Friday, November 5, 2010
"Another Chance" Cafe...chapter 17
“We slept together…”
“We slept together…”
“We slept together…”
The words repeated over and over in my head. I was speechless, literally. I had absolutely nothing to say. Nothing at all. I couldn’t yell at her, I couldn’t ask any questions, I couldn’t make any statements. I couldn’t do anything. I just sat there in my bed. After a few moments of silence, I did do something. I took the phone away from my ear and leaned my head back against the headboard. The silence must have made Shea even more uneasy because she started to cry again a little. I could still here her despite not having the phone against my ear anymore. Then she started to call for me:
“Patrick?” she called over and over again. “Patrick, are you still there? I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…can you please say something, anything. Please”
The last “please” was in the form of a whisper. Although I couldn’t see her, I could tell that her lip was quivering. Just from the way that she spoke. I could picture her vividly. Her eyes over brimming with water, tears spilling out and running down her cheeks. The brown in her eyes was probably mixed with a reddish color by now from crying so much. I don’t know exactly how bad she felt or how much she regretted what happened but it couldn’t have been anywhere near how bad I felt right now. I wanted to scream and yell and make a fuss but I had done that the last time. I was a different person because of that and I was going to show it.
“Please say something baby, please. Patrick? Patrick…” she called for me again. So I brought the phone back up to my ear and said something:
I pressed end on my cell phone and laid it back on my night table. I then let my head fall into my hands and I just sat there. Not really thinking about anything at all. Just sitting, sitting and remaining quiet. I was actually surprised at how calm I was being. Surprised and scared. Usually if anyone discovers that their significant other had cheated on them, they would surely flip out. Arguing would most likely follow, maybe even result in something getting broken. But I did none of that. After all, I had this coming, didn’t I? The thing is that the past months of being with her had caused me to forget my fear of something like this happening. I was scared to death of it at first because it had happened before but I thought she was different and that maybe I had actually made her happy enough that something like this wouldn’t happen. I obviously thought wrong.
I don’t how long exactly I was sitting in bed with my face buried in my hands, but the sound of the guitar solo ringing snapped me out of it. I reached for my phone and looked at the screen. Shea was calling me again. With one swift, forceful motion, I threw my phone with all of my might across the room. By the sound that it made, I could tell that it had hit the wall and smashed into pieces. It actually sounded like glass shattering. Now, I could feel the anger building within me. A rage I had not felt for a long time. About a year to be exact. A year of semi-peacefulness was wasted. All because I couldn’t make a girl happy.
I got out of bed and went into the bathroom. I threw some water on my face, just in case this wound up being a dream, or a nightmare (which might suit it better), but I didn’t wake up. This was very real. I made my way to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I left the light off and stared out the window while drinking from the glass. My thoughts were mixed in all together with my anger. I couldn’t think straight or make sense about anything. How could she let something like that happen? Why?
Deliberating on it, it being the act of cheating, I wondered just how someone could do it. I mean with the assumption that you generally care for someone. Worry about their well-being, and deeming them important enough to spend your precious time with, how could you hurt them like that? If they generally don’t deserve that kind of hurt, then why would you put them through it? Sure, reality as well as biology says that naturally you will find yourself attracted to other people. However, being able to avoid certain situations are completely within your control. Not trying to sound self-righteous about this because I am not a perfect person by no means but I always found it hard to believe that it was easy to cheat on someone. I understand if they were a terrible person and they treated you like crap but even then, you should simply break-up with them. But if they were good to you, tried to build a relationship with you, again I ask why?
During my trials and tribulations in life, I have found that usually when someone cheats, it is because something is missing in their current relationship. My personal approach to that sort of problem would be to confront my other half about whatever it may be that is causing me to have these unfaithful thoughts. It may hurt them to hear that I am having those feelings but it would most likely devastate them to hear that I was sexual with someone who wasn’t them. That’s just my outlook on it. A chill ran up and down my spine as the breeze blew through the open window. Usually at night, it’s hard to see the stars very clearly because of all the street lights but for whatever reason tonight I could see them all as if they were just right outside. The moon shone the clearest and brightest. I felt like disappearing into it. Leaving all of my troubles and disappointments in this world behind and traveling to the moon. It sounded crazy. It sounded like something out of a fairy tale but for somehow it just made sense to me. It was the only thing that made any sense at all to me right then and there.
I finished my water and looked into the empty glass which was glistening from the reflecting street light. I tightened my grip around it so much that my hand began to hurt slightly. I felt the urge once again to heave it against another wall. Instead I loosened my hold and placed in it in the sink. I returned to my bedroom and switched on the light. My cell phone lay in pieces on the floor. The back panel of it was broken in two and the battery had fallen out. I picked it up to survey the screen which was cracked in three places.
“Won’t be using this anymore,” I said to myself.
I had been meaning to get a new one anyway. I was lying to myself but it sounded better than the real reason it was resting on the floor in shambles. I removed the SIM card and just left the rest of the phone on the floor. I didn’t feel like dealing with discarding just yet. I turned the lights back off and rolled back into bed. Just then, I wondered if Shea had tried to call me back. I figured she must have judging from the way she sounded on the phone and the fact that I just hung up. Well, there really wasn’t any way for her to get into contact with me now, was there?
As I laid in bed, I wasn’t surprised that it was exceptionally difficult for me to fall back asleep. I was also surprised that there really weren’t that many thoughts running through my head. There was a peaceful sort or blankness. My mind was filled with nothing. I just continued to stare up at the ceiling through the darkness that separated me from it. Although I was in a “nothing” coma, I felt as if I was about to cry. I could feel tears starting to build behind my eyes. I forced them back however. I had had a few cries the first time this happened to me. After that, I promised myself to never shed another tear over a female again. No matter how much I felt for them and no matter how badly I was hurting inside, I would keep it there; inside. The mounting tears disappeared and I closed my eyes. Before I knew it, I was asleep.
The next few days were surreal. I know I have described past days the same way but this was a different kind of surreal. The days I had with Shea were hard to believe because I was happy. I had a beautiful woman who actually cared for me as I much as I cared for her. These days were surreal in the essence of being, well, sad. It was kind of like I was living inside of a dream world. I had to keep reminding myself that that night had actually happened. Maybe I was dealing with this a little better than last time because I had already gone through it once. Plus, I was expecting it to happen. But I still found myself asking the question, “Did this really just happen to me…again?” I asked it over and over again but the answer was always the same as the time before.
The days that followed were also quiet. I kept to myself more than usual at work and didn’t attempt to contact anyone. I didn’t even wind up picking up another phone until quite sometime after I broke my original one. I stopped by the cell phone store on the way home from work one day. Even though I had no cell, I was surprised that Shea hadn’t tried to get in contact with me at all. No e-mails, no more surprise visits, nothing. It was better like that anyway. I didn’t want to see her. I didn’t want to see or hear or do anything that even reminded me of her. This was nearly impossible. When you spend a significant amount of time with someone, it’s hard not to encounter something that will shoot an instant thought of them into your mind. Especially if it is a happy thought which just about every memory I had of Shea was a happy one.
I purchased my phone and continued on my way home. As I pulled in I noticed a familiar car. A familiar white car. What are the odds that the day I wondered why she hadn’t tried to contact me is the same exact day that she shows up at my place. I saw her sitting in the driver’s seat awaiting my arrival. She must have caught sight of me because she quickly jumped out of her car. I made a U-turn and drove right back out of the complex. I didn’t even look back to see the expression on her face. I had no idea where I was going but I just kept driving. I was literally trying to drive away from my problems. I decided that it wasn’t actually my problem, but hers. We were no longer together so I didn’t have to deal with anything. I guess maybe she had to deal with the fact that our relationship was over, if she felt the need to. I always thought the person who did the cheating really didn’t have it that bad. Sure if they really cared for the person they cheated on, then they might feel really bad. But it wasn’t like the “bad” that the other person was feeling.
I must have driven for about half an hour before deciding to try to go back home. I hesitated a little when I finally reached the entrance of my apartment complex. I hoped that she wasn’t still there. I really didn’t feel like talking to her. I slowed down a bit and took my time going around the corner to where the building that contained my apartment stood. No white car, no Shea. I parked and went inside. I was kind of curious to see how many messages I had built up over the last few days so I retrieved my SIM card and inserted it into my new phone. After I had turned it on and it loaded and everything, several text and voice mail notifications popped up on the screen.
I didn’t bother sorting through all of them, which would have taken me forever to do. I returned the most important ones first; calling my parents and lying about how I had dropped my phone and it broke. Some of my friends who knew of my relationship with Shea didn’t believe that lie so easy. I suppose they could tell that there was something up from the sound of my voice. I simply told them everything was fine and that I was sorry that I hadn’t thought to e-mail them to say my phone was broken. I could tell that they still didn’t buy it but it was what I could think of off the top of my head. Eventually they left me alone about it and I then turned my attention towards the other messages.
The majority of them were from Shea, three or four were from Jenalee. The two people I wanted the least to do with in my life had left the most messages; the irony. I had a hard time deciding who’s to read or listen to first. It may sound like a jerk move but I used a quarter to help me pick which woman’s message to pay attention to first. I usually pick tails whenever I flip a coin so even though the hurt was still very fresh, I disliked Shea the least so I designated her tails. I reached in my pocket to get a quarter but all I pulled out was lint. Of course. I checked in the drawers of my nightstand, nothing. I burrowed through my couch cushions, not one dime. I even went in my car to search, only found a ton of pennies. But I didn’t want to use a penny. I have standards, don’t judge me.
Feeling defeated I shuffled back into my apartment and splashed down onto my couch. Something then told me to check a pair of jeans that I had worn the day before. Sure enough a shiny quarter emerged from one of the front pockets. I flipped it, caught it and slapped it onto the back of my hand; Heads. Ok, heads it is. I grabbed my phone and looked through the text messages that Jenalee had sent me.
-Hey there, how u been?
-Hey, can we talk later?
-Are you ok or are you just ignoring me?
Her voicemails consisted of pretty much the same type of questions. I probably would have ignored her messages even if my phone was working so I didn’t really care if she thought that. I thought for a second about just what made her decide to be so darn persistent. She really wasn’t giving up. She absolutely feels like we belong together. But why now? Something that I understood but also didn’t understand at the same time was why when a person found themselves in a loving relationship, it took them being with someone else before they realized that relationship is where they want to be. Yes, it’s true that sometimes if you are having doubts, experiencing something else helps you erase those doubts. But you may forget that there are two people in that relationship and usually it’s the other person who winds up getting hurt. The fact that apparently she just up and changed her mind about us was confusing to me. It didn’t really make complete sense. But then again, girls in general don’t always make complete sense. In fact, they very seldom do.
Now it was time to switch over to Shea’s left messages. Again, I checked the texts first.
-Patrick, please talk to me
-I’m beggin’ you, please
-I know I was wrong, but just talk to me
-Ok, so you’re going to just keep ignoring me?
-Now, I’m really worried, haven’t heard anything from you in a couple days
-I’m going to be at your house every day until you talk to me, so driving away isn’t going to work
Obviously, that last one was from earlier today. There were many more, but they were all basically the same, pleading with me to talk to her and let her explain and more stuff that I didn’t want to hear. I almost didn’t even want to listen to her voice messages. I assumed that it was going to be more of the same. Sitting on my couch and staring off into space, I thought about what she may be doing at that moment. Was she thinking about me? Was she talking to him? As soon as that second question passed through my mind, I instantly halted my daydreaming. The notion of the two of them together made me feel all the hurt and anguish again. I didn’t want to break this phone too. To get it over with, I played her voicemails. The first one I heard was from the same night she confessed her actions to me. Again, the regretful tone mixed with her crying was very vivid. I honestly believed she was sorry for what she had done. I began to feel sorry for her. Wait! Why am I feeling bad for her?! She was the one who had sex with someone who wasn’t her boyfriend. I shouldn’t look at her with a sad heart. I snapped out of it and erased the rest of her messages without listening to them. They would all be same anyway.
I no longer cared how she felt. It was her own fault. I hope that she and whatever the hell his name is are very happy together. Yeah, sure, run back to the same person who hurt you so bad because that made of all the sense in the entire world! Hurt the person who you believed would never hurt you! I LOVED YOU AND YOU SPIT IN MY FACE!! Wait, no, I didn’t love her. I only really liked her. My mental tirade came to a screeching halt when that word showed up again. I didn’t know why it came up. I couldn’t love her, she just carved my heart out and stepped o it. No, stomped on it. I DON’T LOVE HER!
Love her?...Love her?
As hard as it was for me to admit this, to myself of all people, I had indeed fallen in love with Shea. I didn’t even realize that my feelings for her had grown that much over this time. It took her cheating on me to recognize how I felt. What did that say about me? Was there something wrong with me? If I loved her, then I should have known about it a long time ago. But I didn’t. Maybe I did, somewhere within my subconscious I already knew that I had loving feelings for her. I was so freaked out by this discovery that my heart was pounding within my chest. I also felt terrible because this meant that the only two women that I ever fell in love with had both cheated on me. Apparently there was something wrong with whom I was if two different females felt the need to step outside of our relationship.
It was kind of like I was having an epiphany. I complete re-discovery of myself. What was wrong with who I was? Why did I drive women to cheat on me? I needed to find out. I needed to know. I had to correct whatever was wrong with me so whoever I met next wouldn’t be compelled to crush my feelings a third time. It was like what they say, “3 strikes and you’re out”. I had to avoid that third strike at all costs. But how could I do that? What could I do to seek the knowledge about myself that I desired? What I needed was a female to answer the questions I had about myself. I thought of my female friends but I knew they would only tell me that I was being silly and that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. That these two girls were just being stupid and I should forget about them. Although that would make sense to do, I needed something more than that, much more. I had to have an honest answer to my question…“What about me makes girlfriends cheat?”
I didn’t really know if this was a legitimate question to ask someone but I figured it would help save me from whatever Titanic aspect of my personality that constantly kept me sinking with females. Just then my new phone rang. No guitar solo this time. It was one of the generic ringtones that came pre-programmed with it. Shea’s name popped up on the screen. I quickly ignored the call and just kept staring at the screen. I didn’t really know why I kept staring at it but I couldn’t bring myself to set the phone back down. Almost instantly after I ended the first call, another one from her came through. I, again, quickly ignored this one too, pressing the end button a little harder than the time before. Practically before I could even blink, she called again. She was becoming almost as bad as Jenalee. I let this one ring. I didn’t want to answer it but as I looked at the screen shining back into my face with her name on it, I felt a little compelled. So…with anger in my heart and frustration in my head, I pressed the talk button.
“Hello,” I answered.
“H-hi,” she said back sounding startled that I had actually picked up. “Um, how are you doing?”
“Could be better,” I responded.
“So, you finally answered your phone. You kind of fell off the map the last couple of days. What have you been up to?” she asked.
“Nothing much, same old same old,” I replied.
“Why haven’t you answered your phone and why did you drive away earlier?”
“I think you know the answer to those questions,” I answered.
“You didn’t answer your phone for three straight days,” she stated.
“Yeah, I know”
“I was worried,” she said.
“Good for you”
“Patrick, I was really worried about you. Look, I’m sorry ok, I’m really sorry,” she began. “Please just let me talk to you in person and allow me to explain”
“Not really up for seeing you right now”
“Well, when do you think that might happen?” she asked.
“Couldn’t tell you, I need to be alone, ok. Away from you and away from a lot of things,” I explained.
“Ok, I deserve that and you’re right. I’ll let you have that time. As much as you need,” she said.
“I just wanted to tell you one thing. It’s important,” she said. “I-”
“-Save it! I don’t want to hear anymore!” I interrupted. “Whatever you have to say to me, you can save it, ok? I have to go”
With that I hung up. I didn’t even allow her a chance to respond afterwards. I hung up on her again. Just like I did that night. I never thought of myself raising my voice to her but it was what I was feeling at the time and it came out. I was honestly trying to suppress my emotion during the call but my patience ran out. I don’t think I had any patience to begin with when I first answered her call. Deep down, I hoped I hadn’t hurt her feelings too bad by yelling at her and then hanging up. Even though I got furious at myself earlier for feeling bad for her, for some odd reason I couldn’t stop myself. I guess I still felt that need to protect her, even from myself. Even though she had hurt me. Even though I felt like she deserved it.
After I finally got over my pity for Shea, I returned to trying to figure out who I should turn to for answering my question. Enlisting my mother would just be a childish decision. What was I, 13? As a matter of fact, asking any female family members would yield the same outcome and kid-like feeling. I’ve already ruled out my closest female friends. I could bite a bullet and ask one of the girls who I used to date years ago. I still have a couple of their phone numbers. Furthermore, they didn’t cheat on me. Well, I guess so it was a possibility but I was never in a full-fledged relationship with any of them. We just went out a couple of times.
Dare I ask Shea? I mean she was the latest one to find happiness somewhere else. Who better than her? There was always Jenalee. But I think I’d rather ask my mother than ask her. I needed to make a decision. I wanted my problem solved and quickly so I could get on with my life. But who, who would be the best choice? My mind floated back to using my quarter to help me decide again but I needed to make this decision by myself. Plus, the quarter only had two sides to it. I thought some more and finally made my choice.
I picked up my phone, found the name in the phonebook and pushed talk…
To be continued…