“Beautiful girl lovely dress
Fifteen smiles oh yes
Beautiful girl lovely dress
Where she is now I can only guess”
“Gone Daddy Gone” Violent Femmes
I got home from work and half the furniture in our apartment was gone and so was she! I checked the bedroom and the cash was gone! More than two grand!
This was when your phone number was attached to your house; not your person. (Remember that? Every year the phone company would deliver a directory to your front door and you could find anyone’s name and address and phone number?)
I dialed M—-, J’s best friend, my brother’s ex-girlfriend and now, my best friend’s girlfriend. (How the hell did we all meet?) She gave me the 411. A few months earlier, When J— started working, she met someone and that is where she is now. She wouldn’t tell me exactly. I don’t know why, it’s not like I was going to go kick someone’s ass.
I went to bed to make sure I got a good night’s rest… Kidding! I was a fucking mess! I was devastated. It clicked. A few months earlier we were on the couch and she’s crying and I ask her what’s wrong? She doesn’t know… She feels so sad… Why? I don’t know… (I know about depression, I cry and don’t know why… I’m not going to push her) There we were, she’s trying to tell me she cheated on me and I’m sitting there comforting her telling her everything is going to be alright.
I got up early the next day and went to work… Kidding again! I drove to her workplace… I know, I know, Now it is so much easier to get ghosted by cell phone. It happened with two women this summer. I had known them for three years. I sent them a quick text, left a voicemail, didn’t hear back…. But to get ghosted in real life by someone you love and you live together…
We were in the parking lot, I’m crying, she’s crying, what the fuck, this fucking hurts! (You know the bullshit) I still don’t know why…. (Looking back, I know why… Tired of my own special brand of addiction to insanity) But you can’t keep my fucking cash… I”ll split it with you but you know? What the fuck?
I went back to the apartment, grabbed my clothes, guitar and amp, threw them in the car and disappeared. I don’t know why… I had two months rent and a job. It was a pretty nice place in a college town. We had a lease, but again, no cell phones. Nobody knew where I went.
I’ll tell you where I went… Not back to my job.. I went to The Atlantic Motel on Hampton Beach. Back then, off season rentals were dirt cheap. They were happy just to keep a place occupied. Now people drop some heavy iron for the privilege of living near the ocean year round.
The place was kind of a dump but actually not too bad. Queen size bed, color TV, small kitchenette, but full size oven and four burner stove, medium size fridge. That was all great, cause I knew how to cook. A dollar would take you pretty far back then. I stayed there for six months. I only left once a week, Grocery store to get food for the week, The corner store, for beer and butts. (Fucking cigarettes? I hadn’t smoked for a year, I’m standing there at the counter and say, “Could I get a pack of Marlboro lights please?” Marlboro lights? I never smoked those before?) and Blockbuster Video.
Blockbuster was a great deal. For no money you could rent a new release video game for a week. I had a PlayStation, worked out well. That’s what I did for six months. Once a week I would cook my favorite meal and get shitfaced. I was living well. My favorite meal? Two thick pork chops, pan fried in butter with salt, pepper and celery seed. Mashed potatoes (Butter? You bet!) Then I would stay in beating the video game of the week, smoking butts (It was still allowed indoors), learning new songs and I still cooked each night. Nothing special.
I’m trying to remember who found me? But I was lucky, I was running out of money and had no plan. It wasn’t my best friend, D—, but someone who knew him. Somehow I ended up at a party at the Sands Hotel, a place about a mile from me down the back strip. It was a bunch of kids I hadn’t seen since high school. But I used to hang out with them then. The next day D—- called me, like Elwood Blues, “You still playing the guitar? We’re getting the band back together.” (Spoiler Alert: I’m still alive)
About five years later, M—- handed me a slip of paper with a phone number on it and said, J— wants you to call her. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to call her. You know I did. About a week later while I was on the couch at 3am watching repeats of The Simpsons, as I was wont to do. Surprisingly she picked up on the first ring. She was lying in bed next to the dude, he was sleeping, they were married now. We spoke for about an hour. She said it was because I always said I never wanted to get married and have kids. It was true, I was adamantly opposed at the time. It was nothing against her. It was in my life I never had any good examples of functional families. (Was that closure)
Once in a while, I wonder, What if? What if we got married and had kids? Would I be happier? Would I not? Are we married in an alternate universe? Am I happy there? Or am I David Byrne, wondering, “What is that beautiful house? Where does that highway lead to? Am I right? Am I wrong? my god, what have I done?”
Or my other “J”? We were never going to get married. Her parents made sure of that by threatening to cut off her college money. She had to break up with me every other month. Then she would call me a week later and ask if I wanted to get back together. I remember I went to pick her up one night and she told me to wait in the den with her father while she got ready. (Like that wasn’t a set up) She came from a proper family. We went to dinner and the next day she called and asked, “What the hell did you say to my father last night?” (Oh shit! Here we go.) “What do you mean?” She told me he has hated all her boyfriend’s but he fucking loves me! I said, “I don’t know? I told him I noticed the ’63 split window corvette being restored in the garage.”
I don’t know what her parents were worried about. I was still against marriage, we had never talked about it. She liked me because she collected Gingers, I was her fourth one. It was a good thing I got pissed at her about another bimonthly breakup. I had always let it slide before because I knew it was her parents, but shit was getting old. I don’t really wonder, What if?
I wonder, What if Not? Because a month later I met N—–, and eventually we got married and had our daughter. We both said it again the other day. With all the horrible shit, throughout our lives, we would not change a single thing. She had twin boys after we split up and of course she loves them but she doesn’t talk about them the same. They are great kids, but…
I was going to go on why I keep meeting all these “J’s” but married an “N”? But I think that is all I wanted to say.
I already wrote about another “J” a long time ago. Dark as Knight