Big city. Modern fairy-tale, neon nights, and highway tie-ups.
Early mornings with over-roasted coffee on an empty stomach. Fast paced work hours, puffy eyed rainmakers, and slow service in crowded cafeterias.
Bouts of depression are combined with heavy air, traffic noise, and collar stains on designer shirts. Loneliness comes along with whiskey on water and futile attempts to feel comfortable at private parties. Before-the-alarm wake ups and ever-lasting Monday fatigue.
He moved from a small town leaving old childhood traumas for new megapolis experiences. – Don’t you understand Vixen? I need opportunities, right people, career, entertainment. I need money.
– I understand.
His life in a big city was the constant go-go of aggressive self-promotion, goal-setting, and struggles to fit in. The more he made the more he pushed for, snorting cocaine and squeezing the maximum from the chest press machine. He was the winner who hid his insecurity behind the sparkling white smile and a seemingly sunny mood.
– You gotta move forward, always move forward or you will lose.
– Who told you this crap? – I shivered wrapping myself in a shawl. The AC in his office was constantly running causing goose bumps and nasal congestions.
– You are crazy to say that.
His fear to become a loser mercilessly pushed him towards endless rat racing, which added more and more to his nervousness, impulsivity, and hopelessness. He cherished the illusion that he keeps moving up closing his eyes to the truth that he stays still.
– You can go forward, backward, up and down. It really does not matter, luv. The truth of it is you never move no matter how fast you run.
– What do you mean? – years of living in a big city shaped his skill of hiding true emotions, but I could still feel the growing irritation behind his nonchalant politeness and trendy perfume.
– You are an inferior boy who tries to show this world that you are someone big and important. You failed to prove it to your parents, nowadays, you are failing to prove it to your big bosses since no one cares. As you see, nothing has changed. You are still staying still. You are stuck, and your soul feels it.
He did not respond, and we never talked about it again.
After my friend broke up with his recent date, he was plagued and desperate.
– What was the deal breaker this same? – I knew the answer but faked curiosity since he needed someone to be here for him, someone to talk to, he looked totally distressed and heart-broken.
– She was a classic gold-digger.
– She never gave me blowjobs unless I bought her gifts.
– You look so damn sad.
– Of course, I am, – he was crumpling up an empty plastic bottle, nervously dejected, breathlessly discouraged.
– Sounds like your previous one. You kept saying she loved money more than yourself.
– Correct, and she was a whore. She looked at other guys, and she was clearly not over her ex-husband.
– The one who was before your ‘whore’, – I paused suppressing a giggle, – you told me she was all over you like white on rice
– Who, Maggie? She was freaking obsessive. She followed me with her ‘I love you’ bull 24/7.
– Lazy bitch
– Wait, – our conversation started giving me headaches, – wait, what about me?
– What about you? – he quickly threw the crushed bottle in the bin and came very close.
His smell was painfully familiar and brought memories; him and I, mountains and water, sex and cold breakfasts. I slowly stepped back, pounding heart, dry lips, and shaky hands.
– We were together, what was I?
– You were one of the biggest disappointments in my life, – he took a step forward, I stepped backward again, unwilling to further feel his smell and recall the past, our past together.
– How come?
– You only care about sex and money. You are extremely worldly, and I need a godly woman, I need the princess not a greedy hooker.
– Wait! you are a great friend… you will always be my friend, Vixen.
– I know.
I had bad news for him, the news that he would never find what he had been looking for all these years. Somehow, he fell for the fictional girl’s image blindly and obstinately chasing the illusion, feeling angry and disheartened every time the princess turned out to be an average female who expected gifts, loved money, choked on semen, and hid acne with her make-up. He wanted the goddess but met live human beings fearful and insecure with the unrealistic expectations to find the knight in shining armor so he would take care of the bills and practice monogamous sex under the blanket.
– I am hopeful you will find your princess one day, – I did not mean it, I knew it would never happen. I was just lying straight to his face, smiling, and hoping that one day he will come back, pay my rent and care about my orgasms.
– You are very predictable and pedestrian, why am I even talking to you? – Jim was furious. He was always furious around me. I made him extremely angry all the time; angry and horny. I kept telling him we are incompatible, and we should break up, but he never listened.
– I do not know why you are still with me, maybe you like the way I f*ck?
– Hell no, sex with you is mediocre.
– I have no idea than, – I shrugged my shoulders, – You can always leave.
– If I leave now, you will never see me again, is this what you want?
He was right I am very average.
I kill 8 hours of my day in the office, work out several times a week to keep my butt firm and round, drink water to reduce the appetite, and am quiet to look smart.
I love money, chocolate, and flirting with my dentist.
I hate Mondays and crave for Friday evenings 6 days a week.
I routinely pay my bills, desperately fight my age, and love guys who take care of my needs.
I bleach my teeth, dream of a long vacation in Italy, and smell glossy pages of fashion magazines in beauty salons.
I have two hands, two legs, one head, one pussy, money anxiety, and retinol creams on my nightstand.
I am boringly predictable, worldly, and dispickably non-special. I am just an average-looking girl focused on raising the kid and cutting back on carbs, sugar, and salt.
I am an average person having happy moments and issues like everyone else, not trying to lie to myself about extraordinary abilities, special skills, ever-lasting youth, and other crap.
I just live my life aching from push-ups, watching sunsets, and growing roses neither bragging nor complaining about my mediocrity.
– You love me Jim, – he dragged his gaze away from stocks trackers in his iPhone, tired and crestfallen.
– Now what?
– You love me because I am very average.
– He is spontaneous, it’s so sweet, we will get married soon.
I quietly shook my head. Saying anything at that moment would be pointless. My girlfriend was deaf and blind to common sense.
They met a month before, he immediately introduced her to his dick, friends, and family. Every time he would call her “My angel” she melted, closing her eyes and picturing a huge beachfront home with 3 children and a chocolate Labrador.
When I asked what he does for living, she just shrugged her shoulders. – It does not matter Vixen. He is so lovable, huggable, and kissable, he is ideal.
– Does it mean he has no job?
– Is money the only thing that you care about, Vixen? – suddenly, she got pissed, I must have hit a nerve.
– Just curious … how is he going to provide for the family?
– He does not have to work, he has a lot in savings; he worked all his life to have the life he is having now, he is wonderful, you will love him.
– What are your impressions of his friends?
– It does not really matter, I will live with him, not with them, plus he… he … just met them
– And he calls them FRIENDS?
– Are you a f*king detective here? – she hated me at that moment, her attempts to make logical conclusions from what sounded irrational were failing. Since my questions threatened the sweetness of her illusion, I became the object of her unconditional resentment and wrath.
– What do you think about his family?
– I do not know. He says they never really got along. But again, like I said, I will be living with him, it does not really matter.
– Did he tell you anything about his past relationships?
– He never had much luck with women, they were worldly, jealous, and violent. He says I am different, I am the one he has been looking for all this life. And he can’t live without me. Doesn’t it sound romantic? – She was clearly obsessed, nothing seemed to bring her down to earth.
– Honey, it sounds sick, – I sighed deeply, her stream of consciousness got me really tired.
– What is wrong with falling in love? – she looked pathetic in her anger, pathetic and somewhat comical
– How much does he drink?
– What are you talking about?
– A normal person is fine living by himself. He may struggle without tooth paste or toilet paper, but for him to say that he can’t live without you or someone else is weird. A normal person has a job, friends that do not come and go within days. A normal person does not quickly label people as demons or angles. And, of course, a normal person does not talk marriage after a month of dating. You are describing someone immature, inconsistent, with… , – I paused, trying to find a proper word – someone with dependency issues.
– He is just spontaneous …
– Such people oftentimes have problems with alcohol and drugs…
– You are nuts, Vixen, bye now, – she hurriedly left, insulted, intimidated, and furious
Two weeks after she gave me a call. I heard her sobbing on the phone as she was telling me about the breakup story. – Can you imagine…. after all his promises he disappeared, and… and then… texted me, he met someone else and is getting married. He said he found the real angel…
– I am sorry, – I did not have much to say
– I … I never actually loved him, it was just an obsession
– I know.
She kept falling for spontaneity detesting consistency, perseverance, and everything else related to common sense.
– I want to feel safe. Am I asking too much? – She was desperately crumpling the napkin, sickly dramatic and hysterically panicky. – What should I do to feel safe?
Her mind mercilessly threw at her ample reasons for being scared, “I will get fired, my boyfriend will stop paying my bills, I will end up broke and in debt, I can’t do much about it, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. ”
Her stable job, the house in a walled community, annual vacations in Spain, and weekends in spa salons did not silence her fears and painful insecurity. Sleeping pills were only a short-term turn-off button, a temporary night relief. Her mornings started with swollen eyelids in the bathroom mirror and the loud cry for help running through her mind and echoing from the walls, the floors, and the ceiling, “I am insecure, please, please, please, help”.
– Have you ever felt safe?
She slowly shook her head blinking excessively through the cigarette smoke. – It must be my childhood, it was crappy, I never felt loved, no one really cared, I was abused; physically, mentally, sexually ….
She loved rationalizing her fears, it made her sound smart and romantically miserable. Her helpless sex appeal attracted men and women, everyone wanted to help, she willingly accepted help; nevertheless, feeling insecure, immature, and lonely.
One day, I ran into her in a local grocery store. She looked so different, so glowing that I could hardly recognize her. We exchanged usual hugs, kisses, and compliments.
My polite “how have you been?” was answered with a brief and quiet smile, I got curious, I wanted to know that was going on.
– Well, – she took a deep breath and reached out to tofu cheese. She was religiously vegan and crazily passionate about animal rights. She thought animals give unconditional love; she cared for them, and hated humans. – Well, – she repeated, carefully studying the package ingredients, – Rick dumped me.
– What??? – I felt shocked. Rick was one of her dates, a wealthy guy who gave her descent monthly arrangements and took care of all her bills. – I am so sorry, who is providing for you now?
– No one. – she put the tofu back on the shelf and slowly turned around, – I am by myself, and I lost my job.
There was no regret in her voice, she sounded surprisingly calm.
– How are you feeling?
– Crappy, and freaking unsafe, – again, her voice was amazingly nonchalant. I sensed no panic, no sorrow, nothing.
– You do not seem to look that …. that stressed, please… do not think I am saying it to make you feel bad, I am just saying that I am observing…. I… I … -am so sorry…. – I knew my words sounded pretty awful, the more I spoke, the more stupid I felt.
– No, no, please do not apologize, – she giggled, briefly tucking her hair behind the ears; at that moment, she reminded me of a Disney chipmunk, huge eyes, cartoon smile, animal quickness, and nonchalance, damn nonchalance. – Rick told me he got tired of being treated like a wallet. He said he found a woman, and… and fell in love. And my job… I never actually liked it, I resigned the day before he left, so … I finally got what I was always afraid of: no money, no stability, nothing.
– What are you going to do?
– I do not know, – her voice changed, she got more serious, – After all these years of running away from poverty, hunger, and … and from everything that I call unsafety, I ran into it. And it feels different from what I expected. It feels bad, it feels ugly, but it still feels alive. I am still alive, not dead, does it make sense?
I nodded, she continued – Yes, more alive than when I was with Rick, I used him for money and… and for his cock. Craving for safety, I kept taking but never gave anything back. Now, I am unsafe, but I am not craving, I am no longer a safety addict.
– What are you going to do?
– I wanna get my hair braided, and then, then I do not know.
– How are you going to live?
She suddenly broke out in laughter, – like I lived before, my dear, panicky and unsafe. But here is the thing. – She stopped laughing and gave me a long and expressive look, – No one owes me nothing. No one will spend sleepless nights thinking how to make me feel safe and happy. It makes no sense to use anyone, and to expect anything. Now I get it, it is a relief. It is a f*cking RELIEF!
She proceeded to a check-out, looking nonchalant, skinny, insecure, and happy, crazily happy.