Tuesday, January 22, 2013

No Respect!

Michael was in the habit of asking me out for drinks and dinner, almost daily. I was poor and thrilled with the invitation, but I knew the kid probably didn’t have enough money for a full on courtship. He was 23 and working at a doggie daycare for $12 an hour.

One night, he asked me out for drinks and I agreed. When he arrived he said, “Would you like to drive or do you want to take my car?”

“Let’s take your car this time,” I said.

“Ok …,” he said, “It sucks. Just so you know …”

“I don’t care,” I said, walking out to his hyundai four door. I tried opening the door on the passenger side. “Does this open?”

“Nope,” he said. I climbed in through the driver’s side and sat down. The passenger side of the car was completely smashed in on itself. I tried to roll down the window, “Does the window work at all?”

“Nope,” is all he said again, while lighting a cigarette. I could tell he was embarrassed. What did I care? I never understood the fixation on cars, cars as part of our identity, cars as reflection of our life … who the fuck cares? I didn’t. As he drove, the gear slipped out every few seconds, so he popped it in neutral then back in drive, lunging the machine forward. “Wow, this is bad,” I said.

“Yup,” he said, sucking on his cigarette, not looking at me.

“Oh well,” I said.

piece of shit car


He took me to a bar we had never been to on Brand Ave. in Glendale, between car dealerships. We parked and walked into the hole in-the-wall, with a heavy door and absolutely no life on either side of it from the street. It was an odd sort of place for a bar. There was no foot traffic, no restaurants, absolutely nothing would lead you to its door unless you happened upon it from buying a new car at a nearby dealership or found it on Google, like we did. He opened the door for me, and as I walked in I knew immediately we were the only white people in the bar. To the right were a couple of Hispanic men playing pool. At either end of the bar, more working class, Hispanic men. The only women were behind the bar, around my age, also Hispanic and carting a chip around on their shoulder the size of Rhode Island.

“Can I have a Bud Light and a shot of whiskey? And for the woman …” Michael started.

“No,” one of the bartenders said. They were both there side by side, with their heavy eye-make-up, tired tank tops and cheap, sparkling hair clips bought from a street vendor downtown.

“No?” he asked.

“No,” the bartender said.

“The Bud Light or the whiskey?” I asked.

“We only serve beer or wine here,” she said, flatly in a thick Spanish accent.

“Ok, well can I have a Bud Light?” he asked.

“No,” she said.

He threw his hand up on the bar. I could tell he was having a bad day.

“No Bud?” I asked. “What beer do you have?”

“Well, we have Bud, just not on tap,” she said.


bud_light_bottle_decal__70472

“Oh,” Michael said, “Well, that’s fine.” He turned to me and lifted his heavy hand off the bar as a motion to get my order.

“Can I just have any beer? Surprise me,” I said.

She looked confused for a moment but then a little excited by the task. I have trouble ordering, especially when faced with a lot of options. Often I will just ask the waiter or bartender to surprise me. They know what is best anyway, so rarely am I disappointed.

“So, I was having a tough day and just wanted to talk about a bunch of stuff that has been going on,” Michael said. He looked crouched over but still confident. He had money on his card, he had a girl at full attention next to him, and he took the moment for all it could be worth.

“You have seen my car, you know it was in an accident. It was pretty bad. So the first one I was driving along and looking at my phone for sushi menus, and rear ended this guy. He seemed fine. My airbag went off but it wasn’t a big deal. We exchanged information, everything was fine. My horn was stuck and just going off through the whole thing. After we exchanged information and I gave all my information to the police, I spent 30-minutes pulling out all the wires in my car to make the horn stop blaring. Everything seems fine … no one’s hurt. Then I find out the guy is suing for soft tissue damage.

Second car accident, so you notice how my transmission keeps slipping? No big deal, I just pop it in neutral and back in drive to get the car back on gear. I come up on this whole line of cars and I brake. It is really weak and my transmission is just failing, so I swerve to the right to avoid rear ending a bunch of people. My blinker is on and I am exiting to the right, and this guy speeds up to cut me off and hits me. It completely demolishes the passenger side of my car. I mean … you’ve seen it. No mirror, the doors don’t work, completely fucked. We wait for the cops, they don’t show so we just exchange information and drive off. Now, he is claiming that I hit him on the driver’s side and pushed him into the shoulder, making me responsible for damage to both sides of his car … which is total bullshit. In addition to that, I have like five unpaid parking tickets. And I work all day, I just don’t want to hand over my paycheck to the city and say, ‘Here ya go! Here is all the money I have been working for! Enjoy!’ You know? I can’t stand the idea of it. I worked for that money. I go in, I do my job and I think I do it well. And no matter how good of a person I am to other people, how nice I am, what I do to help, how good I am at my job, I always seem to get fucked.

And I really don’t get it. I mean, I should have some karma coming back to me. I should have a shit load of karma coming back to me! Instead, I have two people suing my car insurance company, five unpaid parking tickets and work is always calling me on my days off, always asking me to come in and cover and I really feel like I deserve more respect, you know? Just because I am a good person.”

Our drinks came and Michael put down a few bills on the counter. “And see, even though she was a bitch to me, I am still going to tip her well. Better than anyone else in here. Will she be nice to me, now? No.”

“Well, if I can respond … I don’t want to interrupt if you are just venting,” I said.

“No, please. I trust your opinion,” he said.

“I don’t put much stock in karma. I think the easier and happier you can make things for yourself, the easier and happier life. If you dwell in the negative, it just fosters more negativity. That’s nothing new though, that is just my theory on karma. I know things seem really horrible now with the car accidents and the parking tickets, and I am not saying these things won’t happen in your future, but they will be easier to deal with in your future. In your twenties, everything seems worse than it actually is. I mean, it sounds bad, but this is just your first time around. You have no experience in how to deal with it, so things feel extreme. When you have had a few rounds of shitty luck, it doesn’t seem so bad. When I turned 30, everything seemed more manageable. As for work, [the HR woman] is calling you in and asking you to do a bunch of stuff you don’t have time for …” I trailed off, hoping for an answer.

Karma's a bitch!

“nnYeah,” he said. When he wants to agree with me on something, he clips the beginning of the Y with a nasally “en” sound. “You know, it’s my job so I don’t want to say no, but I am the only person they ask to do all the extra stuff, all the extra shifts that need to be filled, whenever anyone calls in sick … I am just tired of it.”

“Well, that just means you have become their go-to person and you need to lay down some boundaries. You need to learn to say ‘no’,” I said, sipping my Blue Moon.

“I don’t want to have to say no. I want them to leave me alone on my days off and not ask me to do so much all the time,”  he said.

“Unfortunately, that is just a part of growing up,” I said, instantly watching him deflate like a birthday balloon forgotten on a fence post. I tried to save a little air for him. “I had the same problems when I was your age. It took me a long time to figure out how to get comfortable with saying ‘no’ but it is all a part of our journey. People will take advantage of you until you learn to reinforce boundaries.”

“I would rather just surround myself with nice people who I can trust not to push or manipulate me all the time. That is what I want-” he said, growing more passionate.

“You are in Los Angeles, Michael. Come on, don’t fool yourself. I had the same theory when I was around your age. People want to be pushy, bossy or mean to me? Fuck em! The truth is most people are going to get what they can from you. You can’t live in a place like this and avoid that,” I said.

He shook his head, “No, I am sorry. I won’t give up on that. That is something I am not giving up on! I refuse to work around that type of person. I just want to be around good people and not worry.”

I shrugged and sipped my beer. “So, are you going back to Milwaukee then?”

“No, I think I am going to hang here and give it a try. I have my dog-sitting base here. Most of my clients are here. It just seems stupid to give all that up and go back to the Midwest,” he said.

“I agree. That makes sense.”

“And, um … I am hoping I could give things between me and you a shot,” he said, sipping his Bud while turning his body away from the bar. He kept his eyes on me. He gently grabbed my hand, “I like you. I like you a lot and I want to give it everything I have.”

“I like you, too,” I said. My chest was heavy. There was some trepidation for this young man, holding my hand in a suffocatingly unfriendly bar, to propose a relationship after just confessing his disappointment in basic human nature and the revelation that life just isn’t fair. I didn’t want to be his lesson on older women and broken hearts. Now, on top of the basic problems I saw with the pairing, he wasn’t going back to Milwaukee. I thought it was the right decision anyway, but I knew if things didn’t go the way he expected with us, that would naturally become a source of resentment.

My phone buzzed. Michael would take note with his eyes. I would check the message, it was either from Frank or from the Crow (who I made love to a few days beforehand). “Anyone important?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “Just someone I met getting a little enthusiastic.”

He nodded, “The Crow?” God damn Facebook. He must have seen my post on Halloween.

“... yeah,” I said.

He nodded. Ordered another drink and played it cool. “I really appreciate all the things you are saying. Usually I don’t listen to advice, but I want you to know that I really respect your opinion and I take it very seriously.”

“Thank you,” I said. “Advice is tricky. We are all on our journey, you know.”

“Oh, I know. But I really appreciate what you had to say, so thank you!” He was so damn genuine. His voice and face were something you might see out of a 50s newspaper advertisement. He was earnest and boyish, but above all, at that moment, he reminded me of myself when I first moved to California. I was more stubborn and thick headed. I still got myself in trouble, but I relied far too much on human kindness and generosity to get by. As each new friend or opportunity or dream hovering over my twenty-something head soured or passed me by, it fed  into a hole I dug for myself. It is filled with shovelfuls of disappointment and bitterness. Every year I try to cover it up with fresh soil, but I can still see where the grass won’t grow.

The real lesson and love I have for Los Angeles comes from getting kicked out, yelled at, fired, pushed around and taken advantage of so much in such a small period of time, that I was forced to grow up immediately. I came out learning how independent I could be, how strong and resilient, how adaptable and wily. Los Angeles bullied me into becoming a weird kind of superhero- thrown out the company skyscraper like Selina Kyle and revived by a pack of stray cats like Catwoman. (This is not accurate within the backstory of the original Batman comics in 1950 or Frank Miller’s revived Batman comic books series 1987, but rather the Catwoman comic book series of 1992)

cattoon

Down and out. Up and down. Los Angeles gave me everything and then took it all away. What I learned was to enjoy the ride- I learned to be happily surprised when things went my way and prepared when it didn’t. I let go of money and boxes of things I carried with me from Washington state. I let go of lofty dreams and standards for who I wanted to be or who I wanted to fall in love with. I allowed myself to become a shape-shifter, a thief, a hard worker, a fantasy girl, a drug user, a student, an inventor, a dreamer, street performer, anything I needed to to get through another pay period with my soul intact. Compromises are made along the way, but I know how far I can be pushed and what I am unwilling to sacrifice. When you walk out of the cloud of dust knowing exactly who you are, you can really do anything. And for that, Los Angeles, I will always be grateful.

“No respect, huh? Do you know Rodney Dangerfield?” I asked.

“Yeah, of course I do,” Michael said.

I pretended to loosen my tie, “Yeah, I wish I was breastfed, but my mother always had a headache.” Michael erupted in laughter.

“I told this girl to call me when no one was home. She called, I went over, and no one was home,” I said, in a poor imitation.

“That is the best Rodney Dangerfield impression I have ever seen,” he said.

I looked down, smiling. “He is my favorite.”

Sometimes it is just easier to laugh than explain.

rodney_dangerfield_2006_03_10

**

That weekend, Sascha invited us out to her place for a party at her neighbor’s place. We grabbed Trent, my gay boyfriend and Gary, my roommate, then headed up to her studio apartment in North Hollywood.

"We are coming (over). I have men," I texted.

"Ha u have who? An Indian roommate, a bisexual boyfriend and a gay husband?" she wrote back.

"Yes, all of the above."

Sascha, Trent, Michael and I all come from the same Doggie Daycare. We all quit at certain points of time, mostly when we were all fed up or making a major life change. “As fucked up as that place was, and despite all our complaints about it, it really did bring us together ... which is worth a lot,” Trent said. It was an odd job, and I loved it for a good year. We were paid to play with dogs in a large playground and everyone was strange, broken and sarcastic. When friends started leaving and the odd regulars who practically lived there were promoted, things went downhill and we all ended up leaving.

Michael and I were flirting in Sascha’s apartment. “I really love this thing going on right here,” Sascha said, making a big circle with her index finger over me and Michael. Trent turned away. Earlier, he had confessed he was jealous but didn’t know why. I find it incredibly flattering but doubly confused because I never thought Trent found me attractive. That is unless I am fooling myself, and it is Michael that he is really jealous over. I didn’t ask.

We reviewed the practical jokes and biting humor passed around at Doggie Daycare. “Everyone was nice to me after a while, but Trent and [StarFire]. I would dread working with you two,” Michael said. “I just came in and wanted to do my job, then I have two people in back who wanted to make my life a living hell.” Trent and I cackled on the loveseat together. We bounce back and forth, opposite each other, laughing until our faces are red and we have to cough for air.

“The person who really got the brunt of you two was [Mississippi]. The nicest and hardest working person there and he was pushed every day,” Michael said. Mississippi was a young man in his early twenties who came out to Los Angeles from Mississippi (of course) to become a rock star. He was very good looking, had a southern accent and just wasn’t clever enough to keep up with me or Trent. So we preyed on him, joke after joke after joke … we laid it on thick.

“Hard worker? Come on!!!” I said.

“Oh please! Mississippi was no more of a hard worker than anyone else. He just complained the most,” Trent said.

Mississippi would come in to work after dropping dogs off at their various homes in the company van, usually half hour to an hour late, overwhelmed with car problems, traffic problems, who knew. “What happened, did you break a nail?” Trent would ask.

“Your mascara is running. Do you want to tip back a few cosmos and talk about it?” I said. “God, your face is getting really red. Are you reverse menstruating?”

Trent and I were unbeatable. And we really pushed it until one day Mississippi just walked out, blushing, silent and fed up. Our rationale is that he is sexy, he is good-looking, tall, hell, as it turns out he is actually talented. If anyone deserves to be torn down through banter and especially grotesque “Your Mother” jokes, it should be that kid. “We are helping him get used to LA,” I said. “Making him stronger. Someday he will only have us to thank!”

mississippi

Mississippi eventually ignored us to the point where joking became a bit boring … but once in awhile he will resurface in my life, show up here or there with his girlfriend, and I always see the beginning of a little smile. He kind of liked it.

The bass was coming through Sascha’s apartment from next door with the rising chatter of people lining up outside. The party was a house full of large, Hispanic men with bald heads and neck tattoos. I am no racial profiler, but we obviously wouldn’t ever run into this crowd at the same coffee houses or doggie care circles (and yes there is overlap in that department)! They were a little intimidating. Sascha insisted they were nice, so we all went over to the house party already toasted from a 12 pack of Bud Light. When we came in, we all quietly walked in a line to the backyard, where a DJ was set-up and playing hip hop. I just wanted to dance, so my 5’4 boyfriend and I took over the dance floor.  Alicia Keys came on and we drunkenly sang to each other:

♫ ♪ You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don't worry 'cause
Everything's gonna be alright

People keep talking ♫ ♪
They can say what they like
But all I know is
Everything's gonna be alright

♫ ♪ No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I'm feeling  ♫ ♪
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you, you, you
Can get in the way of what I feel for you

“Yeah .. um you two have been seen. People are watching you,” Sascha said.

“Good,” I said. “We are this party!” I grabbed Michael by the coat and lifted him up to my mouth. We all grabbed beer out of the cooler next to the DJ. When I reached in and nothing was left, I turned to the tattooed bald guy next to me.

“There is nothing left but cold ice, now my hand is cold…” I said.

“I know, I took the last one. Sorry,” he said.

“Mother fucker,” I said, crunching up my empty beer can and throwing it at the cooler. It bounced off the corner and flew into a dark corner of the courtyard. He quietly excused himself. “Just kidding ..” I said. I let myself into the kitchen through the backyard, and opened the fridge. There was an open bottle of moscato wine. The women at the party stood along the wall, next to the table covered in chips and cake, beef and chicken. You could assemble your own taco or enjoy fried chicken and birthday cake. They watched through their drawn in eyebrows and extra thick lip liner, like they were cartoon characters who needed to outline themselves with crayons. I pulled out the bottle of wine, used my teeth to uncork it, spit it against the wall and drank out of the bottle. No one bothered us, but I figured it was better to put on a little bit of a show than cower in the plants outside. Though, that was exactly what Gary, the physically largest of all five of us, was doing.

moscato_wine

Trent and Sascha were ripping up the dance floor, and eventually someone pushed Trent aside. “Get out of here, faggot,” they said. Trent stepped away a little but didn’t leave Sascha alone, after all, she was busting out that ass like a real professional. I had never seen her move like that, the men were hungry and circling.

“Someone called you faggot! WHO!? I am going to kill that motherfucker!” I said.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said, “I am used to it. It’s not worth it.”

“It’s worth it to me,” I said.

“Just stop. Please,” Trent said. I sucked the venom back in, but I never could relax after that. Michael was already on me about the relationship. He was drunk and kept grabbing my arm, “Let’s have feelings talk!” That is his thing, I guess we all sound like a broken record after a few too many drinks. Michael becomes a therapist on crack, “Come on, let’s talk about it. How do you feel?”

“I don’t know yet, I am thinking about it,” I said, in a sea of people dancing and drinking, all the while watching where I stepped as the only lights came from the DJ booth or the helicopters overhead.

“So what? Why don’t you want to have a relationship? Is it the sex? Fine. We can have an open relationship if that’s what you want,” Michael said.

“It’s not the sex but … really?” I said.

“Yeah, why not? Whatever you want,” he said. I could see his mind was sinking, the shadows under his hair and eyebrows were growing darker. His face slowly dripping into a frown. He had too much to drink and was crossing over.

While waiting with him in the small line outside the bathroom, he accidentally knocked over a family picture hanging on the wall. When he stumbled backward to recover it and prop it back where it belonged, he asked the slightly overweight girl next to him, “Nice picture, huh?”

I stormed away and then said, “You like girls with threaded eyebrows, is THAT it? Fine. Ask her all the questions you want. In the meantime, tell her nice 5” pumps.”

threadingchin

“You’re jealous … how cute,” he said. We were a mess. At one point, I remember turning around and hearing him shout, “You fucked FRANK (my roommate)! Didn’t you? Oh my God, of course you did!” I shook my head and walked away, he would corner me and manically recover, “Come on, I really care about you. I want to make this work. What do you want? What can I give you? Anything …Let’s get married.”

He lost his cool, but it was a little refreshing. There was a flawed, emotional human being deep down in there and he seemed to really want a relationship with me. “Just take it easy, we don’t have to be in a relationship. We can just do whatever we want. Remember? You are going to grow and change, let me give you the opportunity to do that without consequences. When I was married, I was your age. And a wedding seems like something you really, really want. Once I got it, I realized it didn’t really matter. And then I changed my mind. Let me give you the freedom to change your mind. Let me give you that gift,” I said.

“I don’t want that. What is with the fear of a relationship, let’s talk about it!” he said.

“Why don’t you ask threaded eyebrows!?” I barked back. He laughed and pulled me in close. It was our little on-going dance.

Sascha and Trent would break it up. “It’s a party, just have a good time. No relationship talk now.” We would separate, then collide and argue, then dance until there was no booze left. As quickly as we stormed into the party, we left just as abruptly. Broken, sweaty and belligerent, we fell into Sascha’s studio apartment, watched her lay down and then heard her state that she was “really tired” and needed us to leave. So, Gary, Trent, Michael and I stumbled out onto the road and argued with Michael that he was too drunk to drive, especially a car with so many problems.

We called a cab, it picked us up and drove us back to Glendale. Michael was upset because he felt like everyone was treating him like a kid and no one trusted him to make an adult decision like driving home his own car.

“This has nothing to do with your age, Michael. This is what friends do for each other, they let the other one know when they have had too much. If you got in a car accident, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” I said.

“I should be able to drive my own car home when I want to. I can’t be pushed around like some kid. I am a grown man!” he said.

“Calm down now,” I said, sitting him down on my couch at home. “This is the wrong battle to fight. Come on, now, sit down. Look, you want to talk about a relationship. This world is a shitty place. People are going to steal from you, they are going to hurt you, they are going to make you feel shit until you give them what they want. That is inevitable. That is what is going to happen to you over the next five years, and I don’t want to be around to see it. I don’t want to get in a relationship with someone who has to learn the hard lessons. I already learned those lessons myself, I don’t want to go through it all over again with you. That is why I don’t want a relationship. You are … the best person I have ever met. I don’t want to see that, ok?”

A tear fell out of his right eye even though he wouldn’t look at me. “NO MORE FEELINGS TALK!” Trent shouted. “Stop! Please!!”

feelings talk

“OK,” I said. “I am going to bed.” Though Michael followed me into my bedroom that night, I am not sure if we made love. We were all trashed and it was a mess. We fell asleep in our clothes, tangled in the bed sheet already coming off the mattress. We set the alarm and at 5am, Michael was up and off to work. I gave him the keys to my car.

Trent and I walked my dogs later that morning and spoke about Michael. “Yeah, he is really sensitive. All that stuff last night about ‘Feelings Talk’, that comes from therapy. He obviously went through a lot of therapy which means he is fragile,” Trent said. “You have to be very careful with him.”

“He told me he tried to kill himself over breaking his mother’s snowglobe. He is sensitive,” I said.

“See? If that’s how he reacted to his mother’s snowglobe, think of what his first adult relationship will be like. Is this is first relationship outside of school?” Trent asked.

“Yeah, he only had one serious relationship before and I think it was in high school.”

“Yeah, so this is his first real relationship. It could get really ugly with him. You need to decide if you want to risk really hurting him or if there is a real future there,” Trent said.

“It’s just … I really like him. I want to know what its like dating a nice guy for a change, you know? And the chemistry is there.”

“I know. He is really nice,” Trent said. “Just … be careful.”

bull-in-a-china-shop

*

At 2pm, Michael came back with my car, tossed my keys up in the air and walked right by me. I was able to catch my keys but then looked at Trent and said, “I guess it’s over. That was quick.”

We got in my car, I dropped Trent off at home and then drove Michael up to Sascha’s where his car was left the night before.

“Can you talk to me about what’s wrong? Why you are mad at me?” I asked.

“I just need to think about it for a second,” he said. A second became several minutes, and we we made the entire drive in silence (with the exception of when Cher’s ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves’ played on the radio and Michael sang along). I dropped him off and then peeled out of there.

Cher_-_Gypsys,_Tramps_&_Thieves

When I came home, I ranted to Frank: “I am done! I am done with men being hot and cold. I am done with this big baby behavior. I am just done. It was fun. It’s over. I am done.”

Earlier in the week, Frank sat down with a plate of food in the lawn chair he erected in the middle of our living room and said, “I will let you go through these young boys. When you are all done, I will be here waiting.” I chuckled, so I wouldn’t take it seriously, but now, in the middle of my red face, my loud voice and my chain-smoking on our porch over young men and the grief that follows, I saw him exhale and an expression shook out from his baseball cap like change trapped inside a purse. He looked relieved.

*

Michael called. I rejected the call.

He left a voice message, “I understand if you want to break up, just know I will always be there for you and the dogs …”

Then we met, and had sober feelings talk. “Just tell me how you feel. For some reason I feel some resistance to feelings talk. Let’s talk about it.”

“Ughhhh, if you must know, I haven’t been in a relationship with someone local in a very long time, and it makes me nervous. Abe was long distance. Alan was long distance. It has been years since I was dating someone locally and it didn’t go over well. Also, your sexuality bothers me. I mean, what if you decide you like men and leave me? I don’t want to go through that,” I rambled.

“Ok, well to address that …” he trailed off, “I am not gay, but I understand your concern. I am more attracted to women and very attracted to you. I have no intention of dating men or leaving you for one.”

“Well, you are just starting out. You can change your mind at any time,” I said. He crossed his legs, his bare knees peaking out of the holes in his jeans, both index fingers pressed against each other and pointed against his lips.

“I am not gay,” he said.

“Ok, well I think everyone is bisexual to some degree, so don’t feel locked into anything but understand my anxiety about it,” I said.

“I do,” he said. “Do you feel better now?”

“Yes,” I said. “That was weird, feelings talk actually worked.”

“Feelings talk works,” he said, “Now should we have post-feelings talk?”

**

The next day, Frank was outside with his cigar. Since Michael had returned from Milwaukee, he was at the house everyday.

“This seems like it is getting serious,” Frank said.

“It is,” I said, exhaling a cloud of smoke, “oddly.”

“Look, Thanksgiving is the one holiday I really give a shit about. It is a few days from my birthday. I wanted to play house with you, spend the day with you, but I am not gonna do that if you and Michael are serious. If you two are going to be together, then I will just hop on out of here and go somewhere else. So you tell me, is it serious?” he asked.

I rubbed my head. I felt like I was losing something in exchange for something else without understanding the real value of both. “Yeah,” I said, “it is getting serious. We can still play house. Like cook and stuff?”

“By play house, I meant play house,” he said. “I can’t do that if you are with him, but I tell you what, he is a really nice guy. I can’t complain. He seems like a good one. If it was anyone else I would be annoyed. I have no gripes with this guy,” he said.

“I know. He is pretty wonderful,” I said.

Frank leaned in and kissed my cheek. “I will go somewhere else for Thanksgiving.”

nice-guy

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