It's over. I can't believe it. Laura left. As in Laura left my apartment, our relationship, my life. Why would she do that? I told Dick and he was sorry. I told Barry and he made me a compilation tape. A girl for a tape. A pretty fair exchange if you asked him, but I want Laura back. When she first left I felt great about it, but now I'm lost. She wanted to be gone. I could tell. Where did I go off track?
I've been listening to the Beatles. They make me feel nothing, a happy relief from my mopes. They don't remind me of her. I probably made her a compilation of them a while back. Maybe she is listening to it right now, and thinking of me. Maybe she wants to leave my replacement. Maybe she has already started packing.
Who am I kidding. She hates me. And I am right back to the sadness of it all. Maybe I should ask to go with Johnny to wherever he always comes from. He doesn't seem that bad. I wonder if he got left, too. Maybe the drink helps. I could use some inebriated numbness right now. I feel like I've been crying all this time, and now I am empty, but the sadness has not left. (Who am I kidding? I have been crying. Not that much, but still. And where is that emptiness? I need it.)
All her stuff is still here, and I hate looking at it. She didn't take any of it, that's how fast she wanted to be gone. I hate her. I really do. She left me. And now I'm all alone.
I want her back.
A few days later-
Barry and Dick took me out last night to a gig. We saw this American girl, Marie LaSalle. I cried. She sang a cover of "Baby, I Love Your Way" and I cried. I used to hate that song. I remember mocking it whenever somebody put it on the jukebox. And last night I cried because of it. It's strange how people change you. Laura was here, and now she's gone. I hated "Baby, I Love Your Way," and now it makes me cry. And now I'm split. I am in two contradictory states: 1) I want Laura back. With a passion. And 2) I am in love with Marie LaSalle. Or at least I like her a lot.
Marie asked about the shop, and Dick and Barry were thrilled. I wasn't, so much, but who knows why. If she comes and buys stuff, that's great. I doubt she will though. Call it post breakup cynicism, but she's a star. She doesn't want my records.
I came home, and Laura and Liz both left messages. Laura wants her stuff. I can't blame her; Laura has so much stuff she probably needs it. Liz was apologizing. She wanted to talk. I called her back, and we arrange to meet for a drink. She says that she doesn't think much of this Ian guy. What Ian guy? Is this my replacement? Some guy off the street? I don't know any Ians. She doesn't know any Ians (or I think she doesn't; does she? What else has been hidden from me?) What idiot has a name like Ian anyway? He's probably stupid, he probably makes her regret leaving, he's probably bad in bed, he probably doesn't care for her.
Liz probably knows more. She has to. I need to know!
Where did I go wrong? I have no idea.
Its been awhile since I've written. Sum up what's happened: Laura's mad. I slept with Marie (!). I can't say "I love you." Laura's sleeping with Ian Ray. (The guy upstairs. The loud one. That Ian Ray.) And I've decided to figure out where my relationships have gone wrong. It seems like the right thing to do. Maybe it will help me figure out what happened with Laura.
I started with Allison, which seems like a fair thing to do. She was, after all, my first real girl. We snogged and everything. When you are that age, snogging gives you the same "I am so mature, with girls and everything!" feeling as sex. I looked through my old journals (yes, I have old journals. I was that boy. The sissy one who kept the masculine diaries [No, Mom, they aren't diaries! They're journals!]) and copied some of the entry of those infamous few days here:
We snogged. I can't believe it! An actual girl. Snogging me...It was kind of gross. Not sure if I liked doing it. But the looks the others gave were good, so it can't have been that bad...
And a few days later, after my first breakup:
Why did she do that? Why? WHY? WHY? (on a sidenote, I was also that kid that emphasized with large letters.) I went over to the guys, and they looked so pitying. But I guess its ok as long as they're with me...
I called her parents, and it turns out she's married the guy she left me for. Now she is happy, she has two girls and a husband. She has probably forgotten me. Though, all in all, our relationship was not really worth remembering. I should have forgotten it too by now, but I' really not very good at forgetting. Maybe because of the journals. I wish I could forget her. She isn't really worth the brain space. And this doesn't help the Laura situation. Argh.
I went out with Penny. It wasn't too bad. It definitely wasn't great. We saw a movie, and she had this incredibly irritating pen, which has this light, like she's trying to be a film critic, instead of a radio journalist. She was also wearing overly sensible, incredible boring clothes. The audience at the movie was probably sitting there wondering, why the heck is that handsome, smart-looking (what? I can describe myself however I want, this is my journal), guy in the leather jacket doing with someone like her. I could honestly not give these curious audience members a proper answer. In retrospect, I had no idea what I was doing with her.
We went out to dinner later, and I brought up the whole you-wouldn't-sleep-with-me- but-you-would-sleep-with-him debacle, and it turns out, from her point of view, I wasn't not the one who got the bad deal. She was. And what she had with Chris Thompson wasn't at all what she wanted. It was almost rape.
She refused to talk any more about rejection with me, and she left pretty quickly after that. I was astounded at her take on things, and now I regret those three months of wrestling for a little more than a kiss. I understand her desire to have waited. I pity her, almost.
Did I desire sex too much with Laura? Was that why she left me? She seemed to always reciprocate, which was part of what I liked about her. Is Laura going to be another Penny? Will Ray keep her, playing off of her hurt feelings, like Thomson kept Penny? My journal entries from the sad days after our breakup kind of sum up my feelings:
He shagged her. He did! What did he have that I didn't? Fucking charisma? Why did she choose him over me? After me trying so hard to just get a bit of chest, and she went off with Thomson! At least I have Kim. But who cares about Kim? Thomson had fucking Penny! Nobody had Penny, but now he does, and I don't, and I'm almost as bad as those losers in 4b. At least they never had Kim.
A week later-
I tried my luck with Jackie this time. Remember her? I had sex with her while she was dating Phil. It was hard, cheating on her with Phil, and after their breakup spelled the end of any interest we had in each other. We dated for three more weeks, and that was the end of that.
Last night I called her. She has married Phil, and, once I went to their house for supper (yes, she invited me; no, I didn't just waltz into the house of the girl I had sex with, and the husband who she was cheating on at the time), I discovered that they have become typical. She has gray hair, two children, a small house, and a job. She feels sorry for me. Apparently the tricks to what they have are, essentially, to be monogamous and to tough it out during rough patches. I somehow get the feeling that they haven't totally forgiven me for what I did. I could possibly have sensed disapproval in that speech as well. I wonder why... (ha ha ha. I am so funny. Disapproval for me, the cheat-ee to Jackie's cheat-er?) Anyway, where I am in my life, marriage is practically a sin. Who would want to settle down? It would be boring.
In other news, Ray called. I was pissed. Here are a list of the comebacks I could have possibly used to him at various points during the conversation (pick one):
a) I've already left it, you pathetic little twerp. (Slams receiver down)
b) If she decided she didn't want to see you anymore, I'd respect that decision. I'd respect her. Her friends would respect her. Everybody would cheer. The world would be a better place.
c) Fuck off. (Slams receiver down)
d) Dunno. (No receiver slamming involved)
To all those who chose a, b, or c: you lose. To all those who chose d: you're right.
I'm an idiot.
A few days later-
Seeing Sarah was sad. She is sad. Tom, the man she left me for, left her. To get married. To another girl. On the list of reasons why to leave a girl, getting married to someone else is perhaps one of the douchiest, cruelest reasons. She felt bad about the whole thing, leaving me included. Really, the only thing that united us five years ago was our sadness and our hatred of being dumped. We've both still got these feelings, but somehow it's different now. Now, in that date-like thing we went on, all I could think was that I don't want to have sex with her. And for me, that is really saying something. We made some small talk, but that was pretty much it. I don't think I will see her again.
There's only Charlie left now. I called her; it took me four tries to leave a message. The first time, I hung up at the answering machine; the second time, I did the same. The third time I listened to the message, and the fourth time, I left a message. She doesn't return my calls. This is the ultimate rejection, a girl who won't call you a decade after she rejected you.
Marie stopped by the shop today. We go to see a concert. She was completely breaking the if-you-have-a-one-nighter-with-a-girl-your-relatio nship-with-said-girl-is-over rule, and I was very confused. No good, sensible, decent British woman would ever march in to the shop after a one-night stand. These things are best forgotten. She should not be in my shop, much less asking me out, but there she was. The concert was ok. Marie's American beliefs about interactions after sex were actually quite good. We kissed afterwards, and I am so glad to have this one relationship that I can be proud of. It is a smooth spot in my world of sex and relationships.
Two weeks later-
Charlie phoned back. She's been away, in the States, on business. I've never been to the States. Not on vacation (how would I pay for it?), not on business (How would pay for it?), never. We talked. She invited me over to dinner. I said yes. But something seemed different. Two minutes after setting down the phone, I realized it. Charlie Nicholson is awful! The girl to whom I attributed the ruination of my life is terrible. She has no sense of humor, she says stupid things, and what did I see in her?
I went to her house, and Charlie looked beautiful. Her house looks beautiful. Her friends look beautiful. They talk about what they would name their future dogs. The whole thing was hellish. The difference between them and me is a college diploma, smart jobs, confidence, and money. They know things, have done things, that I have never done and will probably never do, even if I could afford to (which, judging by the way things are going, I probably couldn't.) They aren't bad people, and in a sense, I want to be them, to have what they have.
I realized that I mistook Charlie for someone she wasn't. All the glamorous aspects of her character I saw years ago, I see now as flaws and stupidity. After they all left, I asked Charlie why she left me for Marco. Apparently, it was because:
1) "...he knew he was nice looking, and you didn't..."
2) "...Marco seemed a bit more, I don't know, glamorous?"
3) "...more with the in-crowd?"
4) "Less hard work, 'cause I felt I was dragging you around a bit."
5) "A bit sunnier, and a bit sparklier."
So what I've learned. I need to know I'm nice looking (I'm nice looking? Me?), be more glamorous, more with the in-crowd, less hard work, and more sparkly. Great advice, Charlie. Do I just start wearing body glitter or something? Because sparkly is not going to happen. Never.
I'm back with Laura. Life is better now. And somehow a funeral all brought it together. She has moved back in, and I'm happier. She is happier. I think so anyway. The other night, she was invited to dinner by two of her friends, Paul and Miranda. I used to hate Paul (in fact, I was more incredibly jealous of the time he spent with Laura than hateful), and as a result, had never been to his house, or even met him. But Laura wanted us to go, which meant that she had told them about me, which meant that we were officially together again, so I sucked it up and went.
They were nice. I felt bad for ever hating them. I felt like I had been tricked. I asked Laura about it, and she said that of course she tricked me into seeing some nice people that I would think were great. I think there was sarcasm in there somewhere.
I have taken Laura to meet Marie. They seem to like each other. I am surprised at this. Do I tell Laura we had sex? Should I? We were broken up at the time... Marie mentioned that I had talked to her about Laura, and Laura seemed jealous. I am very pleased about that. And somehow, after the jealousy, Laura ended up having Marie do a gig in my shop. How did this happen? I have no idea. But Barry and Dick will be happy I think. Scratch that. Barry will hate me (does he hate me already? I will have to ask him) for not asking his band to play in the shop, and Dick probably will stay out of the way of Barry's rage. But,honestly, Barry's band can't be that good, and Marie will bring customers, so hopefully it will be ok. And Laura suggested it.
Speaking of Laura, I think what we have now is better than what we had before. And that's good.
I am so glad Laura's back. I need her.