Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sorry Charlie

In my early thirties I was living on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington. I met Charlie. He was good looking, had a good job, liked music, did I mention he had a job? I was very attracted to Charlie and I felt confident the feeling was mutual. We did what I like to call “hang out” together. Not really dating, but an emotionally safer way to spend time with someone without the pressures dating brings with it. Hanging out with Charlie went on and on and on. I began to doubt our relationship would ever go anywhere. My self esteem at that time was about as low as Tom Wait's voice slowed down to a crawl, and rejection was out of the question. So instead of sticking it out to see where it might lead, I moved on.

Months passed, life happened and I ended up in San Francisco. My good friend Rhonda invited me to stay at her flat near The Haight while I looked for work. Jobs were hard to come by, but how could that be? I had never had a problem getting a job before. I was either over qualified, under qualified, or not what they had in mind. “I'd like to give them a piece of my mind” I thought after leaving the 10th interview of the week. I began to run out of money and food. One day while I was home alone, hungry, deflated and wallowing in self pity, I wondered what the hell I was going to do, I began to cry. Sobbing ensued, my body shaking uncontrollably. This move may have been a huge fucking mistake. There was a knock at the door. I wanted them to go away. “Leave me alone so I can continue my self loathing,” I thought. The knocking continued. I collected myself the best I could and opened the door. It was Charlie.

I'm so happy to see you! I know I said it out loud, but silently I screamed it over and over in my head. He was there on vacation and thought he would look me up. I'm so happy to see you, I silently screamed again. Embarrassed about my situation, I reluctantly divulged the awful truth about my failures in the city by the bay. The next week was filled with Ethiopia food on Haight Street, a punk show in the Mission, hours of good conversation, and several packs of cigarettes. A little voice inside my head whispered “you don't deserve this, any of this.” His lips told of news from home. The words swirling around the smoky air of the tavern and sticking to my soul. I want to go home. Pride stops me from telling him this and I deceitfully rattle on about my confidence things will change. Why can't this week continue?

He's leaving, my only friend and companion is leaving. How will I go on? The day he left I felt a huge emptiness for San Francisco. Why was I here? Who was I here for? Certainly not for me. Can't he just pack me into his Bronco and take me along for the ride? Pride got the better of me again. I stayed. I stayed long enough to know I would move back to Seattle and not return as a Bay Area resident again. Now as I reminisce about these few short months of my life, I can laugh. Laugh that I am happy in Seattle and never want to move again. I'm sorry Charlie for not being a better friend in the beginning and in the end not keeping in touch.

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