Fried Meat and Tide Laundry Detergent

One of few things that I really can’t stand is the smell of tide soap mixed with fried meats. It is the smell of poverty. The smell of debts, diseases, rage, hopelessness, and weakness. The smell of aggression, vindictiveness, despair, French fries and ketchup. The smell of obesity, cancer, anger, medicine, and menthol gum.
Every time I pass by someone smelling like the tide laundry detergent and meat, my mind returns me to the times of my own homelessness. Ironically, I was neither unhappy, nor panicky. I was pregnant, and my mind and body saved me from intense emotionality and high sensitivity. I was frozen. People did not bother me much. Nothing bothered me much. I was immersed in my solitude that was intermittently disturbed by Greg’s brief and direct texts: “check your iron, check your sugar, schedule an ultrasound…”.  I ignored him like everyone else involved in the witchcraft of traditional medicine. I was calm to a fault. My past was behind, my future did not exist, my pregnancy was a piece of cake, and the present seemed to be an existential movie with an unpredictable scenario I had no control over.
One day I showed up in Greg’s office and asked for a box of Campari tomatoes; 4 months pregnant, 87 pounds, pale and anorexic, long hair, dangling earrings, and khaki pants
          If you do not help me with money, I will end up being caught stealing from grocery stores, and your kid will be born in jail.
          I will send you a check, what is your address? – he looked annoyed and irritated, I interrupted his afternoon lunch and meetings, but I could not have cared less.
          I have not found any place yet, Greg, still looking.
          You are loony.
          You are a dickhead.
He gave me enough cash to move out of the stinky shelter redolent of sweater, cheap perfume, and bed bugs. I checked in a fairly decent hotel, where I stayed until I found my own place. The first day after moving into a new apartment, I bought expensive laundry detergent and rewashed my clothes to get rid of the tide smell. When my neighbors cooked barbecue, I was about to puke; the smell of animal grease brought flashbacks of the past I wanted to forget.
Two years went by, but my reaction to the smell of the tide detergent and fried bodies of animals is still the same – disgust. Greg thinks I need help, I think I need time to deal with my own demons and move on.     

Greg’s Friend and Lice

James was around me all the time after Greg disappeared. I hated it. I felt like a moving trophy and the feeling was horrible. They worked together, they played together, they seemed to share the same women, and the thought of it made me dizzy. His “you will forget Greg with me” literary made me sick.  I kept stopping by for fruit and guacamole, and he kept relaxing me through massage and promises that if we get closer, I will be in heaven. Well, he had the touch of an angel, but I was not willing to move further than friendship and dinners from plastic containers.
        – He is an ass, hun, but I can make you happy. If we are a couple, you will orgasm daily   
           – Sounds like a plan to me, – this was my usual response that I threw into the screen of my laptop, as he was trying to cuddle.  We can be friends, my dear.
           – But I need more than that. If we click, I promise you will be my only woman
           – I do not need such sacrifices – James had 5 sugar babies that literary got him wasted. He was selfless, and they felt it, I felt it. He was kept in the friend-zone and sponged for money all the time, and he kept giving and giving to the point of taking mood stabilizers and sobbing in the office of his therapist. 
Unlike Greg, he was open, neither introverted, nor tough. I wonder how two of them made friends, they were very different.
           – Get me out of the friend-zone when you are ready. I need a girlfriend.
He was like an older brother to me, no desire, no chemistry, nothing.
I called him the other day when my son brought lice from daycare. I asked him to check my hair. He eagerly jumped into the shower with me, gently rubbing permethrin lotion into my scalp and hugging me from behind.
              – I am enjoying all of it, it is so nice
           – Yeah, what can be more romantic than removing nits from thick hair with a tiny comb , thanks for not freaking out, – the situation was funny, he kept holding onto me, I kept laughing. 
           – Honey, I am a medical doctor, lice do not freak me out.
           – Good, just make sure no eggs are left, I do not want to comb them out again, it is way too time consuming
           – Will you come over tonight? I will prepare guacamole, give you a massage and go down on you
           – I gotta disinfect my clothes, my furniture, my vehicle, I gotta clean everything – it was a relief to find a nice excuse and keep the distance, – do not forget, we are friends
           – We can be dating friends, friends who satisfy each other needs, I am all about making women happy
           – You made me happy by taking care of my lice,  I was laughing myself to tears, he made my day, 
      Greg was in the past, I was not ready to change my freedom for his middle aged friend with a bunch of kinky inclinations.
           – I will be dreaming about you tonight.
           – Thank you dear, I will let you know if my head keeps itching, – I saw him out and sighed with relief when his Tesla took off.
No lice, no Greg. I was ready to prepare dinner and pick up my kid from daycare. My freedom is precious, and I was glad I had it again.

My escort girl and my Greg

Tim called last night, horny, aggressive, hungry. He wanted to come over, I wanted to sleep.
–          My heart is broken, leave me alone
–          Baby, you will feel much better when I drain my balls into you
–          Stop it, – I was tired to the point of being unable to lash out and fake offendedness
–          Ok, I will find a good pussy tonight and think of you while fucking her
–          This sounds good, have fun, – I hung up and called Heather, she has been in escort for years, the only girlfriend I could talk to without choosing appropriate words and using societally acceptable language.
–          Did you sleep with Greg?
–          Which one? – I loved her manner of speaking, professional, money-oriented, and direct
–          Head and neck oncologic surgery
–          You mean your Greg?
–          Well, – I suddenly felt a lump in my throat, hard to breathe, hard to swallow,  – Lucas’s dad, – I wish I could break into tears, but I could not, I needed water, lots of water, gallons of water to wash him out of my body and mind
–          No Vixen, I never had sex with him, he is cheap
–          Really?
–          Listen,  – I heard anger in her voice, – he is very greedy. I charge 2k hourly, he would rather use you for free than pay me for services
–          This sounds disgusting, – the lump was no longer there, I could breathe better
–          Yes, vixen, it is disgusting. He uses you as a free sperm dumpster, and you allow him to do it over and over again, he does not even pay child support. He is an ass, please stop torturing yourself, you deserve more than that
–          Would you ever consider being with him? He is the most wonderful person on this planet…
–          He does not pay, he offered one of our girls the max of $300 for a blowjob, seriously? He is greedy, cheap, disrespectful, he is a jerk, Vixen, he uses you and his wife for nothing and expects everything in return
I suddenly felt as light as a feather, the burden was off the shoulders, I bet Heather could feel my smile over the phone.
–          I love you friend, we need to get together sometime, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?
–          I love you too, I will be in Japan next week with my Wednesday CEO, but you gotta promise me something by the time I come back
–          What?
–          You will take care of yourself, you will stop thinking about him, you will go out and eat a nice dinner
–          Heather… – the exhaustion of the day was gone, I felt refreshed and ready for a walk, – have fun and please stay connected.
–          Promise me Vixen, you will get him off your mind.
I could not promise that, Greg has a weird effect on me, every time he comes back I melt like vanilla ice-cream in the sun. I can promise nothing, I can promise nothing, I can promise nothing