Chapter 3: The Break-up
Starving Artist was another semi-regular fixture at the open mic. The first time he stood out was a night that he and another man almost had a fist fight on stage. Mr. Mister had broken it up.
It was several months thereafter that we began talking -about writing. I told him about this concept I have had, “It would be a script of a conversation between a man and a woman. One script with two motivation descriptions. In one scenario, the woman is coming onto the man. In the other, the man is coming onto the woman. The same words but different interpretations.”
He was intrigued and urged me to contact him. He invited me to go hiking… Something I often wanted to do with Mr. Mister but hardly ever had the chance to do. He wanted me to sing and “jam” with him. He was another musician… Soon to release his first album. But at that point, I was not singing in front of anyone yet.
He could talk more than any man I had ever met. His stories lasted hours and spared no details. I could see he shared my of my neuroses. What I could not see was that he was becoming infatuated with me. I made the mistake of letting him know that I was unhappy in my relationship while withholding the truth of my adultery. Then suddenly he was professing feelings for me and asking me to be with him…
I had seen a therapist during graduate school. Many months, I rarely left my on campus apartment except to go to classes or therapy. I started seeing her again as the secrecy of my relationship with Mr. Mister began to weigh me down.
Our first session I caught her up on a year and a half of my life. I finally confessed the affair to someone. I told her how confused and upset I was… How I was ruining my relationship with Rolex.
She tried to comfort me and tell me that we would sort out my issues, save my relationship… As I drove home, I planned what I would say during our next session, “No, we are not saving my relationship with Rolex. I am not wasting any therapy time trying to repair that broken relationship. I need out.”
That was when it finally hit me, “Starving, I am breaking up with my boyfriend… But I’m already in love with someone else.”
To add insult to injury, Mr. Mister was opening for Starving at his CD release show.
I had stayed out all night, talking to Starving. The next morning, when I should have been on my way to work, I called Rolex and told him to meet me in a coffee shop. He saw the break up coming, and he was ready to fight about it… But I was completely sleep deprived and uninterested in a debate. My heart had made up my mind, and there would be no going back.
Bethie was in town visiting. We finally met face to face and adored one another all the same as we had via letters and messages. Mr. Mister invited me back to his apartment to hang out with he and Bethie. Starving invited himself as well. An awkward group crowded on couches, watching cartoons.
I would sleep in Mr. Mister’s bed, and the next morning, after Starving had departed, Bethie would confide in me that he had told her about the situation, without names… But she knew. She understood, and she didn’t judge me.
In fact, she told me stories about her heartaches and breaks... She had also fell for a musician. He had also strung her along. She could relate.
The night of Starving’s CD release… We all piled back to the open mic bar to celebrate. Then as last call approached, I found myself with two suitors standing by the door with me and no way to tell one to come and one to go. So instead, I simply smiled, “You coming?” and ran down the street towards my apartment.
Starving pursued me on foot and tackled me into someone’s yard. There he kissed me the one and only time that our lips ever met. No sparks for me. As I pushed him away, I heard Mr. Mister’s car approaching. I got in. Starving said he would get his car and come, but he never showed up. I wanted him to have a good memory of his CD release night, but there was little I could do to help…
At my apartment, I told Mr. Mister everything. It was one of our first big talks since I had broken up with Rolex… He was in the process of moving out. Mr. Mister and I sat in the midst of all the clutter I was looking forward to being free of…
“You know, you’re one of the only people that knows I have been suicidal… and I have to tell you, it was hard living with guns in the house. But somehow, since I broke up with Rolex, even though they’re still here, I haven’t thought about them at all.”
Mr. Mister pulled me into a big bear hug and held me tight. We reviewed many misunderstandings that night and began many new ones… I told him I would not have sex with him anymore. I didn’t tell him I loved him. I didn’t tell him that I wanted a chance to be with him, after the dust settled. I didn’t tell him I was jealous of the other women. I was afraid of rejection. I just wanted him to stay.