Second Thoughts And Second Jobs

Okay, so here’s the scene: I am walking from boyfriend’s apartment down to the soda machine at around seven o’clock in the evening yesterday, when I see a big black dog standing around with (presumably) no owner. I, of course, am scared at the sight of her. I am not usually afraid of dogs, but she was all alone in the dark and I jumped, thinking of the old legend of death dogs that is prevalent in both Europe and parts of the Americas. Just after I jumped, a rather embarrassed and strikingly handsome gentleman appeared.

The dog was his. He had been walking her around the complex and she got away from him. He introduced himself and asked my name; we shook hands and I gave the dog a pat on the head. Being that I have little-to-no experience with Grecian-god-type guys being interested in me, and being that my self esteem is so low you could put a reservoir in it, I assumed he was just being a friendly neighbor and swiftly, albeit rudely, went on my way.

He called after me, “It was nice meeting you.” To which I rather sharply replied, “Yeah,” and kept walking as fast as my fat legs would carry me. I felt his eyes on me for another minute or two, but told myself that it had been an exchange of pleasantness between two neighbors, and not a guy trying to hit on me. I bought my soda and went back to boyfriend’s room. I told him I met a neighbor, but did not tell him about the complex stir of emotions the encounter had spawned inside of me.

It is like a few weeks ago, when Paul put one arm across my shoulder to hug me goodbye after work, and chills ran up and down my spine. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of chills that mean you are scared out of your wits. Nor do I mean the kind of chills that signify the need for a jacket or light shawl. No, I mean the kind of chills ordinarily associated with being held by THE ONE. But I know Paul is not the one. We have too little in common, and we want different things out of life, and he likes Barbi-type women.

But is boyfriend the one? I mean, I would like to think he is, but he knows so very little about me; it frightens me sometimes just how little he actually knows. And this is true as well for my knowledge of him; when I look into those baby-blue eyes of his, I see oceans of misunderstanding and confusion, but I cannot see who the man really is. Last night he wanted me to shower with him, but I refused. I told him that I had no clean clothes to change into, and he said that it had never stopped me before, but did not push the issue.

The truth is, I would have loved to have been in that shower with him, but I did not want him to see the words my pain had etched across my body. But he never questioned it. Given what he already knows about me; given that I am never shy to be naked around him; how could he not question my actions last night? Sadly, incidents such as these are not uncommon. Our whole relationship is built upon a series of lies and misunderstandings and sexual escapades and the concept that we ‘love’ each other.

But what is love anyway? Of course, maybe I would not be having these second thoughts if I did not irrationally think that something akin to El Chupacabra is stalking me. You see, I had this dream yesterday that I was walking down the same road I take to work every night, but I was all alone. Recently, I have been walking to work with Jack, so it was odd that I would be alone, but not unrealistic. But then it was really dark, too dark for nine o’clock at night, which is when I usually walk.

It was as if the moon, the stars, any and all light had been obliterated. I reached on the ground and produced what felt like a flashlight (Jack always brings his with us when we walk.) but the damned thing would not turn on. I could not see a thing. And I kept hearing a man, mockingly chanting in a sing-song voice, “Are you afraid of the dark? Are you afraid of the dark?” This frightened me enough in the dream that I ran and ran and ran and I must have found a house that I was familiar with, because I found myself asleep in a bed, but not boyfriend’s bed where I was having the nightmare.

No, this was at once familiar and unrecognizable, and it was almost as scary as the darkness had been. But I was lying there, under the covers, thinking that I forgot to lock the door, but thinking it would probably be all right. However, in the next instant someone was sitting on the bed. I could literally feel a weight on me. The person must have been trying to touch me or something, because I remember shouting, “No! No! No!” and pounding on whatever body part happened to be closest.

I woke up with my fists hard against boyfriend’s back. He was sound asleep, and likely did not even notice the assault, but I felt ashamed nonetheless. I have not had a dream that frighteningly vivid in a while. Jack says that because he has been working two jobs for a while he keeps having nightmares that he is at work and the work will not get done. The one night he did not have one of those dreams, I had it for him. I dreamed that I was zoning (making the shelves look pretty) but the aisle would not end and it would not stay pretty.

I told him that he made me start having those blasted dreams. But I know he was not to blame for the one yesterday, though it was his absence in the dream that scared me when it started. Even though Jack’s second job is giving him nightmares, I want to, nay I need to get a second job. My finances are more likely the culprit in my nightmares. I cannot seem to keep money in the bank.

I earn a paycheck, but there is rent and electricity and my cell phone and my student loan and my delinquent hospital bill and then apparently I must eat at least once in a two week period in order to stay alive…I do not know, mayhap I am just paranoid, but I feel like this big chasm is opening up below me, full of the most murky water one could imagine, and I have forgotten how to swim. I am hungry all the time, even as I have just polished off a meal.

The hunger will just not go away. But what, pray tell, am I hungry for?

Ani DiFranco-She was hungry, so hungry. She was trying to think clear. She kept opening the fridge door, staring at the mustard and the beer.

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