Monday, February 6, 2012
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, November 5, 2010
First, realize you’re not in love.
Tell your girlfriend, over and over, you’ll tell her you love her when you’re ready. It’s not an easy thing just to blurt out for reasons as ridiculous as you took the garbage out, you picked her up from work, you roll over to fall asleep. Don’t tell her to stop saying it to you though. She’ll only start crying and saying you’re a terrible person
Take a step back and look at her every time she says it to you. Smile. You have to smile, but wonder deep down if she really means it. Wonder why you won’t -or can’t- say it to her. Decide you’re going to figure it out, and start thinking about it.
At work, the bar, the gym, on drives, during movies, think about it. You’ve been with her for almost two years. You didn’t hesitate when she asked you to move in, though you thought first of the rent being hundreds less in this tiny apartment, with two of you, than in your condo. It did surprise you when she first said it. You were flattered she felt so strongly about you.
You did take that step back, though, the same one you’ll take every time she says it. But you won’t really be able to imagine life without her. You’ll have developed a consistent life, full of predictable patterns and void of surprises.
Decide, at work, you’re going to tell her when you get home.
You’ll want to drive right past the apartment, cruise around the block, maybe even take off to Mexico. Don’t. Just pull into the drive-way. Run up the three flights of stairs, say “Hey,” when you walk through the door, “I wanted to tell you something.”
She’ll mute the TV, look at you for a second, then look back at the TV.
“I’ve been thinking about it,” Say. “I think I...”
She’ll look at you quick, but go back to the silent opera.
“Are you listening?”
“Well, yeah, but my show’s on.”
“Nevermind then,” say and throw your bag down and go to the bathroom. You’ll hear the TV turn on and you’ll want to get angry. Don’t. Just stare at yourself in the mirror for a couple minutes and think about how to say it. Practice a few times, even though it’ll never come out the way you practice.
When you think you’re ready, go out to the living room. The Soap will be heading to commercial just as you sit on the sofa beside her. So she’ll mute it, and look at you.
“Ok,” she’ll say, “What did you want to say?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking. And. Well. I think. I love you?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she’ll say.
You’ll feel nothing. It will be so anti-climactic you’ll wonder if you’ve actually said it. You start thinking about movies and novels, fairytales where ‘I love you’ was THE climax of the story. There’s hugging and kissing and raising of one leg (the girl’s) and smiling and credits and THE ENDs and Happily Ever Afters.
Here, there’ll only be her questions.
“Was that a question? Do you love me? Why did you say it right now?” She’ll probably say your name over and over too, trying to get your attention.
Say, “Nevermind,” and get up.
“Nevermind? You say ‘I love you,’ and then tell me to nevermind. What is your problem? What made you say it?” She’ll say, and she’ll keep asking a hundred questions as you tie your shoelaces and walk out the door.
Second, get into the independent music scene in your city.
Drive around the city for who knows how long, forgetting about your girlfriend. She’ll text you, “Come back.” Mute your phone. When you don’t reply she’ll send about a billion texts. “Come back please? I do love you. I’m glad you love me. Where are you? ??? Are you coming back?” Some of them, eight, will only say your name with a question mark. Then she’ll be angry. “Well, maybe I’ll leave too. How would you like that? ??? I am leaving. I’m serious. Keep the shitty apartment. I’m going to my sisters. Don’t even bother calling.” The last one says, “I think. I might. Hate you? You Asshole.”
Smile to yourself. Feel bad about smiling, but smile anyway.
Call your brother and ask if he wants to do wings. He’ll tell you he’d love to, but he’s going to a show with a buddy from work. Ask him what show. He’ll tell you some band you’ve never heard of. Tell him you’ll meet him there. It will change your life.
At the show, get a beer. Sit there and drink it and listen to the band. Just listen to the band. Watch them move with the music. Watch the weirdos dancing at the front with their eyes closed. Laugh at the lame stories the lead singer tells while tuning his guitar. Have another beer. Lean back in your chair. Relax a little. Notice you’re tapping your foot without even noticing. Scream for an encore.
Tell your brother you should do this more often.
“Where’s your girlfriend?” he’ll say.
Smile and raise your pint in the air as a type of solute. Your brother will laugh then, and sip from his own beer. He never did like your girlfriend. He could never have lasted so long with someone so clingy.
Look at the posters on your way out and tell your brother to meet you on Friday for one of the shows that looks interesting. He’ll be pumped. The show will be better than the first, and you’ll be hooked.
Go with your brother. Call your cousin when your brother can’t go. Go with a guy from work you barely know, but who, you just found out, likes independent music too. He’ll know a lot of bands, even secret shows that come to your city. You’ll love these shows the best. You’ll feel like you’re a part of something awesome, something awesome that not a lot of people know about, so it makes it that much more awesome.
You’ll think, every now and then, you’d rather go to these shows than have a girlfriend any day. You’ll even go by yourself when you can’t find anyone to go with.
Third, always go to your contact list on your cell phone to click on your brother’s name (instead of memorizing it) when you call him.
That way, when you lose your phone, and you want to text him because you’re sitting in the most amazing show in the world, a band you’ve never even heard of but that is ripping up the stage with a collection of diddys that is utterly blowing your mind, you’ll forget the number.
That way, when you want to text him to tell him, “Maybe the best night of my life. Get to the Undergrime Right Now!! This band is Friggin Awesome,” You’ll screw up the last digit of his number and it will go to the wrong person.
“Um...Sorry. Whos this?” They’ll say.
Tell them your name, then say “Isn’t this [your brother's name]?”
“Haha No its Karlee,” They’ll say.
Be a little embarrassed and put the phone in your pocket. But then think about how you can’t sit in this incredible show without telling anyone, and pull the phone back out.
“Heh, sorry. I meant to text my brother to tell him of a killer show at the Undergrime. Evidently I’ve got the wrong number,” say.
“Haha Wats the Undergrime?” she’ll say.
“It’s a sweet venue. They have a bunch of Indy Bands play. Downtown. Corner of Lone St. and Leigh.”
“O cool Jus start?”
“Cool,” she’ll say. Then, “Hope you find yur bro,” and she’ll stop texting.
Wonder, for a second, why you feel nervous. Then realize it’s because you are wondering if this girl is going to come to the show.
Keep watching the door. Keep feeling the music and being amazed by it, but keep watching the door. Soon -after a couple of songs, But what will feel like forever to you- a girl will walk through the door all on her own. You won’t recognize her. She’ll be looking around as if she’s lost. Even from across the room, you’ll see she has green eyes. She’s taller than you would have thought, almost as tall as you are probably. She has short blonde hair that frames her face perfectly. She has red, red lipstick on, which -you’ll be surprised to find- you’ll think is irresistible. She’ll have a cute little sundress on with a navy cardigan over it. She’ll lean against the wall, hold her left elbow with her right hand, cross her right foot over her left leg and rest its toe on the floor. She’ll bob her head with the music. When the lead singer tells a lame story and every one laughs, she’ll smile. Blush and look down at your table when you notice her bottom lip moves off the right side, just a little, when she smiles.
When she walks, a little pigeon-toed, to the bar, follow her over. You’ll be incredibly nervous, but you have to follow her over.
Stand behind her in line and wonder what she’ll order. Smile to yourself when she orders the same drink you have every time you’re at the Undergrime. Order the same drink right after her.
As you’re waiting, right before the bartender gives her her drink, ask her, “Are you Karlee?” You’ll feel like a total idiot, but just ask her.
She’ll grab her beer, back up a little bit, take a sip, and say something like, “Um...I am,” and she’ll look around. “How did you know?”
Tell her your name, then say, “I’m the guy who texted you. Uh...I kinda saw you come in. You looked like this might be your first time here.” and then laugh a little embarrassed laugh that will embarrass you even more.
She’ll laugh then, and say, “Oh my gosh. You could tell? I’m so embarrassed.”
“No, don’t be embarrassed,” say.
“I was just turning onto Lone,” she’ll say with her crooked smile. “I thought I’d check it out. Since I was so close.”
“Well, you’ll be glad you did.”
“Yeah, the band sounds cool.”
“I got an extra seat over here,” say, and point to your table. Someone will have swiped it already, so you’ll both laugh and she’ll say there’s room over on the wall she was leaning on.
Stand with her. Listen to the music. Keep sneaking little peeks of her, wondering how she could be so cute. Ask her what she thinks during one of the lame stories. She’ll tell you they’re awesome, she can’t believe she’s never heard of them before. or this place. Tell her you come here all the time. She’ll smile then and say she’ll have to start coming more often.
When the band is finished and everyone’s cheering for an encore, you’ll wonder if you should scream as usual or if she’ll think that’s weird. You’ll be shocked to find she steps away from leaning on the wall, cups her hands around her mouth, and yells -as loud as anyone in there- “Encore! Encore! Encore!”
Text your brother, “This might be the best night ever!”
After the encore, ask Karlee if she wants to go for coffee. She’ll definitely say, “Sure.”
Go to a 24-hour place. It won’t be as nice, but the nice ones close at Midnight. You’ll want more than an hour. You’ll be nervous on the way there, but just gather your courage. She’ll be easy to talk to once you start. You’ll forget you were even nervous.
Just get something you’ll like. Don’t try to be macho and order a triple shot of espresso or something stupid. She’ll order a girly little drink -a caramel machiato or something. She’ll probably just think triple espresso drinks are lame.
Offer to pay for her drink. But don’t insist when she says, “No, that's fine.”
Talk. Talk and talk. You’ll be surprised at how much you can talk about. You won’t have a ton in common, yet, but you’ll still be incredibly interested in everything she has to say. You’ll start to feel like you’ve known her forever. Talk until you notice she’s getting tired. Look at your watch and say, “Holy crap. It’s almost 3AM.”
She’ll yawn and say, “Oh my gosh. I didn’t even notice.”
Ask, “Can we do this again?”
She’ll scribble her number on a napkin.
When you get in your car and are just about to leave the parking lot, you’ll get a text. From Karlee, “Haha i think it might have been.” Realize you sent your last text to Karlee, not your brother.
Call her the next day. You’re friends will tell you to wait a few days or a week. You can if you want, but she won’t care if you call her. She’ll be excited if you do.
Take her to shows, to movies, to dinner. Take her on picnics, mini-golfing, bowling, walks. Go with her to art galleries, pose for her pictures, go shopping with her. Take her to a hockey game. Take her to the lake. Go swimming. Go on hikes. Have barbecues. Eat chips and watch movies with her. Introduce her to your brother before your parents. He'll like her. "She's totally opposite from your last girlfriend," he'll say. "Mom and Dad will love her." She'll blush and grab your hand with one hand, your arm with the other. She'll put her head on your shoulder.
Say, "Do you want to meet my parents?"
She'll say, "Sure," and she'll smile.
Don't worry about her meeting your parents. They'll lover her. You're mom will hug her when she first meets her and say, "I'm so excited to meet you. I've never seen my boy so happy before."
You're dad will sip his coffee, then offer his hand for a handshake. "He does seem to be bouncing around with his stupid grin lately," he'll say, and he'll laugh, and your mom will laugh, and you'll be embarrassed, and Karlee will laugh, and you'll say, "Whatever, Dad," and he'll say, "What?" and Karlee will kiss your cheek. Your dad will look you in the eye, raise his eyebrows with a smirk, and sip his coffee. Supper will be perfect.
Not long after that, you'll see a poster on a street-lamp advertising the band -the one you accidentally invited Karlee to- is coming back to your city. They'll playing at a bigger venue this time, and they'll cost a lot more. Buy two tickets anyway. You can't, under any circumstances, miss this show. Take the tickets over to Karlee's apartment. Run up the stairs and burst through the doors. Don't waste any time. Just show her tickets. Tell her the good news.
She'll get excited at first, but when she looks at the tickets closer, she'll say, "Awww. This is for the 28th."
"Yeah, so what," say.
"Well, I have that big photo-shoot that night," She'll say. "I can't really skip it. They've already paid half of it."
"Are you serious?"
She'll just look at you, sad, but smiling a little. "I'm sorry," she'll say.
Try to shake it off. Tell her you'll be fine. You'll take your brother.
She'll say, "I'm really sorry," again.
Go give her a kiss, a passionate kiss that you lose yourself in.
Finally, go to the show with your brother.
He'll be pumped. In the weeks leading up to the show, neither of you will be able to stop talking about it. You'll go early to get the best spots. You'll bring extra cash to buy Karlee a t-shirt. You'll talk about staying after the show to try to wait for the band to leave so you can get their autographs. You'll feel like a high-school girl going to see Justin Bieber.
At the show, you'll get spots right near the front, so close you could almost touch the stage. Your brother will say he's going to catch a guitar pick when they toss it. You'll say, "Yeah, that'd be sweet," but you'll start to feel it right then. You won't know what it is at first. It'll be something like the feeling you get when you're sitting in the waiting area at the dentist. The feeling that says, "When you're done this next little bit, you'll be happy. You'll have nice, shiny teeth and a sexy smile. But still, you just can't wait for the next little bit to be done." It won't make sense at all. Stand there. Watch the stadium fill up with excited people. Try to figure out where your excitement went.
Go buy a t-shirt. You'll tell yourself once your decked out in a sweet new T, you'll be more in the mood for the show. While you're in line, think about which shirt to get Karlee, which colour, which size. Imagine what she'll look like in it. Smile to yourself, but then stop smiling cause you'll remember that she won't be coming to the show. You'll get a little fidgety then, wishing the line would hurry up, so you could hurry up to get back with your brother, so the show would hurry and start so it would hurry up and finish, so you could hurry up and get to Karlee's apartment to give her her t-shirt, to see her.
"What's wrong with you?" your brother will say when you finally get back beside him.
"This is going to be awesome," he'll yell and raise his hands and a bunch of people will scream.
"I gotta go," say. "Can you find you're own ride home?"
"Seriously," Say and turn and squish through the crowd to leave.
Drive straight to where Karlee has her photo-shoot. You won't even think about it. You'll just want to see her. When you get there, just burst in. You might interrupt everything and the happy couple will be startled and screw up their pose, but that's all right.
Karlee will say your name, then "What are you doing here?"
"I just wanted to see you," say.
"It couldn't wait?" she'll say.
"Well, I’ve been thinking about it,” Say. “I think I...”
She’ll look at you quick, but she'll start taking photos again. The couple will go back to posing.
“Are you listening?”
“Well, yeah, but I'm kinda busy right now.”
"Nevermind then," say, and go the bathroom. Just stare at yourself in the mirror for a couple minutes and think about how to say it. Practice a few times, even though it’ll never come out the way you practice.
Karlee will knock on the door. "Are you ok?" she'll say.
You'll get startled a bit, but don't lose focus. "You have a sec?" say.
"They told me I could take a minute if I wanted."
"Ok. Well, I’ve been thinking. And. Well. I think. I love you?” You'll be scared for a second, because it will have the same anti-climactic feeling as last time. You'll think it's stupid. You'll never tell anyone you love them again.
But then she'll hug you. Then kiss you. Then look at you and say, "I love you too. So much."
It's then you'll feel like the climax of a movie. You'll feel like you should have said it before. You'll feel like it's always been true. You'll feel like you'll do anything to hear her say it again. You'll feel like you should have known it's not how you feel after you've said it.
It's how you feel after someone has said it to you.