0

A Risky Return

I paced the floor anxiously.  I stood up, sat down, stood up, sat back down.  I let out a disgruntled moan.

The time had come.  My cousin and his wife would be returning from their trip in only a couple short days and I needed to make a decision on where I would go next.
My mother and I were meeting in Bali in a month’s time, so it seemed silly to begin a new job and settle down in a new place, only to have to pick up and leave soon after.
I didn’t want to stay where I was so I considered travelling for the month, but was seriously low on funds.  I tried to find a temporary job doing farm work or fruit picking, but did not receive a single response.
The only option that really appealed to me was returning to the surf town.  I reasoned that I could get my old job back, have a few couches here and there to crash on, and that it was necessary because I really truly missed my friends and needed them in my life.  All that was true, but maybe the real subconscious reason for my decision was that I wanted to see Nick, even though my heart started pounding and my skin started sweating anytime I thought about seeing him.  It had been nearly a month since his announcement and I had yet to respond.  I knew that seeing him would be inevitable, so I decided to try and be the bigger person and call a truce.
My fingers trembled when I dialled his number.  After an eternity he finally answered, I took a deep breath and firmly spoke my peace.
“I’m trying to be happy for you, because I know that this is all you’ve ever wanted,” I told him.
“That’s not true -” he interjected.
“Do NOT interrupt me.  I’m speaking now,” I spat and he shut right up.  “Anyway, I’m coming back to town and I know we have all the same friends and I know I’ll have to see you so I wanted to tell you that I don’t hate you and that we’re cool, but in no way can I ever be your friend.”
He said he understood and thanked me for my call.  I hung up the phone and got to work planning my return.
Oh dear God, what have I done?


I had changed and so had the town.  It was noisier and more chaotic than I had ever remembered, chalked full of all the visiting summer vacationers. I felt reborn and vowed that this time around I would be the most social version of myself and say yes to every experience offered to me.

I met up with Kyle and the two of us walked the beach.  Of course, the second person we ran into was Nick…  He and Kyle chit chatted, while I stood off to the side.
“Nice to see you,” Nick smiled at me, “Otis is in the truck if you want to say hi.”
I spent the rest of their conversation cuddling Otis, who had become a full-grown dog in my absence.
After finally escaping the awkwardness that felt like it lasted a lifetime, I received apologies from both guys for putting me in such a situation.  I told them both not to walk on eggshells around me and that I was fine, but the minute I walked into Kennedy’s house I began drinking heavily…

That night we celebrated my return with an epic chicken dinner cooked by Jill, followed by lots of wine and joints and cigarettes, followed still by a quick ride into town where we would proceed to dance the night away.  I met up with heaps of friends including one in particular who had messaged me earlier in the day named Fred.

… A little backstory on Fred: He and I met shortly after I first moved to town.  Jill and I were sitting on the beach and a group of guys walked by and called out ‘cheers!’ to us while simultaneously tipping their beer bottles in our direction.  They were cute, friendly and drinking so we decided to join them.  They were a group of local street artists and I hit it off particularly well with Fred.  We all ended up getting loose at the bar.  Fred and I snuck out the back to smoke a joint and laugh about our same stupid sense of humour.
“You’re really cool, we should be best friends.  No, seriously, we should be best friends,” he insisted.
After that, we chatted back and forth and he ended up meeting me at the drum circle.  He insisted I come to the bar to have a drink and dance with him. It was getting late and I had work in the morning so I told him I was heading home.  He leaned in to kiss me.  In all my stoned glory, I dodged his smooch and yelled out, “Did you just try to kiss me?!”
“Um, yeah that was my intention…”
I was all too aware of some of his chick friends standing out of his line of vision and filming the entire scene on their phones.  I felt so incredibly awkward, truthfully, I was attracted to Fred in a lot of ways and I was curious to kiss him, but I had just started dating Nick and didn’t want to betray him.  Instead of explaining any of these things, I just turned around and ran out of the bar.  After that, Fred and I were less friendly, but we’d still chat here and there, I’d run into him every so often and we’d have a drink together…

But this time, dancing at the same bar where he first made a move, I didn’t turn away when he leaned in to kiss me.
When everyone began parting ways and heading home for the night, Fred turned to me and asked me to spend the night with him.  Back at his house, drunk and turned on by the prospect of a new partner, I threw him down on his bed and attacked him with all the prowess and seduction within me.
He was tender and attentive, thumbing my nipples and kissing my breasts.  When he took off his pants my jaw dropped at his size, the largest I’ve ever had without a doubt.  He fucked kind of fast, which was slightly painful, but I managed to slow down the tempo.


 

I woke up, naked and sprawled across his bed.  My mouth was dry and I was disoriented, but something had woken me up.  It was an older man standing in the open doorway, we made eye contact before he slammed the door shut in embarrassment.  I had a sudden flashback of stumbling into a grandiose house, chalked full of expensive looking art pieces.  And then it hit me: Fred lived at home.  Fred lived at home and we had just spent the entire night having loud, boisterous sex.  I was mortified.  Even more so when I had to get up and be introduced to Fred’s dad and even more so when he had to drive Fred and I into town because apparently we had cabbed into the middle of butt-fuck no where and Fred had lost his license earlier in the month due to a DUI.

Once in town, we went to part ways.  He asked what my plans were for the night and I told him about a show I was meant to go to.  Not even an hour later he messaged me saying he had gotten a spare ticket and would see me there.  I couldn’t help but grin.
“Be careful,” all my friends warned, “He obviously likes you a lot.”

My friends had ditched the show and I hadn’t seen Fred anywhere.  I was just about to leave myself when there he was, leaning against the front door frame, chatting to one of the ticket girls.  When I saw him, he looked embarrassed as he pulled me close to him,
“I was just trying to guess where this girl is from.  I thought Germany, but my friend thought Russia so I had to come over and find out,” he explained nervously.
I just laughed and brushed it off, happy that I had finally run into him.  We spent the rest of the night dancing, drinking vodka and making out against the bar.  When he took me home I told him how uncomfortable I felt meeting his dad.
“My dad really likes you, I’m glad you met him.  I don’t bring girls home very often, and I want you to get to know my family because I want you to be around a lot.”
I blushed.  My friends were right, he obviously did like me… a lot.


Fred asked to see me the following night, but I told him I needed a night to myself.  He expressed his disappointment, but asked me if he could cook me dinner at the beach on a following night.  I could barely contain my excitement at the prospect of such a romantic date, but felt sideswiped when he mentioned that a couple of his friends would be joining us.  Ashamed that I had misread the situation, I desperately texted Jill and begged her to join us.
Once we were all sitting and I was desperately trying to relax, who should walk over, but Max and Brandon and Kyle and bevy of the rest of Nick and my shared friend group.  I knew they were also planning a barbecue but thought they had chosen another spot.  To my horror, they decided to join us and I let out a huge sigh of relief that Nick was not amongst them.
Long story short, we all got stinking drunk and Fred and I disappeared back to my tent, but ended up just passing out on top of each other.

I woke up covered in sweat and with a vicious hangover, I rolled over and groaned with the pain.  Fred awoke and suggested we treat ourselves to a lazy hungover day at my campground.  We smoked weed and swam in the pool, smoked more weed and got breakfast, smoked even more weed and had sex and then smoked a little more while hanging out in the jungle.  We finally left the grounds to catch sunset and smash a pizza on the beach.  We parted ways and promised to get together soon to watch a movie, but after that day things changed drastically.


Fred stopped responding to my messages, whenever I’d see him out he’d make an excuse to leave, yet he would tell me how beautiful I was and kiss me in public, but then I’d hear stories about him leaving with other women.  I confided in my friend Reese and she insisted none of it was true.
“I know Fred really well, he’s not the kind of guy who picks up random girls at the bar.  He’s a sensitive artist type.  Trust me, he’s a good one.”
Maybe so, but it seemed he had moved on from me and I wondered desperately what had changed.

On Aussie Day, high on M and feeling alone, I made the mistake of calling him up and telling him I wanted to see him.
“I’m fucked up,” he admitted, “I want to see you too, but I don’t know if I can make it back into town, you could come here though.”
“Why don’t you text me the address and I’ll try to get a lift,” I suggested.
“Yes, that would be awesome.  I’ll text you right now, I really hope I get to see you.”
I never received a message and I spent the next day wallowing in my hangover and hating myself for being such a fool.

A couple days later, I saw him out, but walked away before he could notice me.  Sitting down on the patio with my friends, I tried not to notice him leave with a skinny brunette.
When Reese arrived and I told her, she was in disbelief and disappeared to get the scoop from one of Fred’s friends.
“Okay babe,” she said upon returning, “this is going to hurt really badly, but it’s better for you to know so you can move on.  That girl he left with is his girlfriend, apparently they’ve been dating for a while.”
Ouch.
“And on top of that, supposedly he fucks a new girl every week.  I’m so sorry, he had us all fooled.”
Double ouch.

I tried to be strong and laugh it off like I didn’t care, but I fell apart.  All the Nick issues I’d buried inside came bubbling to the surface.  I told everyone I didn’t want a boyfriend, but I’d used Fred to distract myself and to replace that giant gaping, Nick-shaped hole in my life.  I cried, a lot.  I could not stop.  I left the bar and went home where I cried myself to sleep.


At 7 am I staggered into work hungover, sleep deprived and depressed.  My co-worker and I smoked a joint before starting on our cleaning duties and the weed helped numb me.  In fact, all I’d been doing since I’d returned was drinking, smoking weed and using hard drugs and the chemicals were reeking havoc with my emotions.  On top of it all, after finishing my shift, I received an angry phone call from my dad, accusing me of being a shitty daughter.
“You’re right,” I admitted, “My life is an absolute mess right now, but I’m going to try harder.”
I wanted to go back to sleep, but my tent was too hot so instead I met some friends at the beach.  The moment I got out of the water I made eye contact with a smiling Fred, walking towards me, blissfully unaware of the revelation I’d just received.
I panicked.  I had no idea what I wanted to say to him.  So I did what I do best and quickly ran away from the beach.

That evening, I was still too terrified to face him, but instead constructed a long text message.  I knew it was the cowards way out, but I didn’t want to see him and I had to get some things off my chest for my own sake.
I just told him that I thought we were friends and he really disappointed me by being like every other Aussie guy.  I explained that I never wanted a relationship, but would have appreciated honesty and a bit of respect.
He apologised for being distant and blamed it on his upcoming move, before asking me to hangout the next day.
My response?
“The reason I’m saying these things is not because of you being distant.  We live in a small town, and I’m not an idiot.”

I didn’t expect a response and wasn’t surprised when I didn’t get one.  I seriously questioned my judge of character, took a deep breath and tried to make the most of my remaining days in town, thankful that I had Bali to escape to.

 

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1

September is for Self Sabotage

Damn, I want a cigarette is all I can think right now.  As I begin to write this, I still haven’t fully processed just what the fuck has happened.

The other night there was a party at my friends’ house so my co-worker convinced me to check it out with him when we finally finished work.  Of course, I walked in the door and an extremely inebriated Dan was the first person I saw.  Of course, he hugged me and started acting all flirty while reminiscing on our past encounters.  I excused myself to do a lap, but somehow ended up talking to Dan again.  At one point, my brother literally stepped in between the two of us and started talking to me and now I realize why… because he saw something in my eyes and was doing his best to put a stop to it.  Because in that moment I really hoped something would happen between Dan and I.  If it were ever to happen again, it would be right now I rationalized, I’m drunk, he’s drunk, we’re vibing.

As I stepped outside to enjoy a smoke, he followed me and began mooching off me, as is his way.
“Seriously, you’ve smoked half of every pack I’ve ever bought, you really need to buy me a pack!  And pick up a pack for yourself since obviously you’re a smoker too.”
“I’m not a smoker anymore,” he retorted, “I smoke maybe a cigarette a week.  It’s only when I’m drunk.  Or when I’m around other people smoking.”
“I think it’s only around me because you take advantage of my good nature,” I responded, but still, I shared all of my last few cigarettes with him.
Later on, I was sitting with him on the front steps and went inside the house to use the bathroom, when I came out he was gone.  Biked home; didn’t even say goodbye.  I wasn’t all the surprised, but it still hurt, a lot.  I like the expression “heavy hearted” cause that’s exactly what it felt like: my heart had sunk to the bottom of my stomach.  Why was I doing this to myself?  Why was I letting him into my life and just throwing myself in his line of fire?  I just kept giving and giving and he kept taking and taking.  I couldn’t even stand up for myself.  Hadn’t I learned anything?

When my friend offered me a little bit of mushrooms, I gladly took them.  It was, after all, officially September, we all had reason to celebrate the end of summer.  The mushies hit me hard and I spent the remainder of the night getting followed around by one of the roommates 20-year-old brother who was visiting from out of town.  I began to seriously contemplate going for it, he may have been young but he was totally beautiful.
“Don’t forget about the staff party tomorrow,” my co-worker called as he left.
“I won’t! I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Hey, I got invited to that thing,” the 20-year-old chimed in, “My brother’s girlfriend works there.”
The two of us then decided it would be a brilliant idea to try and stay up all night and show up absolutely wrecked to a daytime party full of families with young children.  By 5 am we were passed out spooning on the futon.  Again, I seriously considered taking it further, it was, after all, September and I had lasted the whole summer like I set out to.  But he seemed so nervous and when I considered the fact that he would tell his brother, who would tell his girlfriend, who would tell everyone at work, who would tell everyone else including Dan, I decided against it, but thought that even saints deserved a good cuddle sesh.
The draught continues I thought, but I was so very wrong...

In the morning it was pissing rain, so I got a ride with my bike and we all stopped for breakfast sandwiches.  The guys were discussing getting stoned on the couch and watching movies all day and I felt incredibly jealous.  I didn’t want to spend my only day off at this event; I didn’t want to ride into town, go on a boat, and be out in the rain surrounded by families and happy couples; I didn’t want to socialize and make small talk with my relatively new co-workers.  I. Just. Didn’t. Want. To.  I wanted to take a hungover day for myself and I wanted to start by having a nap.  My co-workers texted trying to convince me to come, but I relented.  I (wrongfully) assumed that I wouldn’t be missed at the 100+ event.  To this day, I’m not sure what it was that changed.  I had every intention to go to this thing up until that moment.  Maybe it was my own insecurities or just plain laziness, but what I did that day was very entertaining indeed…

“John? John?”  I heard my roommates name being shouted down the hall.
I stuck my head out my open door to see his best friend Jess.
“John went to the staff party with Carlie,” I told him, “How’re you doing?  Long time no see.”
He began to tell me about how he was going through some hard times and feeling rather depressed about his recent breakup.  I climbed back in my bed and invited him to sit down in my room. I listened to him talk and tried to offer advice and encouraging words and then gave him a huge hug.
“Would it be strange if we cuddled?” he asked me.
“I was actually kind of thinking the same thing.”
We started spooning and at one point in our cuddle session he began sort of massaging me.
Okay where is this going?
Then his hand grazed my braless breasts and I gasped, he continued to massage around them while playing with the waist of my pj pants.
I should probably stop this… but maybe not just yet
He continued to explore and I didn’t stop it, it just felt too good.
It wasn’t long before we were both naked and I was digging around in my dresser in search for condoms.  The two of us got down and dirty and the weirdest part was that not once in our entire encounter did we kiss.  There was no intimacy involved whatsoever, just straight animalistic sex and it was pretty hot.  I came twice and we both collapsed on the bed.
“How the fuck did this happen?” I gasped.
“I have no idea,” he replied.
And with that we both passed out, still cuddling unit I woke up again at 4 in the afternoon.
I had a missed call, voicemail and text from my manager saying that they’d all like to see me present at the staff party.
Shit I thought.  I looked over at a naked Jess, shit shit shit!

We started talking, trying to comprehend what had taken place between us.
“I always thought you were hot,” he admitted, “and thought about asking you on a date.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“I thought you were seeing someone at the time.”
“I guess I was,” i said, thinking back on how I was smitten with Dan when I first met Jess and then he had gotten a girlfriend shortly after.  I’d always thought Jess was cute, but thought nothing more of it since he was John’s best friend.  He was also close with my girlfriend Sally and I had encouraged her to go for him when he became newly single, but she always saw him in the friendship light.
As if reading my thoughts, he said, “You know, Sally’s going through some stuff right now too.  She and I are good friends and we’ve only ever been friends, but I don’t know if she can handle this… maybe we shouldn’t tell her.”
“You know her better than me.  If that’s how you feel…” I had no problem keeping our indiscretion quiet, but the first person I thought of telling was her.
“So, I think you’re really cool and I’m not seeing anyone right now at all, so I think…”
“I’m leaving soon,” I told him, “I wanna keep things casual, but I would like to spend some time with you, get to know you, just take it day by day you know?”
“Yeah okay, sounds good.  Maybe we could hang out tonight?  After I have dinner at Sally’s?  I gotta go teach a surf lesson now.”
We exchanged numbers, hugged, but still, not a single kiss, not even a peck.

That night, after texting back and forth, he came over when everyone else was asleep and we threw down again like we had earlier and passed out in each others arms.  Having the satisfaction of sex and the warmth of a man next to me was incredible.

I woke up in the morning to my roommate texting me, asking if I was ready to go for breakfast.  I groaned and texted her back that I needed 20 minutes, then started laughing because obviously she knew not to enter my bedroom.
“I gotta go have breakfast,” I groggily informed him.
“I’m supposed to be having breakfast with my boss in a little bit,” he yawned.
I got ready, but he stayed in bed, “I’m just gonna sleep a little bit longer.”
I hugged him and told him I’d talk to him later.  When I returned home from breakfast, a part of me hoped he would still be in my bed, but he was gone.  I lay in bed all day and thought about the situation over and over again.  I lamented going to work in fear that everyone was mad at me and that I’d get fired for not attending.
Why didn’t I just go to my staff party?  Then none of this would have happened.  I would never have fucked Jess and my life would still be boring but uncomplicated.
Yet I didn’t regret any of my actions, in fact, given the chance I’d do it all over again.  What I really felt guilty about was my lack of remorse.  I knew I should regret getting involved with someone so mentally and emotionally unstable, it was just asking for trouble.  But I believe we both just really needed it, we sort of helped each other.

That night at work, everyone asked why I wasn’t at the party, but no one seemed mad.  I couldn’t very well admit I was busy getting laid all afternoon, so I made up a bevy of excuses: I was tired, under the weather, not feeling it, etc.
When I left, I had a text from Jess.  I wanted to see him, so I texted him back asking him about his day.  No response.  One day later and still nothing.  Finally he texted me to say he was going to the mainland for a week for work.  I asked him when he was leaving, he informed me that he was already gone.  That was the last I heard from him.

Now I’m really starting to trip out.  Do I continue this messed up relationship with him?  Do I tell my roommate John?  Would he even care?  Do I tell Sally?  If she found out would she be mad?  Or just mad that I kept it from her?  What the hell do I do?!?!  I guess I wait the week out and try to sort out my thoughts.

Apparently the theme for September is self-sabotage starting right off the bat and turning my whole world upside-down.  Shit.

1

It Can’t Be Like Last Time

When I was going through those early stages of my breakup, one word kept coming to mind: karma.

I couldn’t stop thinking about my ex, Roland and the shit I put him through when he left me.  I made his life miserable.  The works: 3 am drunken phone calls, showing up at his friends parties and the inevitable crying fits that would ensue after too many drinks.  I even convinced him we should sleep together a couple more times (and was subsequently mortified when he showed remorse.)  The entire time I couldn’t wrap my head around how his feelings for me could just disappear and how he could just move on with his life after leaving me.  Now that I myself have flipped the switch on my emotions, (literally overnight) I realize that it’s just something that happens.  Knowing you have to break someone’s heart in order to be happy is one of the hardest feelings in the world.  During those first days I contemplated leaving him I felt so much remorse at my crazy ex behaviour.  I now know firsthand how painful it is to make the decision to end a relationship let alone actually taking the steps to end it.  I longed to re-connect with my MIA ex, if only to apologize.  Unfortunately his engagement to an insanely jealous and insecure woman eliminated this option.  Still, I hope that one day I can look him in the eye and tell him how sorry I am.

~~~

When Roland left me, I found myself single and actually alone for the first time in 2 years.  At first I felt liberated, the way I do now.  Yeah sure I was hurt, but I felt kind of relieved and soon after I met Anderson.  He was gorgeous, tall, dark, handsome and athletic.  He was inked up, but came from a respected local family.  He was so good on paper it wasn’t even fair to any other contenders.  When we connected in our Philosophy 101 class we vowed to become study buddies.  Rather than study, we would stay up until the wee hours of the morning just talking about love, life, friends, family, relationships, basically anything besides early philosophers.  Turns out Anderson was still very much in love with his high school sweetheart and had the ED to prove it.  He gradually began to blow me off while I, in turn, proceeded to become needier and needier.  The end of this “relationship” propelled me into a very dark time in my life.

Enter the Darkness
And so I was launched into a world of drunken debauchery and poor life choices.  A world where sluttiness always prevailed over reason and where I would stay for a good portion of a year.  Rather than continuing to embrace my freedom, I chose instead to desperately seek out a new boyfriend at any cost.  I honestly believed that if I could secure a boyfriend I could a) Get over Roland and b) Simultaneously make Roland jealous to the point where he would beg for me back.  A solid plan, all in all.  The only problem was, I had never been a single adult and hadn’t the slightest idea how to approach dating.  My self-esteem was at an all time low and so I began bar hopping and bed hopping in hopes of attracting any kind of male attention and relaying that attention into a relationship.  Pathetic, I know, but I kept at this stupid shit until I started up with him.

~~~

Cut to a drunken night out after my latest breakup – a newly single me out with my best girlfriends.  Sendal’s best (and totally platonic) guy friend Dylan had met up with us for a few drinks.  We had already teased him mercilessly about recently becoming roommates with his ex.  We all agreed it was pretty clear that she wanted more than a residential tenancy agreement with him and he did his best to deny it.  As the drinks continued flowing the two of us became very hands on and I declared to all my fiends that before the night was through, we were going to make out.  Maybe I just wanted to prove that I could, maybe I wanted to move on, maybe I wanted to show my friends that I was over him, but for whatever reason I had made my mind up.  After all, he was my type: tall, athletic, tanned, blonde, familiar, safe.  Sendal encouraged me wholeheartedly (my friends love to live their slut fantasies vicariously through me.)  After an impromptu make out at the bar we were rudely interrupted by my giggling and nosey friends who insisted we go get pizza.  Even still, we continued to cling to each other like a couple of school kids and it felt so good to know in that moment that I wasn’t entirely alone.  In the cab home, Sendal and I began to discreetly conspire.  She and Suki were going to suggest we all stay at Dylan’s.  The two of of them would insist on sharing the futon while he and I took his bed.  When I insisted I just wanted to fool around, she assured me that he would never pressure me for anything else.  We snickered over our slyness all the way to his house.  Imagine my surprise when we returned to his house to find his ex-girlfriend/current roommate “asleep” on the futon!  He mumbled something about her always passing out while watching tv (the television was turned off) while we all exchanged awkward glances.  She did her best fake sleepy face and rolled over; it was pretty clear she had no intention of letting Dylan out of her sight.  So I bid him adieu and have the unfortunate memory of aggressively biting his neck.  Before retiring to bed I began plotting to eventually seduce him if only for the pure enjoyment of sticking it to his meddling ex.  In the morning I felt the full sting of my hangover and instant regret for my behaviour and pettiness.  Why the fuck did I publicly pounce on this dude I’m not even interested in?  Why did I try to take his affections away from someone who actually wanted them?  I felt hugely relieved that his roommate was such a cockblock or who knows what would have happened.  On top of everything, Sendal invited Dylan to come for breakfast so I had to make awkward smalltalk while obsessively trying to decode his feelings.  All the while I was scolding myself and thinking “It can’t be like last time.  I’m smarter now, I know better.”

The next time I kiss a man I want to be sure he’s worth my time.