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Friday, June 26, 2015

Local Girls


On Thursday evenings, my friends and I go to the dance club on base.  Jason came with us the first few times we went, but it's not his thing.  He doesn't like the music or the people.  He usually has a few beers, then gets tired and starts yawning.  Plus, we have to pay for a babysitter if we're out together.  It's hardly worth the trouble.

I can't wait for this party every week.  I start drinking as soon as I get home from work.  I take a shower and change into some crazy shit clothes.  I buy old blazers and polyester skirts from the Salvation Army.   I match them with combat boots, leotards and beads.  I like how I dress.  I think it's edgy.  Most people tell me I look strange, and I take that as a compliment.

The girls and I meet up at one of their apartments.  We have a few glasses of wine. I bring some dope.  They like to party, and I make a little money.  This way, I can pay for more.  I'm smart like that.

Almost all my pals are single, and they do not want to stay that way.  These local ladies are on the hunt for military husbands.  We are between the ripe ages of 19 and 24, and evidently, the clock is ticking.  No uniform escapes close investigative scrutiny.

I can't help wishing I wasn't married.  I want to be free like they are.  My relationship is a drag.  I'm glad I have my son.  Kirin is a delightful child, and I love being his mother.  I just don't want to be with Jason anymore.  The only time I even try getting close to him is when I'm already plastered.  The results are always a tragic mess.  And after that, I'm embarrassed for days.

Jason seems like he can barely tolerate me, anyway.  For the most part, we steer clear of one another without incident.  We both have work and other stuff to do. We take turns being parents.  I get the feeling he thinks everything will improve once his service commitment is completed, and he is released from the Air Force. Only two more years, and we can go back to New York.  He talks about it all the time.

I don't want to wait that long for my life to mean something.  I finish cutting slices of lime and arrange them on a paper plate for tequila shots.  I stand at someone's kitchen counter, combining the remains of three near empty bottles of wine into one glass.  I knock it down the back of my throat and twist open a beer.  What's wrong with being happy right now?

*******

It felt like I blinked, and somebody put a baby in my lap.  When I blinked again, I was bored with the young man I had that baby with.  By the time I blinked the third time, I found myself on the top bunk in some Army guy's dorm room.

"You're gonna need to get outta here.  I have to wake up in an hour."

"Can you at least drive me back to my car?" I asked.

"No.  I'm tired."

He rolled over and faced the wall, pulling the sheet up from the bottom of the bed. I looked out the window and tried to figure out what time it was.

"I mean it," he said.  "You gotta leave."

And just like that, my first marriage was over.

*******

I picked up the phone and called my mother one night, way too drunk to pretend I wasn't.

"I think I want a divorce."

"Why?" she asked.

"I'm just not happy, Mom."  I started crying.

"You're loaded."

No argument there.

"Does he hit you?"

"No."

"Is he fooling around?"

"No."

"Then, what's the problem?"

"I feel sad."

"Jesus Christ, you need to straighten up and stop your complaining.  The world doesn't give two goddamns how unhappy you are.  I've been miserable since the moment I met your father.  And guaranteed, I'll be sucking up a steady diet of his crap 'til the day I die."

This was my parents' love story.  I'd heard it many times before.  I did not want their torment for myself.  I tried to have something different, but I didn't know what I was doing.

"Whatever this is, get over it," my mother said.  "Sail your dumb ass to bed and sober the fuck up.  Do you hear me?"

"Uh-huh."

"You've got that baby to take care of.  And for Christ sake, don't get pregnant again."

I can't remember what my response was when she was done with her advice. Probably more crying.

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