“4:13 AM” #12

Posted on February 5, 2011

11


So, I wake up at 4:13am.  I can’t sleep.  Not because of anxiety this time, but because Vito is taking up the whole bed and snoring louder than an old Cuban man.  I can’t help but wish I were cuddling with a man on this winter night, instead of a 75 pound tank of dog breath.

I pick up my phone and look at that text message from the heartbreaking ex.  I know I should give him a name, so I’ll call him “The Indian.”  Not the Native American kind, though I’d like to have an affair with one of those.

I type in a reply.  I feel it should refer to my active and exciting lifestyle, not divulge that I’m living at my parent’s house which is filled with stolen bank pens, restaurant saltshakers and shit off the side of the road.  Something like:  “Sorry, but I’ll have to be brief.  Just getting out of an indoor pool in my bikini and have to find a towel before one of these google-eyed guys attacks me.”

But, I decide that’s a little “forced,” so instead I go with “Nice to hear from you.”

What have I done?  I’ll tell you what I’ve done.  I’ve just lost “hand,” as George Costanza would tell you.  You either have hand in a relationship or the other person does.  Shit, I’ve really done it now.  I get up and head downstairs for a little Mallomar therapy.  The whole way down I’m going “Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.”  Ever since seeing “The King’s Speech” all I can say is “Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck,” like Geoffrey Rush is my own inner speech therapist.

I open the cookie cupboard and realize this is not a good idea if I’m about to get some action soon.  My plan should be: cut back on Mallomars, do leg-lifts, do butt-lifts, go running with Vito.  I’m trying to think of what else when my Dad strolls into the kitchen, battling his own insomnia.  He looks at me like an intruder.  As he passes the open cookie cupboard he shouts, “I hope you’re not touching my Mallomars.”

“No, I was looking for something else,” I reply.

“They’re very expensive.  You can buy your own when you have a job.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

He just grunts and puts on the TV.  “You can have the Chips Ahoy.  They’re cheaper.”

I reply, “You’re very generous.”

“Yeah, I know.”

I go out on a limb.  I take a chance.  I jump off the cliff.  And, I reach out to my father.  “Did you ever get your heart broken, Dad?”

“NEVER!”  Whether it’s 4am or 4pm, he projects like he’s trying to reach the nosebleed section of Yankees Stadium.  It’s how he always talks.

I inquire further.  “Are you just saying that?  Like, you never took any risks?  No one ever shot you down?”

He doesn’t bother to turn off the TV or even look at me.  It’s just how he rolls.  “YOU MAY NOT BE AWARE OF THIS, BUT I AM VERY COOL!”

“I can hear you, Dad.” 

He continues, “There was a girl once…wait, hold on a second, I have to see this.”  I’m on hold as he watches what’s on TV.  Moments later… “Her name was Sally Goldfarb.  I asked her to dance at a Jewish singles event.  She said “No.”  So, I moved on.  I didn’t waste my time crying like you do…”

“Excuse me??”

“…I found someone more worthy of The King.” (That’s what he refers to himself as.)

“Mom?” I ask.

“No. She was a last resort.”

Oh my God.

“YOU GRAB LIFE BY THE BALLS AND YOU BUILD UP YOUR BANK ACCOUNT AND STOP DATING PANSIES AND YOU GET A JOB WITH HEALTH INSURANCE.  YOU DON’T WRITE POETRY AND SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY ON A DOG WHO SHITS ON OUR EXPENSIVE RUG.”

I put my forehead in my hands.  I tried, I really did.

“Wait, hold on,” he shouts.  “I have to watch this.”

And…I exit.

I sit on my bed and look at my phone.  The blinking red light.  The Indian texted me, “Wanna meet up?”

I wonder what I’m about to get into.  How, the more someone doesn’t want us, the more we want them.  I think about my Dad not bothering to turn from the TV to talk to me.  And, now that I’m seeing where my low self-esteem is coming from, I wonder if I’ll make different choices.

I pick up the phone and text The Indian.  “Sure, when?”

I guess not.