I was a fool to think that I could understand myself by sitting in a room alone.
I went up the stairs in the library and the security guard walked up. She said, “Hello?” As if it was obvious that there was nothing for me up there. I went down in the basement and there was a bathroom. She said, “Only the first floor is the library.”
I said, “Well it’s written on the whole building: library. I didn’t realize.”
“Thank you,” she said.
“Thank you,” said I.
Can’t I just make up my mind to feel the way I do when I tell the truth without actually telling the truth?
Hell doesn’t seem like a bad place. Can’t I stay a little longer?
I texted a million people this morning. I still feel lonely.
If I work hard and focus, I can get my life on track. I don’t need to actually tell the truth, do I?
I don’t need to face myself, right?
It’s her fault, isn’t it? It’s not my fault.
It’s not my fault, right?
Where’s the bottom of this fucking quicksand anyway.
My wife said yesterday that I looked good. She said I looked relaxed. And I guess I did look relaxed. One time, this guy said I looked I was being consumed from within.
I feel many positive emotions just from the little bit of honesty I’ve been able to achieve so far. I feel more powerful and effective. I do feel more relaxed. My head feels more spacious.
But I’m still really scared of confrontation and the things that I’ve decided to do. I don’t know if I’ll ever actually go through with the scariest confessions. But I’m sure the stronger, future me will be able to handle it. Right now, I still get sick thinking about how I’m going to break it to my bar manager that I don’t want to go hiking with her ever. That’s a weird situation that’s been on my mind as a kind of test for myself. It’s my wife who really doesn’t want to go, but I’m tired of blaming shit on her. And if I think about it the only reason I would go hiking with the bar manager is because she keeps asking me. So you see when you think about it I don’t even know what it means not to want to do something. I’m so used to doing whatever I have to do to avoid disagreeing with someone. In the past I would just make something up, like a heart condition.
So yeah anyways for the most part I feel pretty relaxed.
Why couldn’t I leave my wife and do whatever I wanted? I wasn’t strong enough, that’s why. I had never really broken up with anyone, and I had also never really had a confrontation with anyone, thanks to my uncanny diplomatic abilities.
And so that meant I had to make it seem like I was a good husband. I had to do everything I could to make her happy, and besides that I had to avoid having a fight with her. I couldn’t stand to fight with her, and besides, I had nothing to say to her in a fight. I had no will of my own. Why should I have an opinion when nothing can be proven or disproven.
So we had no fights, except the ones over my drinking, which was out of control. I would drink and not text her because I didn’t want to have to fight about it and I knew if I texted her I was drinking she would say something snarky and then if I got drunk enough I would drunk text her a long nicely worded ‘fuck you.’
But those were our only fights and we didn’t delve too deep into why I was drinking like that.
So with no fights our relationship didn’t really grow much from when we had started. I was a different person than the guy who started dating her years earlier, but I acted the same towards her, only now I drank.
Since I was too weak to break up with her, I had to maintain some kind of normalcy, even though I had these self destructive urges. I had to keep them in check. So I resented her for that, but even then I knew she was kind of keeping me alive.
Now, looking back, it’s crazy how my whole life seems to have revolved around women. I guess that’s not very original, but I didn’t see it coming.
Anyway, I guess that’s what I’ve got to say about that. I am ready to have real fights and really get to know her now, and hopefully one day I will be strong enough to tell her everything that I ever hid from her. As for now, I’ll just do my best not to create new things to hide from her.
The girl with whom I was formerly obsessed and I still hang out and talk. It’s possible I made up her reciprocation of my feelings for her, but even if I didn’t I haven’t given her a reason to feel heartbroken if I never make a move or tell her how I feel about her. She is smart enough not to trust married men, I’m sure.
When two guys are walking together and one guy is listening to his headphones near them, those two guys are friends and the other guy is an enemy. When two guys are alone and listening to their headphones and walking down the street near each other, they aren’t enemies or friends. When two guys are alone and listening to their headphones and they attempt to use their metrocards to gain access to the subway and they are both rejected by the same turnstile, they are friends.
I didn’t smoke weed, and I didn’t drink, but under the fluorescent lights of Canal Street Station I feel like a thing that slithers. Somehow my fingernails got dirty. I was walking with the girl who I was formerly obsessed with, and I was telling her what I thought was a very interesting story. What I know was an interesting story, in fact, from her gasps every time we hit a pivotal point. And then, in the middle, we ran into some old friends of hers she hadn’t seen in a while. She’s from here and she’s popular, so this happens a lot. There were eight of them. Normally I would just smile and shake everyone’s hand and all that, but I just couldn’t give a fuck about these people and how they knew each other and anything like that, so I stood off to the side and waited for her to ask for her bag so she could go with them. I enjoyed the breeze and I checked my phone. Finally she called me over and her friends were like wtf why are you just standing over there! Meanwhile she had just asked minutes ago why I never do what I want. So that was the thing I wanted, to not talk to these people. I was really fine with her leaving with them, very convenient escape for me, but I did not want to meet them all for no reason. But I did anyway because what kind of asshole would I have to be to hand her her bag and say goodbye and nothing else. So I shook hands with every single one of them. There were people she didn’t even know and I shook hands with them, too. One guy said now repeat our names back to us. I said, I value you guys as people but I don’t have a memory like that. Everyone thought that was funny. You had to be there. So now I look awesome. From weirdo to awesome in sixty seconds. After five excruciating minutes where everyone tried to pretend that we could have an inclusive conversation, they ask what’s up next. I hand my friend her bag and say goodbye, shaking hands with enthusiasm and warmth and real kindness in my eyes. Eight people I will never see again, now they all have a piece of my soul. The train just won’t seem to arrive.
I guess, like many children who were raised as Christians, I’ve always had a problem with sex. I didn’t even have actual sex with my girlfriend of three years from the age of 16 to 19 because it was one of the hard lines of Christian morality that I would not cross. All I did as a teenager was think about sex, but I knew I mustn’t act on the thoughts. I even felt super guilty when I masturbated.
When I met the woman who became my wife, she was so beautiful that I couldn’t resist her. I didn’t tell her until months in that I was deeply religious and had felt that all the sex we were having was a sin. She thought that was weird and kind of hurtful. Immediately after that conversation, we had the best sex we had ever had up to that point.
Two years into our relationship, I stopped believing in God. I derided any kind of belief in anything, even that the color of a t-shirt could be known, and prided myself on not being delusional. I began to internalize that life was a cruel joke.
Sometimes after that, my wife would want to have sex, but I wouldn’t feel like it. I would be too busy thinking about how I’m going to get myself out of this hell. I thought the answer was make more money so that everyone could leave me alone, so that I could stay home and brood and not have to do shit.
One of the few things I still enjoyed (with the other things being eating and doing drugs, mostly alcohol), was courtship: the parts leading up to sex that you were technically allowed to do as an evangelical. I assumed it was too late to court my wife, so I would court girls at work. Mostly they were girls I didn’t find attractive, so there was no danger of me getting caught up. Sometimes they were girls I found attractive, but who were used to the game and would play along with no interest in going any further.
But on two occasions, it seemed that I had found a soulmate.
The first girl did a lot of drugs, so we were able to forget about our problems and just live in the moment. Before anything happened sexually, she had some kind of breakdown and disappeared for a few days. In the time it took for her to re-establish connection, I seriously contemplated suicide one day and got fired from my job for blacking out at work and being creepy the next.
The second girl, this recent one, doesn’t drink, so instead of just checking out, we have long talks in which she challenges everything that I believe.
I had to ask myself, did I make a mistake getting married? At first I thought the answer was yes. Slowly, very slowly, I realized that I didn’t really love this girl. I loved the idea I had of her, and what my life could be like if I wasn’t bound by the only thing that kept me in the world of the living: my wife.
Why hadn’t I broken up with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, when I decided that life was meaningless and cruel? If nothing mattered, why couldn’t I just leave her and do drugs and listen to music and fuck the world?
This girl made me think. Why does that happen? There was a girl in Boston who made me think.
Sure I’m always thinking, but I’m usually thinking the same thing. Some variation of the same thing.
But in these two instances, all the lights in my head went on for a blinding few seconds. Then they went out with a hiss and I found myself on cold, damp, soft weird shit, just shivering there.
A neurotic mess: myself, but worse.
The first descent in darkness was interrupted with some real practical type shit. I got fired, so I had to find a job and make money fast and I’m no good at that. Working seven days a week saved me from suicide or enlightenment.
Then this most recent descent.
My inner life was cruising along at medium shitty, nice and comfy. Then I met her and the ride got bumpy. I thought, why these moments of transcendence, mixed with these hours of extreme neurosis and nausea?
I asked: why am I stuck in this marriage, why can’t I just do what I want, why don’t I ever do drugs or listen to music in the dark or jump off cliffs?
Then I found the answer to why I don’t do those things. It wasn’t because I’m married. It’s because I believe that life is stupid and pointless, and I believe that if it was designed, it was designed to fuck with me.
Ten years ago, when I found out Genesis didn’t really happen, I laughed and said, you’ll never fool me again, Culture. Society. White men in long robes. Fuck y’all. I bought a bottle of Chivas, like my new hero Hunter Thompson, and I went to fuckin town.
Ten years I believed in nothing. You don’t know! I said to everyone. You don’t know shit, none of you do because none of you can, and anyone that thinks they know anyone is deluding themselves. And more power to those assholes, because I’d love to be able to delude myself. But I couldn’t delude myself. I had seen the truth, and it was an abyss.
Ten years I worked in restaurants thinking that the reason I didn’t get out of it was that I wasn’t using my free time effectively.
Ten years and longer than that, I lied with abandon, fashioning a chameleon armor around my starving, angry soul to keep everything away, to keep alive in a world that couldn’t give a shit.
But how is it that these two girls broke in where others didn’t?
Probably something to do with sex and something else to do with my mother.
Gotta go, bitches. More later.
Spoiler alert: I still don’t believe, and I’m still married.
If you give me a secret, I’ll give you one in return. I’ll lock yours up with what’s left of mine. The fuller the box gets, the lighter it seems. Sometimes I wonder, though, what you’ll do with mine.