nemesis part deux*

Do you even remember when we first met? It was that night at Moses’ place, when he threw a party to celebrate his debut novel – another pretentious coming of age story of a lost soul. It was perhaps the most boring party that Moses had ever thrown, with a bunch of artsy know-it-all gay guys wearing neon lipstick and throwing out bookish words at each other. I had forgotten to dress up for the theme, and ended up feeling as out-of-place as that summer in college when I had to move into a co-op of RPG aficionados. As I counted down the last fifteen minutes for when I would be able to fake an early Saturday morning meeting without Moses making a fuss about it, you walked in with your over-sized Afro, loud smile, and gold glitter sparkling around your eyes. I despised you as much as I despised them…

“…You hear me?”

“What the hell do you go and tell me you despised me for?”

“You think it was easy for me to listen to all that shit about how I wanted to be the focus of attention, how I stole your ex-boyfriends and whatnot? Now it’s your turn to listen.”

As soon as you walked in, the crowd livened and you immediately became the star of the party. But, you were careful not to steal Moses’ thunder; I had to give you that. If people started focusing too much on you, you kept bringing the conversation to his elaborate novel, or his unparalleled skill in throwing theme parties, or how hot his new furniture looked – a load of crap if you ask me. But you were being nice, and I wasn’t willing to give you credit for it until you cut my path to the door as I was about to slip out. You introduced yourself with a modesty that clashed with your appearance, and that caught me off guard. You asked me a lot of questions, and although I was dubious at first, I knew as I looked into your eyes, which you didn’t take away from me for one second, that you were genuinely interested in who I was. Before I knew it, we had been talking for 2 hours, and you were asking for my number to invite me to a special documentary screening at Maysles on Sunday.

“I told you we’d have brunch at the Red Rooster too.”

“Yeah, you did. Do you remember how many Bellinis we chugged down that day?”

“Oh man, we couldn’t stop giggling at the screening.”

But I bet you don’t remember how I felt when you kept holding my hand, because I never told you. After the movie, you walked me to the subway on 125th. You asked me if I’d like to hang out again, since we seemed to have fun, and I said yeah, so you said you’d call me. But it took you a month to call me back, and when you did, you were with Greg. You said on the phone that you were dying to introduce me to this Greg, a broad-backed swimmer from Long Island, as if you and I were old best friends. I played along, and we started hanging out regularly, you, me, and Greg. I was writing for a weekly culture magazine back then, remember, and so I had to visit a lot of restaurants and art events, and I would invite you two whenever I could take guests with me. I thought you enjoyed it, Greg certainly did, but as you and Greg started growing apart, I began sensing an agitation towards my invitations on your side. I didn’t know why, and you’ve never been great at communicating, so I tried to let it go and not take it personally. When you and Greg finally broke up, he called me up soon after. And yes, I did meet him, more than once in fact. But they weren’t dates, as Clam apparently told you. We ran into her at a bar opening in West Village one night, and she asked me what was going on between Greg and me. You know I’ve never been comfortable around her, she’s just so inquisitive and nosy, so I must have seemed nervous or something, because I don’t know how else she would have gotten the idea that we were dating. I would have never imagined being with Greg, as my mind was on someone else, but you distanced yourself even more, and I was too afraid to reach out…

“…I kept thinking of your old friend Jenny, do you remember how you decided one day that you no longer wanted to be friends with her?”

“Yeah, of course I remember, but that had nothing to do with this. You withheld so much from me, I couldn’t trust your honesty, with you sneaking behind my back all the time!”

I’ve apologized before for texting Albert on New Years’ Eve, but I was drunk and I was simply texting people I knew random crap about New Years resolutions. Clam gave me a load of bullshit that night, blaming me for stealing another ex-boyfriend from you, whatever that even means, but I told her that I had no such intentions, and that Albert just happened to text back. Beats me why you give her so much credibility. I wasn’t being dishonest; I was intimidated by your confidence and you never understood in all your self-righteousness that, yes, all this time I yearned for attention, but not because I need to be the focus of attention wherever I go, but because I needed to be the center of your attention. I couldn’t dare do another move to push you away even further, for I had no idea what had caused you to move away so quickly, and all I wanted was to go back to Maysles. And I hate you again for making me say these words in such fury. I wish for once you could look in a mirror and see the contempt in your eyes when you talk to me lately, and I don’t even know why.

 

* This is an assignment I wrote for my Fiction class. It is a fictional response to a letter that an anonymous person in class wrote to a personal nemesis. 

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