We end up not talking when I get to his house. I’m closed up, tightly wound, and rigid. I ask to see the latest pottery that his sister has created. Her newest thing: totem poles. She fashions tubes of clay that resemble long, overgrown napkin rings. Each one has a face or a saying or even a single word. They are each glazed a different color, some look metallic. I read the words: love, joy, dream. Her wishes for him. The tubes are stacked on a copper pipe that he’s driven into the earth. The copper is significant. It allows the wishes and wants to flow to the earth.
I murmur about how lovely the glazes are, glistening in the sun, but refrain from commenting on the significance they’ll given the pipe. If that’s their belief then I’ll not disturb it with questions or comment.
When we go back inside I ask about his brother-in-law’s brain tumor. He had sounded all broken up over it when we spoke on the phone. He licked his lips and rubbed his hands together, then turned to busy himself with wiping the kitchen counter. ”It’s just under the skull, and sort of towards the back of the head,” he pointed to the corresponding spot on his own big head. I asked if it was encapsulated or was it star shaped. His eyes widened, “Oh. It’s just round. About the size of an olive.” Before I could ask if his brother-in-law was having symptoms he blurted, “The doctor said it’s fine and R doesn’t need surgery unless it starts causing problems.” I looked at him surprised, “Oh.” That was the end of the story. Apparently that wasn’t what had him all tied up in knots.
I talked him into showing me the photos from the motorcycle trip, and he wasn’t at all happy to show me them. Growling, he assured me that I’d find something to pick apart in them. I coldly replied, “If you have something to hide, then don’t show them to me. I really don’t give a fuck.” I started to get up, and he muttered that he wasn’t good with the camera, and opened the file. I don’t know what he was worried about, unless he honestly didn’t remember what he’d photographed, because there was nothing objectionable there. A couple attempts at art shots in the airport at La Guardia. One of a young Asian woman dressed from head to toe in black and white, unsmiling and plain, the condiments on the table. The iPads that were everywhere. The rest were of the group. The girls were all trying to look like bad-ass biker chicks, but we’re all too old to pull that look off. Mostly, they looked like soft, older women who hid mom jeans under their fringed vests. Most of them had put on a lot of weight in the past few months. I didn’t comment on their appearances. I’ve noticed that my clothes were getting tight, too. We’re all getting to that age.
Of course, Angel me whispered, “Time to start eating ‘clean’. You don’t want to look like that.”
The next photo was a shot of the girls lined up with the mountain range in the back. He had teased that the scenery was nice when he posted that photo on the social networking site – clearly complimenting the girls on their rear-ends. The girls were delighted, of course. I commented on the mountain range, stating that it must have been breathtaking to see. It was. I didn’t comment on the line of wide rear ends. He looked at me, studying my face to see if I was hiding something, but I wasn’t offering anything. He clicked through the rest. M with some old guy’s Newfoundland dog. She adopts dogs and cats regularly, and also has chickens and ducks. She’s J’s girlfriend, the one he was itching to leave and I told him to stay with her. She supported him until B gave him a job. Now they live together. She’s quiet and leads J around by the dick but he’s happy enough that he never goes out anymore. She’s become defensive of D as well. I posted a meme after I got off the phone with someone who wondered if I should get back with H since he was having trouble financially (WTF? I divorced his abusive butt). It was about getting back with an ex making as much sense as going to a yard sale and buying back your old shit. She thumped me. Another friend thumped her back. I ended up explaining, and feeling weird about it.
But mostly the weird was the realization that he DOES talk about me to them. All of that was running through my mind while he flipped through the photos explaining them all. The truth: the cabin, the scenery and the town are absolutely lovely and quaint. I commented that Lake Sunapee would have looked like a postcard had the sky been clear. This was no Daytona. It was just a quaint little place with a nice bike fest. There were photos of them sitting at long tables in restaurants that weren’t all that crowded. That’s when I noticed how heavy J had become and I blurted out, “He’s put on a lot of weight since I saw him last!” I saved myself by commenting that M was a great cook. Or maybe I didn’t save myself. I didn’t care about that either. They all had plates piled with ribs, potatoes, steaks in front of them. No one was dieting, and everyone was eating like tomorrow may not arrive. I didn’t comment on that – because it really grossed me out. I wondered if that was part of his issue with me, that I don’t eat like a pig, and that he’d not be comfortable eating half a chicken, a rack of ribs, and a pound of buttered potatoes in front of me. He is self conscious.
He finished scrolling through the photos, a little exasperated. Maybe he’d thought the Asian chick was hot, or maybe he was worried that I thought he was interested in her. I mentally threw my hands up for I could see nothing questionable. Except for the dinner and lunch spreads that I didn’t comment on.
I sat down with him to watch a movie, but I kept my distance. He finally told me to sit closer, “Touch me, dammit. I’ve been so lonely because I haven’t seen you, and I need to feel you. I love you. I need your touch.” I moved closer and he pulled me close. Like kryptonite….I did miss him.
I rested my head against his chest and listened to his heart pounding against his ribs – too fast. Was it fear because he was wondering if I was leaving or was it a response to a lie? The lie, of course, being that he loved me. I wasn’t sure so I let my head stay on his chest for long minutes, and his heart galloped like a horse running from a burning barn. I gave him a squeeze, and he kissed the top of my head. The horse who lived in his heart galloped on. The touch loosened his tongue, and he began to talk about this trip. C was selfish – treating his girlfriend like a doormat, and that silly girl co-signed on a new Harley Davidson for C (even though he’ll likely have dumped her by December). K and K were obnoxious. M was quiet. L and S were better behaved than he expected (they had acted like fools at the wedding). W was a nice guy, but his wife was drunk and unhappy. A and B paid for everything. They stayed in B’s house. B didn’t bring his wife, but he concerned himself with making sure everyone had fun.
Then he sang about the wedding. JD had brought hot pink duct tape. To a wedding? JD is a professional photographer. I looked at D, puzzled. He continued. S and L were wasted; in fact, S was so wasted that he hollered drunkenly throughout the toast. I shuddered. So much for honoring the bride. Then again, the bride was K. The duct tape came out, and they taped C to a pole. D was talking to B and his wife. They looked on – stunned – when the bride dropped to her knees in her wedding gown and pantomimed oral sex on C. My jaw hit the floor, “She pretended to suck C off at the reception? What a proud moment for her new husband.” D nodded, “I was embarrassed for him, but he had to know what he was getting into.” I shook my head, “And in front of her kids and his…she’s a class act. Jesus. And B and his wife let them stay at the cabin after THAT? They’re saints. I wouldn’t have let that pig stay at my place.” D admitted that he hadn’t even thought of K’s 11 year old daughter or her new husband’s 12 and 10 year old sons. He said that J thought B’s wife was a bitch for telling K and K not to break anything. D disagreed.
I didn’t remind him that these animals were his best of times, best biker buddies. I’m sure they acted like pigs at the cabin. He offered that C’s girlfriend was a doormat, but nice enough. She looked hard and tired in the photos, but D said that C behaved. He wouldn’t have if she hadn’t been there. I thought about him in Leesburg. He picked up a strange girl and she stayed with him all weekend, even though he had a girl at home. Had. K and K were still on their honeymoon. J confided that S and L live together but don’t have sex. Strange topics between these friends. I wondered what he’d told them about me. None of them seem to be talking to me all that much. I throw caution to the wind and lay that on D. He didn’t hear anything negative said about me. Then again, as if he’d tell me if he had. I cut the gossip flow off before I slipped and reminded him that his new friends had about as much class as the fair weathers.
I left then, and I didn’t break it off, but we didn’t talk about us either.
But next week we will talk. We need to talk about the trip we took. I need to tell him that I don’t think I want to be with someone who is never going to be available. I don’t want to resign myself to the fact that I’ll never take a romantic vacation with him ever again. Someday I’ll want to travel someplace with a man I love. He doesn’t want that. Indeed, he didn’t even try to lie and say that he’d have loved to have gone to NH with me. It hurt, but I was relieved that he hadn’t lied. He’ll travel without me. I’ll be expected to travel alone.
He won’t be alone, though. There are too many fair weather friends.
I need to tell him that it’s lonely for me all the time, that it hurts to be excluded, but I know I don’t fit. I don’t care that I don’t fit. Sometimes when you’ve been on the outside looking in, you realize that you don’t want to be inside. On the outside, I can slip away silent and disappear into the shadows. That’s not a bad thing. He’d rather be with his friends anyway. I think I’m only in his life for one reason, and that is just for those times he needs to be intimate.
And I need to find someone who loves me.