Relationships rotate on these two mutually dependent principles: women steal and control men, and have the assets to get away with it.
Of course, relationships don’t only rotate. They also careen, collide, and explode.
I looked at Lloyd from over my beer and said, You can sleep here if you want to.
He paused for a long time…
Do you want to? I asked heavily.
He winced. Kind of. But he was keeping his eyes closed. Seemed to be having a hard time with this.
Must really like that girl he’s seeing now, because I remember him comparing sex with me to an electric storm in his brain. I remember biting his hand when it covered my mouth.
I told him it wasn’t an invitation. But I was lying.
Then Lloyd said he needed to be alone. He needed to think.
I could almost see the metaphoric angel and devil gesticulating on his shoulder blades. Telling him what was right and what was wrong. They could sooner tell him which was right and which was left.
What was convenient and what was unforgivable.
I’ve fucked too many people the past few days, he said as he walked out.
There was a big fight before all that happened. There’s always a big fight.
It was three failed drug deals later and I was driving like a menstrual maniac. On purpose. I’d just found out about Lloyd’s little affair with this girl. He didn’t know I’d had one too. For someone with a deuce tucked in their breast pocket, I certainly wasn’t taking the news well.
Love is a game of strategy.
I slammed on the brakes and sent him face-first into the dashboard. He was on his cell phone with either his mother or his new screwfriend; I was willing to bet his face that it wasn’t his mom, so I didn’t care.
Jesus, Fucker, he hissed.
Hang up on that psychobitch, I told him. Loudly.
psychobitch: (n.) sahy-koh-bich
1. A woman who believes completely in the ideals of egotism, love, & control, not necessarily in that order and regardless of whether or not it is ordained by “God.”
2. A woman conducting affairs as an affront to mankind.
3. A woman willing to use her charms, physical & otherwise, to compromise your position.
4. A woman who would rather beat you in the face with the rose you have offered her than find a vase for it.
5. A woman.
I was already out of the car and storming up the steps to my apartment, cursing myself for having business with this man. He effected me on a chemical, animal level that made my skin zap and set my pheromones ablaze. I wanted to paw the ground and charge him.
And ever since I’d dumped him, he looked good. Good. When I massaged his shoulders and he leaned back into me, my synapse didn’t fire. They flooded.
I already had my apartment unlocked and stalked through by the time he came trailing behind me, still on his cell phone. I wanted this to be over. His voice was inciting a stabbing sensation in my chest. That is as tender as this love story gets. I wanted him to give me the weed and get out.
I shakily pawed eighty dollars from my silverware drawer and jammed it into my pocket. Speedy transaction, it would seem. But then I cracked open a bottle and took a militant swig.
Think you can bear to say goodnight, lover boy? I asked, dead-voiced.
He made eye contact with me and excused himself to continue the conversation on my balcony. I was the height of insulted, and turned a shade somewhere between red and purple. I could feel him basking in the burgundy glow.
X fuck you for puncturing my arm in my sleep.
XX fuck you for climbing inside.
XXX fuck you for migrating beneath my skin to the tear ducts behind my eyes
When Lloyd stepped back inside, he wanted to smoke me out and know what my problem was.
Jealous? he asked.
You make me want to be a worse person.
He told me I couldn’t imagine how pleased he was to hear that.
Lloyd, barred out and fast asleep on my bed.
My ass still sore from being used so thoroughly. He won’t even remember the things he said to me when he wakes up. He probably wouldn’t have been able to remember them ten minutes after he said them (“I like that you randomly change your hair color, or your entire look, and yet you always stay the same . . . it’s always you”).
He won’t remember the things we did (the eighth of marijuana we smoked between us, the six pack that disappeared, the half-burnt sticks of incense & the red lightbulb that is still on). That’s good.
I want to know how you feel! Tell me how you feel! he demanded.
I told you I don’t want to! I protested.
I just poured out my heart to you!
You did not pour out your heart to me, I replied callously. You’re just pouring out your lack of impulse control.
He paws the air as he sleeps, like a dog in a nightmare. His fingers cup and flex in the air. I wonder if he is dreaming about massaging her breasts. It’s a good guess.
When he flipped me onto my stomach, he said hello, Mary, to my tattoo.
Started kissing my knuckles.
At this point I had to say, Wait. What do you think you’re doing? . . . Like the entire past week just didn’t count? I couldn’t even get a hold of you.
All you have to do is call, he said. Which was an expensive thing to say.
But I’m positive this has been purged from his memory banks.
By now he won’t recall to where his boxers disappeared. By tomorrow he’ll be frantically searching for the keys he’ll leave in my kitchen.
Sids need Nancies, right? Lloyds need Frankies. You can’t live fast and die young all alone.
I don’t see why we can’t enjoy it now for what it is, Lloyd bitched, prostrating himself across my bed. Who says it can’t be real now if it’s not here later?
His logic did appeal to me. It sounded like the logic I used every time I spontaneously changed my hair color, or entire look.
What’s more, I always find people on Zanax hopelessly endearing.
You don’t even know me, I told him bleakly. You couldn’t tell me things you like about me.
I couldn’t tell you things I like about you? he shouted. You’re independent. You’re dedicated. You smoke the best weed. We have amazing sex. You’re always on time. You’re hot. You’re so passionate about art. I’m in love with you, you fucking faggot.
He enunciated the adjective “fucking” with real zest.
But later he told me not to believe anything anyone says when they’re on Zanax.
Once I asked Lloyd, So how much do people on Zanax remember the next day?
When you first wake up, about 25 percent . . . and throughout the day, some memories will get clearer, so up to 50 percent. And you can generally figure out another 25 percent from what people are saying about you from the night before. So, 75 percent. 50 of which is a guess.
Do you remember anything in particular from the last time you took Zanax? With me?
No, not really; why, did we have sex or somethin?
At sunrise we stand on my balcony like a couple of semi-finalists for the Hardcore Awards, wearing unabashed morning sex on our skin like a thin layer of grime: me with my arms dangling down from my head, pale stomach stretched to proud, dirty pelvis, smoking a bummed cigarette in holey boxers; him topless, lean, bronze, ready to start his day Zannied out on no sleep. Wreaking of something so violently not love it could only be sex.