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The growth of intimacy is like that. First one gives off his best picture, the bright and finished product mended with bluff and falsehood and humor. Then more details are required and one paints a second portrait, and a third–before long the best lines cancel out–and the secret is exposed at last; the planes of the pictures have intermingled and given us away, and though we paint and paint we can no longer sell a picture. We must be satisfied with hoping that such fatuous accounts of ourselves as we make to our wives and children and business associates are accepted as true.
It’s hardly possible for any two people in the situation to perceive that situation in exactly the same manner. Of course there are going to be discrepancies between the way I saw things and the way Peter saw things.
The truth of the matter is that I actually met Peter before we were ever members of the same newspaper staff. Well, rather we had seen each other at parties that usually consisted of him guzzling beer and trying to coerce some girl, ugly or not, into bed. And then there was the fact that his name was notorious on campus; he’d wanted it that way and he’d made it that way. By the time those late nights in the newspaper room occurred, I was on the opposite end of the spectrum. I was dating the Fiance, whom I was in love with. I’d climb back into bed with the Fiance afterwards and the first thing he would ask was what Peter had said to me that evening. We actually used to joke about it, the fact that Peter shamelessly tried to flirt with me. I despised Peter at this point, I thought him to be incredibly self-obsessed (which, of course, he is).
A messy breakup with the Fiance in the next year left me devoid of almost everything regarding men. I remember the night that Peter referenced, the night I “picked” him up. He failed to mention that his friend Ben was with him, that I sweetly offered them a ride, and that Ben actually got my number, not Peter, to get me to join them at the bar later that evening. Peter’s “game” ended up being a few messages on Facebook, and finally instant messenger conversations. He did, as he mentioned, convince me to come to the movies with him and his friends; I convinced my friend Brizzle to come as I refused to be alone with Peter. He still annoyed me, but in all honesty I was bored that evening.
I ended up loving that pathetic date. I remember being in the Wawa on our way home, remember the way that Peter put his finger on the tattoo on my hip, the way he put his arm around my waist. I remember how embarrassed he was when he was pulled over for speeding, remember how he stuttered when the cop handed him the ticket. We came back to play Boggle, which he boasted of being a champ at and at which I beat him terribly. We went into his room discussing authors, and I remember loving his bookcase, loving that we had identical books lining ours. I still remember what I wear wearing that evening, the exact jeans that I wore that would later be on his floor. I remember how intense it was, how heated we were. And I remember how, afterwards, all I wanted to do was leave. I didn’t want to see him again.
Unfortunately at a small school like ours it was impossible. I don’t remember the second or third times, I don’t remember why it continued. I remember going to see him in a play (he’s an awesome actor), and I remember baking cupcakes for him for an Eagles game, though I’m not sure why. And I remember the night he first told me it was “just sex”. He was drunk, texting me, telling me that he wanted to see me. I wanted him to come back to my apartment- my roommate was away and I guess I was starting to like the idea of having him around. I actually wanted to wake up to him this time. I drove to his place to pick him up and, in his drunken stutter, he told me that he didn’t want a relationship, that he thought I was pushing it. I froze- how could he have known that? But I had gotten my hopes up about seeing him, and swallowed down the idea of it being more than that.
His friends seemed to bond with me more than he did. One in particular. We began to talk every evening, and I remember that oh shit feeling of realizing that I liked Peter’s best friend. We held each other on an intellectual level, something that was lacking with Peter. It also helped that this friend shared common friends with me, aided in us spending more time together. The friend worked the angle, telling me that Peter didn’t care about me, telling me about the girls that Peter was seeing. I was obviously hurt, and here was a guy that cared enough about me to spend time with me. I regret to this day what I did to him, regret that I went back to Peter the first time he showed interest.
Peter also failed to mention the first time he told me that he loved me. That night alone is the reason why I’ve been around for so long, why I keep believing that there is something between us. I had been convincing myself to stop caring for him, to let him graduate college and be out of my life.
We’ve had a sordid relationship since then, with him pushing one moment and pulling for me the next. We can’t get rid of each other, but in some sick way neither of us actually wants to. I’m not obsessed with him, as one faux-hipster reader likes to think/ stalkingly blog about, but rather I know him well enough to have seen his other sides. I’ve seen past the self-obsessed, beer-guzzling, sex-monger Peter. If I’d truly thought that his personality consisted of just those aspects, I never would have stuck around. There’s a reason why we keep coming back to each other.
Despite having existed as a regular character on CaitlynInTheRye, PK is finally given his own platform on which to stand…today’s post. Love him or hate him, you have to respect the content he’s provided, your very own, PK:
Thank you, thank you – it’s good to be here. My name is Peter, Caitlyn calls me PK on this blog, and when I mentioned to her that her last post (if anyone had in fact clicked through to Gawker.com) ousted me with my full name and a link to my website, she suggested I guest-blog. And what an honor. There are currently 44 posts tagged “PK” and I had always wanted at least one of those to provide a more rounded perspective. Given my heavy presence on this page and the controversy I’ve provided, matched with my large ego, penchant for writing, and any opportunity to plug my site, I accepted in a second. Now where do I begin…
She’s the cop and I’ve always been on the other side of the law…
1. I just baked, by far, some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. They’re chocolate whoopie cookies with pumpkin cream cheese icing from Martha Stewart. On top of that, I also baked vanilla cupcakes, dyed red, with white vanilla icing and little black pawprints on top. All of this food? My rowers (our school mascot is bulldogs, hence the pawprints) have their final race of the fall season tomorrow. I am, to say the least, a soccer mom in the making. Want to drool? This is what the whoopie cookies ended up looking like:
2. I went down to Maryland to visit TBFC…again. Actually, I left my cell phone at his place accidently and needed it badly for this week. (Side rant: Have you ever gone without a phone for more than, oh, say a day? It’s hard! How did we exist before cell phones?) I got there at 9 and we spent the evening watching the Bo’sox game, then almost the entirety of season three of Arrested Development before falling asleep. The thing is, we sleep together perfectly. I mean, my body sort of melts into the nook of his arm. I’m usually incredibly uncomfortable in those and actually push the guy to the other side of the bed, but with him? It’s awesome. He also started in on he dating comments, which I chose to ignore for the time being. Maybe eventually, but I’m just not ready for it now.
3. In the
morning afternoon when I woke up, I went and got lunch with Nick. He sort of apologized for having messed up with me the other day, and we agreed that he would never ditch me for the girlfriend, and that I would not to rant about how much I hate her.
4. On the way home from Maryland I started daydreaming. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the fact that I was in traffic the entire time, maybe it was the music. From the time that I pulled onto the highway to the time I drove into my driveway I was in one extended daydream. I don’t even think I remember anything about the drive, just about how I imagined dancing with PK.
5. Just because he’s so adorably/annoyingly obsessed with himself, I’ll make note of it. PK is now an “internet sensation”, as he put it. Read about it here.
I’ve especially been watching a lot of the Red Sox, mostly because I have been seeing a guy who is a Sox fan and we make bets on their games (tentative confession: I think Red Sox fans are by far the hottest fans, mostly because of the passion, partly because they’re usually Irish and drunk).
So anyway my confession is that I’ve got a crush:
I have a good friend that I’ve been spending a lot of time with lately. We’re on the same post-college schedule: working out, going to our jobs, and then going out drinking until late in the night. We both figure that we’ll get “serious” fairly soon, but for now it’s nice to have someone on the same path.
This girl, “Elle”, happens to be extremely lucky. She is gorgeous- tall, leggy, athletic- and also happens to be incredibly rich. Her dad owns a fairly strong business in our area, and she manages a gorgeous (and incredibly tasty) restaurant. Their house is one of those ones out of Home & Garden or Martha Stewart; in fact, I think it’s actually been featured in one of those magazines before.
The real thing about Elle is that sometimes she gives off the wrong impression. She’s fairly smart, but she has a tendency to do little things that would make her seem, well, not so smart. For instance, she twirls her hair around her finger, sometimes staring vacantly off into the distance. In high school, we used to skip our trigonometry class to go her her house and lay by her pool. We had to “break in” one day, as she forgot her keys and the access numbers to all of the alarm systems (yes, there are multiple). Our break-in proved to be no small feat, but we ended up managing to get in.
She also has said a few tokens of wisdom that have me on the floor laughing:
A few days after the break-in incident, we were back over again (I swear, I have yet to use trigonometry in a real-life situation) and I noticed that her family had bought new couches. Huge, leather couches. “Elle, do you know how many cows it took to make those?” I asked her. She looked over, rolled her eyes, and said “Cows don’t make those, stupid. People do.”
The other day, she and I ran over to Tar-jay to buy a video camera for my work. When we walked in the door, she instantly stopped and confusedly stared at the shelf of Nicorette gum and Commit. The shelf label said “Stop Smoking Aids”. She looks over to me and goes “How do you smoke AIDS?”
Maybe we should stop drinking as much as we do.
I’ve had sort of a wild week, topped off with what can only be explained as a wild weekend. On Friday, Brian and I met up with a bunch of people we knew from high school. Two of them are in the army: one just returned from Iraq, another is preparing to ship out soon. Obviously we drank, and we drank hard. I had sworn that I wasn’t going to be drinking more than a beer that night, but somehow ended up playing pool and doing shots with a few guys that I met at the bar that night, smacking each others’ asses for good luck.
The next morning (after a lovely four hours of drunken sleep) I showered and drove down to Maryland to visit my college for the first time since I graduated. Maybe it was the fact that my Jeep is dripping gas or maybe I was so overcome with emotion, but I felt woozy driving down the main street of town. I passed the place where I went to my first college party, passed an old boyfriend’s apartment, passed my own old apartment. I had made Nick swear that the entire day was saved for me. After all, I haven’t seen him since May, and that’s an incredibly long time to go without someone you used to spend every day with. I got to his apartment, rang the door bell, and stood there smiling like an idiot for about twenty seconds and another two doorbell rings before I realized he wasn’t home. About five minutes later he walked around the corner with his girlfriend. Just to be clear, I hate this girlfriend. A little bit of back-story: she used to date a friend of mine and one of Nick’s best friends, and at that time told that friend that he wasn’t allowed to see me. She pulled the same stunt with Nick for awhile until I told him to man up.
Nick and I leave her (she said that she didn’t want to come out with us for the day, though I nicely offered) to go pick up Lars. The three of us then drive to their favorite wing place and spend the next two hours eating amazing bar food and drinking Leinies. The conversation could not have been better, and I kept wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing too hard and realizing how much I missed them both.
On the way back, Lars and I decide it was two o’clock, therefore time to go to the bar. We drop back off at Nick’s place, who then says that he has to see his girlfriend for a bit but will meet us there in twenty minutes. Uh, you see her every night. You practically live together now. At this point she was sitting outside in her car waiting for us to leave, so we did. Lars and I get to the bar, order a pitcher, and then decide to place bets on how long it’ll take Nick to join us again. We both lost.
An hour and change later he sheepishly walks into the bar, and can tell instantly that I’m mad. I flip out for a little, call him whipped, and reaffirm my hatred for the girl. He tries to shake it off, and I only drop it when The Boy From Class joins us at the bar. I haven’t seen TBFC since earlier this summer, and before that since he kissed me at graduation. It was admittedly a little awkward with Lars and TBFC sitting on either side of me, but they all got along so well. We were having a great time drinking, telling old college stories, having them all tell really embarrassing stories about me, when Nick looks at his phone and says that he has to “go meet the missus for dinner”. I was livid, and ended up barely saying good bye to him when he left.
He called me later when I was back at TBFC’s room (YES!) but I was still angry and told him that we’d talk about it later (plus I was, um, busy.) I still don’t know what to say to him- he’s one of my closest friends and I couldn’t stand the idea of him not being in my life, but if this girlfriend obviously has her own objectives. She’s pushing him towards marriage, and if she gets her way I’ll hardly ever see him again. In fact, I doubt she’d allow me to the wedding.
Despite her, the weekend ended up being absolutely amazing.
PK and I were going over a few of our memories today, and I got to thinking that, despite how negative I may sound about the male gender, I have a lot of great memories about guys.
Habibi On one of our first dates we took my kayaks to a river out in Pennsylvania. We paddled around the edge of the river, at one point coming to a spot where the water created a little pool with a waterfall. We must have sat in there for an hour or so, talking and skipping rocks. At one point he picked up a large rock to skip it, proudly told me to watch, and then flung it…. straight into my leg. I had a bruise there for weeks, and I still have the rock. Mostly because it reminds me of how he kneeled down in the water in front of me and held my leg looking at the bruise. We spent the rest of the afternoon sprawled out on the kayaks in the sun, talking about our families, our friends, and how sorry he was for destroying my leg.
Matt It took me a few months to realize that this guy had a lot of problems, due to the combination of him being able to cover it up so well and the fact that we had so much fun together. I met him through a friend on my birthday, and he baked me a cupcake (a single one!) and put a candle in it. We ended up spending a lot of time together alone, diving around the country listening to Pearl Jam, him singing Last Kiss to me while making faces at me, and then chiding me for laughing at such a serious song. He never told me what our plans were, just pulled me along. One night, we stopped at a convenience store, while he danced through the aisles with me picking up popcorn, candy, and soda. We then drove into a deserted parking lot, where he smiled and pulled out a chain of keys. The keys opened up the doors to an old movie store, one that he used to work at. We spent the night watching any movie we wanted, eating candy and popcorn until our stomaches ached.
The Republican When I dated this guy, he was five years older than me and by far the oldest that I had dated. I was a freshman at college, and he had a downtown apartment, with a full bedroom, a dining room, and a library. Yes, a library. In college. He was a stoic figure, always in pressed khaki pants and tucked in polo shirts. On the weekends he drank scotch and smoked cigars, all of which I found incredibly sexy. We both had a love of photography, and my favorite memories were when we’d drive out further into the country in his convertible, our cameras on my lap, a cigar in his mouth as he drove. We’d stop at sailing docks, old graveyards, decrepit barns, and photograph them. One night he took me out on his sailboat, where we shared a bottle of wine and took black and white photos of each other, which I still have tucked away.
The FianceThis was probably my worst relationship to date; the guy was the epitome of an asshole and our relationship was a wreck. But I loved him, and we had the occasional good memory. For his birthday, I got reservations at “our” hotel in DC- one that was extremely expensive but terribly beautiful. While making reservations, I also told them that it was his birthday, so they assured me that it would be special. We found the room decorated with flowers, a bottle of our usual red wine with two glasses, and an exquisite birthday cake. I decided to take him out to dinner at our favorite restaurant in DC, a Chinese fusion restaurant with some of the best drinks in the area. We splurged, shared several drinks called “the volcano” that come out on fire, before returning to our room to drink the bottle of wine. We were sloppy, we were in love, and then we were talking about marriage.
CountryWe were probably the worst match of all of my relationships. He was a conservative Republican, grew up in the country, never went to college, loved hunting and drinking to extremes. But he was awesome. After the first month of us dating I began spending nights at his place, about 45 minutes from my apartment. I had just gotten Willa, so I brought her along with me. One night, she began whimpering in the early hours of the morning. Country, in his boxers, and I, in my nightgown, took her out into his backyard. His house had a short spurt of grass and a beach buffering against the bay. It was beautiful, especially with his dock stretching out into the water. Willa sniffed around for a few moments, while country and I snuggled on the dock under a blanket. We didn’t go back in, instead talking for hours and watching the sun come up as Willa romped in the water. At one point, a few geese flew overhead. He pointed at one goose flying alone. “See that one? That one’s a single. It’s one of the worst things you can do in hunting.” He explained that, morally, you weren’t supposed to shoot a goose in a pair, and that if you did you were supposed to shoot its mate. “Otherwise, the goose will never find another mate. They even fly around for days looking for their dead mate. Sometimes they starve to death, out of sadness.”
I’ve been taking a lot of time to write this post because I’ve never known how to go about it. It was two years ago, but it still feels so raw, it still hurts just as much every day.
At the boathouse today I saw one of the old doubles lined up below the other shells. It’s an old boat, and I remember the way the riggers and track would squeak as we’d go up to the catch. I hadn’t seen it at the boathouse before today, and as I traced my fingers along the name Peanut on its bow so many memories came back to me.
Two years ago, a local coach called me up and asked if I’d like to help coach a special case. He referred to it that way, but didn’t really explain what he meant. Two days later I met him early at the boat yard to prepare. There he finally explained that this kid had leukemia, that he was finally doing better and that he had been asking his mom to let him try rowing. Since he was so tiny from the treatments, we decided to teach him to cox.
I never really remember much about the first time I met Chris and his mother. In fact, I actually remember being annoyed with his mother because of the amount of precautions she wanted to take. At the time, I guess I didn’t understand how serious his disease actually was.
For about a month I ended up meeting Chris early at the boatyard; we were both always early to practice and I ended up teaching him to rig the boats, to fix the wiring. He was hungry to learn everything about the sport, especially to actually go out and row. I don’t even remember when I started hanging out with him outside of crew, I think it started when I would drive him home from practices. His mother, in her lovely British accent, would ask if I’d like to stay for dinner. I got to know Chris’s family: his father, Rory, his mother, Lily, and his brother John.
On day in late June, Chris and I were both an hour early. I’d taken him to see a movie before practice and ended up at the boatyard before even the earliest rowers got there. He nodded towards Peanut, smiling slyly while he asked “ready to teach me?” I hesitated, but it’s hard to talk me out of rowing, especially on a such a beautiful day. I taught him the basics of sculling, right hand over the left, body slow and balanced. We were halfway down the river when he started laughing. “I should probably tell you, I can’t swim.”
It was two weeks later when his mother called me. Chris had relapsed and was at a cancer center in a local hospital. I left practice early to get there before visiting hours ended, running into his hospital in spandex shorts and a tank top. It became a daily routine, finding every moment of free time to visit him at the hospital. I began to stay after visiting hours ended, began meeting the other kids on the weekends, started sneaking cookies and candy to Chris whenever I could. One of my favorite memories of those days was how Chris, having charmed all of the nurses, would tell them that he needed a second bowl of ice cream for “his girl”. Of course they would bring it to him, and of course he would eat both bowls.
My days ended up following the pattern of hospital, practice, home for a bit, second practice, and then back to the hospital. I could see Chris getting weaker, and I started spending my nights at the hospital with him when his parents couldn’t. And when they spent the night at the hospital, I stayed at their house to watch John.
The last time that I spent with Chris in the hospital, I curled up on his bed to watch a movie. I could tell he was crying because his fingers were shaking against mine. All at once he was telling me that he didn’t want to die, that he wasn’t ready. My Chris, my brave Chris who had been fearless out on the water. All I could do was cry with him, I couldn’t comfort him. He told me that he was mostly scared to die because he had never been in love, and then kept repeating “I’m not ready…” We fell asleep like that, with my hand in his. I woke early to leave to practice, with him still asleep against the pillows. It was the last time I’d see him alive.
I knew it was coming that day at practice. I held my phone on my lap in the boat, felt it vibrating as we were heading back to dock. I jumped out of the boat at the dock, the girls all knowing that I had to go. I sped through traffic, drove into the city to the hospital that had become my second home. I found his mother and father crying in the hallway, found myself in their arms, found myself holding John as he sobbed into my shoulder. It doesn’t help that John, the sweet boy who I’d spent nights playing Scrabble with, committed suicide late in August. It was too much to bear for him, and for awhile it was too much for me. Nobody ever said it would be that hard.
It’s still not easy. I haven’t been out in the Peanut since that day with Chris, and just tracing the name brought me close to tears. And it’s not just in seeing the boat; I can’t see Ben and Jerry’s ice cream without thinking of him spooning it in his mouth. And every time I think of that last night, I think about how God damn lucky I am to have loved, even if they haven’t worked out so well.
I miss him, especially right now.
I still have this one-track mind going on. I want so badly to talk about my situation, and it’s probably the must frustrating experience I’ve come across not being able to.
I took all of your advice and talked to a few close friends about it. Two of my best girlfriends were livid with me, one of them went as far as to say that she can’t believe I’m the person she’s friends with. The other has been taking it in stride, has talked to me several times about it, but is still reprimanding me for it. I also talked to a close guy friend, Ian. He congratulated me. Since none of you know Ian, I’ll explain that that’s a bad thing. It’s safe to say that Ian has few morals, if any.
I wish I had something to talk about, something better to think about. That’ll be my process for tomorrow, but for today I’m going to work on sorting this mess out.
My poor blog has been neglected lately. For one, I was away for my job in Pittsburgh this weekend, which was extremely busy and stressful, but also extremely satisfying.
It’s not that I have writer’s block. I have something that I really, really want to write about, want to vent about. Something happened recently and now I’m going crazy with confusion. The problem is that it’s something that could get me fired from my job if this were ever to be read by someone that knows me, and that makes me paranoid.
So unless I find some way to safetly write about it, or until the situation resolves itself on its own, I’m going to be racking my brain over this.
I know that’s all incredibly ambiguous, but have you ever had something that you wanted to talk about but felt too paranoid to publicly write about?