The love you take
For You, The Stars
Chapter Fifteen: Installment 3
Things didn’t work out with Kim either. It was mainly physical. I would have been happy to keep it going. I thought she was cool and I thought her being into me made me cool too, but she ended it. I didn’t argue or cry. As usual by then I had my eyes on someone else as well, a friend of Chad’s ex- named Bronwen who was on her own tear, meeting, mating with, and then breaking up with a series of guys herself without looking back. She was also very physically uninhibited and I was getting used to the idea that some women would initiate things without me having to life a finger. That flared out quickly. She broke up with me on my birthday after giving me a present and there were literally no hard feelings. In fact for the next few months whenever I was drunk or lonely or I’d walk over to her place by the park, just a few blocks away from the Gomer homestead and see if she was in. Frequently she’d take me back into bed with her.
Bronwen would also have parties on Friday or Saturday nights, every few weeks or so. I’d go, smoke a joint with her friends, get a little drunk, and then hang around till everyone else left. Sometimes one or more guys, at least one of whom was also her ex, would be playing the same game. I’d offer to sleep on the couch but then in the middle of the night she’d come out to get me. This happened less and less often until one day when I ran into her on my block, wearing sweats but still looking hot to me, and I told her that she was getting me excited, trying to flirt.
She pushed me into my doorway and got real close up to me and then she whispered, “Deal with it,” and turned around and walked away.
After her came Eliza, who came to me for advice when her boyfriend was heading to Japan for six weeks. She said she wasn’t sure whether she should try to have a long-distance relationship with him. “They don’t work,” I said, and told her about some of my experiences. I acted like her friend but I was totally trying to get her to become available to me. We were having this conversation at the bar at Slim’s during a Bela Fleck concert.
Sure enough she broke up with him and we got together within a week or so. I fell for Eliza hard. She seemed better than me. A better writer, a better painter. (I had started taking my painting classes again.) I guess somehow I communicated that to her and one day, after I got back from Hopper’s bachelor party in New Orleans it was over. Suddenly I felt the way Simone must have felt. I was the one crying and asking if maybe there was some way she might change her mind. She was the one lying and saying sure maybe there’s some tiny chance of that when there was no chance at all.
I dug out a note Simone had written to me when I had been cruelly casting her aside:
I don’t know what to do. Last night you acted like nothing is going on, yet you seemed so sad. I don’t want you to be unhappy, I love you, talk to me I’m confused too. I still think the best thing for both of us is to enrich our individual lives, see other friends, spend more time on school & writing, etc., but still be w/ each other. I don’t think we have to lose that & I don’t want to. This is what I want. I don’t want anyone else as my lover but you. But you’re right - it’s been unhealthy & too much of a strain to have each other as the center of our lives. Maybe if each of us knew what we wanted in life & out of life that would help. I’m unsure but I know I want my life to have you in it.
I was going to wait until you talke to me but I’m not a very good waiter. I wanted to say this to you & release some of my pent-up anxiety. I don’t know how much sense I am making but I do feel better.
I hope this works out, it would be a shame if it didn’t.
I felt like even more of an asshole as I re-read that.
In the same folder I found a note I had written to Cecilia and obviously never given her, thank god. We had never fought as we drifted apart, at least not about fidelity and matters like that, but we had always argued and I guess I - in many ways more like Simone than Cecilia myself - needed to write things down to deal with my anxiety. I had written:
You are mean and insecure. You can dish it out but you want to get out of taking it. You’re offended by an insult to your sleazy disco friends and then you deliberately provoke me into anger and defensiveness by insulting me in a way that you know will hurt me. Then your meanly laugh at me for losing my temper.
You lie to cover up how unfair you are in this sort of thing. You claim that it’s all right to call me stupid (when you would freak if I called you that) because I know I’m smart. Turn that around though. You know you’re pretty, but you wouldn’t want me to call you fat. You can’t take anything less than
adulation orextreme flattery. You have no problem insulting my looks and my body. The fact is that you like to be able to insult me and you don’t like to be insulted. It’s ironic that you’ll so quickly jump to (phone cards) calling me a baby….
Mercifully I stopped writing at that point.
In mid-December I got a card from Bella that said nothing about Cecilia, who by then I hadn’t spoken to for several months. Below the part that said “To wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” she wrote:
—and continued expansion into the new millennium.
That’s all - I mean nothing but the BEST of WISHES for you. Know what I mean? ‘Cause I do mean it. Hmmm… is that actually true? You could easily debate it because I used the mini-word ‘cause. Is this what you mean by self-conscious Dano?
Whatever else may be true I do love you.
P.S. Where’s my tape?
P.P.S. tee hee - just teasing
Much love, Bella.
PPPS. - I’ll probably be in NYC for X-mas - if I am, Paulie will be here too—
. . . . .