January marked the last month of my Boss as my Boss at the old company. He gave his notice and left. The day he left, the sadness was palpable throughout the office. A lot of people saw him as the savior, the one who was going to rescue everything and everyone, and let me tell you, when you see the person you pin your hopes on get up and walk out the door, it sent a message loud and clear.
The Boss was going to a place where he could create his own company from the ground, up. I asked him if he would consider taking various people with him and he said that he couldn’t. I’mplicit in all of these conversations had been the obvious – that I would be the only one going. He said, “I don’t need them. But I need you.”
I quit shortly thereafter to go with him and began the process of finding, constructing and decorating what was to become a high profile office. The Boss and I went from daily interaction to talking once or twice a week by phone. I got Satan’s Death Flu and ended up in the hospital. Then I was renovating my condo, and I couldn’t get the piece of shit contractor to finish. I lived among drywall for MONTHS. I dated a string of losers, all of whom were incredulous at the lack of construction. Losers would come and losers would go and that damn drywall sat leaning against my wall for months.
That time is also a blur because more of the snow and because now instead of dating just 2 guys like in 2004, I embarked on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It wasn’t good. It started with some guy I met the night Satan’s Death Flu struck. He hung around for several weeks until I was ejected from the hospital and he stole my vicodin. The vicodin I needed to manage the pain it took just to SWALLOW WATER so I wouldn’t end up in the hospital again. I did get down to my preferred weight at this time though, so that was good.
Starting with him, I perfected the fine art of throwing men out of my house. I think this was the order, and yes, they are real names because who the fuck cares anymore: Derek who stole my Vicodin, Bret who asked if I would consider having sex with him despite having a fight on our first (and last) date because he thought leaving work at 3:00 in Reston for a 6:30 date was normal and showing up very early was also normal, George who lopped 10 years off his age and thought I wouldn’t notice, Mike who could have had staying power but we just drifted apart, Josh who conducted an entire “relationship” over text and whose rampant non-stop use of the word “amazing” made me want to punch him in the balls, Jeff who was such an amateur liar that it resulted in my throwing a sandwich at him and the Bartender who did nothing but encourage my partying and bad behavior.
Somewhere between Mike and Josh? Velvet in Dupont was born. June, 2005.
That summer was a hot one. I had a routine of walking my dogs late at night and I loved it. I loved being in the city, I loved walking the puppies around with no leashes and teaching them how to stay and not cross the street without my command. I loved half-ass working from home. All of it was great.
One night on one of my dog walks with my neighbor/friend, A, my phone rang. It was the former-current Boss. It was about 9:45, a little late for one of his calls.
Boss: Hey, I’m sorry to bother you.
V: If you were bothering me I wouldn’t have picked up.
Boss: Well, I just took my phone, got up, walked out of the house and now I’m walking around Home Depot with nothing particular to do.
I knew exactly what he was talking about but I was still stunned in silence. I think it was the first time that we possibly crossed a line.
He said he was sorry for calling, that he didn’t have anyone else to tell, and he got off the phone pretty quickly. My friend A said, “Don’t do it.” I said, “What?” She said, “Just don’t do it.”
A few nights later, around the same time, the Boss called again and apologized for calling the first time. This time he was on a “walk,” and said when he took his phone to leave, his wife accused him of going to call someone. They had an argument about it and he left anyway. He wasn’t really looking for my two cents or advice, he just wanted to vent. I remember him saying the words, “Just, listen. Just, listen. I don’t have anyone else I can tell so I need you to listen.”
My response after he spit it out?
“Your perfect trifecta has shifted. They say there are three aspects to your life: work, home and relationship. For the last few years at the other company, things have been such turmoil. Now you have a job that’s wonderful and our company placed you in a brand new perfect house, so you have no more work drama and no more house drama, and you can focus on the other area – the relationship.”
He said, “No, that’s not it.”
But he called me back the next morning and said, “Can you explain the three aspects again?”