DionRabouin.com (sort of)

There’s this girl I used to love

Posted in Essays by dionrabouin on January 10, 2009

She’s really not even that cute. I mean, honestly, her teeth are too big, and kinda yellow, and her forehead is probably bigger than it should be. Her body’s not perfect, it’s really not even especially good.

I haven’t seen her in years, literally years, and still she reigns over me. Like a distant feudal lord over the mainland surfs who nailed F.U.C.K. papers to their doors, she holds me without even wanting to. She is my goddess, my dream, my nothing and my everything. She’s as forgotten as she is remembered in everything I do, and I travel the earth but I just can’t seem to get next to her.

But there was always just something about her. There’s this unexplainable, extraordinary quality that she possesses that no one else on the planet has. It’s what draws me to her. It’s the way she smiles. It’s the way she sort of half frowns when you’ve said something she only kinda disagrees with. It’s the PACE flag over her bed and her flip-flops. It’s the way she puts her hair in a ponytail even though she’s exponentially more attractive when she leaves it down. It’s the bangs that she can’t decide whether she wants or not.

It’s her laugh. More than anything it’s her laugh. It’s not cute; it’s distinct. It’s purely her and it’s something no one else has or ever could have. It’s almost like a hiccup. Like someone laughing hysterically while hiccupping and trying desperately to get enough oxygen to survive. Every time I hear it I melt.
She knows all this. That is, she knows how I feel and where I stand. I get drunk and I tell her I love her at least a couple times a year. She knows how she feels and where she stands and still she perpetuates my love. She allows it. There’s something simultaneously gratifying and soul crushing about that, that I haven’t quite figured out yet. I feel like the Marina I know, the Marina that I love would never crush someone like that. But the Marina I know, the Marina that I love, crushes me like that.

It’s like a cancer.

“I hate loving you,” I told her once. I never related the cancer thing, I actually just thought it up, but I’ll have to mention it to her the next time I drink enough liquid courage. “I hate loving you,” I said. To her voicemail, not to her, and that was it. I hung up and went to sleep. We talked the next day, I laughed it off because it was a pretty ridiculous thing to say, but I meant it. I hate loving her. I hate not getting what I want and not having who I want. I hate that she could say the word and I’d drop anything – everything – to be with her. Rationally speaking, I probably wouldn’t, but given the opportunity, I have to be honest with myself: I probably would. She wouldn’t.

It’s like a cancer in that I can’t get rid of it. I can’t let it go and expunge it from my being. No matter how much chemo I go through, those nasty little malignant cells simply won’t make themselves better. I think I’ve got a hold on it and then she laughs at something stupid I’ve said, laughs harder than she really ought to, but so hard that I know she must mean it, and I’m back in bed hacking up phlegm and calling in sick to work. Metaphorically speaking.

She said she would come out to see me. This was Hollywood and this was the Grammys. Or maybe it was the Oscars. Whatever it was, it was big and I completely spurned the girlfriend because Marina said she might come. The girlfriend would have actually come; she would’ve bought her ticket that day and been at LAX exactly when she said she would be, waiting with a smile and some sort of stupidly sweet gift that would’ve been just right. But this was Marina. Marina who I hadn’t seen in years, literally years, and she said she might – just might – come to this party with me. If she came to the party she’d have to stay in my apartment and if she stayed at my apartment, she’d have to stay with me and …oh the possibilities. I had a million girls ask me to go, but this was Marina.

She didn’t come. Of course she didn’t come. She gave me some lame excuse, that on paper, on it’s face, prima facie, really made sense. She couldn’t just up and go to California. She had bills and was looking for a job and couldn’t just take off for some Grammy (or Oscar) party in California, no matter how tempting. And there it was. That is Marina. Or at least a microcosm of what, not who, Marina is. She might come, and then she didn’t. She was tempted –so tempted – but she just… couldn’t. I knew the entire time that she wasn’t going to come, but there was this little piece of me, this silly, optimistic little piece of me that really thought she’d just drop everything and come see me. With the Grammy (or Oscar) party as a convenient little excuse.

It’s 2 am on Saturday and my phone rings. Marina. She’s been saying she’s gonna come up and visit Ithaca any time now. As soon as things settle down and she can actually make some money. She’s been saying it for months now. But she’ll be coming up for graduation, senior week, she’s really gonna do it this time. She’s been on her way here for about – August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March – eight months now, but senior week, she’ll be here. I don’t doubt that she really wants to come. That she legitimately wants to come back to visit Ithaca, that she legitimately wants to see me, after all I haven’t seen her in years, literally years. I just know it won’t happen. But somewhere, somehow, there’s this little piece of me, this silly, optimistic little piece of me that really thinks she’ll just drop everything and come see me. She just needs an event, some kind of convenient excuse to do all the driving.

She tells me she loves me. She’s been doing that lately, I’m not really sure why. Guilt maybe. I don’t think either of us have ever said it sober. But she says it, and then she has to go. It’s 3 am, what are we even doing on the phone at this hour? I oblige and she’s gone. I know she doesn’t mean it, just as much as I know I do. But somewhere, somehow, there’s this little piece of me, this silly, optimistic little piece of me that really thinks she means it.


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