I told the new girl I couldn't stay over. She wasn't doing anything wrong; I just needed to leave.
I'd been there for hours, and all we had done is sit through three episodes of "Friends" and bitch about the summer heat.
I needed to be at the bar, at the field, on the run, anything. I'm like a stupid monkey that can't stay out of his cage too long, or else he starts throwing his shit at everyone.
When the stupid Rembrandts starting strumming "I'll Be There For You" again, I almost imploded.
She was sad. I didn't want to make her sad any more than she wanted to bore me. But, here we were. The whole routine was repeating itself again.
It's over now. I'm not sure if she knows. Nothing happened, really. I just feel it in my bones.
I don't want to go over there anymore. I can't match her energy when I do. She answers the door with alacrity and smiles and puts something on the stove. I get restive and peel the wrapping off her water bottles. It feels like we're 40.
I knew this was going to happen. She went from an intrigue to a dash of flavor, to an obligation. It was once a week with three months down. It'd be dinner and a movie with not much communication the rest of the time.
There'd be polite texting with some emojis. She keeps asking why we don't follow each other on social media. It all felt very mature, and I liked it.
But when people become obligations, it becomes easy to dislike them, or at least want to stay away. This happens with every damn woman.
Sometimes they bring it on themselves. Sometimes it just comes as an inevitable byproduct of time. You can't fight time, and you can't fight them.
All I can do when I'm there is fight the urge to fall asleep. It all feels very mature, and I don't like it.
We didn't have sex for a while at first. Her idea. I played along. Maybe I wanted to prove something stupid to myself. Maybe I just didn't have anything else to do.
We went to a concert one night, and I said I would drive her home. But I couldn't stay over, I said. I had another friend in the car. It was late. I'd told him I'd drive him home, too.
I walked her to her door, and she started sobbing. She said I didn't want to stay with her.
I should have just stopped it right then. Instead, I told her she was beautiful and of course I wanted to stay, and next time I would.
Men. It feels both fair and inappropriate to blame us for all of it. How did we break you so badly? This girl is smart, confident, bouncy, composed. She models for morning shows. And she's sitting on the street at 4 am, sobbing, saying, “I can't get fucked over again.”
“I can't promise I won't do that,” I said. “This has been me on my best behavior.”
She giggled like I was kidding.
I went over her place again because of course I did. I tried to be more direct. She brought me to the roof. The moon was red and low, and they were talking about it on the news.
We sat on stone. She told me she wanted to take it slow because she wanted to be sure. She had been hurt before, like she was the only one.
“Maybe I should just go,” I said.
“I'm going to hurt you,” I said. “I'm a dog.”
“No,” she said. “You're not a dog.”
“Yes, I am. I promise.”
“You don't give yourself enough credit. You always do this.”
“I know I always do this. That's why I'm telling you.”
She decided having sex with me was the best option, after all. They say they want you to be honest. Now you're about to call me an asshole.
I don't mind being the asshole, but I have a problem with merely ending up as one by default. Every ending needs one on one side and one on another. Good guys and bad. Black and white.
I enjoy being the asshole when I've earned the title. That doesn't mean I deserve that title unilaterally or when it's lazily applied.
I know I'll be the asshole again this time, when it finally ends. Because she's told her parents. Because she's brought me clothes. Because I haven't done either of those things. Because I kissed her like I meant it on the subway platform.
Because now, I'm the one who is bored.
I wasn't planning on falling in love on that roof, but I wasn't planning on breaking her heart, either. That's what I think gets misconstrued.
Women assume we come crashing through their lives with malicious intent. Really, it's much simpler. We have less malleable hearts and shorter attention spans.
Deciding whether or not people are assholes should be based on if they were purposefully deceitful. Is it really so deceitful to grow bored? Whom was I deceiving?
Still, I know what role I'm playing. Who would take my side?
“Do you think you'll stay tonight?” she asked.
“I don't think so,” I said. “You don't feel well. You should sleep. You have to be up in the morning.”
Her face dropped.
“It's the smart thing to do,” I said. “You know I'm right.”
“I know,” she said. “But I just like it when someone is here.”
I left right after Chandler and Monica decided to buy the house in the suburbs. Then, their surrogate went into labor.
Netflix automatically started the next episode. I shut the door as the music played. “When the rain starts to fall…”
She only had a few more episodes left.