221. That’s When It’s Calling Me Back Home

public domain, Wikimedia Commons

public domain, Wikimedia Commons

We drove to the mall in Century City for lunch. I played Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” the whole way, rewinding the tape each time the song ended.

“Why do you keep playing that?” Jody asked.

“I don’t know.  I like it.”

“Well stop it. Are you sick? You don’t look too good.”

“I’m fine.  Just a headache.”

“I think it’s called a hangover,” she said. “Why did you have to drink so much?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Bored I guess.”

I didn’t know what to do. In the last 12 hours my life had been completely upturned. Everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie. Everything I thought I knew about Jody was a lie. I’d followed her all the way across country, I’d given up art school for her. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her, and it was all a lie.

Now I was a liar, too. I read her journal, page after page of information that I had no business knowing — intimate details that I didn’t want to know. How could I tell her that I knew everything without also confessing that I violated her trust? Rather than revealing myself as a snoop I lied by omission. I picked at my salad and quietly listened to her small talk, the forks and glasses clanging in my tequila-pickled brain.

“Are you even listening to me?” Jody said.

“Yeah, you were talking about how busy it was at the Whisky last night,” I said.

“We were slammed. I made a lot in tips, though.”

“That’s good.”

She was an amazing actress. Nothing in her conversation betrayed the truth that she wasn’t working the previous night. Did she even work at the Whisky? I didn’t know what to believe anymore.

“So what did you do?” she asked.

“Oh, hung around the apartment, wrote a little bit.”

“You’re such a good writer,” she said, and I knew that I wasn’t.

We’d been together since we were 19 years old. Maybe she just needed some space. Was there anything wrong with a young woman enjoying life? Maybe this was all a mistake. Maybe the best thing to do was to keep my mouth shut, eat my lunch, and let her make small talk.

I didn’t know anything anymore, except that my head hurt and I wasn’t hungry.

Categories: Memoir

2 replies »

  1. Nothing leaves a feeling of emptiness and pain like being lied to by someone you love mixed with a broken heart. Been there, survived that, though it was touch and go for a while.


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