This is a letter to a certain woman, but I realize now that it’s also to All Women.
It was a big deal, paying you back. We were already on the outs when I snuck into your room to leave the money and a note on your desk. Then I saw that there was another girl in that bed and felt like the biggest ass in the world. Then you both woke up and I felt creepy. I hastily said sorry and that I was leaving a note and that I didn’t know.
I’d been there. I’d slept in that bed before. With you and Jules. Others were certain, those few months when it was just you me and Jules, that, oh yeah, there was more going on. People always wanted more to be going on. Even my Dad asked if we were dating. But we know the truth. Sure I loved you, different from the fresh love for Jules. But I loved you both. I think everyone knows that.
The heck do they know? I’ve seen you angry and sad. Fierce and brilliant. But my favorite was in your room, where YOU saw me ball after the fight, and nobody else. Heck you didn’t just see me cry, you held me. We painted it orange shortly after my “departure” from the ravioli place. That Orange room is where you’d let all that magnificent red hair down, and become the most beautiful woman in the world. That’s where you’d tell me the things that were difficult for me to hear. I always knew you were pretty, but it was an afterthought, like how I was handsome.
Because you were brilliant and kind. From the day Jay Rey finally allowed those worlds to collide and dragged me over there. You were speaking to us while standing on your bed, and various pieces of furniture. Graciously extending a leg toward the chair, cautious not to bang your head, speaking calmly. Now that I think about it, was it because we were tall?
Did I earn that, I’d asked myself? What did I do right, to see this side that only royalty saw? When you let your hair down, the flair to your being- intelligent, strong, and dynamic. Yes, letting your hair down was merely representative, but damn what a flair!
Paying you back was a big deal for me. I’d borrowed a hundo a couple of times before. Once from Jay Rey. Made him sweat a bit. I gave it back within a couple of days. I hated it. But yours was 200. And it took a year or so.
I was ashamed. I was ashamed of everything. For pushing Lindsay down outside the bar, for the fight, breaking off my engagement, for everything. Everything you can think of, I was ashamed of. And I knew that voicemail was being passed around. It’s a weird spot when you begin to understand why people are letting go. You would let go too.
How did we stop talking? When, exactly? I never got to know your new girlfriend. I was pretty wounded. I’d lost it, I suppose. I hung out with Jules at a party for like 20 minutes and it truly was terrible. You didn’t like me hanging out with Jules. I was without a doubt the older guy at an Emerson-type party. I found Jules in a closed-door room with a couple of other youngsters. They did some pill or another. I watched and drank my beer. This was the only battle I was winning at that point- abstaining from hard drugs. Hey, you gotta look on the bright side. I left the drug bedroom and ventured into the masses where I smoked a joint with some young women and half-attempted to speak to a girl in her early-twenties.
So it was time to go home.