Mother. Oh, God, Mother. Blood. Blood.

November 13, 1993

Karen took the train up from Philadelphia. I never thought I’d see her again. I picked her up at Penn Station. She is my type. Same as Laura. I’m a sucker for girl-next-door. Those corn-fed thighs wreck me. She wore a blue denim button-up shirt the same color as her eyes.

I took her to the Rivera Café in the Village but neither of us ate. We pushed the food around our plates. I gave her my weepy rundown of being fired and robbed and not having anyone to get me through the night.

Then it was her turn.

I could see she was shaking. Being a raging narcissist, I thought my close proximity set her a-quivering. She talked about her abortion. She doesn’t regret it but she’s haunted by it. She got it the same day I was fired. Her boyfriend is dead broke so she had to pay for it herself. She put it on her credit card. We both found that macabre and dark but not without its humor and laughed.

Then she started crying. Tears fell into her barley soup. The Monday after, she had some residual bleeding that got so bad she thought she was hemorrhaging. She couldn’t go to the hospital because she’s got a new job and her healthcare hasn’t kicked in yet.

He’s not convinced it was his child but she swore through her tears that it was. I asked why she didn’t call me and she said if he saw a 212 area code on the phone bill he’d assume the pregnancy was because of me. Ha. If he only knew. Apparently, he found the letters and read them. She said he hates me and if he ever sees me, etc. [Note: I used to write love letters to all girls I dated.]

I paid the bill and we left. Once outside, we hugged briefly and she was still shaking. Over lunch she said she’d put on 10 pounds and I could feel there was more of her than what I remember. I liked it. Her breasts were bigger, too. She’s just a kid, really. I feel awful for her.

We went to my apartment but, of course, nothing happened. We sat on the sofa and talked. At one point I was in the kitchen making a pot of coffee and she came up from behind, put her arms around me and rested her head on my back. I turned around and we kissed briefly. Her hair was stiff with hairspray and it scratched my face. I asked her what train she needed and she said 3:30. It was 3:00 and I told her we needed to leave immediately. I don’t know why she bothered making such a long trip for such a short period of time.

We stood in the train station and talked a bit. Her demeanor suddenly changed. She told me she likes to be tied up. She said she likes being blindfolded because she can’t see what’s coming next. Then she told me about a client she recently had lunch with and how the girls at work are encouraging her to date him. I was out of my mind with desire and envy. What does she want from me? I spent so much money on lunch and cabs that I can’t go out this weekend. When am I going to learn to steer clear of these unhinged girls?

Fired by Morgan Stanley on a Friday and back to the grind 10 days later at Lehman Brothers. I hate it but I need the money. They have Mac Quadras so the hardware is new but the physical environment is punishing. Office cubes that are intended for one have been retrofitted for two. Slide your chair back six inches and *bang*.

I’ve never hated a group of people so quickly. If anyone leaves at 5:00, someone yells out, “Only working a half day?! Haw-haw!” So unoriginal. It’s a good gig for building skills but I don’t know how much longer I can keep the fake smile plastered on my face.

I saw Mimi at the gym. It looked like she’d never been inside a gym before. She was unsure of how to use the equipment. I mentioned it to Klinger and he said she told him not to speak my name. Good Lord. I wonder what I did to her?


Sunrise over Queens.

50 thoughts on “Mother. Oh, God, Mother. Blood. Blood.

  1. Oh, you had to put up with the half day joke, too… yes, it gets wearing.
    I did wince at the use of the credit card, there is something dark and macabre about that. Poor girl. Loved your description of the corn fed thighs though!

  2. I used to work with a guy who every single day would come in and announce, “Another day in paradise.” I wanted to punch him except he was built like a Mack truck.

    Not too long, an old friend read aloud to me letters that I had written to her while we were at different colleges in the early eighties. This was a case where I wished she hadn’t of kept them. They were painful to listen to even after all these years. She laughed and said I hadn’t changed a bit. That was a joy to hear.

    • You can take a bunch of office cliches and spin it into entertainment like ‘The Office’ but when you live it, it’s nauseating.

      I would write those letters and, quite honestly, never thought they’d keep them. That she had them lying around for her boyfriend to find was a big surprise to me. I never met the guy, thank Bog.

    • 25 years ago. I wonder what happened to her? I don’t recall the last time we spoke. I hope she’s okay.

      Oh, I just remembered something. Her sister ended up going to school with my sister! My sister was in Cleveland, Karen and her sister lived in Philadelphia and the two girls went to school in Atlanta. Is not in credible!? What are the odds?

  3. May I suggest you update the ALL TRUE. NEVER A FEE. description. The dog is dead now and the cats are in.

  4. The pics are suitable for framing. Great job. I can’t imagine living in NYC, being robbed, getting fired and love angst. That would of sent me packing back to Cleveland. All that happened to me in Tampa, except almost fired. The Karen story reminds me of some of my past experiences in Ohio. Very troubling to think about. Look at us now, happy and successful.

    • When you’re young, being robbed, brokenhearted and getting fired, all while living in NYC, is kind of what you want. It has a dark poetic panache. But you don’t want to do all that when you’re an adult. Then you look foolish. I’ve always said that if my family had seen the neighborhood I moved into in the lower East side, they would’ve knocked me out, tied me up, through me in the trunk and drove me back to Ohio.

      Happy and successful depends on the day you ask me.

  5. Of course, Psycho! I thought Carrie. I’ve been writing a journal for the past 28 years. It’s just the same old shit, book after book but with different people. I do like buying a notebook with a lovely cover. Flametree, Paperblanks. It’s horrible when you have terrible colleagues. There’s no escape, there’s usually at least one of them wherever you are working each day. There’re people like that everywhere so you’ve just go to put u with it and focus on the lovely people

    • The same old shit is the perfect way to describe these journals. What I post here is, to my mind, the most interesting aspects. But most of it is so, so, so bad. I did it more as a form of therapy then I did a writing exercise. I had no one to talk to and couldn’t afford a therapist. This was the next best thing.

  6. You wrote love letters? Beautiful. Can we see one? Or an example?

    I love the attention to detail: Her hair was scratchy from hairspray and her breasts were bigger.

    What a prick tease! “Oh, I must go now, but before I get on this train and leave you, I LOVE being tied up and blindfolded! Byeeee” You shoulda manacled her to the track!

    “Slide your chair back six inches and bang” ? Is that a euphemism?

    Nice shots, sir.

    • Before the Internet, before e-mail, before texting, yes, I wrote love letters. Actual hand-written love letters. On a rare occasion I would get one in return and I still remember what a thrill that was. One girl would write salacious letters on purple stationary. She was excellent at erotica. I think that kind of joy is vanished.

  7. I was reading a piece yesterday about how some people (men mainly) need to have it pointed out to them that Rob Gordon in the film version of High Fidelity is kind of an asshole. The disconnect is because he’s played by the ever-loveable John Cusack. Now, I’m not calling the old you an asshole, but you are definitely our own John Cusack.

    • I look back and now as an adult and see how unintentionally cruel was to some of the girls I knew. I was unaware at the time. Not a malicious bone in my body. But not sophisticated in the ways of how to treat the fair species. If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have suffered so many lonely nights. I’d also be a much better cook

      • I realize now that there was a misogynist streak in me for a while, born out of bitterness and entitlement. Hey: it was the eighties. But there are some women I owe apologies to.

  8. Our experiences with women are so diametrically opposed i find it fascinating to read about all the trouble. I now realize that i had it pretty easy when it came to women, i guess i’m one of the lucky ones, lol!! Of course we did have some similarities, i was a master at writing letters, i learned girls dig letters, i once tried to remember all the times i had been berated or hit because i was such a cad and couldn’t keep it in my pants, had a bottle thrown at me, chased with a hammer, damn it was a good time!! and like the character Ross mentioned above i was a master of the mix-tape, i just had a short attention span or as a friend of mine and i once decided, the perfect relationship is about six weeks, after that it’s all downhill, haha!!

    and you were correct about the shirt in that photo on the lounge, it says FRB-Cleveland, there was branch here in Pittsburgh, you might recognize it by the name Big World Bank Machine, and yes i used to work there, imagine that! someday they’ll be stories about that gig if i ever get around to it.

    • There were brief moments of blood but overall I had I pretty much nothing but trouble. Some of it self-imposed. Some of it unasked for and undeserved. But lots of failures before I saw any real success. Well, what I consider success. You ARE the lucky one. You trouble is you had too many options.

      Women love it when you cook for them. Best aphrodisiac ever. Writing letters comes a close second and since I didn’t know how to boil water I had to rely on letters. It worked sometimes.

      See what you can glean from just a lousy shirt?

  9. Holy crap! The sunrise over Queens. The transition to being tied up; sounds like a doozy. I can see the attraction to the ones who need help, I get that. They don’t seem to help you much in return, though.

  10. Ah, Lehman Brothers. All of those long hours and hard work, and still they go belly-up 15 years later.
    Ah, women. All that talk about the kind of sex they like, and still you go home to make love with pen and paper.

    • One could, of one were narcissistic enough, draw a correlation between my presence in a room and the eminent demise of anything else in that room. But there’s no *way* that’s possible. Right?

  11. “When am I going to learn to steer clear of these unhinged girls?”

    You took the words oout of my mouth. Trouble is, they’re the only sort I find interesting.

  12. I burned all my notebooks, short stories, songs, poems and letters (love and otherwise) in a fit of pique/depression one night. Yes, there was drink. I didn’t want my wife and kids to find them if/when I died.

  13. That Jackson Pollak? i think that’s the one that was used in the old board game, “Masterpiece” – about art auctions… the foundation for my knowledge of art, by the way.

    i will always love the Koons animals. shiny. bright. smooth. i want to touch them.

    • clearly, i put this on the wrong post. i’m a bit jet lagged, and very disoriented to be home. watching CNN and catching up on blogs and politics. perhaps not the best plan!

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