2003: September – December
My interview was at 8 a.m. on a nice fall day in September. I’m not very good in the morning. I think I was late. The receptionist had me fill out an application and then wait in the conference room.
The man I spoke with on the phone walked in and I was a little taken aback. I just didn’t expect him to be so…um…sexy. (Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts!) The interview was barely an interview because we regaled each other with stories about the man who was my former boss. I just told the truth. And I got the job.
The new Boss wasn’t ready for me just yet, so I had a few weeks to get some things in order. I planned to go back down to Atlanta to get to the bottom of what was going on with K. Now that I had a job in Maryland, I was going to stay there. And nothing was going to stop me from trying to get K to come back with me this time.
That evening when I was laying in bed, the image of the man who was my new Boss popped into my head. I thought that it would be hard to work for someone I was attracted to. I recalled a wedding ring and discussions of a wife and some kids, so I just decided to let that little attraction die off. But not before I had a round with the former version of the Magic Wand – the Rabbit.
I got to Atlanta in mid-September and K was working on a movie. I barely saw him, but I spent a lot of time shopping with my own friends who still lived there. K would check in with me and I would see him at night and on his days off. His roommate was a childhood friend of his and one night he and I were watching TV when I said, “There’s a message on the machine.” The roommate played it and it wasn’t a message. It was a conversation between K and a girl, discussing him waiting for another girl to come over. My heart sank. I asked the roommate what was going on. He didn’t have a lot to say that I didn’t already know – K was lazy and flaky and couldn’t be relied on, even though he was allegedly making good money, he could barely remember to pay the rent. But he didn’t know anything about the girls on the machine, and he assured me of that. He said he and K didn’t talk much anymore, and asked if I noticed they were really not friends anymore. Nope. Didn’t notice. Was too busy fielding my own freeze-out to notice anyone else’s.
I called K and ripped him a new one. I told him if he was going to continue to punish me for my cheating on him over a year ago then I was going to check out, I had been trying to make this work for a year and I’ve got nothing in return. K had very little to say. We somewhat resolved things to an amicable place, but I left shortly thereafter. I left without Thora, which broke my heart. And in hindsight, I should have grabbed her and taken off when he was at work. But I didn’t. Sammy and I returned to Maryland and I started the new job and moved to Rockville.
Life was MUCH better in Rockville than my former sleepy hometowns of Columbia and Baltimore. I liked the people at work better and I liked the people in my apartment complex better. But I kept holding out for K to just come back around. It was like I didn’t even know him anymore. He accused me one night of interrogating his roommate about what he was up to, and I told him that the conversation we had wasn’t like that at all – in fact, it was initiated by his roommate entirely. Big fight ensues, K disappears off the radar for about six weeks. I had this very vivid dream about him and that he needed me, but in the real world, I couldn’t get him to return a phone call or an email. I resolved that he was gone, and began to consider a weekend run to Atlanta to steal Thora back. I had all but given up on any contact when he resurfaced in late November.
In a rare moment of clarity, he had passed the exit on some highway in Florida where my parents lived, and he decided to call when I popped into his head. Odd that he could remember what exit they lived off of when he had never been to that house.
I tried to give K one last chance. We talked on the phone on and off through the rest of the fall. One night he said his roommate was treating him badly or some other lie I believed, and that he was sick of him. My sister-in-law had asked me to just bury my feminism for a second and try to repair it, even if it meant having him move in with me and footing the bills while he got his act together. So, I told him he could come up to Maryland and live with me while I paid the bills and he figured out what he wanted to do. He said, “I know that. Oh. My pizza’s here. I gotta go. I’ll call you later.”
When he hung up I knew what I had offered was a great deal and a big deal for me to just agree to support someone, and he blew it off. He also promised to call later, which, according to his past behavior, meant I would not hear from him for weeks. I was right.
When he called several weeks later, the week of Christmas, he was unaware that we hadn’t spoken in three weeks. He thought we “just spoke the other day.” He also said he had finally forgiven me for the cheating and wanted to get back together. The truth was he had been thrown out of his house by his roommate. Suddenly his party was over and he wanted to live with me in Maryland. It was just too late. I can’t explain it, but it was too late. Three weeks prior? Sure. I would have taken him in. But now? Nope. No way was I going to be someone’s “last resort.” Something clicked in my head when he ended our conversation to eat his pizza three weeks earlier, and I had officially moved on.