Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm a Loveless Pea in a Manless Pod

I've been reading Melissa Bank's newest book The Wonder Spot. Melissa Bank has a certain effect on me. Mainly, I become a nodder. I can be completely alone--say sitting in my living room in the middle of the day--and what she writes makes me feel so justified, so recognized, so understood that I just sit there and nod at the book, at the imaginary characters, and at Melissa Bank, who I think must be related to me in some way. We have the exact same thoughts.

When, in the latter part of The Wonder Spot, the narrator indicates she is just a loveless pea in a manless pod, I thought, I'm going to put that on a T-shirt.

I'm as manless as ever. I've been thinking about it a lot, which isn't a change or even a shock. I'm giving it special attention today for one reason: today is the Wily Republican's birthday.

For the next twenty-four hours when people ask him how old he is he will have to say, "Twenty-six years old." And for the next twenty-four hours when people ask me how old I am I will say, "Twenty-four." And for those brief twenty-four hours the Wily Republican will be two years older than me.

I've always thought it was a little weird that his birthday is the day before mine. It's like we were this close to being the same person. You know, born under the same moon, born under the same personality guidelines. I'm not even sure I believe in any of that, but a long time ago Kristin gave me a website to map your moon sign, which predicts who you are, what matters to you, and what you will likely be when you grow up, all based on the moon's position in the sky on the minute you were born. At times it was eerie. And because I mapped almost everyone I know, I read the WR's moon sign and personality type. His was eerie too. And so much different than mine. There must be something extraordinary about the moon's pull from September 12th to September 13th because you couldn't set out to create two more different people than me and the WR.

He's a Virgo, the WR. He's a Virgo like me and several of the men I loved before him. He sometimes fits the bill: he's anal about things like homework and organization. He has a compulsion to be the best at everything that ever existed on the earth. He derives sick pleasure at the way all the As line up on his transcript. But then there are things about him that don't fit the bill. He doesn't care what other people think about him, when he's clearly supposed to be spending precious amounts of time doing things to make everyone everywhere love and respect him. The WR is fond of saying, Fuck anyone who doesn't understand me. That's just not very Virgo-ish. A true Virgo--like me--would think nothing of being sad when she found out that not everyone everywhere loved her. But when the true Virgo--me--has those moments of understanding, the quasi Virgo--the WR--is pretty good to have around. You're good, he'll say. You're amazing. You're one of the best girls I've ever known. And then it's official: everything is fine because he has just said that.

The truth is, I don't want to be thinking about these things. I don't want to spend time thinking about the Wily Republican and my old life that had him in it. I feel like I should be far past this. Psychologically, I mean. Isn't this flame, this fascination past its expiration date?

On Sunday night I was watching a late-night episode of Sex and the City. In this episode, Carrie and Mr. Big had just broken up and she was sulking. Miranda told Carrie to stop sulking, to get out of bed, to put on a coat, to go breathe fresh air. Charlotte scolded Miranda because she'd just recently read a statistic that said that you are supposed to allow yourself a grief time frame that accounted for at least half the time you had been with this person. If you dated for a year, you got six months of grief. Two years of togetherness won you one solid year of wallowing.

Fine, but here's my question: what about the not-relationship? What about the non-boyfriend? What about the not-anniversaries? I can tell you what day we first kissed, and I can tell you all the other first-days, too. But none of that matters or counts because, really, when it comes down to brass tacks, the WR and I were nothing. There was no definable start, no definable end. And just what was our end? I sometimes feel like it still hasn't happened, or that my body doesn't feel like it's happened and it's waiting for something to tie everything up in a nice, neat package. I think that's my body still holding out hope. My body is ridiculous.

My mind is, too. I'd really rather not be thinking about the Wily Republican as much as I am. I'd whittled it down to an acceptable amount when I was still living in Minnesota. For that I thank New Boy, who distracted me with his eyelashes and dark boy-smelling apartment for the last few months I was in the state.

But then there was the moving. The packing of things that were important, that were memories. I put away my picture books. I dug through drawers where random odds-n-ends unearthed themselves--things like a note the WR and I wrote to each other on the back of a waitress pad. I had to look at all these things and face up to some ugly realities: I wasn't over him, I shouldn't have ever been under him, and I could've done things differently. And now I was leaving the state where it all happened. I was putting considerable physical distance between us. And I wasn't exactly ready.

So, I guess I'm wondering what my equation is. What's my grief time frame?

This is the number I've come up with: 1.5 years.

This is the starting date for those 1.5 years: November 1, 2006.

Those things are based on crude math that might not even be right, but it's the best I can make of things.

And I sort of would like to get my thinking of him and wondering about him and talking about him done with because then I could probably get around to tackling the fact that for the last two weeks I've been going to sleep at night and thinking, Wouldn't it be nice if New Boy were asleep in this twin bed with me?

It's tiring holding on to things that were either never there or there for only a short period of time. It's tiring thinking that surely, surely, oh God, surely there must be something good and bright and golden coming for me right around that corner or the next. He will be exactly what I want. Bookish, savvy, spectacled. And when he comes around that corner I will take a deep breath and I will finally, finally know that I can stop saying things like almost or so close or maybe if things were a little bit different.


Anskov said...

Happy early Birthday from Japan where it already is your birthday and the "Hello Kitty Welcome Touch is the Art of Pleasant" festival is in full swing in your honor (do you like my attempt at "Engrish"?). I hope you have a great 25th, Jess.

Liz said...

Maybe the grief period of the fuzzy relationships is G = [2*(time from first kiss to last embrace)] - (fuzzy time at beginning + fuzzy time at end). Work that math - what do you think?

Happy birthday!

Diana said...

Oh your Birthday Extravaganza is so fabulous and so wonderful and so fanfuckingtastic that I absolutely cannot wait to give it to you.

Once it's done.

Which it's not. Yet.

But when it is. Well. You just wait. You just wait and see. I am writing you a masterpiece.

Just This Girl said...

Hi, Matty! I am excited about all that Engrish.

Liz, that math is lovely. But I'm still confused about the brackets. What doe those mean? I got the multiplication part. Eeep!