1. like
  2. Really and truly right next door.
  3. Until last week, the last time I had been in that general geographical radius, that relatively tiny little patch of the earth, this clown's house, side by side with what is now my best friend's apartment,
  4. comically and appropriately perched at the very top of a hill so steep, so evil, so foreboding, that when you turn your car around to go back down it, you say a prayer,
  5. the last time I had been up there, at the very top of Micheltorena, I was dropping off a $20 bill and a pair of contact lenses on a doorstep as an act of poetic justice.
  6. Let me try to explain.
  7. I met This Clown at one of the only straight bars in West Hollywood, and in hindsight, there's something so fitting about that. Not because he turned out to be straight - he didn't (though that has certainly happened to me before, too) but bc he truly was, and truly remains, this strange, stupid little anomaly.
  8. I was so instantly attracted to him as he walked past me at the bar that, with a boldness so totally out of character, almost an animal instinct, I quite literally grabbed him by the arm.
  9. I'm sorry. I thought I knew you.
  10. Then I lied again.
  11. I'm working on a blog post. (I do not, nor have I ever, had a blog)
  12. Can I ask you a few questions?
  13. Of course.
    He had the kindest eyes.
  14. How did your last relationship end?
    This, of course, to quickly learn two very specific things: Is he gay, and is he single?
  15. His eyes broke away from me, then came back sharp.
  16. My boyfriend and I broke up because he moved across the country to go to law school.
    Check and check mate.
  17. And I guess looking back on this interaction, you could say there was some poetic justice in play here, too.
  18. We both lied through our fucking teeth that night.
  19. The thing about This Clown was his charm, his utter confidence. He courted me like it was 1951, like a gentleman. He would pick me up in his fucking Prius, take me for a proper meal. We went to Chinatown, bought masks at a market, laughed like kids, he put his arm around me and in the light of the golden hr I swear he looked just like James Dean
  20. "He asked me to close my eyes, and then as the Lithuanian DJ he took us to see spun crazy shit, the fireball/whiskey made me warm blooded, with warm lungs, sore ribs*, he kissed me, in the dark like that, my eyes closed."
  21. *I had a bronchial infection during this era. I coughed so hard and so often one of my ribs became enflamed and made breathing difficult and painful. He thought this was cute. And I fell in what felt like love with him,
  22. but maybe it was just the steroids the doctor had prescribed.
  23. And I could keep telling you about the make out sessions and the adventures, drinking pitchers of beer at karaoke in Koreatown (of course), running up stairs lit by blue neon, but what I really ought to tell you about is the "ex" boyfriend. The one who went to law school.
  24. Slowly but surely the specifics of this detail evolved in a way that served me less and less.
  25. Oh he's my ex but you know I do still have some feelings I'm working through.
  26. Oh he's uh, well you know it's complicated, we're on a break.
  27. Oh well you know I wasn't honest. He's uh, well, we're actually in an open relationship? He moves back to LA when the semester is over. I'm sorry. You are amazing. I'm sorry.
  28. And so he faded away despite all my best efforts to charm him into wanting to be with me and despite his being sorry or whatever it is he actually was. My ribs got better and I could breathe. I retrieved a fleece I loved I had left at his house and it felt done.
    It was not done.
  29. Many months later something bizarre happened.
  30. I felt a crushing loneliness one afternoon and, almost out of body, I stumbled out of my apartment toward a deep dish pizza restaurant in search of a heavy late lunch. As lonely people do.
  31. And without thinking, in some sort of blank, bold state, on what felt like a dare to myself, I called This Clown.
  32. To my surprise he picked up. This is insane, he said. He was actually flabbergasted. I was thinking about you this morning. (Jesus Christ) And I'm starving. I'll be there in 10 minutes.
  33. And just like that he was.
  34. We ordered a carafe of wine. I told him I kind of hated him. He said he was sorry, this time I believed him. We talked to a baby who was sitting next to us, This Clown's eyes all lit up, and so then I did something insane.
  35. Do you want to go roller skating? Tonight? Would you go roller skating with me?
  36. "We smoke cigarettes in disco shirts and I'm so stupid but he's so cool he's so cool he's so cool we're wrestling in the back seat of the car and he kisses me we drink and skate I fall and laugh we kiss in front of everyone and we drink Diet Coke in front of everyone at the couples skate we hold hands in disco ball light and I love it too much"
  37. [I woke up in his bed already swallowed whole by the realization that this moment, at pink dawn, still in our disco shirts and nothing else, would be the very last of its kind, that we had taken this terrible experiment to its bitter end.]
  38. He was sweet to me when he woke up, helped me to treat a massive gash on whatever you call the place your belt hits right above your ass - where I had fallen down on one of our over-zealous laps around the rink. I was just now, coming down from all the highs, realizing I was wounded.
  39. The spontaneity of this event rendered me sight impaired - my contact lenses are disposable and I had not brought a spare pair for the morning. Because who knew.
  40. Of course, because this was a rom-com, he happened to not only also use disposable contacts too, but serendipitously shared my exact prescription. Naked, we stood next to each other and put in our fucking contacts. (Jesus Christ)
  41. A week later - a week in which I waited, bit my tongue - it became clear, again, that I was right - this night, This Clown was an anomaly. I watched the clock, watched it till the grace period ended.
  42. In the week of cautious optimism that had passed, I found $20 in the pants I had worn roller skating. I remembered that This Clown had given the $20 bill to me with a smirk and said something like Go hit the snack bar, kid. It's on me.
  43. It turned my stomach to remember it. Because it was not 1951. and he was not a fucking gentleman. He wasn't even James Dean.
  44. Determined, I got in my car and drove to the very top of the hill so steep, so evil, so foreboding, that when you turn your car around to go back down it, you say a prayer, up to his house, next to what would become my best friend's apartment, and I left on his doorstep his $20 bill and a pair of contact lenses.
  45. I wrote the note:
  46. Now I owe you nothing.