Since August

When I met The Boy’s parents, they took us to see the Broadway production of August: Osage County. He had seen it already. I had not. As the lights went down, he turned to me, as if realizing, and, with trepidation said, “You know, this might not have been a good idea.”

It was true. This play – while stunningly beautiful – is pretty much the story of the worst possible outcome of my life. It was two and a half hours of Steppenwolf showing me what might happen if I’m not very, very careful. By the end of the show, I was hysterically sobbing, unable to stand for the ovation. Unable to get up to let others exit.

It was not, needless to say, the best impression I could have made.

Now, it’s true that I cry pretty easily. Those ASPCA commercials kill me. As do Kleenex and long-distance phone service commercials – manipulative motherfuckers that they are.  August was bad though. And since then, it seems as though The Boy has been very, very wary of showing me anything I might find upsetting.

For my birthday, he gave me a book of short story/memoirs, a book he was currently reading. “She writes like you,” he said. I’d like to think so, because she’s good, this Sloane Crosley, whom I kind of hate because she’s clever and funny and moderately famous for publishing all the stuff I think about but haven’t managed to get written down.

“You’ll like this,” said The Boy.  “But …  don’t read the one about the bear.”

“Why not?”

“There are sad animals. Trust me.”

A day later he called me.  “Also don’t read the one about the cat.”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t.”

Later he called again.  “The last story! I want to prepare you! You have to know I didn’t know about it!”

“What are you talking about?” I was bewildered.

“The book!  I just read the last story!”

“And?”

“I didn’t know, I swear! It doesn’t mean anything!”

“Just tell me what you’re talking about.”

It turns out that the last story in the book includes a narrative of the author being cheated on and subsequently broken up with.

“Ok,” I said. “And why is this such a terrible thing for me to read?”

“Well, I gave it to you for your birthday,” he said. “And that’s not the kind of thing a boyfriend should give, with that kind of parting message. I didn’t want you to think it meant anything.”

It might be time to toughen up.

 

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