Thursday, December 11, 2014

Loring Park Episode #47: This is Your Life

                                         THANKSGIVING EVE

This is your life, Jakey Emmert was all I could tell myself to keep from screaming, crying, uproariously laughing or possibly all three. Speaking of "all three", while I understand that it's an impossible feat to keep track of all my bar crushes and half-hearted emotional affairs, there's only been three that made me feel real things and cry in the car. And while I met them intermittently, for the first time in my life, here they were, in the same room, on the busiest night of the social calendar. And I am single.

I am not with the Boy in the Jacket because he has condemned me to the Friend Zone. I told him to check his jacket but he refused. He is attractive enough that he is probably the only person in this bar who could wear an oversized North Face and make it look good.

I am not with the Tall Boy because he finally got tired of chasing me and now he has a boyfriend nine years my junior.

I am not with The Boy with Great Hair because when I was crazy about him he liked my friend instead. Timing is everything and it was never on our side.

 I tried really hard to get over The Boy in the Jacket and when I came closest, he made his way back into my life. It's still platonic and always be. That's okay. Last time I saw him jokes led to truth and he said we won't ever round the bases because it would be weird.

"Oh," I had said. "I thought it was because I was hideous and disgusting."
"What, really?" he asked and his eyes were sadder than usual. His surprise surprised me. I realized that 18 months is a long time to think that way about yourself. Those feelings would be a toddler by now, trying to run away from me. I cried for three days, because I had spent so much time being sad about him and this time I was finally sad for myself. In my defense, Sam Smith was on the radio.

My bartender is cute and friendly but that would be too messy.

And let's not forget about the dude who greeted me with a kiss when I walked in here an hour ago. He is adorable and undramatic -- and born in 1993. I just told my mother not to cash the $75 check I made out to her. I shouldn't even be out.

"You're having a good night, Jakey!" my friend Z cries. Z was Jared in They Shoot 25-Year-Old Gay Men, Don't They?
"Happy Thanksgiving," I cry as the Boy in the Jacket keeps kissing me on the forehead like I'm a five-year-old girl.
"Who's this guy?" asks the Boy in the Jacket.
"He played Jared in the play I wrote," I say. "You didn't see it. Thank God."
The Boy with Great Hair is his usual hyperactive and spastic self. He is bothering the shit out of the Boy in the Jacket and it is as hilarious as it is upsetting.
"How do you know Jakey?" The Boy in the Jacket asks.
"We go way back," The Boy with Great Hair says. "He wrote a play about me."
"Interesting," The Boy in the Jacket says, and then he lies to The Boy with Great Hair about his name.
"How long have you known Jakey?" The Boy with Great Hair asks. I signal for a refill.
"15 years," The Boy in the Jacket says.
"Are you---?"
Boy in the Jacket smiles devilishly. I purposely avoid eye contact with all involved. Boy with Great Hair is confused.
"Um ... how is it?" he asks. Like you care. The Boy in the Jacket graciously lies and says it is amazing.
The Tall One walks by with his boyfriend and taps my nose with his finger.
"Oh, Jakey," he croons. "Are we in love?"
"Just a little bit," I say. Your boyfriend is right there.
The Boy in the Jacket eventually drifts away with his sober cab. The Boy with Great Hair wants to dance and lifts me up by the love handles and it is painful. My heart can beat as fast as it wants to, but none of this will mean anything in the morning.

This is your life, Jakey Emmert.

"Do you need another one, Jakey?" the bartender asks.

I look around at the game show that has been my emotional love life and realize that, despite how intensely I feel about the three of them, I'm going home alone tonight anyway.

I nod.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Two Jakes

This is from a book I wrote and tried to publish a long time ago. Yesterday was December 3rd so I was thinking about it.


                                                 The Two Jakes

 

How to Stop Being a Loser, Step #4: Avoid What Will Make Your Eye Twitch. Namely, Your Computer.

 

            "If you have to question whether or not you were in love with someone, then you never were." Somebody told me that when I was 18. Ironically, he's the same person that I question myself about on a regular basis.

            So at the risk of being dramatic, I was in love once. He was two weeks older than me, spoke in a Southern accent with a slight hint of Cajun, and was perfect in every conceivable way. Not just from a physical standpoint -- although he was blessed in that department, with sandy blond hair, piercing blue eyes, an effortless hard body, and a sun-kissed complexion -- but also emotionally and intellectually. A pre-med at the University of Texas, he could talk smoothly about anything, and when he would talk about me, I could feel myself evaporating into disgusting lovesick goo.

            Our affair lasted one summer, and despite a brief reconnection during our winter breaks of school, we drifted apart. Occasionally, I still smile when thinking of nights when I would bitch to him about mean people shopping at Walgreens, or my brother hogging the computer, and he would chuckle and say "Bay-bee", and I just knew that as long as he was in my life, it wouldn't matter if my own hopes and dreams came true, so long as I was with him, safe and happy.

            Does any of this sound pathetic yet? If not, let's make it so.

            I met him on the Internet and never once encountered him in real life, and somewhere, deep in my jaded soul, I will always love him.

            I'm going to be sick.