Who I’m looking for: Someone who will wreck my life. Ideally, you will trap me in a vicious cycle of hope, desire, ecstasy, torment, and self-loathing, each cycle imbued with its own unique form of soul-shredding viciousness.
You will disappear for days, only to re-emerge suddenly, and casually reveal that you “went on a road trip to the beach with Micah, this guy I had this complicated thing with last year, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, it was just this crazy thing I didn’t expect. But I’m back home now and I’m late for work.”
I will be rendered sleepless for days.
One morning you will suddenly call and ask me to hang out with you at the coffee shop at around noon. I will then proceed to trip over the tatters of my dignity in a rush to the library in order to find something that I hope will impress you and lead to nudity.
I will then arrive at the coffee shop an hour early.
Where I will wait.
I will call.
Your cell phone will go directly to voicemail.
I will wait.
I will call again… voicemail.
And again… voicemail.
I will check my phone incessantly.
Hours later my phone will ring. I will answer it mid-ring.
You will apologize, and explain that, “Aiden came over to my apartment to talk because he’s really depressed and he needed someone to listen to him and I lost track of time.”
As the wind is knocked out of me and the bile wells up in my throat, I will manage a “no problem,” in a voice that cracks under the strain of forced indifference. “And anyway,” I will sputter, “it’s no big deal because I was reading this book of Neruda’s poetry, and I almost forgot that we were even supposed to meet.”
You will then say, “I’ll be there really soon… but is it OK if Aiden comes?”
It is not.
And my stomach will be a calamity of elation and fear and hate.
An hour and forty-three minutes later you and Aiden will arrive, and Aiden will be tall and toned and will have a hemp necklace. He will resemble Kurt Cobain. He will brush away his blond locks with confidence and indifference, and thereby reveal his intense greenish eyes and his world-weary smirk.
You will introduce us, and he will cock his head up in that really confident way that I can’t, but I will have already extended my shaky, clammy hand and it will hang there for fucking ever until he finally extends his in a way that implies that he normally does not shake hands, and his social domination over me will be utter and complete.
And as I begin to realize that my plans of impressing you with my knowledge of Latin American poetry followed by cunnilingus will come to naught, you will ask, “Do you want to go smoke a bowl with me and Aiden at his apartment?”
I do not.
Dear god I do not.
I most certainly do not want to go smoke a bowl with you and Aiden back at his apartment where my body will be gripped in a paralyzing chill of dread and self-loathing as I watch him play the guitar and engage you in a philosophical conversation infused with an undertone of intense sexuality that I neither have access to nor understand.
And then Aiden’s friends will arrive, and they will play music.
I will watch, motionless, as he and you sit ever closer together, until finally your head rests briefly on his shoulder, and then lightly on his chest, and I will think I just heard you say “you smell good” in a raspy, quivering voice, as your nose passes gently by his neck.
And I will be indifferent, always indifferent, glancing casually at an Iron & Wine album, or a book on Buddhist meditation, as if I, too, am familiar with these things, am one of you, a member of your tribe of beautiful, artistic, sexual bohemians. And as the sky grows dark, I will watch you flush with arousal at Aidan’s mystery and his virtuosity, and I will retreat into myself, and I will deny that I’m seeing what I’m seeing, and then suddenly I will be alone with Aiden’s friends, and you will be in Aiden’s bedroom, and the door will be closed but not entirely, and I will hear, and Aiden’s friends will think nothing of this.
And then you will emerge, and I will stand there panicked and utterly lost, and I will beg you to please speak with me outside, just you and me, and you will, but by now you will have an impatient urgency to your voice, as you say:
“Aiden asked me to ride with him to Colorado, and we’re leaving today.”
And my facade will crack, and I will become angry, and I will say “I love you,” and Aiden will appear, and he will tell me that this is none of my business. His friends will agree.
And I will stumble home where I will wretch over the toilet and then stare at the wall, and I will check my phone incessantly, and I will finally call you, and it will go directly to voicemail.