• TISH BURNS

Got a lotta wrongs to write

I met Erik (and no I'm not changing his name) outside the bathroom on a Sunday night at the Blue Cafe in downtown Long Beach. It was 1995 or 96, I was 21 or 22. The Swing thing was going strong and the Eddie Reed Big Band had a standing engagement to play for all the cool daddios and even cooler hot chicks with their hair all pinned up and shit and their authentic vintage 40's costumes. I was too damn lazy to bother with all of that or learn to swing dance. I considered my time and money much better spent on booze at the bar and bellybutton contemplation while I was stay high/day high on the marijuana weeds. But my friends were into it and I lived nearby so I went. Every Sunday night. Erik was a kind of bougie looking guy in a suit, not a zoot suit, but he was very, very cute. I can't remember what happened or what was said but there was a definite moment outside the bathroom that night. That passed as fast as any moment. (Forgive me for all the rhyming, I can't help it, I haven't been writing poems lately. It just leaks out.)

I went back the next Sunday and the next Sunday cause like I said, I went every fucking Sunday but I had the added incentive of maybe seeing this man again. And I did. Because this was so very long ago and because of all the gin and tonics I drank and all the marijuana weeds I smoked and also the shit I'm about to write about I don't remember a lot of the details. But yeah, I ran into Erik again and he asked me if I wanted to go eat. I was like, 'Hell yeah!' So we took a cab to the Hof's Hut at Marina Pacifica which I think is no longer there. While we were eating the subject of getting high came up because that's how I normally ended a night, smoking weed on top of a lot of alcohol and laying down, getting on the roller coaster of spins with eyes closed till I passed out. It was terrible and exhilarating and I loved it. Erik said he had weed at his house so I was like, 'Hell yeah, let's go.' We got another cab all the way the hell to like Lakewood or Cerritos, I don't remember which but basically the way out suburbs between Long Beach and LA. And it turned out that Erik, who was 24 I think, was living with his parents. And it further turned out that he actually didn't have any weed at all, just lots and lots of pills. He fed me Klonopin after Klonopin. He'd give me one and like ten minutes later ask me how I felt. I'd say, 'I don't know, fine?' and he give me another one saying I wasn't feeling it yet. I have no earthly idea how many I took or exactly what happened that night, I mean surely we had sex (can you call it that though when this guy took me home and basically drugged me so he could have sex with me in his fucking childhood bedroom at his parents' house?). I woke up the next day and puked several times, called out sick from work, got scolded by my boss, the whole megillah. I lay incapacitated in his bed for the entire day. That evening he and his parents ordered Chinese and got me some. I tried to walk out to eat with them and fell. The most insane part of the whole story is that he didn't have to drug me to get me to have sex with him. I was (am) a vain, shallow, thirsty bitch. I would have slept with him no problem because he was that cute and he was a musician and he was kooky and I liked him. I thought I liked him. I can still remember a song he wrote, "Coffee and cigarettes won't provide the respite she needs in her life so maybe she'll move to the South of France where's there's room to move music to dance to..."

I went back to Erik's place again several times and spent the night with him, had a lot of sex with him, thought I was falling in love with him. I told my best friend Vickie about him with stars in my eyes (but they was probably more the stars of the booze and the weed and now the pills he put in, which he never did again, by the by, I refused to take them because I had such an unpleasant experience which was probably nearer to death than I had the sense to know). Vickie started to quiz me about details of Erik's life and at some point in the line of questioning she said, 'Oh. My. God. He sounds exactly like the guy this girl in my cosmetology class is going out with.' My heart migrated to my throat and stayed there for the next week or so. We somehow confirmed that it was the same Erik and I went to get my hair done so I could check her out. She was an uncommonly skinny girl and didn't seem like well she didn't seem like she was worth throwing away this beautiful love for. I remember right before I found out I went to see Fargo with him and on the drive home he was telling me how special our relationship was and how much he loved me, blablabla. After I found out about his other girlfriend whom he was saying all the same shit to because she was telling Vickie about it everyday at beauty school I went over to Erik's one last time to talk to him about it. Like how the fuck could he be saying all these things to me and then turning around and saying the exact same things to her??? Jesus. I was fucking wreck. I looked at the calendar on his wall and saw one of the dates was circled with a heart and scribbled inside was girly handwriting that read 'Special Day.' Puke. I mean I literally puked for the rest of my life about that. I still want to puke about it. I lost several pounds, took all the more voraciously to the substances and got pretty deep into a cocaine habit after that. I became as remarkably skinny that girl was. Who continued to date Erik while I went on my fucking miserable way.

He stopped going to the Blue Cafe on Sunday nights but I did not. A lot of other fucked up shit happened and when he did come back months later the guy I was 'seeing' (and by 'seeing' I mean I was nursing him from the despair of his girlfriend's death) got into a fight with him on the Promenade outside the bar. Having dudes fight over you outside a bar is not in the moment as cool as I know it sounds today. Because you're the drunk ass dumbass girl in the middle who will inevitably run after the wrong guy. I ran after Erik. I guess there's no accounting for the lengths I will go to to feel unimaginable pain. It's something past masochism. It's maybe even past self-loathing. It's like a negative spiritual pursuit. Another example of me embracing my lowest self, my shadow, my darkness. Today however I'd like to honor Mario for wanting to kick Erik's ass.

Ever since this unfortunate experience I've been a little hypersensitive to betrayal and lies. I mean I really cannot fucking stand lying and liars. And I can't lie to save my life, there's a whole childhood story behind that but trust me, you can always trust me. Unless I am deluded into thinking that lies and untruths are true. Then I will lie, mostly to myself but whatever. Point is, you get the fucking point. I can't deal with people who play fast and loose with the truth. I need honesty even when I ask for dishonesty, which I do, which I have done even recently because you know, this whole fucking thing (I wish I could italicize) I've been trying to navigate and negotiate. The thing I thought was all over and spent most of last week crying over. Because that broken part of me, that part where Erik fucked me over and fucked me up gets triggered and I get hysterical. And I don't know what to do except turn my back on it. But then I turned to face it, to face him again because I didn't really want to let him go. I just thought it was the best thing for me. I didn't get back together with him. I don't know what I did except open back up to him because I love him and love is risk and vulnerability and it's gonna hurt no matter what. He's gonna leave me no matter what, etc, I wrote all that crap before.

And this is the pointed part that I don't know how to say to him and I don't know if it will matter but like...when you tell a person you're in bed and you're staying in bed for the rest of then night and then you live stream your night out karaokeing it feels a lot like a lie. And when there's a girl there and I don't know who she is or what's going on other than what was said to me (staying home, in bed, not gonna come to see you...) that Erik thing gets triggered. I know it's a long leap and could anyone possibly be dumb/insensitive enough to live stream a date??? Am I even allowed to ask for anything since I'm not and actually never was his girlfriend? Like discretion and please for the love of God do what you say you're going to do!?! Am I just dumb for reengaging when it's such a complex situation and I have no idea what's the right thing to do? I want this person that I love and care about deeply to have and do whatever he wants. And if that means he needs to connect with other women, ok. That's hard. I don't like it. I have clearly defined my baggage around that with this story. I'm trying to be friends? I don't know! I just didn't want to be disconnected, it hurt so much and I know it hurt him too. But does it hurt more to be disconnected or to have to endure him dating and connecting with other women? Is our connection real enough and strong enough and again, why ain't it enough???

I keep thinking of this Prince song from Under the Cherry Moon https://youtu.be/FRaxAVVuqLs

So now everybody knows one of the big reasons why I have trust issues and I have a person in my life who's really stirring them up, perhaps completely innocently. I would like to say that despite it all I'm glad he went out and had a good time? But I hope it wasn't TOO good a time. You know what I mean. Mostly don't fucking drink.

And that's all I have to say about that too.

But keep the heartbreak coming! It fuels the pen and my lack of restraint.

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CatchyFish

I wish I could write this better. I don't have any unholy inspiration today. I don't have a dirty story from the past to compare and contrast with today's fucking bad sad state of affairs. I can't wea

© Whenever. You're going to steal stuff from here? Christ.