandmother won't be able to keep her big mouth shut & will start pointing the blame finger at someone. Oh well, another bridge to burn when I cross it...

As far as my life goes, a few good things have actually happened lately; it looks like the money we're trying to raise for the next film we're trying to make might actually have come through, which should have me dancing on the tables, but somehow, even that news is failing to trip the excitement switch nowadays. We're going down to scout locations in Ga. next week, and instead of being excited about the trip, I'm just dreading having to sleep in a hotel bed for almost a week & worried I'm gonna be bored out of my mind half the time.

If this movie happens, it will be my directorial debut (outside of TV, at least), and it's only something I've been dreaming about (if not necessarily working hard enough for) since I was 12 years old, so you'd think that I'd be just a little bit happy about it...and I am, don't get me wrong..but somehow, it seems like there's only so excited I can get nowadays.

Hell, what was the last thing I was really excited about? The last thing I actually looked forward to? I'm not saying my life has all been bleak & grey lately, because it hasn't, and it's not like I'm constantly in a bad mood or anything; far from it. Lately, tho, nothing seems to be able to light a fire under me. My whole attitude since this whole movie project has started to come together has been just like "Eh...that's nice". I mean, I know I can do it, and if it actually happens, I'm confident (probably too much so, as usual) that I'll pull it off well & it will probably be a big break for me...but will I be able to appreciate it & actually enjoy it in my state of mind? I'd really hate to look back on all this in 20 years & realize that I wasn't able to appreciate one of the most important things that happened in my life 'cus I had my head so stuck in my screwed-up past that I couldn't enjoy it.

I've got to get my enthusiasm back...I've got to seize the goddamn day, or something. Somehow. I don't know what the answer is...I guess I'm just so numb from all the draining emotions of the last few years that I just don't have the energy to conjure it up right now...maybe I need a little help. Of course, I dunno what that would be; I don't think another relationship is the answer...relationships have never exactly helped me concentrate on myself & my career. then again, maybe if I actually had a healthy one...

I'm sure all this stuff with the family is taking it's toll, but like I said once before, I almost feel numb to it, as well. I mean, if something like this had happened in my family 10 years ago, it would have torn my whole world apart...as it is now, I just kind of shake my head at it all, and just try to make sure my mom is ok. My friends have become more like my family over the years than my own family is, though, and I'm thankful for them, if nothing else.

In fact, it's probably only because of my friends that I'm as stable as I am; I have the best friends in the world, and I really don't know what I would do without 'em. I complain about em, I call 'em idiots, but that's only because I love 'em. Don't you wish I loved you, too? Seriously, now that I think about it, I think the last time I was really excited about something was the last big vacation we all took together...that was fun. We should do that again. Of course, with Alan & Bess having a baby, me with the gig happening, and everyone else equally scattered or occupied, I doubt we'll be able to take another one anytime soon. So, I guess I'll have to find something else to look forward to.

There is the new Superman movie coming out...that's something, at least...

In any case, when I say I don't know what I'd do without my friends, that means you guys, too; this thing has become about the best outlet for venting that I could imagine (aside from having my own talk show, which I think I'd be good at, as long as nobody else wanted to talk). I consider a lot of you guys my friends now, and sometimes your comments & insight are what gets me through the day, so thanks. In fact, I usually feel bad that I don't have time or forget to respond to some of the comments that you leave, so maybe I should take some time & set a post aside to just do that every once in a while. So, if you've got any questions you'd like to ask me or anything you wanna address, just tell me, and I'll do a reader's mailbag post pretty soon, so's I won't feel so neglectful...

Oh, and I also added a guestmap, at Liz's suggestion, so sign it & tell me where you live, so I'll know who's watching me...

Back to the story soon, I promise. I just needed to clear my head of Veronica a bit...once again.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Stealin' when I shoulda been buyin'...

Well, since I've had a few people send me requests to add them to my list, I decided to create a MySpace page for myself, so I'd have a list to add them to. However, in the convoluted process of setting the damn thing up, I managed to lose all of the invites people had sent me 'cus I used a different mail address, so if you were one of those people, send 'em to me again.

It's also early Monday morning now, and the weekend went by without any further word from Veronica, and I expect to be able to breathe easy anytime now. The way I figure it, she had the entire rest of the day Friday to e-mail me again, and the whole weekend to call me if she was going to. Also, even more so than me, Veronica is not what you would call a patient person, so I can't see her just sitting there biding her time; if she was waiting to pounce, she probably would have done it by now. Of course, now that I say this, another e-mail is probably gonna show up in my inbox in the morning, but for now, I've all but convinced myself that it was just a fluke. Flukes happen...

And yes, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a grown man & shouldn't want to run from her like she's the big bad wolf, and a lot of you hit the nail right on the head with some of your comments, but that's just the reaction that stirs up in my gut when she rears her head somewhere; I just immediately see everything rushing past my eyes again, like when they were erasing Zarkov's brain in Flash Gordon. All the bullshit & craziness that I went through just boils right back up to the surface & my spider-sense screams out "here it comes again...better fasten yer' seatbelt!". It's like I'm the little spaceship from The Black Hole, just drifting around out there in my own universe, and she's the big, dark, swirling vortex on the edge of my space, just threatening to suck me back in at any time. And yes, my gravity is strong enough after all these years that I would never get pulled in again, but all that pressure can tear the hull of your ship to shreds, even if you're steering away from it.

Ok, enough metaphors from my DVD collection...

I just mean that, while it sounds like the problem has a simple, black & white solution (and really, it does, when you get right down to it), just the thought of having to even do so much as implement that solution is more than I want to have to deal with.

Hopefully, nothing has changed & I still won't have to. The last time I saw her, she had actually met someone else & had been seeing him for over a year...the first person aside from me that she had dated in over a decade. If they had already been together that long, then I figured he had already seen the craziness & decided to accept it. Hopefully, they're still together, because what really makes me nervous is the thought of them breaking up, which is the first thing that went through my mind when I saw I had a mail from her the other day. After all, I wasn't just her ex-boyfriend, I was pretty much the only real friend she had, and if she found herself in a really bad place, she wouldn't really have anyone else to turn to. And, since I still live with a huge amount of guilt from the situation, it would make me feel that much guiltier to have to turn my back on her...but I would have to. So, I just don't want to have to deal with it. have I said that enough times yet?

Why do I feel so guilty? Well, since it's relevant now & we're about 10 years away from getting to it in the story, I'll just sum it up by saying that I feel like I cheated her out of the chance to have the kind of life she wanted. The girl was completely devoted to me & only me for years upon years, and ever so often, I would get lonely or down enough to get back together with her for a while, only to shoot down all her hopes & dreams as soon as I was back on my feet. And when I left, she would do nothing but wait for me to come back again. I never led her on; I always told her that I didn't want to settle down & have a family right away the same way she did, but she hung in there anyway, thinking that the next time, I would change my mind.

Veronica had a son, and they lived in a situation very much like the one I grew up in; his father was gone & they lived with Veronica's parents, who took care of him while she was out or at work. I saw a lot of myself in that kid, and I grew pretty close to him; closer than I ever should have. After a while, I started to....I don't know how to explain this....I wanted that kid to have things that I didn't have...he deserved a father, and a real family, and part of me wanted to give him that so much...and I tried to, but I could never make it work with Veronica. Even the last time, when I really, honestly, tried for the first time to make it work, I couldn't.

So, in the end, instead of becoming the dad that I always felt like I should be to him, instead I became the same guy that I hated when I was a little kid; the guy that my mom stayed out all night with, instead of being at home with me. The guy that just wanted the easy stuff that came with it & left when the going got rough. The guy that was in the way of us being a family, instead of helping to make us one. I became the thing I had hated the most.

And in the end, after all the craziness I've described, and all the years of drama & pain, I just couldn't do it anymore. I did what I should have done years before, and finally ended it all...but I got to take all the guilt home with me. And yes, I know it takes two to tango, and yes, she should have told me to shove off just as many years ago as I should have told her, but I still feel like, had I just been stronger, and broke it off sooner, and not gone back all those times, that she might have gone on & found someone and made a life for her & her son. And, I'm pretty sure I'd be in a lot better shape now, too.

But, this is my bed...and I've gotta lie in it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

12 o'clock, and all's well...

Well, haven't heard anything else from Veronica yet, so everything's all good so far. I figure if the weekend goes by & I don't hear from her, then it was just some sort of freak...occurrence.

And I know it sounds ridiculous, but thanks so much to all you guys who left comments stating that you had accidentally sent e-mails yourselves in the past; that makes me feel much better, because the first thing my friends said when I told 'em about the letter was "No way can someone accidentally send an e-mail", which didn't ease my mind at all, to say the least. I agree it would be unlikely, but I can see her absent-midedly hitting that 'send' button while she was perusing an old draft & maybe got distracted by something....maybe. Hopefully.

And, to answer a couple of your questions, I have good reasons to worry about her showing back up in my life, even though you haven't heard the whole story yet. But, like Dene speculated, there was almost 10 years of built-up insanity there, that I have no intention of ever putting myself in the middle of again. Why did I put myself in the middle of it in the first place? Well, it's a long story...but that's why you're here, I guess. It will take a good while to get into the meat of it, though, so to illustrate my point for now, I'll just give you just a few examples:

Crazy Things that Veronica Did over the Years (in no particular order):

1. Cut up all my t-shirts with a pair of scissors one night while I was sleeping, because she remembered something I had apparently said to her on our first date, 3 years earlier, that had made her angry. The fact that I had never said the thing that had made her so mad was incidental.

2. At a restaraunt, while celebrating my birthday, she became convinced that I was actually on a secret date with the girl sitting at the table behind us, and that I had been giving her secret 'hand signals' throughout the meal.

3. Spent an entire night, unbeknownst to me, parked out on the street in front of my house, because she was convinced that I was having an affair with a girl who didn't exist. I never would have known had Alan not drove up & seen her.

4. Woke up in the middle of the night, from a dead sleep, punched me in the side, and proceeded to get dressed, storm out of the house, and drive away...all because of a dream she'd had. She knew it was just a dream, but she was still mad that I had done whatever I did...in the dream.

5. Called me collect, screaming & in tears, while on vacation with her family at the beach, because she had become convinced that I was having an affair with a girl that she had gone to grammar school with, that we had run into earlier that month in a video store. I had never seen the girl before or since.

6. Woke up one day & was convinced that I was the little boy who, when she was about 6 years old, had apparently lived in her neighborhood & tried to force her to take her clothes off one day before her mom had come outside & caught them. She was fully aware of the fact that I had grown up across town, but she figured I had just been keeping it secret all these years.

7. Accused me of being hired by her ex-husband to 'find out' things about her. This, after we had already been dating on & off for over 4 years, and over 5 years after her ex-husband had moved across the country.

8. This one still hurts my head: one day, my 12-year-old (at the time) little brother was visiting, and I was in the kitchen trying to make him something to eat. I told him that I had some french fries, but I didn't have any ketchup for them. She overheard this & stormed out of the house, slamming the door. I found out later that she was mad because she thought that the phrase 'no ketchup for my french fries' was meant to be a joke, at her expense, about us having sex while she was on her period. This conclusion seemed perfectly reasonable to her, as did the idea that I would tell a joke like that to a 12-year-old. In later years, she would deny that this event ever happened.

9. Became convinced that I had fathered my friend Molly's baby, even though she knew Molly had been living out of town for all but the last 3 months before she gave birth, and even though the baby was quite obviously bi-racial, and Molly & I are the same race.

10. Stormed off & ran out in tears in the middle of a party, after someone had asked how we had met & I had told them the story. Turns out, she had invented a whole other story in her head about how we had met that had never even come close to happening, and since I had no idea of that imaginary story & was just telling what actually happened, I was a lying bastard.

...and those are just the ones that come to mind right away...it's early, yet.

So, that might give you a little idea of the craziness that I'm trying to avoid. I know it still doesn't explain why I dealt with it all in the first place, much less for so long, but I'm not sure I know exactly why, either...that's part of what we're here to find out. About all I can say to explain it is that, deep down under all that psychosis, there was a very warm, loving girl there, who, at times, was about as sweet as one person could possibly be, and she was crazy about me...that's hard to resist sometimes.

But, I do know one other thing; out of all the issues that I've been trying to deal with on this blog, the ones that I need to actually get over & shake off the most are not the ones where I'm still pining for Roxanne, or being hung up on Kara...it's all the little neurosis' & complexes that I picked up when I was with Veronica. Like my mom said once; if you spend enough time around somebody who's that mixed up, eventually some of it is bound to rub off on you...and it took a while, but some of it sure did.

I just don't want to deal with it again. I wish Veronica the best & hope she lives a happy life, but I can't have any part of it any more....I've done my time.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Somebody, save me....

Woke up this morning in full-on panic mode...still halfway there.

After writing what I had written last night, I got up this morning, and the first thing I saw was a mail from Veronica in my inbox.

At the first sight of it, I almost lost it; you guys might not have picked up on it yet, but the easiest way to describe it is that I live in sheer abject terror of that woman coming back into my life. Also, it had been several months since I had heard from her, and she usually makes some effort to contact me at least every few months, so I figured it was time. The last time I had seen her, we had run into each other at a concert in the park and had some very tense, uncomfortable words...and I took off before her son saw that I was there so I wouldn't have to see him & add more guilt upon guilt. That had been ugly enough...and she hasn't tried to contact me at all since...even over the holidays, which I totally expected her to do. But, it's been ugly before, and she's always showed back up at some point, so, ever since, I've been sort of on edge every time I check my olf mail account...just waiting for the V-bomb to drop again.

Then today...I get this e-mail....and of course, right away, I expect the worst. However, after reading it, I don't know what to think. I'm actually hoping against hope that it was all a big mistake...

Of course, the first thought that ran through my mind was: she's found it. She's found the project, and....well, something bad's gonna happen. I dunno what, but something. Bad. Thankfully, that didn't turn out to be the case.

She started the letter with 'It was so good to hear from you again...glad you had a good Thanksgiving'. Well, I haven't talked to her since August...and there would be no way for her to know if I had a good Thanksgiving. She didn't mention any other holiday, either, just Turkey Day.

She then started talking about how our breakup had been hard on her & her son, like it had just happened recently...and she asked about my grandfather, but didn't mention the rest of the drama with my family (that she knows nothing about, as far as I know), and then, the end of the letter just sort of cut off, in the middle of something she was saying. It was short, and it was really weird...just like I would expect from her.

And, also like her, it didn't make much sense....it was like a letter she would have sent 2 or more years ago, or something; she was talking about past events like they just happened, and she's about 3 holidays late on her greetings. Plus, she didn't mention the last time we saw each other...which was definitely tense & awkward enough to be worth mentioning...

Which is why I'm hoping that the whole thing was an accident; maybe it was an old letter she had in her drafts folder & sent it by accident. That's the best case scenario I can hope for at this point. That doesn't explain why she was looking at the old draft, if that's what it was, or why she didn't notice she had sent it & write me to tell me what happened. In fact, the absolute best thing I can hope for, is that she didn't even notice she was doing it; she somehow was cleaning out her mailbox & accidentally hit 'send' instead of 'delete', and didn't even notice it. Please, please god, let that be what happened.

Otherwise...well, I don't know what otherwise, but I just know that, as much as I wish her the best, I don't ever, ever, ever, ever want to see or hear from Veronica again...and if something happened & she did try to pop back into my life, I'm not sure how I would take it. I do know that all the progress I've made in the last year or so would likely be undone by the craziness she'd bring with her, and I'll admit that I'm scared to death of having to deal with her again. Yes...it got that ugly at the end.

So, for now, I'm going to try all I can to put it out of my mind & chalk it up to a freak accident. Veronica is a very forward person, in her strange way, and if she wanted to write me, she would just do it, so I'm crossing my fingers that I'm not back on her radar in any way. Please cross your collective fingers with me...I need all the good luck I can get, here...

Where do we go from here...

Well, actually, I know where we go from here, just a lot of the things that happened before we got there are kind of a blur.

I'd really like to say that, after Kara & I were finally over, that I did the same thing I did the last time it ended; I picked myself up, hopped right back on my horse, and actually rode off into the sunset & had some fun for a while. The last time, I was determined to put it behind me & get on with my life, with a vengeance. This time, the second (third? fourth? last, in any case) time around, I wasn't quite able to pull that off. I sorta crashed...hard.

All I really remember about the rest of that summer, with a few minor exceptions, was sitting out on the balcony with my glass of citrus vodka & ice, and staring off into distance while Lou Reed or Van Der Graff Generator or something equally depressing played on the stereo inside. I know that other things happened, but none of them really stick out...and none of them were able to shake me out of my mood.

I was mad...but I missed Kara. I was totally & completely heartbroken, but somehow or another, she made me feel like it was all my fault; not that I was a total innocent, but I'd still have to say I got the short end of the stick there. I became more & more of a loner starting during this time, and I picked up some habits that, now that I think about it, first manifested themselves at about this time. I started to stay in more, just because I was afraid I might run into Kara & Ted somewhere, and I just wouldn't be able to handle it then. I started to make excuses not to go out with my friends, both for that reason & because I was just too...down to feel like doing anything. And I started drinking...a lot.

Now, don't get me wrong; I didn't turn into Nicolas Cage & fall into the depths of alcoholism...partially because I knew my chances of being rescued by a beautiful hooker with a heart of gold would be slim, but for a few months there, I was drinking way too much, and too often. I didn't go out driving, and I didn't do it at work, but for me, it was a lot, and I knew it...but I just needed the numbness at the time; I didn't really know how else to deal with it. There's no tragic episode where I end up in rehab or anything, though; sorry, guys.

There was one girl who came into the picture about this time. Her fake name was Tia, and she was a friend of Alan's ex-girlfriend from a few years back, who we all ran into while out one night. She was a few years younger than me, and she was completely the opposite of Kara & most of the girls I'd dated; for one, she was rich, for another, she was a sorority girl, and all in all, she was just way classier than I tend to be drawn to. Regardless, she was drawn to me for some reason, and we ended up making out on the sofa one night after we had all be down to the local TGI Fridays & ended up back at my place.

I wasn't really all that...interested in Tia, but I figured Wonder Woman herself could have shown up at my door at that point & I'd still have been too busy pining over Kara to notice. So, I figured a little fling would be harmless & might actually help me out of my funk. Which it did, to a point. We went out a couple of times, and fooled around a little bit, but we had never really had the chance for it to go any further, just because the opportunity hadn't presented itself yet. Then, one night, she came over while Alan was at work & we had the place all to ourselves.

I don't remember anything much except for the fact that we ended up in my bedroom before too long, and that I had Otis Redding on the stereo, 'cus I had made it a point to put all my depressing albums away for the time being. I remember kissing her, and thinking that she wasn't quite like any girl I had been with before; she had this really fascinating way about her, that was a cross between really shy & really aggressive, and truthfully, it was pretty hot...at any other point in time, I would have been severely turned on.

That night, though, lying there with Tia, the ghost of Kara was just hovering over me too close...and I couldn't do it. I don't mean physically...I just mean I couldn't do it. I gave Tia some total bullshit about how 'it doesn't feel right yet' or something that no guy would ever say & mean, and despite her best efforts, which, in retrospect, were considerable, considering her age, I just couldn't do it....I couldn't even keep kissing her, I just felt like I was doing something wrong. I mean, my body was responding, but my head was all over the place...and Tia was a nice girl, and I just didn't want to look her in the eye & be thinking about someone else. I'm sure had I actually had feelings for the girl, or at least the hint of them, maybe things woulda been different, but I didn't, and they weren't.

That was about it for me & Tia. She was still around after that; we'd see her every once in a while, but she was always pretty chilly to me after that night, and I can't say as I blame her; I doubt she was used to being turned down, even then. In fact, I ran into her a few years ago with Angela, and I'm pretty sure she was still pissed at me. It wasn't her, tho....it was me.

But, some good did come out of the whole episode with Tia. In fact, now that i remember it, something bad came out of it, too; Tia ended up becoming friends with Alan's girlfriend Mindy, and while Tia was mad at me & she & Alan were having a fight, Tia set the two of them up with some guys she met that lived in our same building, just to piss me & Alan off. Now, Tia wasn't my girlfriend, so I didn't really give a damn, but poor Alan went apeshit & had to suffer through a world of drama for a while...so, in retrospect, maybe that's another reason I just shoulda slept with her...

Anyway, back to the good...

The whole incident with Tia did serve to make me so disgusted with myself & my wallowing in my own pity to at least try and snap out of it for a while. I wasn't really able to do it, but I tried. I was starting to feel a little better for a while, but then, at the end of the summer, there were 2 things that happened, that took my mood from bad to worse...although it took me a while to recognize one of them.

The first thing that happened was, when fall started to roll around, Alan suddenly learned that his student loan, which he didn't;t think he was going to qualify for that year, had suddenly come through, and he now had the opportunity to go back to school. Only problem for us was, we had a lease on our apartment, and his school was three hours away. Nevertheless, I knew he needed to do it, so I told him I'd find another roommate somehow, and he started his preparations to go back to school. At the time, I didn't;t think much of it, but as the date came & he actually started moving out, I got really depressed.

I mean, my friends were all leaving for school other places at that time; Pete & Mark were already gone, Jerry was in a religious cult at the time (ya, that's right...and it's a long, long story..I got my own issues to deal with here), and I just felt like everybody, or at least everybody I gave a shit about, was skipping town & I was gonna be left there alone. Ya, ya shut up...I was in a bad place at the time.

So, the day came when Alan left, and I remember that night, I stayed alone in my apartment, with my bottle of Stoli & some really crappy weed, and I just felt...alone. I knew I wasn't; I had my family, and plenty of other friends around, even if I didn't care to talk to most of 'em anymore, but it was all just really getting me down. I spent a good week there, just drinking the nights away & wondering how long it would be before Kara & I spoke again. If I'd only had a crystal ball back then, I'da saved myself a lotta time.

But, after a week or two, I knew I had to snap out of it at least somewhat, 'cus I had to get up off my ass & find a roommate; something I hadn't even started doing. Luckily, my friend Jack had just been kicked out of the place he was living on his campus recently. Jack was a guy we had only known for a year or so; Alan met him at a restaurant where he worked, but he seemed like a nice guy & we had always gotten along pretty well. So, after about a 15-minute phone call, we had a deal worked out. Plus, I would finally get the big room now with the bathroom in it, that I had let Alan have before 'cus I didn't want to listen to Mindy bitch about it.

Knowing that the rent was going to be paid on time, at least, made me feel a little better....but right about the first weekend after Jack moved in, the second thing happened that I hinted at earlier...

Veronica called one day. She was crying because she had just ended the custody proceedings for her son after her divorce. She had been given full custody, but the father gave up all his rights to the child forever; essentially just washing his hands clean of him. The poor thing was heartbroken that the man she had married & fathered a child with could just abandon them both like that; she had never expected to get back together with him, but she had wanted her son to know his father. But, like my father before him, he apparently had more important things to do.

So, I listened to her, and I sympathized with her, and I told her she could come over if she wanted to talk, and I told her everything would be alright, and I told her if was ok when she asked if she could kiss me, and I slept with her. It was really sweet, and it felt really nice, and that night, for the first time, there was some genuine affection between us...but I knew it was trouble. Big, big trouble. Big, big, big, big...well, you get the idea. No, no you don't. It was big trouble.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Weight...

So, I saw Roxanne yesterday...

It was only for a moment, and all we basically said was hello. Turns out her brother, my friend Jerry, has moved in with a girl he's been seeing...who also happens to be Roxanne's friend....and next-door neighbor; geography has never been kind to me. Both Elaine & Kristen, upon finding out where Jerry lives now, both expressly forbid me to ever go over there (they worry about me, bless 'em), but I figure I'm a grown man & I can handle a little guilt staring me right in the face; I should be used to it by now.

So, of course, she was sitting on the porch next door with her live-in significant other when I pulled up, and the other immediately went right inside the house...but stayed within eyeshot of us 'til I was gone. She had on a...well, hell, it doesn't matter what she had on. I shouldn't even give a damn anymore. Isn't that what I'm trying to accomplish here in the first place? I've felt pretty damn good the last few days after getting all the Kara business out of my system, so to speak, and maybe that's why I didn't figure it would bother me to see her (which, honestly, it didn't...compared to usually). Only thing is, when I see Roxanne, I'm reminded of the real difference between her & the other Big One; I loved Kara, but she did me wrong & broke my heart...whereas Roxanne loved me, but I did her wrong, and broke her heart, after more than a decade of trying desperately to win it. I loved her, too...I just had all that baggage Kara had given me in the way...

That's a lame excuse...and it doesn't even begin to excuse half of it, anyway, but I saw it in her eyes yesterday just like I always do when I see her; she smiles and hugs me & tells me hello just like nothing's wrong, but there's something in her eyes, that probably only I can see, since I'm the only reason it's there, that reminds me of...well, I don't know what it reminds me of, but it makes me feel about 2 feet tall. I feel like I shot her dog or popped her balloon every time I see her, and I should feel like that, or worse.

And here I am kicking my own ass for it again, just like I've been doing for four years now. And you guys don't even really know what the hell I'm talking about yet, I just realized. Maybe you do; maybe you've gleaned it or maybe I've said it before..who knows. If not, I don't want to talk about it now, anyways. I'm tired of beating myself up over it...over her. Over the past, in general. I'm sick to death of it. Being raised Catholic sure teaches you to want to pay your penance, I'll tell you that much.

I'm tired of feeling guilty. Yes, I've let myself be guided by the wrong feelings & screwed up & hurt some other people along the way. Sorry. I didn't mean to, honest, and at the end of the day, I'm sure they know that, too. I'm not a bad guy, and I've been feeling like one for too long. I might do every single thing in my past differently if I had it to do over again, but I don't, and I've just got to make do with what I do have. Yes, I'll probably never be able to look Roxanne in the eye, and I'll always have to live with the fact that I threw away something that I had spent a lifetime trying to build, but not having someone as special as her in my life will be punishment enough in itself...I don't need to punish myself any further.

I don't need to go see her plays anymore & have to see her up there on stage, with the spotlights shining on her & everyone in the audience mesmerized, I don't need to ask Jerry how her relationship is going, or try to weasel my way in, or to even pretend to myself that I could ever do anything to make up for how I let her down in the past...

I need to snap the hell out of it, is what I need to do.

And I'm trying...I'm really tryin', here. This project has helped more than I ever thought it would in the beginning...in fact, I think that, in the beginning, I might have just been trying to use this as one more way to keep dwelling on the past. Well, the past can suck it. And I'm sorry if I seem edgy; I'm really not...I really feel pretty damn good, considering. And maybe Lanie & Kristen are right, to a point; maybe it wouldn't be great for my mental health to go over there & see that all the time, but at least I don't want to do what I would have done years ago, which would have been to just avoid going there at all costs & feeling like the 3rd-grader hiding from the school bully.

I've said all along that I've made my own bed, and now I have to lie in it, but I haven't taken any steps to make the damn thing comfortable...for myself, and much less for anybody else. And no, I'm not sure I'm ready to just jump right back into dating anyone yet; I probably wouldn't be the best boyfriend in the world...but then again, I was really never the best boyfriend in the world before...but I guess that's another thing I'm trying to work out...

Anyway, if you can't tell, I'm just over not being over it all. I miss the old me, even if he had his flaws. And I don't want to be sitting here, twelve years from now, still trying to figure it all out; I've wasted enough time already. Of course, all that having been said, I still don't really know what the hell to do about it...

So, I guess I'll just keep writing...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Skating away, on the thin ice of a new day...

You know, I almost feel like somebody just took a huge splinter out of my foot...

I don't know how long it will last, although I'm optimistic, but writing all that down definitely made me feel...well, better, anyway. In a lot of ways, it was kind of like going through it again; I was able to gloss over a lot of things until the end, when I just couldn't deal with it anymore. The thing is, the whole business has been a part of my life so long, that it's almost become a part of my personality. I'm not sure if I'll ever really get...over it, as much, but I'm hoping now that I might can at least look at it all...well, through glasses that are a little less rose-tinted, at least.

Thanks so much for all the comments & kind words you guys have left over the last couple of days; some of the things you've written have really meant a lot, and as always, they've made me think. Especially thanks to all you who had never posted before; thanks for coming out of the woodwork, and, in some cases, giving me a peek into your lives, as well. Since I'm not quite up to diving right back into it today, I might as well try to address some of the things a few of you have left in your comments.

A lot of people commented on how sad it was that Kara's life turned out like it did; let me just say that I really have no idea how her life has turned out, outside of a few rumors & tidbits here & there. I know she'd had some rough times, but I don't know if that's still the way things are. I know she has a marraige, a house, and a kid, and in a lot of ways, that's more than I've got. For all I really know, she could be perfectly happy in her dream life right now, and I honestly hope she is. I doubt it, but I hope she is.

As to what's next for the Project; I'm just gonna keep going...there's still a good ways to go yet. Honestly, Kara was only the beginning of the story, in a lot of ways. And, trust me, if there have been times in the story so far when you've wanted to smack me & ask me what I was thinking...well, they definitely won't be the last.

Someone...more than one person, actually, suggested the other that my story would make a great movie & that I should turn it into a screenplay, and, while I certainly appreciate the comment more than I can say, I can't imagine a longer, more boring or depressing movie; not to mention the fact that, as Pro-Divorce mentioned, it's completely lacking any kind of satisfying ending. Plus, it's way outside my proven genre, and unless I throw some zombies in or somebody gets possessed, I'm not sure I'd even know how to do it.

What I will do, however, is entertain the question that Painkey asked me about who I would cast in the movie version of my life, just because I think it sounds like fun. The first hurdle to overcome, actually, would be bringing John Hughes out of retirement to direct the damn thing, but we'll burn that bridge when we come to it...

Anyway, the cast...

For myself, my first choice would have been John Cusack, but he's already played the part once before...you might've seen it; so, he's out. Also, I can't really pick someone just on the basis that they look like me, 'cus I don't really look like anybody famous. The only famous person I've ever been told I look like was Kiefer Sutherland, and believe me, I don't look a goddamn thing like Kiefer Sutherland. Actually, that's not the only person; while that Dawson's Creek show was on the air, all of a sudden, all the little girls behind the Burger King counters were telling me I looked like the other dude on that show that wasn't Dawson, but I saw the guy & I don't really see it so much, and he's nowhere near a good enuff actor, anyway. So, since resemblance isn't a factor, I guess I'd have to say either a young Nicolas Cage, when he was still cool, or the guy who played Mike Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High...

For Kara...man, that would be a tough one. Only person in the right age range I can think of who has the acting chops to pull it off would be Reese Witherspoon (ever see her in Freeway? That was Kara on a bad day.), but they don't look anything alike, and Kara would show up on the set with a sniper rifle if she ever heard she was being played by a blonde, much less one who...well, never mind.

If we were gonna cast by resemblance...that's still a tough one. Catherine Zeta-Jones is too tall & about five years too old, but with the right lighting, it might could work. In fact, she sorta already played the part herself...in that same movie with Cusack. Damn.

Roxanne would be a real close contender for second-billing with Kara...I guess it would depend on how long the movie was. She's an actress, and, knowing her, she'd probably insist on playing the part herself, and she'd somehow manage to be even more amazing at it than in real life. If I had to cast someone else, I guess I'd say Natasha Lyonne could probably pull off the role best, they have some similar mannerisms, but she's nowhere near pretty enough...or tall enough.

Veronica would get next billing, just by virtue of the huge amount of screen time she'd have. There are 2 possibilities for her; either a younger Kim Cattrall with a push-up bra, or, if you decided to try and make the character more sympathetic, the girl from the American version of The Office would probably work. Or maybe Laura Linney...

Gloria - Michelle Williams; no doubt about it.

Maria - Alison Mack...Chloe from Smallville. She would be my first, second & third choices, but if the studio made me go for somebody more famous, Reese Witherspoon would be really good in this part, as well.

Andi - Kirsten Dunst

Angela - maybe that hot assistant from Will & Grace if she were about 15 years younger. Or Dominique Swain, 'cus she seems kinda kinky. Angela, god bless her, would not require a lot of acting talent in the role...

J.C. - Rachel Leigh Cook, definitely. If we couldn't use her, then maybe Jodie Foster...

That would be the main cast. Of course, there would be other roles. Alan would be played by either Conan O'Brien or a young Dick Van Dyke; Pete would be played by that kid who became the vampire's minion in Fright Night; Roxanne's brother Jerry would be played by Rob Zombie; Julia Louis-Dreyfuss could reprise her role as Elaine; Joe could, strangely enough, be played by Matt LeBlanc; Lisa Loeb would make a pretty accurate Heidi, if she can act; we'd cast Jason Schwartman in a cameo as Ted & Lisa Bonet as Paris, the exotic clandestine hooker.

The rest of my friends could be played by the members of either N'Sync or Danzig; we could digitally re-create my friend Eric from unused footage of James Dean; Sissy Spacek could play my momma, and my grandpa would be essayed by none other than the legendary Rory Calhoun. Hell, maybe I'd pay to see that, after all...

Of course, all this is a moot point, because we're still lacking one thing a movie has to have: a happy ending. If any of you ladies out there would like to help me write one, I'm down for a collaboration...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Send me dead flowers...

You know, I really could have used all those congratulations & pats on the back about 12 years ago....I wish you guys had been around then. Heck, I'm just glad you're around now. In any case, thanks for being supportive of my past self; I was sort of proud of him back then, too.

And yes, that was really it. The end. No more Kara. She doesn't show back up on my doorstep in 2 years...or in 10; we never have some chance meeting in a grocery store or a bar that leads to wild, animal sex in the parking lot & an all-night trip to Vegas; I never pick up a ringing phone again & hear that familiar silence...she's gone. She's been gone for a long, damn time. I guess you might not know that just from listening to me...

And yes, I couldn't take it anymore & told her so there at the end, and I knew that it was the best thing for my life & for my sanity, and everybody around me told me I had done the right thing, just like you guys.

But how proud of me would you be if I told you that I also send her a card to her parent's house on her birthday & on Christmas every year for four years after, no matter what was going on in my life, even though I never heard back from her? That I wondered for years & years if today was going to be the day I would run into her somewhere, or finally get that phone call? That I even had a little fling again with Heidi a few years later, just because she reminded me so goddamn much of Kara? That I called Angela her name in the middle of an argument not even four years ago? Yeah, I have my moments, but I have my moments of weakness, too..and they seem to last a lot longer.

Kara & Ted didn't last much longer; she was right about that. I guess it was about a year after I had last seen her when I heard the news from Heidi. By the time I found out, however, she had already started dating another guy - yet another guy that I knew from back in the old days. A guy that used to get stoned & eat dog food, and whose mother had her makeup permanently tattooed onto her face. A really smelly, unwashed, borderline-retarded, ignorant redneck shit-kicker who was the spitting image of her father, the father that she had rebelled against her whole life. A guy named C.J. (not to be confused with my ironically-named future Ex J.C.), who she would move in with inside of a month & alienate most of her friends in the process. The guy that she would eventually marry.

When I said before that that was the last the last time I had spoken to her, that wasn't 100% accurate. Right after I found out about her & Ted breaking up, but before she moved in with C.J., I broke down & called her one day. It had been about a year & a half since we had broken up, and that had been the magic time period before, so one day while I was at work, I decided to just bite the bullet. She answered the phone, and this time it was my turn to hesitate for a moment & then say "Hi.".

I could tell I had caught her off guard, and she just said "Hi." back to me. I could tell already that she wasn't happy to hear from me.

"Do you wanna talk?", I asked her.

"No, I gotta go. I'm walking out the door.", she said. She didn't want to talk to me.

"You're walking out the door?", I asked her.

"Yeah...I gotta go!"

"Ok....bye, Kara." I'm sure she could barely hear my voice, it was so low.


The next day, the phone rang. It was C.J., the new boyfriend. He actually had the nerve, at 25-some-odd years old, to call me up with some junior-high "You better not be talking to my girlfriend" crap; which I just laughed off. I told him that, given his new girlfriends' history, it wasn't just her talking to other guys that he needed to worry about. Then I told him to fuck off & hung up the phone.

I figured at the time that it was just C.J.'s inbred redneck instinct, and that he just called me, man-to-man, but I found out from Heidi, years later, that Kara was actually right next to him when he had called me, and she had encouraged him to do it. This bothered me for a lot of reasons. Not that she had a new boyfriend & that he was a jealous asshole; I had accepted that by then...it was the fact that the whole scenario seemed so unlike her. More than anyone else I ever knew, Kara took care of her own business & fought her own battles; she never needed anyone else to do it for her. If she didn't want to talk to me, the Kara I knew would have just flat-out told me so; she wouldn't have had her boyfriend call me up with his freshman attitude, she would have just done it herself, and shoved anyone out of the way who tried to do it for her.

And there was one other thing...

I mentioned earlier how, when she & C.J. got together, she started to drift apart from some of her friends. Well, I was talking to Heidi one time, about 2 years later, and the subject came up, as it always did. I asked her if she went over to their house to visit often, and she told me how Kara hardly ever invited anybody over anymore. I asked her why, and she told me a story, wherein Kara's good friend Dorothy, whom she had known since they were little girls, had come into town one night & slept over at Kara & C.J.'s. Somehow or another, the three of them all wound up sleeping together in the same bed, and, apparently, at some point during the night, after Kara had fallen asleep, C.J. rolled over & tried to put the moves on Dorothy. Dorothy shoved him off & pretended to be asleep, but the next morning, she told Kara about what had happened. Well, apparently, Kara went apeshit....but not like you might think.

Allegedly, she started yelling & screaming at Dorothy, calling her a liar & accusing her of either trying to ruin her relationship, steal her man (and I use that term loosely), or both. They got into a huge fight, Kara refused to even entertain the possibility that C.J. would do something like that, and Dorothy stormed out of the house crying. As far as I know, they weren't friends anymore after that.

Now, I know you guys never met her (I don't think),and I know you can only know so much about someone by reading about them, but does that sound like something that the Kara that I've been writing about for the last few months would do? Or would you expect that Kara to instead go to the kitchen drawer, pull out 2 butcher knives, hand one to Dorothy, and proceed to go stab C.J. in his sleep, cut off his prick & shove it in his mouth until he chokes on it? Yeah, that's what I would have thought, too...

I had known Kara for over five years at that point, and I had seen her go through just about every range of emotion in just about every situation you could be in; I could safely say that I knew Kara, better than anyone else did at that point. And I said it then & I'll say it now: something was rotten in Denmark, because had that been Joe, or Ted or I that had pulled that stunt in bed with one of her friends, we would most certainly not be here talking about it today. Even if we had been innocent, she would have never given us the benefit of the doubt; not over one of her friends like Dorothy.

I don't know if she was being abused & was afraid of him (I just can't imagine Kara being abused by anybody...I know it could happen, but I'm serious as a heart attack when I say I would have put all 100 pounds of that girl in the ring with Mike Tyson in his heyday & she'd have bitten off the first ear), or if she was just devoted to him like she'd never even come close to being with one of us, of what the hell was going on. I never found out. I just always thought something just didn't seem right...and I guess, deep down, I always figured that it wouldn't last, and somehow, sometime, she'd be back.

But she wasn't.

The closest it ever came to happening was on her birthday in 1998, four years after I'd last seen her. I had heard through the Heidi grapevine that she & C.J. had been in a big fight, and had separated for a while, if not completely broken up. Whatever happened, it was enough to make her move back home to her parents' house for at least a little while. I heard this news about two days before the date, and when her birthday came around, I remember I sat there with the phone in my hand for what seemed like hours, telling myself over & over that I shouldn't call...that it should all be in the past & behind me, and I should just put the phone down, go on with my life, and forget about it.

But I called her...

And, in what was probably a blessing in disguise, her mom answered the phone. Her mom & I were very friendly back in the day, and I was pretty sure she knew it was me when I asked if Kara was there, even though I didn't identify myself. She wasn't there, though...she had gone across the street to her friends house. He mom asked if she could take a message or tell her who was calling, but I hesitated for a minute & told her that I'd rather not say, that I wanted it to be a surprise. She told me to try her back in a little while, and I said ok, and hung up.

I'm sure her mom knew it was me. I'm sure she told Kara, too. I'm sure she knew those Christmas & birthday cards were always from me, too, even though I never signed them. I knew she could find my number without any trouble if she wanted to call me back. She never did. A few days later, she was back home with C.J. like nothing had happened. I never tried to call her again.

One day, about five years ago, I woke up from a dream that she was in & learned later that day from my friend Art that she & C.J had gotten married. Apparently, she had gotten pregnant, and they went & did a quickie wedding at the Justice of the Peace, with just her mom & her sister there to see it. I heard they had a miscarriage not long after, and that they were constantly fighting & just generally having a rough time of things. They did eventually have a baby about a year later, though, I was able to hear through the grapevine (not the Heidi grapevine...she, too, was long gone at this point). It was a little girl, and I'm not 100% positive, but I think she named her...well, a name that she had always said she liked.

But I don't really know anything else, and basically all the information I've heard in the last decade, I just told you about. Pete did run into her & C.J. in a Wal-Mart about 2 years ago, and they had apparently just bought a house somewhere out in the boondocks near where he lives. He said she looked the same, just with a few more miles on her. And he said she asked about me. He didn't tell me about it for almost a year, just because he didn't want to endure the 20-questions that he knew I'd put him through. I don't blame him.

And, I really don't know what else to say about Kara...other than the fact that, aside from the time I've spent writing this project, I really don't think about her that much anymore. Sure, it still crosses my mind, but I think that might just be habit more than anything else, after all these years.

I don't really have the right to say this, because I don't know really anything about her life, or how she is today, but I know I've always thought that she sold herself short. Not just with C.J., just with...life. I mean, maybe she's happy, and maybe they're successful, I don't know (although the last I heard, she was a maid & he worked at a gas station), but for all her faults, I really thought, just for a minute, that she could have really done something with her life. She had...something about her. I don't know if she could have been a rock star (she used to want to play the guitar in high school, and I remember watching her standing in front of the mirror, trying to pick out the chords to John Fogerty's Old Man Down the Road & being convinced that she was gonna be famous.), or a doctor, or an actress (good possibility), or what...but I just always thought that she could have had something more, somehow. I don't mean to put her or anyone down, far from it...look at me, I don't have jack shit. I don't know...maybe I just never could understand why the whole world wasn't as fascinated with her as I was...

And how funny is it that, now, after all the time & effort it took me to even start writing all this, and how quickly I wanted to be done with it...now, I don't want to quit writing about her. It's not that I don't want to be done with it, and it's not that I'm not over her...it's just that I still don't feel like I've found the right words to do it all justice yet. Maybe I never will...

I think a lot of it is that, the reason we stopped talking was so stupid, and so small in retrospect...I wonder if she even remembers what it was today. Yes, by all indications, Kara hasn't been the same girl I knew for a very long time, but still, even today, something will happen, or I'll see something on TV, or notice something while I'm out somewhere...something that she would have thought was funny...
and I'll wonder what she would say about it, and I'll wish I was still her friend. There have been times in my life that I just would have liked to talked to her about problems I was having, or things that were going on in my life...nothing else, just to talk to her. I've still never found anyone I could talk to as easily as I could to her; somebody that seemed to know me well enough that they could talk to me like nobody else could, also. I know she did me wrong, and I know it was nothing but heartache & trouble, and I don't miss Kara, my girlfriend...but sometimes, I miss Kara, my friend.

But she did do me wrong, and as bad as she might have thought I always made her out to be, I think I've always let her off pretty easy. I did every damn thing I could for that girl, and nothing was ever even close to enough. For as close as we were, and as much as she claimed to care about me, she never once took my feelings into consideration in any of the things she did. She hurt me time & time again, and she didn't think twice about it. She knew that I would go to the ends of the earth for her, and she'd send me there & back for no better reason sometimes than she was bored, and then when she got bored with me, it was on to the next person in my high school wrestling photo.

I let her completely rule my state of mind, and I let her influence every decision I made for more years than I care to count. I've tossed some of the sweetest women in the world out of my life like yesterday's newspaper, just because I couldn't see past her memory, and where some of those women are concerned, I'll regret it the rest of my life. I've glossed over everything she did & all the pain she caused me for years, to carve out this pristine place for her in my memory that isn't even close to what the reality was & has done nothing but paint the rest of my life with a tainted brush & kept me chasing the memory of something that never even existed the way I remember it in the first place...

But I loved her.

And someday, more than anything else, I'd like to feel that way about somebody again. It's been a long, long time.

Bye, Kara.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The last waltz...


...a day or two went by, and I didn't hear from her. Nothing unusual. She called on a Sunday afternoon, I think; I remember The Boys from Brazil was on TV. I was in an unusually good mood, and I was glad to hear from her; I remember I got excited right away thinking I would see her that night.

I asked her what she was doing, and she said "Nothing...".

"Are you free today?", I asked her.

"I guess so.", she said.

"Well...do you want to come over?", I asked.

"No, not really."

"Why not?"

"I don't know...it was just weird last time."

"Kara, you know they don't mean anything by it; they're your friends too...", I told her.

"No, I mean, I know them, but they're your friends; they're gonna be on your side. They think I'm the bad guy, just like everybody that you know seems to."

I didn't want to get into that argument with her again; it wasn't the first time we'd had it. I believe the first time, I told her something to the effect of if you think I keep making you out to be the bad guy, then stop sleeping with my friends, at which point I think she threw something at me, so I tried to digress...

"Well, fine. Do you want to go somewhere?", I said wearily. She waited for another second before she answered.

"No. I just want to talk."

Fine; I'd take what I could get.

"Alright then. Let's talk.", I said.

"Ok, but hold on; I have to get a piece of pizza first", she said.

So she did.

She came back a second later, and I asked her "So, how are things at home?"

"Quiet", she said. "We haven't really spoken much."

I didn't respond; hoping she'd go on.

"He asked me if I wanted him to leave yesterday.", she said.

"What did you tell him?"

She waited for a second...

"I told him no. I said that if anyone was going to leave it should be me."

"Well, did you tell him you were going to?" I asked hesitantly.

"No.", she said.

"No?", I asked her.

"No." Her voice got a little quieter, I remember.

"So, what does that mean."

"I don't know; I live with him, X...I can't just leave."

"You can't just leave?", I asked her.

"No, I can't. You know how Ted is; he'd be a wreck. I'd feel awful if I just walked out and left him like that."

I bit my tongue to keep from asking her, yet again, where all this human compassion was when I was the one in Ted's shoes. Instead, I just said "Well, I thought you walking out & leaving was sort of the plan, Kara. What do you plan on doing, just hoping he forgets about it & you can just slip out unnoticed one day?"

"I never said I was just going to leave him.", she said.

"Well, what exactly are you planning to do? What the hell have we been talking about, then?"

"What do you mean?", she said, knowing goddamn well what I meant.

"You know goddamn well what I mean, Kara....just what exactly is going on here? Are you telling me you've just decided to stay with Ted now? Everything between us is just out the window?". I don't think I was yelling...

"No. You have to just think the worst about everything, don't you?"

"Well, gee...I wonder why, Kara?"

"Are you gonna get all mad?", she said. Basically, she meant it as a threat; if I didn't stop grilling her, she was gonna hang up. So, I took a breath & thought of the most tactful way to proceed.

"No, I'm not...", I said. "Just talk to me, ok? Tell me what's going on."

She took one of her customary pauses. This one seemed to last about five years.

"Well, what do you think we should do?", she finally said. "You want us to just drop our lives and run off to some island together?"

"No, Kara; there's a lot of middle ground between two people just getting together, and that..."

"You want me to just move in there with you & Alan? Do you think he'll be ok with that? We don't even know if we can get along together, X, we can't just expect everything to be ok all of a sudden just because we want it to".

"I don't know, Kara, but I know that you can't say you feel this way about me & justify staying with him...you can't expect either one of us to stand for it."

"That's not what I'm trying to do", she said.

"Well, it sure seems like it. I mean, you say you love me, right?"

"Yes", she didn't hesitate for as long as I thought she might. "I love you."

"And do you love him, too?"

"Of course I love him, that's why I can't just up and leave like that."

"So you're going to stay with Ted, and work things out?", I asked her, fighting back tears.

"No....I don't know", she said.

"You don't know?", I asked her.

"No. It's not that I think we can work things out..."

"Well, then what is it?"

"Even if we aren't going to work things out, I just can't do it like that..."

"Then what the hell are you going to do, Kara?" I might have been yelling at that point. If I was, she didn't say anything.

"Look, I've told you; the very reason I'm able to tell you that I love you& be the way with you that I've been in the last few weeks is because of Ted. I know you don't like to hear it, but being with him has helped me...a lot....and I just can't do that to him...not that way." She wasn't yelling at me, which shocked me.

"Well, what way do you plan on doing it, then? Or are you even planning on it?"

"I don't think it's going to work out, X....I don't think there's any way he & I are going to survive all this. I don't think I'll have to do anything; I think it will just...run it's course.", she said.

"Run it's course?", I asked. "So you want to just wait for this relationship to die on the vine, even though you say you love me & want to be with me?"

"I said I wanted to be with you if we knew it could always be the way it's been lately..."

"Well, what the hell is that supposed to mean? That you want to be with me as long as you don't get bored?"

"X, you know that's not what I mean...", she pleaded. She had this way of saying that something wasn't what she'd meant in a way that would make you believe it, even though whatever she had said had made it sound like that was exactly what she had meant.

"Kara, I don't know what you mean anymore...if I ever did. So tell me now, once & for all; do you want us to be together, or not?"

She waited. I knew she would, but it was still excrutiating...

"Yes.", she said.

"Yes?", I made sure I wasn't hearing thing.

"Yes, that's what I said. At least I think so...", she said.

I wasn't going to push it after that answer. Instead, I asked "So, how are we going to go about that?"

"I don't know, X. I really don't. I feel awful about all this. I've hurt both the people in my life that I care about, and I just don't want to hurt anybody else. And I do love you, and if we're meant to be together, like we said, then it will happen, and we'll know how."

And I knew that what she had just said begged a thousand more questions, and I still didn't really have any idea what was going on, but she had just said that she loved me, and that we were meant to be together...and I hadn't even really prompted her...and she had said it so goddamn sweet & sounded so sincere, and there was nothing else I could really do. Instantly, I was on her side...

"So, then you're not going to work things out with Ted?"

"I told you; I don't know. I don't think we can work this out."

"Well, then I just don't understand why you don't just end it now, instead of just prolonging it...", I said.

"Well, I don't know...maybe that is what I should do, but I think it's going to be over no matter what I do"

"And what if it's not? What if it's not over? What if you do work it out somehow?"

"Well, I really don't think that will happen, but if it does, then I guess it wasn't meant to be with us, after all..."

"What do you think?", I asked her.

"About what?", she said; knowing goddamn well what I was talking about.

"That we're meant to be together?", I said.

She waited, but you knew that. Then, she just said "Yes, I think so."

I remember I breathed a sigh of half-joy, half-relief. Had I been a smarter, more observant man, I would have realized that I was being put out to pasture like a lame horse. Instead, I was almost happy.

"Well, so what do we do, then?" I asked her.

"I don't know", she said. "I imagine things will resolve themselves one way or another over here before too long."

"And then, we can be...?"

She cut me right off: "Don't ask me what will happen, please...you know I hate that. Niether one of us knows what will happen." She was right, she did hate questions like that,and I knew it.

"But we know what we think will happen, don't we?", I asked hopefully. Or, in other words, like a chump.

"I think so.", she said.

This time I waited for a minute. "I hope so.", I said finally.

"It's timing...just like it's always been with us. We have awful timing.", she said.

"We definitely have something...", I said.

Neither one of us said anything for a minute, but somehow, it wasn't quite as tense as before.

"Well, I gotta go...", she said. "I have to pick up Heidi at work; her car's broken again."

"Alright", I said. "When will I talk to you?", I asked her.

"I don't know", she said. "Soon."

"Soon?", I asked.

"Soon.", she said. I figured it would be soon.

"Alright. I love you, Kara."

"I love you, too, X". She didn't hesitate much. I did, though, before finally saying...


"Bye!", she said, her voice going up at the end, as always.

I remember I wasn't 100% sure what had just happened, but what I do remember is that, after I hung up the phone that day, I was still hopeful, if not optimistic, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Like I said before; I really, honestly thought that we were fated to be together. Maybe it would take a little more time, maybe it would take a little more bullshit with Ted or something else, maybe it wouldn't be easy...but I really thought it was meant to be; that we couldn't have stopped it, even if we'd wanted to.

Of course, if that were the case, you wouldn't be reading this, would you?

Anyway, for the next few days, life went on. Nothing much happened that I can remember. All I really recall is waiting...and waiting...to hear from her. But I didn't. I figured a week wasn't too big a deal; then a week came & went. Then, I figured two weeks was probably understandable, under the circumstances, but nothing. Finally, at the end of the second week, I had paced a groove in the floor & worn my fingernails down to the quick. I was impatient, confused, worried, and I missed her.

So, almost 2 weeks to the day after we had last talked, I took the chance (in the days before caller-ID), and called her, but Ted anwsered the phone. So, I hung up. I remember at the time wondering if he thought it was me or not...I know I would have. I didn;'t know any other way to get in touch with her, so I did the next best thing: I called Heidi.

Heidi hadn't heard from her in a few days, but I tried to grill her for any information I could, which wasn't much. All she really was able to tell me was that, as far as she could tell, nothing had yet upset the status quo. Kara hadn't moved out, or even broken up with Ted yet. She said Kara hadn't mentioned me except to say that we agreed to take a break & let things calm down for a while. I remember asking her how she had worded it, but she didn't remember exactly; all I really was able to glean from talking to Heidi was that Kara had apparently not done much of anything since we'd talked; if she was biding her time waiting until he could be together again, she was biding it well. I also knew if Heidi really knew anything, she wouldn't betray Kara & tell me, so I said goodbye, and went back to my pacing.

Another couple of days, and nothing. All I remember is waiting & wondering. My friends started to notice it, but there wasn't anything they could say or do to take my mind off it. It was about this time that I developed a habit that stuck with me for the rest of that summer; I would go buy a bottle of vodka, put the most depressing music I could find on my turntable, open the door to my balcony & sit outside there, drinking & looking down at the cars go by until I passed out or Alan dragged me in, whichever came first.

I tried Kara twice more (I think), but once I got no answer,and the next I got Ted again. I didn't want to push my luck, so I didn't try again for a few days, but still I heard nothing. I remember one day I wake up on the balcony at about ten in the morning with the sun burning holes into my eyes realized I was 2 hours late for work. That day, I started to get pissed about it all; both at myself, and, as much as I was able to, at her (which wasn't much).

It was either that day or the day after that I came home from work & decided that I was not going to do my usual routine of drinking alone that night;I was going to go across the street to the bar, which I hadn't visited lately. I walked in & sitting at the bar, talking to the bartender, was my old friend Thomas, who had gone to grade school with alongside Ted. He & I hadn't seen each other much in the last few years, but he & Ted were still close friends, and he had gotten to know Kara since they had been together, as well. I was glad to see him, and sat down next to him planning to get extremely drunk & forget my problems by reminiscing about the old days. Of course, 2 minutes hadn't gone by when the subject turned to Kara. At this point, halfway buzzed & totally unwittingly, I did something that, I would learn later, would impact my life dramatically.

Thomas & I hadn't really seen each other since all the drama had started, and he was curious to hear my side of the story, so I just let it all pour out. I told him everything, from the very beginning, without even thinking twice. I told him about everything that had been happening that summer, and everything that we had said & done since we'd been seeing each other again. I told him what she had said about Ted, the things she had told me, the way she claimed to feel...everything. It was easy to talk to him...I had known Thomas for over 10 years, and it felt good to let it all out, something I hadn't even done with Alan or any of my friends. We laughed & talked and I'm pretty sure I cried at least once, and I left that night feeling better for the first time in a long time. I remember when I got home that night, Alan & I watched Spinal Tap because his girlfriend had never seen it (she totally didn't get it), and I laughed some more, which surprised everyone at that point in time. I fell asleep that night & I wasn't even drunk, and I remember thinking it felt nice.

Then, the next day, the phone rang.

It was her. And she was pissed.

At first, I was so glad to hear from her that I didn't even realize it. I remember distinctly the way I felt when the phone rang that day, and my heart jumped just a little bit, as it had every time the phone had rang over the past 3 weeks. When I picked it up & actually heard her voice, it wasn't until she called me a bastard that I stopped smiling.

"Wait a minute...what's wrong?", I asked her, totally shocked.

"What in the HELL did you tell Thomas?", she screamed at me.

Oh, boy, I remember thinking, I could be fucked here.

"What do you mean? I just...I was just talking to him.", I stammered.

"Talking to him about everything that happened between us! And some things that you apparently made up in your head, too!" Oh yes...I was definitely fucked.

"What are you talking about, Kara? He's a friend of mine; I can't talk to a friend of mine about my life?", I said, even though I knew I was fucked.

"He's not just a friend of yours, remember? He's a friend of a certain other person, too!". Oh boy...

"What do you mean?". I knew goddamn well what she meant.

"He told Ted everything, X! Everything that you told him, and some other things that I don't know where you got the idea about!"

"What do you mean by that?", I asked.

"Oh, all this stuff about us having some master plan to live happily ever after & me just counting the days until I leave Ted & come running to you!"

I didn't know what to say for a minute. I tried to flash back through the happy-hour haze to my conversation with Thomas; sure, I had probably said something like that, but so had she!

"Well, isn't that basically what you told me, Kara? Didn't you say you wanted us to be together? That you knew things were basically over between you & Ted, and maybe something about you loving me, too?" I might've been fucked, but I was pissed now.

"I didn't tell you that; not the way you told it to him!", she said.

"What, is Ted right there with you & you just can't say it in front of him, or what?". Even as I said it, I knew it probably wasn't true; Kara took care of her own business; she wouldn't want or need any man there looking over her shoulder.

"No, he's not here, but that's none of your business, just like it wasn't your business to tell anybody what goes on between us!"

"Oh, so you never talk to Heidi or anybody about us?", I said.

"I wouldn't talk to one of your girlfriend's best friends about us!", she yelled.

"Well, Kara, I don't have a girlfriend, and if you'd stop sleeping with all of my friends, I might have some left to talk about my problems with!". I was really pissed, now. After I said it, I expected her to hang up, but she didn't.

"Are you there?", I asked.


"I'm here.", she said.

"So are you saying none of that is true, then? You're not in love with me? You don't want us to be together?"

"I told you I wanted to be together if we could make sure it was right. Next thing I know, your drunk in some bar telling Thomas all our private business, and then he goes & tells Ted that I'm going to leave him for you! I never told you that; I told you that if things were meant to be, then they would work themselves out!"

"Well nothing has been working itself out, though, has it, Kara? You're still over there with him, I haven't so much as talked to you, and now you're mad at me because he found out some things you said to me during the affair that he knew we were having? Are you mad at me or mad because he found out some things you didn't want him too?", I said.

"I'm mad at you because you lie, and because I can't trust you! Just like what happened with Heidi!"

"I lie? What have I lied about here, Kara?"

"You told him what you wanted to be true, not what was true! I never promised you anything, this time or any time, and you know it!" She had me there; she had never promised me anything. I'm sure there was a bit of wishful thinking in my interpretation of the story that I told to Thomas, but certainly nothing was blatantly untrue. Looking back on it, I would have figured she would have realized that eventually, but I don't know if she ever did.

"I told him what I believed to be true, from the impressions that you gave me. I told him that we both knew there was something special between us, but we didn't know what the hell to do with it, and we figured that maybe in the future we could figure it out. I told him that you didn't think things were going to work out with you & Ted, but you weren't going to just up & leave him, and after you had dealt with that, then we would see what happened with us? Now what part of that isn't true?"


"Well, that's not exactly the impression he got, and that's sure not what he ended up telling Ted!", she said. She wasn't yelling anymore, though.

"Well, I can't help what Thomas thinks or what he says, but you know what's true & what's not, Kara..."

"You still shouldn't have told him all that; it was between us. And I bet you took every chance to say something that you knew would cause problems for me, 'cus that's what you want to do! I just can't trust you..."

"I didn't think I had to cause any problems; I thought you & Ted were all but over?" I was still pissed, and still yelling.

"See, there you go again! I told you I didn't know what was going to happen with me & him; you just heard that it was almost over. Or you wanted Ted to hear it, or both!"

"See, that's all this is about, isn't it? It's because Ted heard some things that Kara didn't want him to hear! Wether they were true or not, you're just mad because you got caught!". By this point, I had chain-smoked almost half a pack, and I was so mad, I probably would have been fuming without them.

"I didn't do the things you tried to get me 'caught' for, though! You just try to paint everything the way you see it; I'm always the bad guy!"

And that was it.

"Well, goddamn it, Kara..once & for all, if you don't want to be the bad guy, quit fucking my friends & fucking up my life! Just stay out of it, then I'll be a lot better off!" I'm sure they could hear me on the next block.

"Oh, so now you want me to stay away from you? That's a new one!", she said sarcastically.

"Yeah, well maybe I should have thought of it a while ago!", and at that moment, I almost wished I had. Then, for reasons I still don't know to this day, she decided to pull out the big guns.

"I thought you were in love with me?", she said.

Without hesitation, I said "I'll get over it!", and I hung up the phone.

And, with that, it was over. Really, truly, finally, over.

It just took me years & years to realize it...