For Halloween you painted your entire body in blue latex paint. It was the same year Avatar came out and whenever someone asked if that’s what you were you’d sneer and say, “I’m the Hindu god Rama. Maybe you should read a fucking book.”
You spent a good portion of the evening asking me to come home with you and peel the paint off and even though I was there with someone, I wanted to. He went off and talked with some friends, a girl he wanted to sleep with, and you and I talked more.
I thought you were smart and funny and getting pissy and telling everyone they ought to read more was fucking sexy.
You crafted a quiver of arrows to sling across your back. If you pulled the arrows on top of the tube, the lid would come free, revealing three cans of beer hidden inside so you could get drunk cheaper.
We were drunks. You were clever.
I saw you a couple days later and asked how you managed with the latex and you said that some other girl peeled off the blue paint and ripped off a chunk of your eyebrow. I let you know that your first mistake was covering your eyebrows and the second was not using olive oil.
You said it was my fault for not coming home with you.
I told the friend who introduced us that I liked you and all he said was, “No, Don’t do it.”
One morning you woke up in my bed so hungover that you went to take a cold shower. I could hear you throwing up in the tub through the wall. You crawled back into my bed soaking wet and shaking, you asked me to hold you, and if we could just go back to sleep.
You woke up embarrassed at the fact that you were wrecked in the morning.
But we still went day drinking.
Another Halloween you dressed as a cowboy and it was less effort because all you had to do was wear your own frequently worn western shirt, a cowboy hat and a holster in which you carried a real unloaded fancy revolver. I thought you must already fancy yourself some sort of cowboy, with a portrait of John Wayne tattooed on your chest, where I’d rest my head, and a revolver inked on your rib cage.
You got sloppy drunk and hit that mean place you sometimes did. You kept sidling up next to me at the bar and saying we would be going home together. You took your revolver and shoved it up my skirt and got it tangled in my fishnets. I was sitting with a friend you had previously hooked up with and we both decided neither of us would leave with you.
By the end of the night I decided I wanted to. Even though I knew sex wasn’t an option because you were too drunk and in that place where you became the mean version of you that I didn’t like much.
When we got outside you ran into your ex. A petite, ultra-Christian, blonde girl. You latched on to her side. You hugged her tight and glared at me like a defiant child. In my mind, you stuck your tongue out at me. I’m not sure that’s what happened, but the tone of that moment dictates it wasn’t entirely impossible.
You’d tell me about the greatness of other women. “A girl like THAT” and “that’s one I really fucked up with. I could have been with her” but never of my own greatness, which convinced me that maybe you didn’t see it at all, except when you told me that you RSS’ed my blog and that I really ought to write more. But maybe I was reaching.
Butter and Eggs Day I left work in the afternoon, drunk, and headed toward the BBQ our friend was having. I ran into you on the street and you smiled wide, grabbed me by the waist and pulled me into an alcove to make out without saying a word.
We made out on the stairs, against the wall, in a secret corridor. I had to use the bathroom and all the bars had done the traditional mandatory four o’clock shut down, so we went back to my work.
We locked the door behind us, turned on a single light in the basement retail space, and I rushed back to the bathroom. When I got back you met me in the dark, mouth first. You fucked me on the couch and kept looking toward the exit, because while no one could see us, they kept trying to open the door, unaware that the store was closed. Afterwards,you picked my underwear up off the floor and pressed them to your face and breathed deep before handing them back to me. Then we went to the BBQ and you lost a hit of acid you’d had in your pocket and searched my bedroom for it the whole of the next morning.
The next morning, you hopped into the shower with me the water was so hot that you jumped back a moment and asked me what I was trying to kill and all I said was, “You” because I hate sharing my showers with another person.
Now that you’ve killed yourself those words fill me with regret. They sting.
One night you wanted to walk me home and you told me about how you actually thought I was great and valued me as a friend and I guess that was your way of telling me we should stop hooking up and just be friends.
I was drunk and all I heard was the sliver of validation I wanted from you. I kissed you and made you stay the night.
Constance Ann Fitzgerald is the author of Trashland A Go-Go (Eraserhead Press, NBAS), Glue (Lazy Fascist), a zine maker, and editor/curator of Ladybox Books. She lives in Portland, OR where her happiness is wholly contingent upon whether or not there is a dog in the room.
Her essays/non-fiction appear online and in print. You can track most of them down by going to atrainwreckwithwords.com