Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chapter 21: And Liam wrote...

I don’t know what possessed me to say it. I knew that she was pissed. I could practically taste the venom in her words.

“Someone like me” making “empty promises to the bellhop.” She wasn’t going to miss a single shot.  It was outlandish that she got herself into my room, but what followed went from the ridiculous to the absurd.  

She continued with the biting remarks and I started to get angry.“Oh knock it off,” I said. She asked me to sit down. I did, expecting her to as well. She didn't.  She stood above, looking down at me. All of a sudden, it felt like I was in the principles office about to receive a thorough dressing down for my behavior. I guess that’s why I said it: “Enlighten me, baby.”

The wine was dripping down my face a full five seconds before I could even process what had happened. Did she just…? Unbelievable. Oddly enough, my first thought was a smartass remark. “Hmmm. Nice bouquet. A little… oh, I don’t know… dry… acidic.” But I didn’t say it. She might have thrown the glass.

Now she unleashed her full fury. I was an arrogant son of a bitch, and was thinking only of myself and my own feelings. I held back as long as I could. “Something to lose?” What the hell was she thinking? She was feeling accused and she was going to make sure I knew that any such accusations were false and, moreover, were going to be responded to decisively.

I had to step back. For one thing, I was soaked from my eyebrows to my navel and I wanted to get a towel. Secondly, she was reloading her cannon, and I thought she’d have a chance of cooling down in the twenty seconds I’d be gone.

Not even close.  I didn’t take two steps and she practically leaped in front of me.  This was new territory. Ok, I thought, she wants me to listen. She needs to get this out. I could take the wine in my face, I could take her nose six inches from mine, and I could even take the shouting. She had no idea of the limits of my endurance. After living for years with a mother with bipolar disorder, I learned how to pocket my emotions, my ego, and my responses to attack. My armor is pretty thick. Or so I thought.

Of all the absurdities of the last ten minutes, the greatest one was just about to happen. She accused me of destroying “everything about us” that she “treasured, loved, enjoyed.” Whatever confidence I had in my own self-control was not well founded. At that moment, after that remark, I began to boil. She was poking me in the chest with her finger now, like she was trying to inject each syllable under my skin…or into my heart. She accused me of being willing to cut her out of my life completely over one “misunderstanding.” She punctuated this with a particularly strong poke of her finger and said, “Just who the fuck do you think you are, anyway?” That’s the moment when dam broke.

As quick as a spark, my right hand swung up and caught her by the wrist perfectly.  

The suddenness of the motion made her gasp just a bit and her fury faded, bending more toward fear to calm, an interesting reaction though I ignored it.  "You wanna know who the fuck I am?  You want to know?"  I was yelling now.  "I'm the fucking idiot who, for the last year, has been growing in the belief that maybe my life wasn't consigned to be that of a walking corpse.  I'm the jackass who has been thinking that it is possible after all to hope again, to believe that I can be happy again.  I'm the stupid son of a bitch who had started to trust life again."