I got off the F Train at 14th street with a plan of decompressing and processing the morning’s events. I’d walk to the Container Store and Bed Bath and Beyond to look for the garment rack so I couldn’t be blamed for my crap remaining thrown all over the floor. I’d then go to the Home Depot to find Organic Potting Soil to plant our last Heirloom Tomato Plant.
I was walking down the street, listening to my iPod, walking at a slower than natural pace. It was super hot and I hadn’t showered yet in my flee of the house-it was also because I decided to wear my non-bra from American Apparel and the girls were itchin’ to get free. It was early in the morning, I figured harassment by straight dudes would be minimal.
I was wrong. It only fueled my fire. By the time I walked to the Home Depot on 23rd street I was flipping off and yelling “Fuck off, asshole!” to every disgusting and disrespectful piece of shit straight male on 6th Avenue who decided that I needed to be told how hot I looked, how fine I looked, how good I looked today. I was pissed. I didn’t need any more fuel to the fire! I was a 4 Alarm blaze that no one was getting out of.
When I got back on the train with my new Garment Rack I started thinking about a plan. I’d been gone for almost 2 hours and I hadn’t received on text message of apology or regret for treating me like I’d done something wrong when I’d done nothing of the sort. I decided that I’d put the rack together, put my clothes on it, and invite her to come out with me to enjoy the day-just as we’d done the day before. I’d let everything go. Everything would be fine.
I walked into the apartment and she was still sitting at her computer in the kitchen working. She glanced up at me but barely smiled. I returned the same icy stare.
Fine, I thought, I am the master at this game.
I assembled the rack and put my clothes on it in practical silence. I took a shower and came out and she still silently worked on her paper. I texted an SOS to my friends-“Help! Mirs has lots of work to do today. Anyone up for Brunch? I can’s stay home!”
No one could rescue me. My friend, Mark, promised to brunch with me but got held up at Church. My friend Lis was hanging out by the water with her wife. My new friend sort of friend Dez was waiting for her gf to wake up and roommate Kelly invited me to the beach but I wasn’t in the mood to get that far away.
I sucked it up and took myself out. I sent Mirs a text around 3 telling her that she needed to be done with work and to meet me at the park. I picked up a 6 pack of organic pale ale, some black berries and strawberries and 3 varieties of raw cheeses. I asked her to bring a blanket and we’d meet in Prospect Park. After some confusion with the proper side of the park we finally met up and enjoyed the afternoon on the blanket.
Neither of us apologized. We laid in the sun and enjoyed the weather until the Face came. That face she makes when she’s thinking about something that she’s not yet ready to discuss. But that something is causing her to think, to ponder. She’s thinking and pondering and it’s effecting her. She’s making the face.
“What’s wrong” I ask
“Nothing” she lies
“Yes, somethings wrong, Mirs. Don’t lie to me, tell me what it is.”
She starts talking about the mess at the apartment and this is where I lose my cool. I’ve heard this rant now twice, this was the third time, and I’d had it. How could she be this way, I asked. I’d done everything I could to get all of the shit that I owned in NYC into the smallest teeniest corner in her home. Yes, I acknowledged, taking up that small space, no matter how small it is is a lot of space-given the tiny square footage of the apartment. I never complained, I reminded her, of all of her papers strewn across the apartment lacking complete organization. I washed the dishes after eating, I picked up after myself. I even bought a garment rack so that the rest of my clothes were now organized. What else did she want me to do!?
She started to explain and I cut her off.
It was bullshit, this coming up every other week. I couldn’t handle it. If she wanted to me to really live there-then she needed to make an effort.
She started to talk again and again I cut her off.
No, I told her, I didn’t want an answer now. I wanted her to think long and hard about whether or not we should be living together.
I packed up the picnic and started to the subway. She trailed behind me with her bike. Every once in a while, I could see her looking at me in my peripheral. I ignored her longing and questioning looks.
We got to the train and I told her that I’d make it home on my own and she should ride back. (I actually had no fucking clue where I was in relation to the apartment) She said she ride the train with me. We rode for 40 minutes in near silence. She took my hand, squeezed it and forced a smile. I looked at her, all sweaty and sun burnt and smiled back.
We got to the apartment and I told her that I was laying down. She nodded, and followed me into the bedroom. I kept my clothes on and laid on the bed. She laid down next to me and I turned my back. She held me for about five minutes before going into the kitchen.
When I felt her leave I turned on my computer to start Craigslisting for studios or shares. After looking at the third post I started to cry. She came in and held me while I cried, thinking about how I was going to word it.
I think we’ve made a mistake, I told her. I think living here with you is a big mistake. I don’t like it here, you’re so unkind with your space. You’re still calling it “my apartment”-you can’t even call it “the apartment”
I went on and on. Telling her how I felt, how it feels to be unwanted in a place. How unexpected it is, how bizarre it was that something as trivial as an extra 20 garments of clothing can make her turn into such a nasty person.
She laid on her back looking up at the ceiling in silence until my diarrhea of words came to an end. She said, I just hate that you think I’m like you’re father. I know how much you dislike him.
I was in an instant pissed off as all hell. Out of all of that she chose to take that one minuscule statement to hold on to!?
You’re missing the point! I almost screamed. You’re not hearing what I’m saying.
I was crying and angry and frustrated and annoyed and I just wanted to escape but I had no where to escape to. I burned down the bridge of my place in Harlem. There was no way I could find another place any time soon-besides, I was planning on living with her. Now, because I always seem to think with my heart instead of my brain it felt like I was stuck.
I told her all of this and much much more. I told her everything I was thinking-all of my fears about the situation and all of the joys. How the joys always out numbered the fears for me, but that she’s so fucking neurotic and stuck in her ways and while I understand that you cannot change a person-that person should want to adjust-even just slightly-if they want to make things work. I talked and talked and talked to the point that my tears had long stopped and hers started flowing endlessly down her face.
I wanted to reach over to her and embrace her and make her feel better but I resisted. I was hurting, I was in pain, I was the victim. I didn’t need to make her feel better. She should know how I feel, hurt. She cried and started talking and I listened.
Two hours later, very hungry, very puffy, very raw we came to a conclusion. I’d stay and she’d work on her neurosis. We want to be together. We want to live together. We should not have agreed to my moving into a 200 square foot apartment with her.
She apologized and instead of accepting it, saying “it’s okay” I told said, “good. Now you know what you’re doing and how it makes me feel so stop fucking doing it, Mirs.” She nodded again, her eyes welling with tears and I hugged her for a long time.
That was Sunday night. Today is Tuesday Morning. Things are better. We had the make up sex last night-it was awesome. When we were done, her body still looming still above me, I started to cry telling her how much it meant to me for her to listen to me and to understand and then to make a commitment to try to change some of her patterns. I told her I loved her and only wanted to make things work.
“Are you crying after sex”, she asked. “You big ole Dyke!”