Friday, March 10, 2006

The Absence of Loneliness

I don’t remember why I was ever with him. He didn’t treat me well, the sex was bad, and I cried a lot. Maybe I only stayed for the absence of loneliness. I thought I needed somewhere to go, a number to call, someone who seemed to give a shit.

He’d get high almost every night, and when he did, he’d start telling me how to live my life. His own life was in shambles, but he always knew exactly what I should do. In his self-righteous tone he’d say, "You know Theresa, you should really think about getting a different job. That place you’re working now is sucking the life out of you."

I’d nod, knowing that defending my job would only lead to more unsolicited advice. I’d turn away and smile small, knowing that he was jealous of my work friends, especially one young man who enjoyed my company. He’d go on and on about how I should get different friends because the ones I had weren’t smart enough to waste my time with. He’d tell me where I went wrong in all my past relationships. When he really got going, he’d complain about spending time with my family, apologizing as soon as he saw me flinch.

Eventually, he’d put on a record and allow his stoned mind to sink into Dylan or Stravinsky. I’d watch him carefully and free myself from the weight of his arm when the time was right. Once unburdened, I’d use the opportunity to find the comfort and warmth I desired. I’d sneak into the bathroom, lock the door and immerse myself in the beautiful over-sized clawfoot bathtub. When filled with herb-scented bubbles, it welcomed me, supported me, and surrounded me with softness.

I’d soak in the tub, resting my neck on its smooth rounded edge. Leaning back, my thoughts dissolved into the friendly shapes of the peeling yellow water-stained ceiling. There was a dancer, an antelope, a shaggy dog and a long crooked ladder. I’d sigh with relief when I heard the sound of his deep heavy sleep-breathing on the other side of the door. Then, I was assured of as much time as I wanted. If he didn’t wake up to piss, I could stay in my water cradle all night.

When I was really brave and sure of his sleep, I’d use the shower attachment to masturbate. Those were the only orgasms he ever gave me. His breathing on the other side of the locked door allowed this brief pleasure of hot pulsing water and release.

I left him seven times in a year. The six times I returned, he welcomed me with kisses and heartfelt gladness. At those times it was okay to say, "Baby, I’ve had a long, hard day. Do you mind if I take a bath for a while?" Sometimes I even left the door unlocked.


At 8:43 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

It wasn't your job that was sucking the life out of you, it was him.

That bubble bath sounds wonderful, I've always wanted a clawfoot tub because there's something so romantic about them... and I know what you mean about those shower attachments ;-)

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Bougie Black Boy said...

Jeesus. THis was powerful.

Loneliness is my friend.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger naive-no-more said...

I voted for this story!

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Dick the Boomer said...

"He'd get high almost every night..." He was obviously blinded to the best part of his life standing right there in front of him.

At 10:03 AM, Blogger ZooooM said...

I agree with bbb. Hugely powerful. I'm just glad you didn't return the 7th time.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Bushmaster said...

Great story. I would like to see video of buble bath jk. right

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Anonymous Assclown said...

As much as I dislike following a dumbass comment like "Bushmaster"'s (visualize my eyes rolling into the back of my head), I liked this when you wrote it and I like it even more now. Reminds us that being with someone doesn't necessarily mean we're not going to be alone.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Polyman2 said...

I think Lorena Bobbitt went through the same thing, when they were dating.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Aisha T. said...

Powerful stuff, Theresa. Being with someone so as not to be alone but, feeling more lonely than ever.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Laurie - Anything that wasn't about HIM was a threat.

Stephen - Loneliness is certainly inspiring.

Naive - I figured a couple people would recognize this. Didn't YOU win that contest?

Dick - Sometimes people are just too messed up. ... you're awfully sweet to say that though.

Zoooomster - When I look back I think I was a total idiot, but I know I'm not the only one.

Bushmaster - hmmm ... do you really think it's a story about taking a bath?

AC - So true ... sometimes it's the worst kind of lonely.

Poly - BINGO! Emotional abuse hurts.

Aisha - Sometimes our fears encourage us to put up with a lot of pain.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Brea said...

Powerful. I find myself in these types of relationships all the time. To be with someone and still be alone...


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