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X’ed Boyfriend: A Glimpse into Life’s Complexities

Originally Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Written by: Abby Prestin   

An Annoying Encounter

Wide-Eyed Last night Cassie’s friend Michael came over. Michael of the irritating voicemail messages. “Heeey Cahsayndruh! Eeeets M-aye-cuhhl!” Ugh, so annoying. Lucky for Cassie I respect the inherent wrongness of deleting your roommate’s voicemail, cause that’s what I wanna do anytime I hear that voice, just delete it right outta existence. Well, that or reach through the receiver and fucking strangle the guy.

Unexpected Revelations: Michael’s Visit

Anyway, so Michael came over to the apartment and he brought his drugs with him. Not just pot or acid or ecstasy, those I was familiar with so they were in the “No Big Deal”category. Michael brought Cocaine, which was still filed under “Provokes Shock” (categorical requirements: never done, never wanted to, never will and even would lecture my friends if/when they did.)

The Temptation and Decision

Cocaine?! But I feigned disinterest in the whole situation, barely looking up from my book when I heard Cassie say, “Oh don’t worry, she’s cool with it. “I’m cool with it. I am? Am I? Michael took a tiny plastic bag out of his wallet, the kind of bag you’ve probably seen laying there all innocently on the street as if it wasn’t just filled with cocaine and someone wasn’t out havi’‚ some bad fun at that very moment. Like when you saw a used condom on the playground when you were eight and had no idea what sex actually was: something supposedly bad ‘so you were told’ but the mystery and danger was what made the idea of it appealing in the first place.

Anyway, much like a cheap condom, Michael’s coke bag had broken. In his wallet. The powder was spilled all over the change compartment, deep in the corners, settled and hiding. Michael was pissed, but Cassie shrugged, got a straw and snorted as much of the crack out of the cracks as she could. Most of the drug was eventually recovered and placed on a mirror. Cassie used a razor blade to cut the coke into a fine dust and then she divided it into three lines for three people: herself, Michael and me. Part of me was tempted to try it and feel it and stay up all night — who cares about my mid-term in seven hours and who cares about waking up and showercoffeeschoolexamsworkcoffeepaper and that regular person routine? Why bother to even go to sleep at all? One part of me thought staying up all night and then the next day and maybe even longer could be really cool. But the rest of me thought the idea sucked. “Nah, I’ve got a to do the whole showercoffeeschoolexamsworkcoffeepaper thing, so thanks but no thanks.”

Observing the Effects: An Ordinary Scene

The razor blade scraped across the mirror as what would have been my line was pushed into a pile. Cassie and Michael went with their lines, then divided “my” share of the drug and snorted that, too. I was equal parts amazed and amused by the inhalation of this drug right in front of me. Then my reaction was dulled by the realization that nothing was happening to them. Not anything I could perceive, anyway. They didn’t go crazy. They didn’t get up and run laps around the city. They didn’t rob a bank. They didn’t scheme up any grand adventure. They just kinda sat there. I showed them pictures of my two dogs (That’s Ace, he’s the coolest dog ever.). Michael told a story about some smelly man he works with who doesn’t know that he is smelly (“So, should I tell him he needs a shower or what?”). Cassie muttered curses on the girl that was staying the week at her boyfriend’s apartment (“She used to be a stripper. She still dresses like one. Bitch.”).

It was normal. I was thinking about that normality when I talked my boyfriend on the phone later that night. And of course he expressed the same naive amazement I had earlier (“Cocaine!?”), only in his angry kinda of manner he takes whenever drugs are in, near or around his girlfriend (“Cocaine!” Your roommate’s a toolbag!”). And it was a natural reaction, and I expected it. But also, it disappointed me a tiny bit that seeing the bad stuff was so easy, and I couldn’t even tell him the normal stuff and make him believe it, for whatever it was worth.

Narrowed Eyes: Love and Disagreements

Me and him have been in love for more than three years, and we’ve only ever really fought about one thing. Don’t get me wrong, we’d get in little arguments, like if I was watching TV and he came along and changed the channel without asking or dumb shit like that. But as far as actual real fights go, they’ve only happened over one thing: drugs.

The last big fight we had about drugs was after some strange guy handed me a joint at a show and I didn’t smoke it. Yeah, didn’t smoke it. He’s been straightedge for as long as I’ve known him. He’s never X’d up or had the requisite tattoos or T-shirts, but he’s as clean as they come. He thinks drugs and alcohol make people stupid and fake. Yet at the same time, some of his best friends have been potheads. Even his Mom was hittin’ from the bong for a long time. It never really bothered him, though. You could have injected a turkey baster full of heroin into your right arm right in front of him and he wouldn’t have cared less, but me? I couldn’t even hold a joint for some old ex-hippie with thin gray hair pulled back in a ponytail while he had a flashback without it twisting his insides all up, scrambling his brainwaves so all they said was ANXIETY! Capital letters, bold red and flashing.

I don’t remember a lot about the fight itself except that it felt awful. There was glaring and yelling, and a lot him mad and me defensive and both of us frustrated as hell that the other one made this stupid fight happen again. Funny, even our worst fights have been ended with just one look, or one soft touch that somehow could break past the anger and defensiveness and frustration. When we fought, we’d push aside the affection and the gentleness. We’d be best friends completely in love playing the roles of two people madly opposed and getting really into character.

So there was all this yelling and misunderstanding and then Bam! We looked at each other and we are ourselves again where being angry was just the last thing either of us wanted to do. Eyes Closed

Eyes Closed: Reflections in the Quiet

I’m wide awake. He’s been asleep for awhile I know he’s dreaming because he’s talking in his sleep now and then, mumbling low and seriously or other times calling out random words. It’s fucking really funny and also quite cute. His recovery time is next to nothing: we made up, things are great again, “I love you, I’m tired-Zzzzzzz.” The whole time he’s been asleep, I’ve been trying to process the fight. Even if we did make up and things are great again, I need to understand why the fight happened in the first place.

Why did he get angry? What ignites that anger? Why was I so defensive? How can we avoid that situation? If I can figure these things out, then we’ll never have to play those evil characters again over the same issue. Hours ago, we were enemies. Now I look at him and I’m thinking, “That’s the same person?” It is moments like this, the silent, still moments that really get me thinking. We can be so mean to each other in those other moments. The one constant thing about all the moments we spent together and apart however, is that we’re in love and we’re best friends. In a weird way, that is the answer to all the questions I’ve asking myself. We’re in love and we’re best friends, so he doesn’t want me to ingest anything or even be near anything that might make me sick, make me die or just make me not completely myself — the person he loves. Sometimes he just gets so overwhelmed with concern though, that he just can’t believe that I don’t take the issue of drugs as seriously as he does. And me, on the other hand, I am responsible for myself and I don’t take drugs seriously, not the same way he does.

To me, all this concern is buried too far under the anger that’s at the surface of his initial reaction. It pisses him off, and at the same time, I can’t relate to where he’s coming from. We can both be so stubborn about how we feel that we lose control of the situation and the disagreement turns into an argument that escalates into all-out war. When all that combative bullshit is taken away though, what’s left? Love and concern. He looks like an angel. I know that‚s cliche, and I know that I’ve never actually seen an angel in real life, but he looks like what I’d imagine one would look like. He looks like peace and he looks like quiet.

A Moment of Peace

It is so nice to just watch him a little bit. He is all stretched out and I can see by the lights of the city at night that he is laying with his head on his baby blanket. His left hand is over his heart and he is breathing lightly and evenly. It’s really a perfect moment.

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