Sunday, March 20, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

Alfonso never called when I returned from Vegas, but Alejandro did. With my shattered dreams of 82nd Street happiness with The Fonz so quickly flushed down a York Avenue sewer, Alejandro’s phone call had come at an opportune time for him, when I was vulnerable, dateless, and desperately seeking someone to rip my clothes off. I knew women who had gone six months or more without sex—for me, that was not an option.

One night couldn’t hurt, right? Everyone needs a slump-breaker, right? A little meaningless sex never hurt before, with say, someone like The Realtor, so I would just slap a “meaningless” label right on Alejandro this time around and call it a f*ck.

We scheduled a day and a time to meet for dinner, but when that day finally rolled around, the hunger I had was not for a strip steak with a glass of Cabernet. So I texted Alejandro that we’d be skipping dinner and I’d see him at his apartment by 6:30pm.

I let myself into his apartment (since I still had his goddamn key) to find him standing there in the very same suit I had met him in, going through his mail. I walked over to him, not even bothering to say hello, pulled him to me, and the rest was history. I came to tangled in his bed sheets, my stockings still on my right leg. I had to get out of there before any talks of feelings, emotions, and where we went wrong this past time (as well as the thirty-three other attempts) in sustaining a somewhat normal, working relationship.

I quickly gathered my clothes that were strewn about Alejandro’s apartment while he took his usual post-coital shower. When he emerged from the bathroom, I was fully clothed, coat buttoned, ready to make my exit.

“You can’t stay? Do you want to order dinner?” he asked as I reached for my handbag and checked my BlackBerry.

“You know how I roll, Alejandro. The old bump-and-run!” I smiled as I kissed him goodbye and headed for his front door.

“You know, we should probably go to dinner and actually talk about everything,” he called after me.

I laughed to myself and rolled my eyes as I opened the door to leave. “Yeah, ok, sounds good,” I obligingly replied. We both knew our “talks” never got us anywhere—they either led us to his bed or with me storming out of his apartment and defriending him on Facebook on my cab ride home as I fled back to the Upper East Side in a rage.

We eventually fell back into our old routines, and suddenly I was being introduced and referred to as his girlfriend once again. But old habits die hard, and when Vladimir came into town for a fifteen day visit (most likely to attend some sniper convention or check in on his enriched uranium that was stashed somewhere in Alejandro’s apartment), as usual, I was sent to the back burner.

For the first five days of Vladimir’s visit, I didn’t even receive a phone call. I would get an occasional one line email or text every so often assuring me that they were still alive after yet another night of binge drinking, chain smoking, and pool playing in their leather jackets from bar to bar in Murray Hill.

By Day Six, I was fed up. I too had a leather jacket and loved vodka and AK-47’s. So when I expressed my distaste for being ignored by way of a snarky text message to Alejandro, it was not well received by its intended audience. Our textual conversation led to a phone call where I was scolded in a tone that my own father would never even use with me, not even after I was caught smoking a “doobie” my sophomore year of high school.

“Bacchus, I really don’t have time text you back and forth for twenty minutes. We’re late leaving for the bar and I had a long day at work,” he snidely retorted with irritation and infuriation dripping from his voice.

F*cking wanker! I thought to myself as my jaw dropped in shock at both the hurtful tone and beyond rude words he had just had the cajones to say to someone he allegedly cared about. And then the bastard hung up on me. I stared at the phone in disbelief. It was time for me to grow some cajones myself so I hit redial and waited for him to pick up, which only took seven and a half rings.

“Listen Alejandro, the way you just spoke to me was really hurtful. I’m upset,” I said, trying not to let my voice crack and/or throw my phone across the room.

“And I just told you I don’t have time for this. We’re walking out the door right now. I have to go,” and again he hung up. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or make copies of his apartment keys for every homeless person from here to 35th Street.

The old idiom “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” sprung to mind—but who exactly did the shame go to for times three through forty-three? It was pretty clear that I had to kick my Alejandro habit once and for all, but at this point he probably wouldn’t even notice if I broke free. Could you volunteer for that Intervention show? Or did meth or the big H have to be incorporated into your foolish, foolish life to qualify for air time?

If only Jimmy Bats didn’t have a damn girlfriend, I would never have needed this pitiful habit…

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