tears dry on their own

I was listening to Amy Winehouse when Johnny knocked on my door. I nearly dropped my 7&7 when I noticed his eyes through the small glass circle.

It was beyond me how he could have possibly found out where I lived until it struck me that he probably had called my mother. She always liked Johnny, always expected the ring on my finger, the white picket fence, the Sunday brunch by the time I was twenty-five. It was absolutely insane.

I didn’t want to answer the door but I was pretty sure he heard me swear through the thin wood. It came from me in such an organic fashion that there was no stopping the word ‘Shit!’ from spilling over my lips and filling the room with its oblivious lack of class or composure. But I meant it, through and through.

I took a breath and a long gulp, cringed like I was threatened with a fist, and opened the door.

He was holding two red Chinese worry balls in one hand, spinning them at a moderate pace. He had some uneven facial hair, and his eyes were full of wine. He slumped down on the couch for the first time like he had sat there a million times before, and looked up at me, offering his hand.

“What’s the deal?” I queried, because at this point I was worried. I hadn’t spoken to him since that day in the bar where he came in with the pink girl that couldn’t drink. And before that, God knows how long it had been.

“Do you have a drink?”

“Why, yes, I’ve had a few, why do you ask?”

He smiled and nodded. “Same old Jolie.”

I didn’t know what that meant, if it implied an insult or a compliment. I was choosing to take it as an insult because frankly, he didn’t know me at all anymore, and one off the wall comment shouldn’t have been enough for him to assume that he did. Years had passed since he had been a part of my everyday life. People didn’t usually lose their sense of humor.

He stood up and meandered to the kitchen, began rifling through my refrigerator, all the while spinning those worry balls.

The music was loud and the drink had started softening me. I let him find the booze and pour himself a short glass. We sat down at the kitchen table.

“I’m moving in with her.”

Her. It was interesting to me because it had just now hit me that I didn’t even know her name. I mean, it wasn’t that odd because in retrospect I had just thought of her as ‘the pink girl,’ or as ‘the girl scout’ occasionally, but I never had even stopped to think about the fact that her actual name was lost to me.

I raised my glass. “Cheers?” I realized immediately afterward that it had come off as insensitive, immature even. Obviously he was ‘giving me the news’ in a manner that was to prove him still a kind soul. Perhaps he thought I was still in love with him. Which could or could not have been correct. But I was offended by his obvious vanity.

I finished my drink. “Well, cool, I guess. Why’d you track me down to tell me?”

His hand fumbled over the table to find mine. “Because I love you. Because I’ve always loved you and I’ll always love you. But I’m moving in with her and I just wanted to tell you before you found out some other way.”

It was a sweet gesture. My eyes began to sting and it was incredibly frustrating. I fought the wave of emotion that was washing over me. Then there was my victory; I could feel my body rejecting that vulnerability. I breathed deep a few times, stood up to make another drink.

“Well, thanks I guess.”

“You guess?”

“I guess. Well what else should I say?”

“How about what you’re really feeling?”

This was one of many things about Johnny I did not miss. He was very womanlike in the respect that even though we could hardly call each other friends anymore, he wanted to know what I was thinking, what I was feeling. He wanted to know how he affected me, and he wanted me to know how I affected him. Well I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

I shrugged and sort of giggled. “I feel fine about it. We haven’t even talked in a really long time, did you think I was waiting around for you or something?”

He sighed and I smelled the alcohol on his breath.

“I’m like, seeing someone.”

His eyes widened. “Really?” I was of course, half lying. Could you call what I was doing with Drew seeing someone? Probably not. I wasn’t terribly unpopular; I still had my suitors and all. Even James from time to time would be around. But I didn’t have that feeling of home, that exaltation of not having to be out there anymore, searching for the bigger, better thing. I couldn’t even say I was in love, really.

Although I had begun having a love affair with myself, so that was something.

My mind crept to my mother’s reaction; my phoning her, telling her that Johnny was shacking up with a girl scout, and her sobbing uncontrollably. The lecture that would come later. How I should have been more ready to settle down, that if I kept on this path most likely I would grow up to be some spinster or God forbid, cut my hair short and become a lesbian. “He was always such a nice boy…”

The nice boy was way more taken than I thought he was.

I wanted to parade Drew and James and Rabbit in front of him. I wanted to show him a photobooth strip, as well as pictures of us all about town and on vacation, smiling, laughing, like in the photos that come with picture frames. But I didn’t have any photos like that. As a matter of fact, I had no photos at all.

That led me to pondering the importance of photographs. Was that something that only came with serious relationships? That the only people who took pictures together anymore were drunken girls with myspace in mind or people wickedly in love?

We said little else, finished our drinks. He left the worry balls on the table when he left. I don’t know if he merely forgot them or thought I would need them.

I still didn’t know her name.


1 Response to “tears dry on their own”

  1. 1 B-Town
    May 7, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Ok, I get the ‘pink girl’ now.

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