Aug 28th: Charley drank again last night with his brother. If he could drink like a normal person then no big deal, but he drinks like Hunter S. Thompson.
Then he said he left my Volkswagen at his brothers’s house. He was feeling lonely and “full of emotions” and he needed me to be there for him. Sure, I’m the pregnant girl with preeclampsia. Let me be there for you.
Instead of working for his uncle in the morning, he walked with two of our dogs to the nearest hotsprings which were ten miles away. He got a ride to the hotsprings but left the house late and ended up walking back in the dark, worn out and unable to get a ride. I told him that would happen. He laughed at me. Then he admitted, “This was probably a bad idea.” I feel like I need to be there to take care of him.
On the way back he left his backpack in a stranger’s van after hitchhiking from the hotsprings. He had taken my mini Aussie, Freyja, so I changed his FB profile picture to one with her. Maybe the guys in the van were cool and would find Charley and Freyja online. And I can’t think of anything else now. His pack had my car keys, our house keys, his ID. If there’s anyone who loses things more than me and is more forgetful than me it’s my husband.
I’m not that bad now that I’m sober. I know this will be the case with him too, if he ever stays sober and isn’t going through “the worst withdrawal” every other day. I keep thinking: what an idiot.
I miss you Charley. I need to be there to take care of you. I’m grateful I’m not. I miss you though. Idiot.
Ok. I can’t do anything from here besides edit his Facebook. Now he waits like I wait. All this waiting. I check my Facebook. Leonora is pregnant and having a girl in January. Leonora (Leo) is dating the guy (Dan) I crushed on obsessively all through undergrad. Between bad boyfriends who needed space and classes and studying abroad he was THE ONE I liked too much to kiss and liked too much to pursue more than being regular philosophy club companions. And he was always there: to get drinks in the summer or smoke pot at the water tower, to take night walks and chaperone my drunk ass back from a party. When other guys were making fantasy football leagues, he was illustrating dodecahedrons and geometrical experiments. When a few years had passed after graduation and I had moved East, he had moved to California, and when I moved to California, he moved East, because Leo was going to get her PhD for something about bugs at Harvard. That’s what he snagged. A buggy Harvard girl. And now they were having a baby girl, like me.
I was very much in love with Charley so these butterfly blues, this fluttering and sinking melancholy in my heart, was just nostalgia and boredom. Nostalgia, boredom and idealism from an extensive daydream for something I could never materialize. Sometimes the idea is so much nicer, in a tragically Sisyphus rolling a rock up an emotional hill way.
One thing about Dan that I liked was he inspired me to (want) to be better than I was. Too young (and immature) to do anything about it at the time, I’d just continued to suck mediocre dudes’ dicks and feel partially inspired and half prepared for the more positive, balanced, discipline person I would become when we got together one day in the future that didn’t require daily hangovers and anxiety.
That day was just an idea. It was something to comfort me when I drank too much or slept with a trash boy from The Indigo.
Skip ahead several years. I’ve had my DUI and my terrors. I have my new family. Charley makes me want to be better but not like Dan made me want to be better. Instead, Charley makes me want to show him what he can be- the best version of himself that he failed to see any time before. And that’s what I think Leo does for Dan. Maybe every woman has to be just a little better- more visionary- than the handsome, unique and gifted idiot she pairs with, as he throws his energy into her like a Headless Horseman with no plan other than to shed pretense and find roots. And his roots are whatever it is inside him that can settle down and feel like a real man.
August 29th: Day 17 in the hospital. And it’s Monday! I’m taking blood pressure medicine every four hours and Ambien every night so my dreams have been dystopian, dramatic and over-the-top like Terry Gilliam’s movie “Brazil”: “Darkly funny and truly visionary retro-futurist fantasy” one dream critic would say. “A Retro-futuristic Orwellian cloak-and-dagger fantasy noir sci-fi action dark comedy and a touch of horror,” says another.
Monday equals blood work and two NST tests to monitor the baby, an Ultrasound with the world’s most humorless woman, (they switch it up and you never know who is going to throttle you with icy retorts), and did I want to eat breakfast?- biscuits and gravy lined by scrumptious juice from eggs over easy except it’s all sitting there by itself getting cold while I move through these tests- pee in a cup, check my weight, take my pills. Here’s a saltine; some Sprite; some towels.
Nurse leaders like to come in and ask how you’re doing. There are at least 6 of them. They seem to be multiplying.
“How are you today.”
“Anything I can get you.”
“Oh we don’t have those for patients.”
“How are you today?”
“Have you been having fun.”
“Yeah sure, this is really great.”
“Do you need anything.”
“I’d like access to a computer.”
“I’m sorry we don’t have any of those for you.”
I prefer talking to the lady who cleans my floor and takes out my garbage. She’s from Nepal and has a sweet smile and is pregnant with her third child who better be a boy finally.
Charley calls. He’s sad and crying and it’s raining and he doesn’t have the car and there’s all these animals chewing on the new house and he’s overwhelmed and he can’t do it.
“You can do this Charley. You can. You can figure it out on your own. You just need to grow up-”
“I need to grow up, that’s a lot of help.” And he hangs up on me.
Ten minutes later I’m talking him through masturbating. I can’t talk about everything that would turn him on. He’d never forgive me. But we talk about it and he comes and he feels better. I’m like his doctor or therapist or long-distance guru. But um, I’m the pregnant one right? Where’s my guru?
To get a new car key you have to take a newish Volkswagen Beetle to a dealership to program the new key. The closest dealership is in Santa Fe and I may have had a spare in the glove compartment but it’s not assured so now Charley is walking and hitchhiking to the car which is still at his brother’s house. “I can’t do this alone.” He says. “And all these animals. It’s too hard. I feel weak. Part of me wants to leave town.”
Fuck. I think about the news and refugees and all of the people starving and dying and suffering in the world and I say, “I believe in you. [He’s groaning.] This is an obstacle not a wall. Please be strong.” I know he’s stronger and more positive than he’ll let on over the phone. That’s the problem with being comfortably in love. Sometimes he forgets how his words effect me on the other end. American guys in their twenties. What the fuck.
Charley’s mom called. The backpack was returned to her house: the address on his ID.
“That’s great news! Are you relieved????”
“Yeah, I guess.”
The nurse is back. I have to pee in another cup.