Monday, January 12, 2009

He's holding me there

This happens every night now: just when I’m getting too exhausted to function, I start thinking about Derek and it’s like I’m rehearsing conversations in my head and it all just circles around and around because I don’t know what he’s thinking at all and I hate that. Tonight is a little better, because when I take the homeopathic remedy my head clears a bit and then I’m thinking I should leave Derek a voicemail, just so I say what I want, except that I can’t figure out exactly what that is. At first I think I want to ask how he wants to proceed with our relationship, or something like that, but then I realize I’m doing that thing that I hate – putting it on his terms, as if I’ve done something wrong. Facilitating his ability to speak, when he’s silencing me. Then I start to crash again, but now it’s all in my head I just want to leave a message so I don’t have to think about it so much. But what if he answers – I mean his phone is always off when he goes to bed, and he goes to bed at 9 pm, but what if he accidentally leaves it on, and he answers and then I’m a complete mess and I can’t even talk I mean I guess he would be a mess too, but that wouldn’t make it better.

Then I’m thinking about what would happen if he answered, I would say: sorry I woke you, I was just calling to leave a message. Maybe he’d say: don’t call me again. And I’d say: don’t talk to me like that. Do you see what I mean? At least now I know what I want to say, I’ve finally figured it out on a piece of paper so I can call tomorrow, when I’m not such a mess. But what if I’m more of a mess tomorrow? I just want to get it over with, so then I call and it rings so many more times than I expected, every new ring is like an inner tube around my chest and finally it’s Derek’s voice, softer and more friendly than his usual message I’m wondering if that’s something he practiced. I say: hi darling, how are you? I sent you a note, but I’m not sure if you got it – I’m wondering how you’re doing, and if you ever read my letter. I guess I’m feeling really nervous – I have a lot of fear about your anger from our previous conversations, which I don’t really think was justified by anything I said or did. And then I also feel a sense of loss about our relationship, since for so long it’s been the one relationship I felt I could count on—and I think you’ve felt similarly – so anyway, I want to know what you’re thinking. So call me -- hope you’re doing well. Love you.

I’m really tense while I’m speaking, almost mumbling but when I listen it’s clear, and then as soon as I say the part about a sense of loss than my voice gets bigger and more cheery almost because I said what I want, and when I get off the phone I feel kind of amazing, I mean totally wired and it’s 3 am not the best time to be wired but I get dressed anyway and go outside for tweaker realness of course I’m thinking maybe I’ll find someone to have sex with, someone to fuck is what I’m thinking it’s that desire mixed with anger, maybe that’s what most people feel all the time, I mean most of these people I run into in these spaces where I have sex. But not on my walks, I actually walk much further than usual, up to the top of the hill and I’m looking down and then to the left and oh these views is it possible to live somewhere just because of the views I love these views! Then I’m standing outside of Cala Foods, wondering if I should go inside because it’s open but I can’t think of anything I want there, so then I walk back downhill and my body’s hurting but when I get inside I still feel sexual, in a different way that’s calmer and maybe related to exercise the way the blood flows and then I’m on the phone sex line talking to this guy who says I love you which is hilarious and I love it, then he says I love your cock, which isn’t so exciting, so I say tell me you love me tell me you love me. I love you, he says. I love you.

I used to hate it when tricks would say I love you, I mean the tricks who would pay me and so much of that was about illusion not fantasy they really wanted it to be true but it was more fun this one time when this guy said relax it’s just a fantasy say you love me and that was perfect. I love you. I love you. And then I’m standing up to shoot my come out the window, every other window outside is dark, shooting into the dark seven floors up and I feel amazing, laughing with this guy on the phone who likes talking about barebacking or maybe it’s me who likes talking about barebacking that’s what the phone sex line is about more or less and it used to freak me out when someone said breed me or whatever but now I think it’s kind of the safer option, right? I mean safer on the phone. So I go there, into the porn talk and tragic masculinity and it’s fine as long as I can let it go, let it go with this laughter and he’s up early while I’m up late it’s approaching 5 am I have to go to bed and the strange thing is that when I wake up I actually feel better, better than I’ve felt in a while I guess because I figured out how to tell Derek what I wanted, who knows if he’ll even listen to the message. I don’t check my voicemail until later in the day because I don’t want to ruin my mood and then there are five messages and my body gets all clenched each time there’s a new voice, none of the voices is Derek and then I wonder if he’s decided not to talk to me at all, decided I’m not worth contacting or whatever some AA formula of cutting people off and that’s when I crash, mostly from the tension of anticipation and the sense of loss again, my closest friendship of 16 going on 17 years all crumpled into Derek’s fist he’s holding me there.


davka said...

wow. what a piece.

i have made so many mistakes in benzodiazepine induced clarity, calling people up late night to say what i really feel. epistles of love left on voicemails.

this was great from start to finish.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Davka, yes calling late at night with late-at-night truth is so hard and anyway truth is so hard and love, oh...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the piece, thanks so much for writing!

Love --