Perhaps the best way to get over someone, is to invite them back into your life.
Joey’s mom called me on Tuesday night, frantic. “Have you talked to Joey?” she asked.
“Not since he came to pick up his things,” I told her. “Why?”
“Well, no one has seen or heard from him since Saturday. Honestly Carrie, I’m really worried. The last I talked to him, he did not sound good. He is going through a lot of shit right now. He lost you, he lost his job and he knows its all his fault. He is being pretty hard on himself, and I’m not saying he shouldn’t. I’m just worried that with his history of depression, he has done something to himself.”
“Have you tried calling the girl he has been staying with?” I had to admit, I was a little worried.
“That’s how we know that no one has seen him. She’s been calling everywhere.”
“If I hear from him, I’ll be sure to let you know.” My mind raced, trying to figure out possible places he could be. Then I figured, it’s not really my problem to worry anymore. If he did need me to talk to, he knows where I live.
“Well, don’t be surprised if he shows up there,” she said.
“I really doubt that. I didn’t exactly give him the impression that I would be cool with that.”
“I know, but I just have this feeling he will come there eventually. He misses you.”
Wednesday came, and no one had still heard from him. I tried not to worry because I could just picture him laying on someone’s couch not caring if anyone was worrying about him. Before I left work that evening, I checked my voicemail. A message from Joey’s mom told me that he had gotten ahold of her and he was fine, just really depressed. She told me she would call me later to let me know the rest of the story. I could care less. He was safe, and that’s all that mattered to me.
As I walked home contemplating this, my phone rang. It was Joey.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Walking home from work. What are you doing?”
“Look behind you,” he said, and when I turned around, there he was.
He came into my apartment and we talked. He apologized over and over until I was tired of hearing “I’m sorry” or “I fucked things up.” He said his piece, and I listened. After an hour of talking, I suggested that he leave. I had plans for the evening, and I wasn’t going to cancel them just because he was there.
My plans involved my friend Jeff, Zan and a bottle of Jager. I spent the night taking shot after shot of the nastiest liquor known to man, flirting with every guy in sight and having a good time. I was single after all, and it was time I had started acting like it.
I hated mourning over Joey, and having him come to me and beg for forgiveness was all the motivation I needed to show me I could get better. I was in such a great frame of mind. I was preaching girl power and exclaiming how I didn’t need a man in my life. And I totally believed this too, until Joey showed up at my door around 2:30 that morning.
At first, things were awkward. He and Zan exchanged hateful words and, for a minute, I thought I was going to have to break up a fight, but then things calmed down. We popped in a movie, and while we got into the plot, I felt Joey’s hand creep over to mine. He laced his fingers into my own, rubbing them softly. He pulled me closer to him, and I smelled his cologne. The stubble on his chin scratched against my face as he whispered “I want to stay with you tonight” into my ear.
What followed is what typically follows in this type of situation. We raced into the bedroom where we ripped off each other’s clothes and covered each other’s bodies in kisses. He held me into his arms, as we fell into a position we had grown so comfortable too. We came together with him whispering “Baby, I miss you so much” into my ears. He didn’t stop kissing me until I fell asleep in his arms. I woke up for work the next morning, and he pulled me closer to his naked body. “Joey,” I said, “I’m gonna try not to beat myself up about what happened last night. I’m gonna keep telling myself that it wasn’t a stupid move. I hope I’m not wrong.”
“I appreciate everything you’ve ever done for me. I did not come here thinking you would sleep with me. I just wanted to be with you.”
“Fine, just lock the door when you leave,” I told him, then left for work.
And all day, I wondered, why do you think you can honestly believe a word he says to you? Do you really think you can trust him? What the fuck did you do? Do you expect to get back together with him and things will be perfect? Are you hoping for a fairy tale ending? How fucking stupid can you really be? He is not the person you fell in love with. You don’t KNOW the person you fell in love with!
I’ll deal with it when I get home, I told myself, but when I got home to find him still at my place, that was put on hold.
“Hey.” He greeted me at the door. “I wanted to hang out with you again, if you don’t mind.”
I guess I could have told him then, yeah I did mind, but I just shrugged my shoulders and went on. We fell back into the old routine of sitting on the couch together, watching television. We joked and laughed and carried on, and I suppose on the outside I seemed as if I was fine with everything, but I wasn’t. Finally, I needed to get away from him for a few minutes, so I told him I was going to get some food and walked a block down the street to where Zan works. She greeted me at the window.
“You know,” she said, “I was laying in my apartment asleep when I heard a knock at my door this evening. Terry went to answer it, of course, and I saw that it was you and I thought … hey I must be dreaming. But then, I saw Joey there too, and I realized it HAD to be a nightmare. What the fuck were you doing with him?”
“He was still there when I got home this evening.”
“And how is that going?” she asked me.
“Well, when you have to keep humming ‘I will Survive’ to yourself, in order to be able to sit next to a person, I’d say that it’s not going so well.”
“Gloria Gaynor? Man, that’s harsh, but no shit man. The veil of trust has been lifted. You don’t see him the same anymore.”
“It’s not only that. I’m just furious at how he can be so casual about everything. How he thinks nothing should change. He wasn’t hurt by me so he doesn’t understand.”
“Well, you fucked him. You fucked him, so now he thinks you are together again. He is ready to move back in. I can guarantee that right now he is sitting there on your couch, in his underwear, his feet propped up on the coffeetable, picking at his fucking teeth like he owns the place.”
When I got back to my apartment, that is exactly how I found him. I wanted to hurl my food at him.
That night, I tossed and turned as I had nightmare after nightmare of him. In these dreams, he was being so cruel and taunting me. Laughing at me because I cared about him, and telling me I was stupid for ever doing so. I would wake up in tears only to find myself laying in his arms. What was I doing? Even my own subconscious was trying to tell me that I was a fool, and I was waking up in the arms of the guy I was having nightmares about.
I ran into the bathroom as I felt the vomit rising to my throat. I tried to comfort myself, but before I could do so, he was there to comfort me – handing me a glass of water and holding back my hair. I screamed at him, “Go the fuck away! You have done enough!”
“Look what I’ve done to you,” he said. “I’ve made you a nervous wreck. How could I have done this? This is so so sad, Carrie. Will I ever get you back?”
I thought I wanted him to come back into my life. I thought I wanted him to beg me for forgiveness and hold me in his arms. I told myself that if this happened, I would be happy again. But I’m not. I just can’t do it. Not now, anyway. It’s way too late.
Gloria Gaynor knows what I’m talking about.
Carrie Nations karaoke’s “I will Survive” and other songs of female empowerment at Jake’s on Wednesday nights. You can email her song suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.