Happy birthday, Alfred
Happy birthday, Alfred.
I’m 36 and on my way to middle age, and haven’t quite yet given up my dreams, sitting in the My Way Lounge in anticipation of seeing Peggy dance, and who do I see? Richard Frazier, the man my ex girl friend cheated on me with, seated across the bar from me on the other side of the stage.
I still hate him for stealing my girl away with his cocaine, getting her so screwed up inside, she couldn’t make up her mind which one of us she wanted more, me for love, him for her love drug, making it with both of us in order to keep both of us happy until she could figure out that she didn’t really want either of us, and now, he’s here, reaching for Peggy with his grubby little hands.
The last time I ran into him was not far from this bar, so it figures he would come here, and maybe comes here regularly.
Once Peggy sits down beside me, he looked irritated, packed up this change and left, leaving behind an ugly feeling in me I haven’t had since the days we shared the same woman.
And, of course, I got filled up with jealousy after Peggy tells me that she want Tom to fix her car – when he said he really doesn’t want any part of it.
I just want things to turn out okay, and I keep thinking they won’t, that like my age, we’ve turned some corner and everything is down hill from here.
There are some things that are unforgivable sins.
I’m not talking about of my relationship with Peggy and its moody ups and downs. I’m talking about crimes that are committed within the boundaries of civilized behavior that are not civilized.
I never thought I would be guilty of one, but I am, and I’ve gotten away with it simply because the woman I committed it against still loves me.
Some of this has to do with Charlie – the car, not the man – which keeps breaking down.
This was the great issues that forced me out of bed and sleep on Saturday, which I managed some how to get to a sputtering start, only to have it die again by Monday. Peggy was so disgusted by then, she wouldn’t let me try to fit.
The most immediate problem was the fact that it had run out of gas in the morning, causing gunk from the bottom of the tank to clog to carburetor.
But she needed more than a quick fix. She needed the car looked over and fixed for the long haul, or face continual problems.
But she wanted ME to fix it.
Me, Mr. Non-mechanical himself, when she could snap her fingers and have a dozen other men do it for her.
“They have a price,” she said, refusing to look at me directly when she said this.
Because of this breakdown, I have become her cab service to and from her dance job at the My Way.
Despite the problems with her car, this is a relatively up time compared to the battles on Saturday and I stayed with her right up until I dropped her off and then I came home to write.
I went back to the bar early, settled in, only to have Tom appear.
Jan, the barmaid, and Peggy were snorting cocaine all night, making Peggy all the more flirtatious with me – AND – Tom.
More questions came to mind about Tom, some very deep. He frightens me because he is so much like me, and just the kind of man Peggy would go after.
But it is something he said at the bar that hinted of his real relationship with Peggy.
When Peggy went into the back – perhaps to snort more cocaine in the lady’s room with Jan – he looked at me and asked, “Why does she say those things to us?”
“Us?” I asked. “What things?”
“The angry things,” he said. “We’re not the ones that hurt her.”
It occurred to me later that Tom had already been on this rollercoaster ride with Peggy. He had met her mother and father, and had backed away deliberately, unable to handle the whole emotional affair.
How long ago did this happen, I don’t know.
I think it was before Robert, the man who beat Peggy, or in-between on of their various breakups.
Tom had taken another path, one that allowed him to still see Peggy, still love her, but never really have her again.
I suppose the pain of that is even greater, watching her attend to less deserving men like Robert, and now, me.
On Monday night, I felt very threatened by Tom. He had come with tickets for the Genesis concert. But he wasn’t giving them to Peggy – the way I might have and tried to – he was selling them to her. He apparently had learned enough about Peggy not to keep giving. Or perhaps, he had missed the boat with that, refusing to give enough to win her love. Unquestioning giving seems to matter a lot to Peggy, a kind of test she gives people.
The nasty part of this, of course, came when I offered to buy the tickets from him, and overheard her say to Tom, “But I don’t want to go with him,” meaning me.
Peggy claimed she didn’t want me to spend the money, telling me and Tom that they cost too much. But she did make arrangements for Tom to fix her car on Thursday.
Not only was I jealous, I felt humiliated by my inability to fix her car, to play hero.
Tom, however, was no fool. He refused to pay for the parts and make her fork over $25 for what he needed.
I got to help Peggy bring the sputtering car from her mother’s house to the parking lot next to her apartment building.
Before that, Peggy got me to drive her across town to a local record store, teasing me the whole time with the idea that we were on our way to make a drug deal.
We had a strange kind of love-making as I drove, my hand down into her pants. We passed other cars, trucks and pedestrians, some of whom I’m sure saw what we were doing.
I stayed at Peggy’s apartment even have she’d fallen asleep, then woke her gently in the morning. The previous day, Monday, she had been late for work. But this was Tuesday, May 12, my 36th birthday. I rocked her gently and left, and went to do laundry.
I called work to find out that my boss had sold the donut shop during my days off.
This shocked me. It filled me again with another omen, another sense of change. This was always the case, startling things always came into my life in packages. I tried to explain this later to Peggy, but she really didn’t get the point. She was a bit cold even as she gave me a birthday card and the U2 album she had bought at the record shop for me.
I didn’t push the point. I was too tired and I had to face work later, and crawled out of her apartment at
Wednesday afternoon, after a few hours sleep, I was still exhausted. We managed to get Peggy’s car home. She jumped behind the wheel and took off before I had a chance to figure out what exactly she was doing. I got there with her. We went shopping, made supper, then settled into what was to be another emotional battle.
It was me. I’d been feeling insecure all day, feeling something wrong inside of me that I couldn’t explain away, a sense of doom – perhaps something deeper.
I started picking fights with Peggy, though she often misinterpreted what I was saying and the reason for it, twisting my motives and my thinking into something even more negative than I ever intended.
By the time I went out to get dip and chips, we had settled something, though not as clearly as I would have liked, about her talk about going away and my feeling insecure about it.
In many ways, Peggy acted as if she had never read my note from last month and continues to make references that increase my insecurities – perhaps at a test, more likely her incapacity to empathize with anyone else. She just doesn’t hear me when I tell her I don’t want to hear about her sexual exploits with other men. But she keeps mentioning them; I don’t know if it is deliberate or not.
In the middle of one conversation about shopping sales, she launched into a story about how she and another lover had to purchase the economy pack of condoms because he banged her so much.
This didn’t explode into an argument then, but because a side issue later when we launched into a disagreement over her inability to believe that David can ever beat Goliath. She just doesn’t believe the little guy can ever win, and that powerful people are invincible. In the middle of this, she started to mock me. I offered to leave, at which point the issue of her insensitivity exploded.
We fought so vigorously, I fully expected her to toss me out. She did not. But I didn’t convince her of anything either.
The landlord showed up.
Peggy was $200 short on her rent. I gave him a check for the difference. She was angry, though I don’t know if it was real or not.
We eventually made up, then made love, and she went to sleep.
I stayed at her side still overly excited.
She apparently had fallen asleep in the middle of a climax, though I didn’t know she was asleep at first, and I continued to rub her, eventually when I realized she had drifted off and should have stopped, I didn’t.
The other woman inside Peggy had appeared, the one that comes out after Peggy the striper falls to sleep, a helpless, craving, sexual woman who mumbles and reacts to sexual stimulation. Under similar circumstances a while ago, this Peggy actually reached climax while sleeping and hugging my leg. This time, I tried to continue the love act, waking the daylight Peggy in the process.
She was horrified and ordered me out.
It was rape really, and I knew it, and I lied about it to her, and Peggy knew I was lying about the worst thing I ever did in my life.
I yelled at myself the rest of the night at work. How could I be so evil?
I even left work early, unable to face people in the morning, and all day I waited for Peggy to call. I was tense with the belief that when she did call, she was going to call everything off. I think she suspected I might want off this emotional rollercoaster ride we were on.
It didn’t go that way. She wound up coming over to my place, walking Spud, then making love with me, before taking me back to her place again where we once more played husband and wife, watching TV as we held each other, as if nothing had ever happened between us.
But she did make a few more remarks suggesting that she had no intention of honoring my request about not talking about other men around me.
She talked about Tom’s ass, and how she had teased him when he removed his work clothing after fixing her car.
After we made love again, she talked about how her girlfriend always knew if she had fucked someone during the day at work.
I don’t know why, but Peggy seems to be pushing me into a reaction, or perhaps trying to make me decide which I want to give up, my phobias or her.
All this makes the ride bumpier and the experience much more sensual and painful.
Maybe someday I’ll be like Tom, watching other men fucking her while they are going through the same experience I am now. Maybe I’ll be aching to fuck Peggy, too, the way I imagine Tom does, and yet, I’ll be as relieved in some ways the way Tom is, not to have my emotional world turned upside down by Peggy twenty million times a day.
But I’m holding on for the moment. I just don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
I was in the wrong mood to hear the story Peggy’s best friend, Marsha and her boyfriend, Michael.
I already suspected Peggy of having no regard for men’s feelings, and the story seemed to confirm it for me.
Michael was apparently head over heels in love with Marsha and one day he showed up at Marsha’s apartment to find her and Peggy in the middle of something with two guys,
Peggy caught Michael in the hall.
He begged Peggy not to tell Marsha that he’d been there and seen Marsha with the other man, stuttering out his plea, apparently embarrassed at being caught and humiliated at seeing his love making it with another man.
Peggy not only ignored Michael’s pleas and told Marsha about it, they both seemed to think the whole thing funny.
“Michael was just being silly,” Peggy told me.
“Silly?” I said. “How can you say that?”
“She’d told him she was seeing other men. What did he expect?”
It made me wonder how men like Michael could fall for such a cold-hearted bitch.
But I didn’t say as much to Peggy in hopes of avoiding a fight. But it simmered inside of me, waiting for another time to explode.