Okay, I was rummaging through my old floppy discs yesterday, trying to find one that I could use to transport a file from one computer to another computer (the very reason floppies exists to this day, I suppose), and I found this very angry piece of writing. If any of you saw therevolution.net/liam, the place where I stored my writings, you might have come across this. If not, then you might remember the stuffed-narwhal-toting woman who was my five-year first-love. Well, this is about the end of that whole thing. Keep in mind, this was written almost seven years ago (good GOD what happened to the time?).
End of an Era
Rage fills the core of everything that I am. I walk the streets of Edmonton, and all I can think is, 'That BITCH! I can't believe I let her do it to me again!' Crossing the street, I think of ways that I can avoid seeing her forever. It's obvious that I'll have to quit my job. What is equally obvious is that she fucking did it to me again. Walking is about the only physical activity I can emotionally endure at this time. Keeping my breath at a normal rate is a labour. I still find myself wheezing as I fume. I've been walking for an hour, and I still can't calm down. I hope that by the time I get to my car, I've calmed down enough to drive. While I expected to feel hurt, all I can feel is shock and rage. Here comes the high-level bridge. Can't be much more than a twenty minute walk to my car. Time to start thinking of other things. But I can't. The only thing I can think of is the way that that bitch turned around. Last night was the greatest night of my life. Unfortunately, every night turns into morning. All nights have to end, but for normal people, with the day comes clarity. An epiphany. Maybe this is for the best, but all I can think of right now is, I can't figure how she let herself get that close AGAIN! I know, you're all thinking, 'again?' Well, I won't go into that now. What I will go into, however, is the 'this time'.
Ignorance and night are bliss
The bar wasn't exactly bustling, but neither was it dead. Most of the pool tables were open as Nicky and I entered. I've never been one to pass up pool, and hey, the chance to play pool with a girl that I thought I might be falling in love with all over again tempted me beyond all normal reason. Things had been culminating to this point for awhile. It sounds cheezy to me, thinking of it right now, but that night, there was something in the air. While I can't explain it entirely, there was an expectation, like there was going to be a big change in my life. Nicky was still beautiful, the semi-mischevious twinkle in her eye far from diminished. I had seen that twinkle extinguished for a time, and at that time, it spoke of such a deep suffering that, in its absence, those eyes caused me pain. Still, that night, she laughed, her eyes shining majestically. Her laugh was my reason for hearing, her smile my reason for sight. With the right look, she could make my heart skip a beat, and this night, she was free with her glances. And I had her to myself. Too many nights, the two of us would only be part of the triad sitting at a table with the man I considered to be my rival. Matt had known Nicky's love, and, I was sure he screwed it up. And still he was a welcome addition to the group. Not tonight. We laughed, we shot pool, and we talked. A friend of Nicky's was at another pool table. He looked at me as a challenger to his territory. He must have felt that he lost the challenge, because he left. What he left behind were another friend of Nicky's, and that friend's boyfriend. They were a sight, the boyfriend draped all over the girl. Things from that point got a little hectic. We played pool with the leftovers, and agreed to meet them at Rosie's for karaoke. An evil thing, Karaoke, conducive, certainly, to madness. Merely the mention of singing in a bar left Nicky quite strange. The mention also saw the last of the leftovers. At least at this bar. We were alone. And she was talking. There was no laughing. She leaned in close and started talking about her dead fiance. The man who had killed himself. My pulse actually quickened. I could feel my face start to sweat. She started talking about how nobody could ever replace her John. With Nicky, I had become accustomed to making no assumptions as to where her conversation was headed. She brought up marriage, asking if I ever thought about it. I said I had no trust. (this was the truth) She said that not all girls were game players. I think now that she must have been talking about other girls. Especially given our history. I wonder also if it is the girls who say that not all girls are game players who are the game players... else why would they get so defensive about it... or maybe all girls ARE game players. But she said that the idea of marriage was becoming more attractive to her all the time. Get this, I was so programmed not to assume anything that I failed even to see this blatant hint. I can laugh about it now. Eventually, we finished that pool game, my aim being somewhat off, with the weight of Nicky's soliloquy throwing my mechanics off. Considering what Nicky had just said to me, you probably already guessed that she had been drinking. So, I took the reins of her Volvo. On the way to Karaoke,(also known as "the killer of all that is good... or not") Nicky turned to me. Since we were stopped at a red light, I felt safe enough in turning to face her. "You know I want you to ask me, right?" was all she said. I considered playing dumb, but I couldn't find the will. Her eyes were twinkling, afterall, and she was smiling. Granted, it was a nervous smile, but the very reason I was given eyes, nervous or not, was not a thing to be trifled with. "Y'know, Nicky," I began, my breath catching as I did, "I kinda made a promise to myself before I started hanging out with you again." She just sat there, so I took it as my cue to continue. "I promised that I wouldn't ask you out again. Still, when I made the promise, I knew I'd break it." The nervous smile became one of genuine pleasure. "But," again, the nervousness found its way to the surface. This did not make me happy. " if this doesn't work out, I promise YOU that I'm not going to ask you out again." This finally provoked a response. "I don't think that's fair. Just because I..." Somehow, my voice managed to cut her off. "Nicky, you have to understand, I've asked you out what, five times?" A shocked look crossed her face, sending the smile to oblivion. "You never asked me out. I was wondering what was going on... you must never have been an asker." An asker... what a strange title. "Don't say that. Please don't say that." and I proceeded to list the occasions on which I asked her out. That's right, I asked her out five... six times. The sixth time, she said yes. And she smiled, and she laughed, and her eyes twinkled with merriment. All was right with the world. My heart swelled with the potential of our relationship. Was there anything we couldn't do? Was there any chance that this night could get better? I didn't think so. We arrived at Karaoke, and the leftovers became the main course. Songs were sung. Of the notables, My Sharona, Everybody Must Get Stoned, and Blowin' in the Wind were sung by members of our table of four. One song that will not go away is Never Ever by the All Saints. It played as we left, and for that, it will stick in my mind forever. We did leave, though now I wish that night had lasted forever. And we did get to Nicky's apartment, where, unfortunately, there was no couch. I can't stop wondering what would have been different if there had been a couch. Still, she insisted that if I behaved, I could sleep in the bed with her. I agreed, and we slept together for the first time. And I did behave. Though it kept me up all night, I behaved. I think I have have slept a total of a half-hour that night. At one point in the night, I put my arm around Nicky, just to convince myself that it was real. Then I felt foolish twice over. Once for what I was doing, so I moved it again. And then again when she called me on it. So, I lay there, with her back to me, feeling no tenderness. It was like my salvation lie on the other side of that person, and there was no way I was going to get to it. I still wonder what might have happened differently if I had kissed her, if I had made love to her. Would we still be together? Would we be married? Would my parents approve? Would that matter? I can answer that one... no it wouldn't. But I was faced with her back, and it felt like I was trying to ram my head through a wall that didn't even exist. Is it that I want closeness too badly, or is it that I fear it? If I didn't fear it, I would have held her or something. But that night in the bed quite accurately caricatures the entire relationship. I tried half-assed and more than half-scared to get close to her, and she kept turning her back. Whether she was turning her back in fear or in disdain, I don't think I'll ever know, but the itching in the back of my head which isn't new hair growing in tells me that it was fear. The very fact that she had a fiance die on her tells me that Nicky is afraid of losing the one she loves if she ever vocalizes that love. And maybe that's where I get my particular hang-ups. I want to say that it doesn't matter, but it obviously does, because I'm walking through Edmonton, swearing in my head at the woman I'm in love with. But that night was wonderful compared to the morning.
The high-level bridge moves underneath me as I mull the events of the day so far. It's obvious that the bridge must be moving underneath me, because the recollection numbs me and dumbs me past the conscious ability to walk. I throw change over the edge of the bridge, hoping it will land on someone rowing. Rowing... another area to which Nicky pertains. Can I not escape that bitch? What the fuck went wrong?
Night and day, and the big one-eight-zero
The half-hour I slept was obviously the last part of the night. I wake up, feeling partly frustrated, partly relieved. The one thing I want in my life is happening, if in a way that I felt it not happening over three years. The barrier (her back) was so frustrating, but she finally accepted me. She was finally accepting the fact that she loved me. If she could only tell me. But right now, just the fact that she accepted it was enough. Pteri was awake too, beginning to squawk. Nicky stirred. My heart beat faster. I remember spending all those nights on her couch before, hoping she would wake up, so I could spend more time with her, but loving her too much to wake her up. As she rose, I rolled over and lay on the middle of the bed. I stretched. She watched. That obvious interest made me self-conscious. I wasn't wearing a shirt. And she accepted me. I got up and followed her to the kitchen, where we talked about nothing while she brewed some tea. Maybe my self-consciousness was getting to me, but I felt the need to call my mom. Damn, Freud would have a field day with me on his couch, but I'd just tell him to kiss my ass. I felt bad because my mom didn't know I wasn't coming home that night, that wonderful night. And I think I wanted everyone to know what was going on. Mom just seemed like a rational choice. To everyone in the room but Nicky. I hung up. Nicky turned on me. "You had to call your mom?" "I just thought it would be polite. I mean, I told her I'd be home last night, I just didn't want her to worry." I got defensive, Nicky got offensive. "I didn't know you still had to answer to your mom." "I think the tea's ready." Non-confrontational me. We drank tea. She started to make lunch. "Can I help," I asked. "Sure." She didn't tell me what to do when I got to the kitchen, and I retreated to the sanctity of the living room. Time came to get more tea. Her patience was short. Pteri wouldn't shut up. "SQUAWK!" "Where's your cup?" "I'm not" "SQUAWK!" "Entirely sure. I think it's in your" "SQUAWK!" "room. I'll-" She was off like a shot to her room to retrieve the cup. Her patience continued to shorten. I began to realize something was "SQUAWK!" wrong. Or maybe it was "SQUAWK!" everything was wrong. Why didn't Pteri "SQUAWK!" just shut up? I couldn't think straight. Dinner was ready and I ate. Nicky watched me eat from the kitchen. "Are you done?" she asked, Pteri's SQUAWK piercing my drum. "Yes. What's wrong? It just feels like-" "Well, it's one day into the relationship and I feel like I need space already." "Well, if that's the way you feel" my world came crashing down as I admitted "maybe it's not going to work at all." "Maybe you're right." I cleaned off my plate into her chicken by accident. "That's the stuff I was going to eat." I smacked myself in the head. Why wouldn't Pteri shut up? If that fucking bird woulda shut up, I could have figured something out, some way to salvage something, but I was getting a head ache, and I had only had about a half-hour of sleep, and I really couldn't think. I cleaned my bones out of her chicken, and threw them in the garbage. By then, I knew everything was wrong. Nothing would ever be right with Nicky again. I got mad. "Maybe I should go." I said, anger bubbling inside me. All I was thinking was 'hold it in. Hold it in. Just a couple of minutes.' "Can't you wait until I've eaten?" She was happy to be put out by the big bald guy who wanted a ride to his car. I didn't give her the satisfaction. "Maybe I'd better walk." "Are you sure?" again with the honeyed tongue. The twinkles came back. I didn't give a fuck. All I wanted was to be gone. I wanted no more games. I wanted to release the volcano, but I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of seeing the effect she had had on me. "Yes. I think it would be a good idea." She backed up two steps. I grabbed my jacket and walked out.
I didn't think it would happen, but I'm starting to calm down. Which is good, because there's the sunbird now. I'm still pissed off, and in shock, but now I've got a game plan. It's obvious I can't go on working at the University. I've got to get out of there. Nicky still works there, and since I won't ever see her again, I can't work there. So, I'll need another job. So, I'm a young immature guy, am I? A real mama's boy? I'll show her, I'll .. I dunno, but I'll do something. And I'll move out. I need some release. If I don't like, pump weights or something, I'm going to go nuts. THAT'S nuts. I haven't lifted weights since high school. The closest thing I've done to that is the bleach factory. FUCK! That's IT! The bleach factory. A job, and a release. I guess I should probably apply at Miller's too, but FloPak is what I need right now. Into the car, and off to Nisku to apply.
Emails, a personal visit and closure, sweet closure
I wasn't home ten minutes when the phone rang. It was Wayne. "You understand, of course, that you'll be at the end of main line." he started right away when he discovered that it was me. "I wouldn't have it any other way." Another wonderful new beginning. The conversation ended, and I found some more loose ends to tie up. Nicky still had my UofL back pack, and the University extensions center still had my CDs. Oh, and I had to quit. The trip to the University seemed to last three seconds. A fast three seconds. Maybe two-and-a-half. Still, before I knew what was happening, I was at the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology. Up the stairs (I usually used the elevator, but I was light on my feet on this day), and I was in my old office, collecting my CDs. At this time, the director of the good ol' institute was in my office, a concerned look on her face. "Is it Mubina?"(my immediate boss) I had already terminated my employment before coming in to tie up the loose ends. "Nope. I don't want to go into it." "If it's Mubina, you can tell me. It doesn't have to end like this." "It isn't Mubina, you can trust me on that one. If it WAS Mubina, I would let you know, to be sure. but it isn't." "That what is it?" She was getting upset. "Well, I really don't want to go into it." "Please tell me." "It's Nicky." And she went away, somehow still convinced it was Mubina. I was continuing my way through the institute, collecting stray CDs I had used on the many computers I operated. Mubina confronted me. "If you had a problem with me, I thought you would at least have come to ME with it." "If the problem I had with you was such that it would cause me to quit, I would have come to you well before it reached that." "If I'm the reason you're quitting-" "You're not. I promise." "Well tell that to Jan." (the director and mother of Nicky) "I did. I promised, just like I promised you." She had been crying. "Well, tell her again." She always had to be tough around me. I couldn't figure it out, but I didn't have to. I was done. "I'll tell her again, but I already told her once." "Why are you quitting?" she got past herself, (something I gave her great credit for, honestly) and looked at my situation. "I don't want to go into it." I guess we both always had to be tough around one-another. She accepted that. I crossed the hall, and there was Nicky, working at her desk. Was it her that told everyone that Mubina was the reason I was quitting? Could she not see? "I thought you said it wouldn't come to this, Liam." She said. "Well, it did." "You said quitting wasn't an option." "I was wrong. Where's my bag?" "Oh, it's right here." Honey voice once more. Didn't work a bit. I took my bag, with a promise to Mubina (which I gave a half-hearted effort to complete, but never did), and no intention of ever returning.(a promise to myself and I have heretofore kept unbroken) I still had to tie up loose ends. My life has always seemed to be about tying up loose ends that most people are content to leave loose. Still, it was about closure for myself, and I needed to let Nicky know what happened, and how it affected me, and where I was going from there. In a three page long email, I let Nicky know that the way things had happened at her place, that Friday, had made me lose all faith in her, and in any possibility of a relationship. I told her that what transpired was the reason for my quitting, not any friction with Mubina, half-hoping that she would fulfill my promise. I told her about the night and the day, and how they both made me feel, and I told her good bye, and that I would not see her again. And I felt like a piece of crap. But that wasn't the way things ended. In a response that I never expected to receive, Nicky torched everything about me. She went some places I didn't even believe were there. Aside from calling me irresponsible, immature, and other such things, she told me I didn't know how to take care of her bird. That message, fortunately, struck no chords. I found it so utterly absurd that it gave me the boost I needed to start the healing process.