Drunk Dialing

“I think the last time I was really drunk, I sent some fairly colorful texts to the guy I was dating at the time. “

While I was dating Israel, I had a standing agreement with one of his friends to take his phone any time they started drinking. I have a tendency to condescend to drunk people when I am not one of them. I didn’t want to do that, especially over the phone, over 1000 miles. So I asked his friend to take his phone so he couldn’t drunk dial me at 3 in the morning.

A couple years later, when I was fooling around with Cameron – over 1000 miles distance in the opposite direction – I spent a night out drinking with my sorority sisters. After the party, back in one of their rooms, I got on her computer to “check my email,” and shot one off to Cameron.

The next day, I got a message from him. It wasn’t the first X-rated message I had sent him but he recognized it for what it was. “Did you have fun last night? How much did you have to drink?” I hadn’t realized our years drinking together had left such an impression on him.

I am definitely a two-sided coin. People – guys – talk about finding a girl who is “a lady in the streets, an animal (to avoid using the more derogatory versions of the idiom) between the sheets.” I may not be 100% lady – I do clean up well, and I know my way around an etiquette manual – but that is a fair description of how I am as a girlfriend. I am, for the most part, a pretty reserved person. I have the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor but beyond that, I don’t share too much of my personal proclivities with the general population. Once in a while, my filter falters and I’ll make an off-handed comment about some things being easier “on my knees,” sending shock waves through the room.

But pour a little vodka on that filter and it all but dissolves.

A fact Cameron had picked up along the way. Apparently. At least in so much that he could identify the difference between my sober correspondences and my drunken ones.

Because I read back through the email I’d sent him the night before – as well as half a dozen carefully worded text messages – to see if my drunken condition came through in the form of rampant typos and I was proud to see that there were very few. It was all in the language I used to describe the things I thought we should try when once again in the same room together. I fancy myself a decent writer and through my various long distance relationships, I have developed a flare for a very specific area of storytelling. It stands to reason that flare would only be intensified as I become intoxicated.

Which creates some mixed feelings since I had yet to develop feelings for Micah by the time we shared a bottle of vodka.

Advertisements

The Weekend Everything Changed

The following program is rated TV-MA for descriptive sexual content. Viewer discretion is advised.

The idea, in the beginning, was to get Cameron’s girlfriend to cheat on him. I don’t remember if I ever knew why, exactly. I think it was a combination of things, honestly. I think someone told Israel he couldn’t do it and he developed some masculine need to prove he could.

I think Israel and Cameron’s (and my) mutual friend, Ramos, didn’t like her any more than any of the rest of us.

And, maybe it’s wishful but I think, maybe, Ramos thought Cameron was better suited to someone else. Someone he had let in on the “get Nikki to screw Israel” joke. Someone like me.

When Ramos returned from his summer at home, in Texas, Israel, and a third friend, Angelo, came with him. Ramos was spending a few days with Nikki in her apartment, waiting for the house he was moving into to be ready to move into. Nikki’s apartment was across the courtyard from mine in the same complex.

After dropping their luggage off at Nikki’s apartment, Ramos brought Israel and Angelo to meet me. “Israel’s trying to get Nikki in bed,” he announced, early in the conversation. We talked, on my patio, for a while. An hour, hour and a half. Ramos revealed Israel was majoring in English. I decided early on that I wasn’t ever going to make any kind of connection when it came to Angelo (I never did). And they left.

A few hours later, I crossed the courtyard to join the festivities. Which mostly consisted of vodka and drinks we’d bought from Sonic. High class.

That first night, we all had some good laughs, drank a little, listened to music, just had a stereotypical college summer night. Somewhere along the way, someone suggested that “someone need[s] to make out; I nominate you two,” gesturing to Israel and me. We laughed it off and carried on with the rest of the night.

That was Thursday. Friday, I came home from a girls’ night out, just as Ramos, Israel, and Angelo were coming back from another trip to Sonic. They invited me to join them and I did. The four of us sat in the living room of Nikki’s apartment long after she and her roommates had gone to bed, watching a Saturday Night Live marathon on cable. As we talked, Ramos and Angelo fell asleep, leaving Israel and I to bring up the sun.

They spent Saturday playing tourists, and we all got together again that night.

That night was different.

I was on Nikki’s patio, smoking with Angelo. Or smoking near Angelo who was busy dialing and redialing his girlfriend’s phone number and not getting an answer. Israel burst through the door out of the apartment and made some kind of exasperated animal sound. “I can’t take her anymore. She’s driving me nuts!”

I chuckled and asked if he meant Nikki. I hadn’t made any real effort over the past couple days to hide my disdain for her. Which was largely fueled by jealousy and my feelings for Cameron. “Yes,” he groaned. “I gotta get out of here. Do you want to go for a walk?”

So, we left.

Somewhere around midnight, Israel and I embarked on a tour of my university campus. I didn’t keep track of the time, but I’d guess it was half an hour, 45 minutes later, we found ourselves at the fountain plaza, which was the focal point of the central part of campus. We had found conversation easy ever since that first meeting on my patio and that night was no different.

I can’t tell you, now, what we had been talking about, but we decided to sit on one of the stone benches that surrounded the fountain to continue. I don’t know how long we sat there, talking about whatever we were talking about, before he leaned in to kiss me.

I am very much a kiss-on-the-first-date, sex-positive, no shame kind of girl. But until he moved, I had feelings for someone else. And he knew about that. He had incorporated my feelings into the conspiracy to get Nikki to cheat on Cameron. “If I can get her into bed, he’ll need someone to help comfort him.” He tried to kiss me anyway. And I pulled away, because I suddenly had no idea what I wanted. I was fairly certain Cameron didn’t want me, even if Nikki did cheat, and Israel and I had formed a genuine connection. But he lived 1000 miles away. In another state.

We hashed all of that out and I let him try again.

And I climbed into his lap, facing him, one leg on either side. And we made out like teenagers. Until we mutually decided we wouldn’t be satisfied ending the night with dry humping on a stone bench in the middle of my university campus.

A long walk in the daylight when I finished with my classes. I’d never made it in this condition before. What was once a long walk now seemed like it would never end.

We finally reached my bedroom and had barely got the door closed and locked before stripping one another. It was a scene from a movie, or maybe a prime time soap opera, as we rushed through something that resembled foreplay. I had just gotten my lip pierced a couple weeks before and I had to revise my customary oral sex foreplay rituals to accommodate the still-healing oral wound but he took it all very seriously.

And just as suddenly as it had all started, that prime time soap became a teen drama when he revealed his secret.

He was a virgin.

I stopped everything, not sure what to do with that. Thinking like a girl conditioned to believe virginity wasn’t something to be handed out like candy on Halloween, I didn’t know if I wanted that responsibility. Or was virginity even important to guys?

As I considered the situation, weighing my options – get laid and maybe, finally, move on from Cameron or masturbate myself to sleep and make things weird tomorrow – he explained that it wasn’t, necessarily, his choice. He hadn’t found a girl willing to take what he had to offer. Any girl willing to give him oral sex had refused to go any farther, intimidated by his …. er, gifts.

After we (both) finished, he got up to leave and I told him to stay – if he wanted to.

Sunday, they had more tourist activities planned so we split for the day. Sunday night, I returned to Nikki’s apartment, expecting to hear all about keeping Israel “out all night.” Ramos made one, quiet, casual comment, and that was all that was said, much to my surprise. And relief.

We left again, this time passing my roommates on the road before finding our way to a small amphitheater that I hadn’t even known existed and that I assumed was used for astronomy classes. We talked. For an easy couple of hours. And we kissed. He told me he thought my soul was sad and that he couldn’t believe my friends had never mentioned it before. And we made our way back to my apartment for a repeat performance of the night before. Our one-night stand became a two-night stand and would ultimately become an intense, tumultuous eight-month engagement.

 

Birthdays and Break-Ups

March 8 is one of those dates that will probably never leave me. Today is Israel’s birthday which kind of marked the beginning of the end for us.

Keeping in mind that “the end” lasted several months.

Israel pushed everything. Israel said, “I love you” first. Israel proposed to me after four months. Israel suggested – after watching his brother and his girlfriend pay rent on two apartments and live in one – that we move in together. Israel pushed everything.

With his 21st birthday fast approaching, everything that Israel had pushed began closing in on him and he no longer wanted to be the first of his friends to get married. And even if we didn’t get married for another five years (we had planned on graduate school but he had another three years of undergrad before we could do that), he would be the married one of all of his friends. Because we would be living together and I wouldn’t be just one of the guys; I’d want him to stay home with me while his friends went out drinking or had poker night or went to the strip club.

I tried to explain that I didn’t want any of that. I didn’t want to keep him from his friends. I didn’t even care if we had separate bedrooms (a single bedroom would be cheaper rent but if he wanted two, we could make two work). I hated watching girls do those things to their boyfriends. And I would want time to myself or to hang out with the new girlfriends I would inevitably (hopefully) meet when I packed up everything to move to a strange city and close the gap on our long distance relationship. Me. I was the one making all the sacrifices to give him what he had pushed for the whole time. I was moving so we could live together. I was leaving my family so we could get married. I was leaving my friends so that he could finish college.

And none of that bothered me. I was ready for the change. I was ready to take the leap.

But he wasn’t. To borrow from some random thug movie, his mouth wrote a check his ass couldn’t cash.

So he freaked.

Days before his birthday, he rescinded my invitation to spend my spring break with him. Even though he had access to my bank account to withdraw the money he needed to buy my VIP wristband to South By Southwest (SXSW), he bought his own and told me he didn’t want me to come down. Only days before that (sometime in the middle of February), I had turned down an offer to travel around the country as a Leadership Consultant for my sorority, an offer I later learned was not given to just anyone, an offer I would grow to regret not accepting.

The next couple of weeks were a hurricane of emotions. He was breaking up with me. He was calling me at 3 in the morning to tell me if he lived closer he’d be ringing the doorbell not ringing the phone. He was telling me he loved me more than anything in the world. He was telling me I was smothering him and that he wasn’t fit to be anyone’s boyfriend. He was telling me, through suffocated sobs, that he was supposed to be the one to save me.

And I just dragged along behind. I wasn’t even riding in the car on his emotional rollercoaster. I had been tossed out and was clinging for dear life to the back end.

SXSW (the music festival part) was the 14-16 of March that year. That weekend was between his and my spring breaks (respectively). The original plan was that I was going to miss the class on the 13th and 14th and spend the festival and my spring break with him in Texas. A few days before his birthday, he told me no. On the 12th, he told me he wanted me to come, that even though I couldn’t make it for the festival, he wanted me there for my spring break. I got out of class at 2:00 on the 14th, got into a Volvo headed south with three of my guy friends, and we drove 20 hours straight to the south of Texas.

The last time I ever saw Israel’s face was on March 24, 2003, at the edge of security in the Austin-Bergstrom Airport in Texas. And I told him, as he refused to kiss me goodbye (because “this isn’t goodbye”), that I could Feel it was the last time I’d ever see him. He had always trusted my Feelings, even more than I have after living with them my whole life. He even asked me on one of the descents from the height of the rollercoaster if I “felt” like we needed to keep trying. Because, to him, me saying I knew something didn’t hold nearly as much weight as me saying I felt it. He truly believed, even more than I ever have, that I was (am) psychic.

I told him I felt that I would never see him again and I watched him try not to trust that feeling. I think he knew it too.

Even now, as badly as I hurt, for as long as I hurt, if I look at the situation objectively, I don’t think he ever meant for it to happen the way it did. I don’t think it was supposed to end. I think he really did intend to put it all back together after he took some time to himself. But show me one couple who took a “break” and actually made it work again after and I’ll show you 100 who never made their way back.

**There are a lot of songs from that era of my history that were important. Israel and I were deeply connected through music and we shared a great deal of it in the months we were together. When he said he was the one who was supposed to save me, it was in reference to a song from one of my favorite bands that wasn’t one of his, Something Corporate. It was actually a very surreal comment for me to hear from him because it told me that he had been listening to my music while his mind was crumbling around itself.

Saviour was not one of those songs but there is a lot to this song that fits with this particular story. “That’s when she said, ‘I don’t hate you but I just want to save you while there’s still something left to save.” That’s when I told her, ‘I love you, girl, but I’m not the answer for the questions that you still have.’” It reminds me of that time, a lot, so I’m adding it here.**