For the moment I would like to return to the subject of my relationships, of the romantic variety, as there’s still some catching up to do on that front.
Following the soup incident I remained single for a little while before something unexpected happened. It was during the interval of my life when I was heavily using cocaine and LSD that I struck up quite the interesting friendship with a quite remarkable girl in Indiana. She and I would spend literally hours on end discussing everything from theoretical physics to obscure religious practices and myths.
She was articulate and brilliant, and I positively loved the opportunities I had to talk with her, whether online or over the phone. There were occasional intervals of silence between us, as life would get in the way on both ends of the line, but we had no difficulty picking back up right where we left off.
It was during the Christmas break just after my friend who’d been working at Perkin’s moved in with me that she decided to take a brief vacation to see me. It was an exceptionally wonderful couple of weeks for me, and apparently for her as well. She was lovely in addition to being intelligent, and as passionate with her flesh as she was with her mind. There was no question on either of our parts that we could have a thoroughly fulfilling relationship…if the opportunity arose to pursue such a thing.
She returned to Indiana and her college courses: she was actively pursuing a degree in forensic psychology, and she was in school on a full scholarship that exceeded the cost of her classes and course materials (which is one hell of a pleasant position to find oneself in). She had an excellent deal going for her there and I was exceedingly happy for her.
It was only a couple of weeks after she’d returned to her real life when she proposed taking a hiatus from school in order to return to South Dakota and begin a relationship with me. I was adamantly opposed to her making what I considered to be a monumental mistake. I fought as hard as I possibly could to convince her to stay where she was, that we could continue seeing each other during the breaks from her schooling and that, if it was something that proved to be as good as we both believed it might be, we could get by like that until she had graduated and go from there.
I even went so far as to enlist my roommate to help me explain to her what a bad idea it was, her putting her real life on hold to come slumming with us. She had a good life there; a job she happened to like, an excellent educational opportunity, and friends…and it seemed like such a categorically terrible idea for her to walk away from all of that, least of all for something like me.
Of course she wouldn’t listen to reason, otherwise this story wouldn’t be something worth talking about right now. Sure as shit, she withdrew from classes, turned in her two weeks at work, and made preparations to vacate her apartment (which included paying out a penalty for early termination of the lease, if I recall correctly). There was no stopping this girl if she put her mind to something, and she was absolutely certain that we belonged together.
Hell, maybe she was right about that too, and we were supposed to be together (if such a thing is even reasonable to consider, which I don’t believe)…but I certainly fucked that all up. It wasn’t right away though, that I fucked it up, we actually had a good year and a half (almost) before she finally did return to the better life she’d left behind.
It was a great year and a half, with a woman who genuinely loved and cared about me in the sort of selfless way that only seems to exist in fiction. She made sure that I was taking care of myself and did her best to encourage me to improve my life in any way that we conceivably could.
When she arrived here I was working for the local ABC affiliate, including two terrible overnight shifts on the weekends. It wasn’t a bad job really, but the pay was borderline pathetic and there were no benefits even though I was employed there full time for almost two years by the time she arrived. There were some benefits to working almost entirely autonomously though; one night in particular comes to mind when she and I made our way through the hatch and onto the roof of the building where we had sex against the edge facing the bar across the street where the bar crowd below us scurried from one place to another trying to stay out of the gentle, slightly chilly rain that was falling. I’ve enjoyed plenty of sex, before and since (including numerous instances with her), but something about that particular experience always stands out for me.
Were it not for her encouragement and support I may not have quite that job and taken a better position with the local NBC affiliate; a job that provided both better pay and decent benefits, an end to working overnight (though I did work into the middle of the night, but not all night long at least), and the added bonus of having three days off every week.
In addition to the improved occupation, her presence in my life and the stability that it helped to promote allowed me to begin seeing more of my children than I had been previously, and for that alone I would always be grateful to her. She was amazing with the kids as well, spending time coloring with them on the floor while I sat in my recliner or at my desk watching them bond. She was fond of the children and they were quite fond of her, though they likely wouldn’t remember her today (but I have pictures that might elicit some recollection, perhaps).
She fell comfortably into the same routine as my roommate and I, watching Farscape on Friday nights, enjoying the final season of the X-Files together, and just all around enjoying the life that we had (as banal and pointless as it might have been).
I wasn’t able to enjoy the relationship as freely as I wanted to though, there were some major reservations on my part; because while my life was steadily improving, her own seemed to have stagnated in the cesspool that was my pointless existence. I felt guilty about what she had given up to be with me and I resented her a little bit for that, for putting me in the position of feeling that way about something that I wanted to embrace. She was doing her best to save me (mostly from myself), and it felt like she was being consumed in the process. She has disagreed with me about this for years, claiming that this interlude in her life was somehow a positive and pivotal experience, which has helped to shape everything that followed…but I suspect that she is just being charitable, because that’s the sort of person she is.
I began to withdraw from her more and more as the guilt got worse, spending less time around the apartment. That was made easier by virtue of the fact that an old friend of mine had reappeared in my life. We’ll refer to this friend as The Chemical Toilet, because I always have referred to her that way…it’s both a term of mocking endearment and a factual assessment of her most defining characteristic. I took this as an opportunity to be out drinking rather than being at home, and I fostered the impression that there was something more going on between myself and The Chemical Toilet, that I was being unfaithful…at least until she got arrested for drug possession. But the damage had already been done and it was only a short while later before my girlfriend returned to Indiana and the life that she deserved to be living.
We are still close, and she will always be a treasured friend…but I don’t regret pushing her out of my life, though I could have perhaps utilized a less hurtful method, because she genuinely deserved so much better than she could ever have found with me.
Perhaps it was because my roommate and I discovered a reliable and constant source of high quality methamphetamine shortly after she moved out, but my judgment was clearly impaired when I decided that a relationship might be possible with The Chemical Toilet when she got out of jail a month or so later.
That ended about as well as one might suspect, which was no surprise to me (even at the time). The worst that could be said is that I was disappointed in her, but nowhere near as disappointed as I was in myself. I’d gone from something deeply fulfilling to settling for something disastrous that held no potential for any real depth or positive mobility.
That shouldn’t be too surprising to you though, not anymore. We know just how stupid I can be…and it should no longer surprise us. Nothing I do should really be much of a surprise to us anymore.