I start the shower water right after getting into the bathroom because it takes awhile to warm up. With my eyes, I check to see if I remembered to turn the lock. I did, I always did. I went over to the sink and the mirror that hung above it to take a look at myself. My hair was greasy, and I definitely looked tired, but I didn’t have giant black rings under my eyes yet. My skin was clear, but not that sort of impossibly clear models do everything short of (or even including) blowing their plastic surgeons for. I was thin, but mostly because I was tall. Not taller than Jeff though. For some reason the concept of dating someone shorter than me seemed unfathomable. The whole freedom of choice thing half-desecrated because I was 5’6″ and that’s with no shoes on, I’m not even sure of how tall I’d be with heels on if I ever needed to wear them.
By this point I was crushing up a Percocet on the corner of the sink I’d just cleaned off while my mind wandered. It was half of a 30mg one. A friend from work found some for me earlier in the week. I didn’t use to do this. It wasn’t until a little while after I’d started dating Jeff, when I was starting to get fed up with his spacing out and thinking about his ex. His dead ex. I do the line in one long sniff. I sit down on the toilet lid and tilt my head back and sniff real hard until I can taste the powder dripping down through my sinuses and into the back of my throat. I run my hands through my hair and stand back up to look at myself in the mirror again. I take a deep breath as I begin to feel better. Then I start thinking again. Sometimes I wonder if Jeff died in that accident too, or, at least some part of him – a part I’ll never know, that nobody will. And I can’t help but wonder if I’m wasting my time with him. Sometimes I imagine leaving the door unlocked and him catching me getting high. Or finding my hiding place for my weed and pipe and my pills. Just wishful thinking, I guess. I shake it off and reach over to feel if the water warmed up yet and it burns my arm. I must’ve been in here longer than I thought.
I pressed play on the CD player that was sitting on a shelf above the back of the toilet and Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear started playing as I stepped into the shower. It felt especially thematically fitting; the album is a nontraditional love album. He romanticizes the good things about falling in love, but simultaneously undermines them. It’s an album about love that isn’t just flowers and sunshine and sex and beauty and agreeing all the time; and about the departure from the independence someone can feel on their own. It’s raw and honest and it shows the irrational things, the insecurities, and the changes people have to make for a relationship to work. It’s not a begrudging “I do,” but it’s a real love album where he admits to being jealous and so invested that he’s vulnerable. It makes me think about true love, how it means different things to different people, what people expect from love varies from person to person, and whether or not that’s what I have with Jeff. Mostly, I don’t think that it is. Things moved really slowly from the beginning – safely. Jeff hadn’t been in a relationship since the accident, so I was patient with him. But while safety can be a good quality, it can rob a relationship of passion at the same time. And with Jeff, there wasn’t this blind, maddening passion that I’d always thought true love was supposed to be about. Jeff was a good guy, though, and committing has never been easy for me so maybe I was only thinking about this because I didn’t want to commit. These thoughts poured through my mind like water from the shower head.
Jeff and I met from having a few mutual friends and ending up at a couple of the same get togethers. It was a little bit longer than a year and a half ago.