I used to live in an apartment with a push button fireplace. Instead of having to chop wood & clean a flue, all I had to do was exert the strength of one finger & voila! My living room was now so uncomfortably hot but a shade more romantic. That is if you liked sweating while simply chewing dinner during Rock of Love. (Bret, I miss you where did you go.)
One unlikely evening, after driving (sliding) the iced roads of Anchorage in the truck with non-working 4 wheel drive, my boyfriend decided we should pop the cork of a bottle of red, sit in front of the easybake fire & he would draw me. Like a French girl. What, was I Rose on Titanic?! This was amazing! He could be sincere with his niceties when he tried, he just didn’t try very often. We were still freshly together so I didn’t know that yet but still. I ate. It. Up.
I can only imagine that I probably prepared a charcuterie platter alongside the rest of suddenly turning into mature, ripened sentimentals. Next stop: a retirement condo in a southern state. I turned on some music, nestled into the couch he got somewhere questionable on Craigslist, & positioned myself in whatever way would reduce the number of prominent chins that always seem to show up in pictures. I didn’t need them to also show up in the portrait that was to be hanging in the great hall.
I think I talked about my day, my new job. I had recently moved to town, promptly in with the bf & had not yet made friends with my co-workers so I was feeling especially attached.
I’m unaware how much time had passed since the start because frankly, I was feeling a little bit Baby-esque a’la Dirty Dancing & I was having the time of my life. This was the kind of love I had always imagined. Evenings with Billie Holiday & soft light & ‘How was your day?’s. I watched him over there, furiously sketching onto a legal pad my face, my bust, my body perhaps. Maybe this was something we could later display on our wedding website or exhibit during the slide slow at the reception that everyone would definitely watch instead of ignore because they’re too busy eating those soft, pastel mints.
My lips were slowly turning a hue of violet, my heart sinking deeper into an affection for someone who would take the time to stare at me for so long. What was he thinking about? Was he gathering details of my face? Articles of his obvious, current lust for me? Eventually, after God knows how many minutes of anticipation had passed, it was time for the unveiling. This was going to be a framer, I could feel it. Something to talk about years later, maybe the one memory that would power through dementia. I would call friends & have a story to share with my workmates because as their boyfriends didn’t acknowledge their 3 lb. weight loss, mine was Bob Ross’ing me up in here.
Well, I had a story alright. But my lady boner was ultimately smashed when he flipped around that yellow paper smattered with the ink of a dull, blue Bic.
Do you remember, in the early 2000’s, the Geico commercials with the cavemen? Well, the depiction he had just sketched of me was in a frightening likeness to them. Quite comparable to this, in fact, sans beard:
Furrowed brow, oddly wide face & head, a slight overtone of anger & the desire to drag somebody back to my cave by the hair. The hair was about the only thing he accurately characterized but really, how can you fuck up drawing squiggly lines in a downward direction.
I’ve never been able to feign any emotion on my face. Whatever it was contorting into, it didn’t match the words that came out of my mouth: ‘Oh my (bloody hell?)!’ ‘So good (this is terrifying)!’ ‘Love (to throw it in the fake fire)!’
Sadly, the proof that it existed hinges on my word as he threw it away after I showed it to friends & family. It was, after all, an incredible conversation starter.
While the drawing was terrible, the sentiment was on point. But like happens at the inception of any relationship, my needs of a passionate, amore-filled life were set above average. You’re going to give me the 1997 movie treatment & then accost me for not cleaning out the sink often enough? SEEMS FAIR, GUY. He & I suffered through 3 more unnecessary & tumultuous years until we were forced to call it quits (I like to call it ‘the divorce’) by his wayward peen.
In our separation, however, I got to keep the most important thing – the dog. And the best part? Dog is still around. Just this morning, in fact, he pissed on my rug because getting old is hell. I didn’t even care because that ex barfed onto our aforementioned apartment rug once & into my jeans that were crumpled up bedside & upon waking with a hangover the next day, first told me he loved me. Who says romance is dead?
-a damsel & her dog-