I came home tonight and our house smells like you—like boy. Some sort of man-body-wash, mixed with musky-something, topped with the rich smell of your clean, Italian skin. And I smiled for a second… wondering if you were going to greet me from the living room. But the house was still as it often is.
James Dean is a bartender. And I hate it.
His professional life consists of a 70-hour workweek—spent marinating in alcohol, and agave nectar and drenched in late nights and intoxicated company. He’s told he must ignore me when I visit him at work—not to touch me— because him appearing “fuckable” is good for business. And trust me, I know just how much the perception of his availability drives business. I once WAS that business.
I hate it.
My dear friend, Monica, has taken over his role of companion, emotional supporter, secret keeper. James isn’t around enough to consistently be my plus one, listen to my woes, hear me giggle. I replay the highlights of my last afternoon and evening late each morning when we get to spend a few hours together. Two to be precise— between 12 and 2. Hours that I subtract from my workday so that I can see him… before he once again returns to his booze stained workspace.
During the first bit of our rendezvous, he is usually waking up, slowly, drug of choice now caffeine. I am bubbling with enthusiasm. Dying to connect. But I forget details, the jokes lose their hootsva, my emotional strife has already dissipated into its muted self, palatable, cool enough to drink. This is not a full-blown relationship. This is what develops in the in-betweens. I can still keep secrets, still wrap a pretty yellow ribbon around my emotional lows, still disguise my grumpy, irritable, sweaty-from-working-out self.
I go to bed alone almost every night. And I feel very much alone.
Absent-men are a button issue for me—my dad’s commitment (read, obsession) with growing wealth shredded his marriage with my mother into an unrecognizable, bitter blob. And tried as he may have in the space in-between late nights and business trips, those days “Dad” was nothing more to me than a gift-wrapped t-shirt and a bag of Skittles left outside my door.
And it didn’t stop there… M spent more evenings in his architecture studio than he did with me. So much so that I started sleep on both sides of the bed, knowing he wouldn’t be there. So much so that “all-nighters” became a sign of professional prowess and, seemingly, of dick-size. He cared more about that paper, project, design, whatever, than he did about caring for his health. Even to the degree that he could continue to function as a human being— complete sentences, feel anything but intense, pants-pissing fear, share love with me.
Am I that 20-something asshole that doesn’t appreciate sacrificing for success?
I feel simply burnt out with supporting the man in my life in a career that offers a crap lifestyle for crap pay, during crap hours. ENOUGH. I don’t want it anymore… I want James Dean to have a career that supports the vision we have for our lives and our future. I want James Dean to remember that in our partnership, there is nothing that is entirely independent. Including work-life. And that what ain’t good for me ain’t good for us.
Maybe I am that asshole…