Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Wednesday
Oct192005

Ghosts of Relationships Past

He bought me a cassette tape of The Bangles because 'Eternal Flame' was our song.

He wrote me a letter that said 'will you go with me? Yes? No? Maybe? Please check the box.

He held my hand in the back of the car as Lisa's big sister drove us home. It was the first time I'd ever held hands with a boy. I was so embarassed of my sweaty palms I kept finding excuses to let go and wipe the clammy paws on my jeans.

Exchanging looks across a crowded dance floor (also known as the school gymnasium) Girlfriends squealing over how cute he is. Me, remaining quiet because I was a goner for the blue eyes and dark hair. Stomach full of butterflies, hoping he notices me. Finally, on the last song, Alphaville's Forever Young, he approaches and my stomach drops. He asks me to dance. So nervous my arms are shaking as I lace them around his neck. Never before, had I been so aware of the proximity of another human being. Hand on my back, each finger pressing warmly into my Gap tee-shirt. Laser focus on the slightest movement of his hand. Shivers radiating down my spine when his finger nears the top of my Guess jeans.

He broke up with his girlfriend and asked me to be his girlfriend. Going to visit him for the first time, carefully applying make-up, strategically picking just the right outfit, styling my hair. And when I got there SHE was there. Laughing at me. I walked all the way home that night, humiliated and crying.

Sneaking out during a sleepover to go visit him at his house. Stealing a bike from the neighbor's lawn to get there faster. Tiptoeing down the stairs to his bedroom. Making out, down to our underwear, giving my first blow job through the slit in his boxers just to say I'd done it. I felt like a slut afterward and told no one.

Driving him home late one night in December. Cottonball snowflakes whirl through the air like a Christmas snow globe. Not falling so much as floating. Virgin white roads, clean snow, no scarring tire tracks. OMD's If You Leave playing on the stereo. I stomp the brake pedal and we laugh as the car spins, slow motion gliding, in the middle of the empty intersection.

Driving to the clinic in Colorado, watching him sleep as the sun rose behind the purple gray Utah mountains looming above the canyon rim.

He left me to make the most important decision of my young life. While he was getting a soda at a convenience store, I was deciding whether to keep it.

Driving home, toward knowing, judgmental eyes, sicker than I'd ever been. Bob Marley wailing "Everything's Gonna Be All Right". Laying in the backseat, staring up at the dirty fingerprints on the car ceiling, clinging to those words like a life raft. Pulling over to throw up, then crunching through an entire bag of Doritos.

He leads me into his backyard. Starry, starry night he says. Velvet night sky, stars like diamonds, lush green grass. I wrapped the blanket tighter around us.. His first time.

Driving across the sizzling hot California desert in his brand new Jaguar convertible. Wind whipping, eating a liberal portion of hair with our dripping popsicles.

Playing cards on the flight to Mexico for what seemed like seven straight hours and feeling content the entire time.

After three years of dating, discovering that he is still seeing his wife, who he claimed he was divorcing. Tracking them down at an NBA basketball game and walking past their seats so he knows that I see him, he knows I know he is a liar. Then drinking an entire bottle of Yagermeister in the parking lot.

Oral sex on the mountain, in full view of the hikers wandering innocently below us. Passing them later on the trail and grinning at each other conspiratorially

Eye fucking at the bar, witty conversation, word jousting until last call. At Maverick, I said I liked orange Certs and he immediately bought the whole box. We played Trivial Pursuit until morning. Then he put his heavy parka on me, carefully zipping me up then walked me to my car.

Watching him, stomach in knots as he skis down the face of a near vertical mountain. Bold, deliberate skiing, like his personality. I smile proudly as the crowd gathered around me gasps at his daring.

Sitting, horrified as he tells me I am not the girl for him.

Reader Comments (11)

What a nasty-head!
October 19, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
That was...for lack of better words, touching and inspiring. I adore the indirect characterization and the painting you've created with such colorful words. It's so realistic, I fell into the part myself; it's something I'm sure we can all relate to...regardless of age...and any other label among us.
October 19, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
UGH! I have stories like that, but I can't write them down in words, they make me cry, piss me off, then make me MAD!
My friend Sarah has a HUGE crush on an older guy, like WAY older. He told her Tuesday that they couldn't have a relationship b/c he was so much older then her, crushed her! For that I dislike him very much! I hate it when men make decisions for us b/c they think they know what is best!
UGH, just UGH!
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Wow Monica..wow.
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJulia
i feel your pain!
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersubgirl
Great post! I'm a reader.
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLightsplashed
Such beauty, yet such pain. Monica, you have an amazing gift!
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLory
Cool concept for a post. Well done. Makes me want to chronicle my memories in such a way
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJAY
yep. nicely written
October 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterPLD
Fantastic. I think I dated some of the same guys you did! Great post.
October 22, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterThe Daily Rant

Who you are indeed talented.,

July 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMississippi Belle

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