Ten Tiny Love Stories (2002) Movie Script

I saw him again,
I was coming out
of a movie theater
and this guy comes
right up to me
and he whispers my name.
And he whispers it like it's just
the two of us in the whole world.
And it scared the shit out of me,
I didn't know who he was.
I was with my friends
and Eddie was there,
and he didn't know
what was going on.
And I even let out
this little scream...
it was more like a yelp...
before I realized what was going on,
and it was Martin.
His hair was a bit longer
and a little dirty.
And he hugged me
and made a move to kiss me,
I thought he was trying
to kiss me... kiss me,
so I moved out of the way.
We hugged again
and it was just awkward.
I tried to introduce him
to my friends,
but I was trembling and
couldn't remember their names.
So I just said,
"Martin, these are the guys,
and guys, this is Martin."
He said he'd come in a couple of days...
a couple of days ago...
and he'd been
looking around for me.
He said it with...
he said it
with a bit of reproach,
and I said,
"You know, I'm listed."
And then... I realized
he hadn't changed.
He was just the same.
He was Martin.
In fact, he was even more
like himself...
than I remembered.
And he said that he was leaving
the next day at night,
and could we meet for breakfast.
I said, "Definitely. Call me."
So I wrote down my number
on this ticket and gave it to him.
He said,
"I'll call you at 8:00,"
which is kind of early,
but I didn't say anything.
And as I was
walking away,
I knew it wasn't
going to happen.
He would call,
but I wouldn't be there
because I was going to spend
my first night with Eddie.
I made up my mind
about that.
Eddie... and me.
And what I remember most
was how short Martin looked
when he was walking away.
He has those hunched-over
and the long arms
and his hairy hands.
He's got a hairy back too!
When we first had sex,
I remember...
brushing the hairs on his back
with my fingers.
That stayed with me,
that and the smell.
The smell of a man
can stay with you
for at least
two or three days after sex.
That and his breath.
And then,
when you kiss again,
it's this strong feeling
when you recognize the smell.
It's... strange...
and it's delicious.
But with Martin,
it was the hair on his back
that made him sweat,
even when it was cold.
So he always smelled
kind of sweet.
He smelled
like a tangerine.
It used to make me dizzy.
Nobody smells like Martin.
Once upon a time,
there was just...
one person
in the world for me.
He was it.
He was the fucking world.
His mood was my mood.
Whatever he wanted,
I wanted.
Whatever that was.
He once said to me,
"Say our names."
And I said them...
and I cried.
Time is ruthless,
isn't it?
Eric and I
were both virgins.
And he really pressured me
to sleep with him.
But he just wasn't
going to be it.
He was a good boy and
as handsome as the devil,
but I didn't think
he was the one.
So, when I broke up with him, I already
had Simon waiting in the wings.
With Simon, I had the whole thing
planned out ahead of time.
He didn't know
it was my first time.
He figured that out
as we went along.
I think he was surprised.
It was my present to him
for good behavior.
His mom was away,
so we went to his house.
She was an older woman and
hard of hearing, but she liked me.
It hurt, of course,
but you can tell right away
you'll get into it.
While we were making out,
I kept thinking
about what was coming up.
I wasn't thinking
about him, or about us,
I was thinking about myself.
Then we stopped kissing
and took off our clothes,
and just lay there, naked,
in front of each other,
holding hands.
And then he touched my breasts
with the back of his fingers,
and I'll never forget
the way he looked at them.
It was like a baby
playing with your face.
I don't know how else
to describe it.
I was barely breathing.
I liked that.
The look on that boy's face
looking at my breasts
is the best sexual memory
of my life.
When he started to get
inside me, it was tough.
It took forever.
Once, he stopped and
asked me if I was all right.
My eyes were closed,
and I said I was,
and we should go on.
I opened my eyes
and I looked at him.
He was like a complete
stranger for a moment.
He looked like a boy,
a little boy.
He was already covered
in tiny drops of sweat.
And he smelled a little,
but I liked it.
He smelled sour.
When he got all the way in,
I asked him to stop
and I tried to relax
to make the pain go away.
I couldn't find a comfortable
position for my legs,
so I kept shifting around.
Then he started
to move in and out slowly,
I thought, " This is it.
It's really happening."
It was so weird...
it still hurt,
but it also started to feel good.
And the weirdest thing was
I felt like I wasn't there.
I was there, but I was also
looking from the outside.
You know what I mean?
I don't know how to explain.
It's like when you cut yourself
and stare at the wound.
It fascinates you and you pick
at the scab even if it hurts.
It's like watching yourself bleeding.
I was there, watching,
as I did
this very strange thing.
And that strange feeling,
having a living thing inside of you.
I remember wondering if
being pregnant felt like that.
After a while,
he stopped again
and wanted to make sure
I was all right. I said I was.
His face was so close
I could barely focus on it.
I looked down and saw the peach fuzz
on my thigh, standing on end.
After a while, he stopped.
I could tell he was trying
not to come.
He was breathing heavily,
through the nose.
I felt sorry for him.
I don't know why.
Then he started up again
and came right away.
That was fascinating
to watch.
I think I laughed a bit...
thank God
he didn't see that.
And then...
he pulled out and
my legs felt kind of cold.
And we lay there
for a long time,
saying nothing,
holding each other.
And I got up to use
the bathroom and came back.
He smiled at me and I watched him
as he fell asleep.
He had this little scar behind his ear,
I hadn't noticed before.
And I just lay there on top
of the cover, naked.
I could hear dogs
barking in the distance.
My dad had promised us
a dog ages ago.
He kept stringing us along.
We never got it.
I thought about that
for a while,
while Simon slept.
Then I had
this strange feeling...
as I was lying there.
I thought,
"I don't want him to wake up.
I don't want to hear
his voice anymore.
I don't want him to kiss
or touch me ever again.
I don't want him to remember
what happened this afternoon."
I don't know
what came over me.
I wanted to get up and leave
before he woke up.
I closed my eyes
and told myself to chill.
Then I thought
about my mother.
I thought, " What a time
to think about her."
I wanted to think
about something else.
I took a deep breath and said,
"Okay, just relax."
I tried not to fall asleep,
but I did.
I fell fast asleep.
And I had this really weird dream.
I dreamed of a dolphin.
It was out of the water.
It was drying in the sun
and its skin was about to crack.
I was looking at it
from above and crying.
And in the dream,
I remembered
that my mother had said to us
when we were little,
that she really wanted
to spend New Year's Eve...
of the year 2000 with us,
no matter what.
Of all the things
that were to come, for some reason,
that was the one day
she wanted to share with us...
more than anything else.
So, in the dream,
I said to her,
"Okay, Mom...
I promise.
We'll be together that day,
no matter what."
And I was thinking about that
later on, on my way home.
And how I wanted to tell
my sister about it... the dream.
We're twins and
ever since my mom died,
we tell each other
our dreams of her.
It's a deal we made.
I knew she wanted to hear
about the rest of my afternoon,
but I wasn't really thinking
about that anymore.
I wanted to talk about the dream.
I wanted to tell her.
I wasn't thinking
about Simon anymore.
Elias set me up
on a blind date
with this guy from Argentina
called Felipe.
Elias is a friend
from Mexico
with a heart the size
of Mexico City.
His wife Ann, said,
"Elias is
all good intentions,
but there's no guarantee
his friends aren't creeps.
And they come from countries where
women aren't as confused as we are,
so they can smell a desperate
American woman a kilometer away."
She cracks me up.
So Felipe is a cameraman
who shoots commercials.
And before we even spoke
on the phone,
he sends me this card asking me
if it was convenient
to call me, let's say
at 7:00 on Tuesday.
And I'm thinking,
"Why has Elias set me up
with this gay guy
from South America?"
And he assures me the guy isn't gay,
but merely polite.
So I send him a card
in the mail,
and I say, " Tuesday at 7:00
will be fine. Thank you very much."
So, 7:00 on Tuesday comes along
and... it's 8:30,
and the man hasn't called.
For a moment,
I'm thinking I'd call him,
but I realize I don't have
his phone number.
I could have gotten it
from Elias,
but I didn't want him
to think I'd been stood up.
He never called.
I was disappointed
but once I let it go,
it didn't crush me...
which is my specialty,
being crushed by assholes.
So two days later, at 9:00 am,
the phone rings, and it's him.
And he asks,
"Am I waking you up?"
and am I by myself?
Am I by myself?
Then he tells me
this story
about how he was shooting a commercial
the day before he should have called,
and they shot until 10:00
the following day,
and he slept for 20 hours,
and can I
ever forgive him...
So he wants to go out,
to meet that same night.
And he offers to pick me up.
I say I'd prefer to meet him.
So we agreed to meet
at Jerry's Deli at 7:30.
So I ask how I'll recognize him,
and he asks what I look like.
I say, "You go first."
So he says he has sandy hair,
and he's tall,
and that some people confuse him
for a young Keith Carradine.
Do you? I don't remember what
a young Keith Carradine looks like.
So he asks me
what I look like. I say,
"Don't worry about it.
I'll find you."
Then I pretend that I'm late for work
so I can get off the phone.
But before that, he says
he plans to pay for dinner,
that in Argentina
it's a custom and do I mind,
and that in this country,
it's very confusing
and he wants
to clear that up front.
I say, "All right."
But after
I get off the phone,
I feel bad, because
I feel like I'd been had.
He's polite in a way
that makes you feel cheap.
So now,
I'm on the defensive
and I'm mad at myself,
and I don't know why.
Anyway, I rent two videos of
Keith Carradine, and I like what I see,
but I have to keep reminding
myself while watching
that it's not the real Keith Carradine
I'll be meeting for dinner.
It's only his Argentinean
Then I thought
I'd call Elias and his wife
and tell them
the guy has resurfaced
and that we're going out
tonight, but I didn't.
They'd feel happy for me
and I'd feel like shit.
I exercised that afternoon
and I wanted
to take a nap.
But I lie there, unable
to think of anything else
except this dinner date, as if
it were the only date I'd have had.
So I can't stop
thinking about it.
I'm just so mad at myself.
Here I am, filling my head
with hopes and expectations,
and as soon as I see myself day-dreaming
about visiting Buenos Aires,
I scream out loud
because I am so angry at myself.
I want to cry.
So eventually,
I did fall asleep.
But then I had this dream
that there are all
these birds on my balcony.
They can't fly,
they're jumping around like crazy.
And some of them are pecking
at the glass door,
like they want to come in.
They're like children
playing in a playground,
but they're only birds.
And in the dream, I'm aware
they're from the Galapagos Islands.
And then
I'm in the bathroom
and I'm washing my hands
over and over,
and then when I wake up,
I drive myself nutty
trying to figure it out,
trying to interpret it.
I try to twist it
and turn it every which way,
nothing happens.
Then I try to call my girlfriend Carla...
she's great with dreams...
but she's at some
Weight Watchers meeting...
or something like that.
And in the afternoon,
the dream just fades away.
It's like somebody else's dream,
stale and trite.
And I realize
that dreams are about...
getting to know
yourself better,
so that you can
better yourself.
I guess I feel hurt
and I can't unwrap it.
So then I shower
and I guess
dressed quickly,
and I look in the mirror
on my way out...
I'm looking good,
believe it or not.
And when I get
to the valet at the Deli...
I'm so self-conscious,
even getting out of the car,
I'm afraid to look around
for fear that he's there,
laughing at me.
Laughing at what?
I mean, calm down.
So I go into the Deli,
and there's the guy.
It must be him,
he's got sandy hair, he's tall,
he's not particularly handsome
but he's okay.
And something about him
makes me feel at ease,
so I feel reassured. I walk up to him,
and I say, "Felipe?"
And he looks at me
like he doesn't speak Spanish,
and he says, "No. Sorry."
And I feel like I'm going to faint
with embarrassment.
The back of my neck
and my ears are burning,
and I turn around,
trying to be real cool,
and right in front of me,
there's this guy by himself in a booth,
grinning and waving at me.
He is so much shorter than I imagined
and has jet-black hair.
And he's grinning
like he's been watching me
making a fool of myself
and he's enjoying it.
He waves me over and to make it worse,
he's handsome.
So I convince myself not to collapse
and pull myself together.
I walk over to him,
we shake hands, and I say,
"You look nothing
like Keith Carradine.
You look more
like Dudley Moore."
He laughs out loud and...
he takes it well.
But we both know
he boned me good.
He did. He did.
And so...
after I sit down,
I realized
he didn't stand up.
It really bugs me
and I can feel myself
getting into a bad mood,
but I'm fighting it.
He smells good...
and he has beautiful hands.
I like that.
That's my favorite part
in a guy.
And then he orders drinks
for both of us.
He refrains from flirting
with the waitress.
She was flirting with him,
but I can be thankful for that.
And then he says, "So?"
And he puts both hands
on the table
and sits straight like,
"What can you do for me?"
And so, I realize
I've been talking to him
but his English is flawless
so I asked him,
"Why is your English so good?"
He explains
that his mother's Irish
and she sent him to bilingual school
in Buenos Aires.
And then, as part of
this background information,
he says to me his mother
killed herself when he was seven.
She hung herself.
And he mentioned it
just in passing.
That completely
changed everything.
Not because of the suicide,
but of how he mentioned it.
So quickly.
And I asked if he had siblings
and he said he was an only child.
He suddenly seemed deficient.
Yes, he was charming
and handsome,
but he didn't...
like he wasn't
good enough.
So then,
he starts drilling me
with those date
question talk things.
And so I'm doing
most of the talking.
He was funny, okay?
But something
just snapped in me.
I got bored
and I could sense
he was feeling that,
so he became less animated,
and I switched gears,
trying to have fun,
and I thought,
"This isn't going
to work out,
but don'tjudge him,
give the guy a break."
So after dinner,
I notice
he's staring at my foot.
My legs were crossed...
so you could see my foot
at the side of the table,
and I had flat open-toed shoes.
I had my toenails painted.
And he says,
"You have big feet."
My first instinct
was to uncross my legs
and put my foot down,
but I didn't.
I just left it.
And I said, "Do I?"
He said, "They're as big as mine."
And he puts his shoe
next to my foot,
and they were nearly
the same size.
"You have big toes,
like Fred Flintstone's,"
he said.
I burst out laughing
and he just smiled.
He knew he was hurting me.
And I wanted to leave...
but I didn't.
I just sat there.
I uncrossed my legs...
and put my foot down.
And without saying a word,
he waves the waitress over
and he pays
the bill in cash.
Then we walk in silence
to the door.
We hand the valet guy
our tickets
and the valet guy
says something in Spanish.
Felipe laughs and
doesn't share it with me.
And after he pays
for the tickets,
he asks me if I want to go
to his house for drinks.
I followed him in my car.
And when we get
to his house,
he puts on some videos
of some things he filmed.
We're watching in silence.
He's looking at it seriously,
like he's judging someone
else's work on a panel.
So we're just sitting there.
Then he reaches over
and turns off the light,
so that the TV was the only light
in the apartment.
We hadn't said anything...
since the restaurant.
So I reach over in his trousers,
and I give him a blowjob.
So after he's finished,
I'm waiting for him
to start... on me,
or to start something.
And he gets up,
and he goes
to the bathroom.
And he comes back...
and he falls asleep next to me
on the couch.
I was almost angry...
but I just lay there.
I watched him sleep,
smelled his breath.
Then I fell asleep.
Then he woke me up
and told me
it was time to go home.
I thought I was going
to have a panic attack.
And I begged him...
if I could spend the night.
And I started to cry.
I begged him. I said,
can I spend the night?"
"We know we don't have
to have sex,"
I said.
"I just want to sleep here."
"You can sleep on the couch."
That's what he said.
So he went to the other room
and he brought back out
a sheet.
And then he went back to his room
and closed the door.
And I turned off the TV...
I lay there, trying to figure out
if he was asleep.
I could hear some music
in the apartment next door...
and some old lady laughing.
About an hour later,
I got up...
and I checked his door.
But it was locked.
I went back to the couch.
And I fell asleep.
I was once on an airplane,
flying to the Yucatan.
And the man next to me told me
the story of his life in two hours.
He was Cuban
and the pastry chef
at one of the big hotels
in Cancun.
He was coming back
from a holiday in Miami
where his daughter
lives with his parents.
This man had been
madly in love
with a dancer from
the Cuban National Ballet.
They'd been involved
for about seven years
when they were young,
in Havana.
And as she became more successful
and moved up the ranks,
she had to travel abroad
more often.
And he said she became distracted
by the trappings of fame
and she left him.
He said it crushed him
and he never recuperated.
And he told me all this
without an ounce of self-pity.
He'd been married twice
since then
and had had
many girlfriends.
But it was never the same
with any of them.
He said a man only loves
one woman in his lifetime.
And that any man
who denies it, is a liar.
"Love only knocks once
on a man's door."
Those were his words.
He was...
a roly-poly man
and balding.
And he had chubby fingers
and a shirt
that was too tight,
with short sleeves.
He was afraid of flying
and drank the entire flight.
But he didn't seem
to get drunk.
He did stammer a little and
his forehead was covered with sweat.
The parts weren't much,
but the whole
grew on you very quickly.
After talking for awhile,
I got up to go
to the bathroom.
And he stood up
just to see me off.
And when I came back,
he stood up again
until I was seated
and buckled in my seat.
That's a man
you can remember.
He never stopped talking
about himself the entire time.
And I always felt
he was catering to me.
How did he do that?
A couple of times,
I forgot myself
and he caught me
just looking at him,
not really listening,
just taking him in.
If the whole thing
was a pick-up routine,
it was sensational.
He deserved to get laid.
Itjust goes to show you
it's not what a man says,
it's how he says it.
It's not the words,
it's who you are.
I was off to meet Mark at the beach
for a couple of days,
but if I had been
on my own,
I would have made a play
for this man in a heartbeat.
You never know
what might have happened.
I might have turned out
to be the one,
instead of that ballerina.
He could have been wrong
about her.
When we landed in Cancun,
he stood up
and shook my hand
and he said his name:
Go figure.
I went through customs
and lost him,
but when I was waiting
for my bags,
I saw him on the other side
of the conveyor belt,
reaching for his
and then walking away.
And he looked lonely,
carrying his little suitcase,
dressed in his ugly shirt
and lost in his Cuban thoughts.
I liked that.
The next day,
I'm laying in the sun
in the poolside with Mark.
He was bent out of shape because
I hadn't put out the night before.
It was the last day
of my period
and I don't like to
until it's over.
And I considered
helping him out with something,
and then I thought,
Let him stew.
He'll be all the hungrier
for it tomorrow."
So we're lying there,
by the pool,
and he asks me
to rub sunscreen on his back.
And I'm lying there comfortably,
I'd rather die than get up.
But what're you going to do?
So as I'm rubbing sunscreen
on his back,
I notice he's flabbier
than before.
And I mentioned it.
He says nothing.
Oh yeah.
And then I thought,
"Am I the one
in Mark's life?
Am I the Cuban ballerina
of his life?"
I knew I wasn't.
When someone loves you
like that,
I'm sure you can feel it.
It must be...
a cozy feeling, like...
a hum that
warms you up inside.
And even if you're no longer
with that person,
it must be something.
I want to be loved
like that.
So, I'm on Mykonos,
the Greek island,
sitting at a tiny table
with Nora,
when we see
this handsome waiter
delivering drinks to a table
of Australian tourists.
We're checking him out
when another waiter comes out
from behind the first one,
and this one is even better.
This one is tall,
he's got light-brown hair,
broad shoulders and hairless arms.
He's pretty hairless
for a Greek.
He's carrying a tray
with two tiny coffee cups on it,
and the tray, which looks big
in the hands of the other waiter,
looks tiny in this guy's hands.
His thumbs are huge
and his feet are big too.
He was just big all around.
And lean, like an American man,
but he's less self-conscious.
He's more comfortable in his body
than most American men are.
He's wearing a white open shirt
with sleeves rolled up.
And the first thing you notice
are his collar-bones.
They're animal,
they jump straight up at you,
right in your face.
So he comes up to our table.
Nora orders a mineral water,
and I say, "Two, please."
And I concentrate on getting
a good look at him before he leaves.
I notice that the skin
on his face is dry.
One of his front teeth
is chipped.
And his lips are thin
and a bit cruel-looking.
Also, his eyes are
a little close together,
and I noticed they make him
look distracted.
So he scratches his elbow
and asks if we want anything to eat,
in pretty good English.
Nora and I shake our heads no,
like two twin idiots.
He walks away without getting
a good look at us.
So then, Nora puts
some sunscreen on her nose.
As usual, her timing's perfect.
Just as the waiter's coming back,
Nora's stuck with a little
white dab left on her nose,
looking like Rudolph
on a Mediterranean holiday.
She's sitting there and without missing,
the waiter puts the water down,
reaches in
with his middle finger,
removes the sunscreen from Nora's nose,
and wipes it on his apron.
And Nora just laughs and says,
"Oh thank you,"
pours the water like it's nothing, like
Greeks are always touching her face.
She's a good pretender
when she needs to be,
but I know, inside,
she is peeing her pants.
But I have to hand it
to Little Miss Mouse.
She pulled this one
off well.
So he asks
where we're from in America,
and I say we're
from Southern California,
and he says he's been to Boston,
but never to California.
If he ever comes to California,
he says, can he stay with us?
It's a silly joke we saw coming
from three miles away.
And we're two in an infinite number
of cute tourists
he's talked up and will talk up
with this crap. But...
So, he tells us
a bit about Boston,
and he's talking mostly to me now.
I tell him I know Boston,
so we start talking about Boston
and leave Nora behind.
He's not terribly smart,
but who cares, right?
I don't want him
for the father of my children.
So that was it
at the restaurant.
So later on, Nora and I
are taking a walk
and we see the two waiters sitting
on this little stone wall,
smoking cigarettes.
Our friend notices us
and waves us to come over,
and I can tell his attitude
is different.
He's got a cigarette
dangling from his lips,
and he's got this confident smile,
kind of cocky.
And I think, if he refers to us
as American girls,
I'll turn around
and walk away.
But he doesn't.
He says, "Hello, friends,"
and lives another minute.
He's on my case right this time.
He doesn't bother with Nora.
We're talking,
and outside of work,
he's even slower
than before...
almost dim.
But still, he's confident
because I think he can tell
I'm an easy prey.
How does he do that?
So, suddenly, I'm on the defensive.
I can't look him in the eye.
And I'm trying to make the conversation
between the four of us.
But Nora and her waiter
are talking in Italian.
It turns out, Nora's waiter
is Italian and Nora's fluent.
So things are looking
promising for Nora.
So they get up
and walk away,
and my waiter...
I still don't know his name...
my waiter and I
follow like sheep.
So we're walking
in silence now.
And he doesn't seem to mind
we're not talking.
He just lights another cigarette
and starts whistling
and doesn't look at me.
And then Nora and her waiter
cross an intersection.
And my waiter takes a drag
from his cigarette
and pulls me over by the elbow
to make a turn.
I call out to Nora and she sees
we're going in a different direction.
and she waves goodbye
and smiles, as does her waiter.
And I think perhaps Nora's
with the better of the two waiters.
So now we're walking
by ourselves...
and we're still not talking.
But it's a beautiful sky,
just the last light of day
ahead of us.
We walk for a couple of minutes,
we cross another intersection.
And ahead of us, I can see the purple
clouds over the rocky mountains.
It's really beautiful
and quiet.
The only sound is the sound
of our feet on the gravel.
So I stop to make the sound
of our shoes stop
and the waiter stops too
and asks if I want to go back,
and I tell him no.
And we stand there
in silence.
I look around
and there's nobody around.
There's not even a house,
probably for miles.
And I think of Nora,
and I hope
what we're doing is okay.
I hope we're going
to be safe.
And I think of Nora's mom,
how scared she'd be...
how disappointed
she'd be in us for separating,
running around
following waiters.
So then we start
walking again,
and up ahead is a guy
on a bicycle coming towards us.
As he gets close, he and my waiter
recognize each other.
The guy stops and they talk,
and he won't look at me.
And I don't like that,
because I feel
they're talking about me.
He gets off his bike,
they start walking, and I'm not moving.
The waiters turns around,
waves me on,
and I still don't move.
It's getting dark, but...
I'm not going anywhere.
The guy comes over and asks me
what's wrong and I say,
"If you want me to follow,
ask the biker to leave.
I'm scared to walk
with the two of you."
So he says okay.
He turns and says some phrase
in Greek to the biker,
and the guy gets back
on his bike and drives away.
I still don't move until he disappears
over the top of the hill.
Then the waiter comes over to me,
reaches for my hand,
I take it, and
we walk like that for awhile,
like two lovebirds.
I don't know him from Adam...
but it's comforting.
Then I see this creature
flying across the sky,
and I'm not sure
if it's a bird, or a bat...
but it makes me
feel good again.
It lifts up my heart,
it makes me feel high.
And the waiter turns to me and says,
"You haven't told me your name."
And I'm going to lie,
but I don't.
I say it.
He nods and smiles
and doesn't tell me his name,
and I like it like that.
It makes me feel safe
not to know his name.
Now that we're holding hands,
I can tell he is taller than me.
I have to walk twice as fast
to keep up with his gait.
My hand feels tiny
inside of his,
and I hold it in a little fist
and he cups it in his
like it's an egg.
It's getting dark now.
I look up and can't even see his face.
And then I have to pee.
And I don't want...
to ask him...
how much farther it is and I don't want
to talk about where we're going.
So I say,
"Wait here, I have to go pee."
I leave him on the road
and go down into this field.
I'm heading towards
this olive tree,
like it's my own backyard.
The ground's dry
and covered with stones.
And when I get to the tree, I have
to take the stones out of my sandals.
So I'm crouching down
and I'm peeing,
and I look up, and the waiter's
standing on the road, looking at me.
I can't see his face, but his silhouette
reminds me of someone,
and I can't think of whom.
But anyway...
I wave, and he waves.
And I say, "Good boy."
He can't hear me.
Then, just sitting there,
and knowing
he's watching me...
makes me horny.
So I laugh and he says,
"What's so funny?"
and I don't answer.
When I get back on the road,
I tell him,
"From now on,
I want you to speak Greek."
No more English.
Greek only.
So he says okay,
in English.
And we keep walking.
Now we're going up a hill,
and I'm following behind him.
And I feel like a man
in the Civil War,
being walked to his place
of execution.
When we reach
the top of the hill,
he pulls me off the road
and we go down into this field
where there's this small
little house, like a hut,
and next to it,
there's another one to the right.
As we're approaching,
I decide to play a game with myself.
I'm going to guess
which hut we're going to.
And I guessed it was
the one on the right.
So I run pass the waiter
and go up to the hut.
I push open the door
and step inside, and it's dark.
I can't see anything.
The waiter comes up behind me,
leads me inside and shuts the door.
As my eyes adjust,
I can see there's a bed
with white sheets and no pillow,
next to a chair.
The room smells
like dried flowers.
"He brings girls here
all the time and he fucks them,"
I say to myself.
Girls like me.
He sits on the edge
of the bed
and he sits me on his lap,
with my feet dangling off
like a ventriloquist's dummy.
And we begin to kiss...
and it's easy.
He kisses patiently.
And now that I'm sitting,
I realize I'm tired
and I really want to take a break
and rest my head on his shoulder.
But I don't want
to stop and look at him.
I don't want to see his face,
even in the dark.
We lie back down on the bed,
and I'm on top of him.
And I feel even tinier.
I feel like I'm shrinking.
He gets out
from underneath me
and he takes off my shorts
and my underwear,
pulls my T-shirt
over my head.
He caresses me with one hand
while he takes off his clothes.
And he takes off
my sandals last...
that makes me feel more naked
than anything else.
I still have little stones
stuck to the soles of my feet.
He makes a move
to try to turn me over,
but I want to stay
lying face down and I say so.
I want him to do
all the work.
He does.
We have a rhythm going.
It's good.
It's his rhythm really.
He's just bouncing off of me.
I'm lying there
with my head buried in the sheets
and my arms
folded underneath me.
And I know in this position
I won't have an orgasm.
But you know what?
I prefer it.
That way, things won't
change their color.
And it goes on
for a long time.
I just try
to make myself feel heavy.
He tries to turn me over,
he gets me...
tries to get me
to change positions,
but I want to make myself
as heavy as I can be.
And then he finishes.
He lies down
in bed next to me,
and I curl up
with my back to him.
I'm cold.
And I think of Nora...
and I hope
that she's okay.
We'll laugh about this later
when we run into each other.
But we won't talk about it...
what it was like
for her or for me.
But that won't be anytime soon.
I still have to walk back.
It'll be shorter this time
because I'll know the way.
We won't be holding hands.
We won't see the guy on the bike
or the purple cloud.
I won't see the creature
flying across the sky.
And I won't stop to pee.
When we get to the stone wall,
I'll say I want to walk on alone.
We won't kiss goodbye.
Just before I can see
the restaurants and bars,
I'll hear the voices.
And I won't like that,
because I'll know I'm just
moments away from the bustle.
As I come around the last bend,
the lights will hit me.
I'll get to a table
and see someone I recognize
and I'll sit down without a word,
while someone else tells a story.
And I'll watch the faces
as they listen...
faces in profile,
far away from home,
with lives a lot like each other's.
Nobody will turn to see me.
And nobody will know
where I've been.
A friend of mine, Clarissa,
only dates white men.
Latin men and Asians too,
but not Black men.
She says a Black man
is hard on a Black woman
like a white man
is hard on a white woman,
and Latinos and Asians
are just hell on their own women.
She says that the golden rule
is to marry a man
from another race,
maybe even another culture.
The only exception is for a western
woman to marry a Japanese man.
"That is the very pit of hell,"
she says.
Everybody has
their own rules about men.
When I first met Philip,
he ate with his mouth open
and never covered his mouth
when he yawned,
and he yawns a lot.
His shirts
were always frayed
and the carpet
in his apartment
had this shiny patina on it
that was vile.
His front door
was never locked.
His dog has fleas and
there were ants in his bathtub.
He would listen to Al Stewart sing
"The Year of the Cat"
all day long.
What's up with that?
He was a boy, until I came along
and turned him around.
And with me, he lost weight,
he learned how to keep
his fingernails short and clean,
and how to shave properly
and to use astringent
instead of cologne.
I taught him how to iron
the collar of a dress shirt,
and how much wine
to pour into a glass.
And I reminded him
that in bed,
it's rhythm
that matters to a woman.
Rhythm is
what matters to me.
These things and many more,
he learned from me.
Let him forget them
with another woman,
but he learned them from me.
I'll be fair.
I learned things
from Philip too.
I learned that...
I already knew...
that dogs were attached
to people and cats to places.
But I learned that...
I'm not attached to a man,
but to the potential
of a man.
I love what a man becomes
when he's with me.
But when he starts to become
what he's going to become...
whatever that is,
better or worse...
I just feel like it's time
for me to hail a cab
and be on my merry way.
If he changes for the worse,
I leave as quickly as I can.
And if he changes
for the better,
I leave quickly too.
I just cut my losses.
I leave before
the day comes
when he looks around
and doesn't see me anymore
because I'm just blending
into the new wallpaper.
No, I've been seeing Robert
for about two years.
It's not like we live together,
although he sleeps over most nights
because he's very sexy
and affectionate.
He's very patient with me.
He knows who I am.
Like when my dog
died in April...
people who aren't dog-owners
think it's silly,
but that hit me really hard.
I just...
She was diagnosed with cancer
and died in seven weeks.
It's not an easy death.
It took me too long to come to terms
with putting her to sleep,
and she paid for that
because I was thinking
more of myself,
which is what we do
when someone's sick.
It's always about us.
So, she was in pain longer
than she needed to be thanks to me,
because she was only five
and was given to me by my ex.
When I called him to tell him
that she was dying...
he's remarried now
to a woman I like
and they have
a little girl, Sonia,
who loves her daddy.
When I called him
to tell him she was dying...
I called him because I knew
I could share this with him.
And sure enough, he came to the vet
and we put the dog to sleep.
The exact moment going
from sleeping to dying...
is unclear to me still.
It's very fascinating
to watch, though.
I was surprised
at how easy it was.
Why should it be scary...
that little passage?
But it is to me.
I'm very afraid of it.
So after that, my ex took me
for a cup of coffee.
Which means we ended up spending
the afternoon in a hotel.
But even when
we were making love,
I stopped myself from doing things
I wanted to do.
I didn't follow my instincts.
God, I was even more inhibited
when I was married.
I didn't want him
to think I'd changed.
But I have changed...
a little bit.
Although I'm still worried
about pleasing him.
That hasn't changed.
So when I got back
and Robert was there,
I was happy...
I was relieved
that he didn't belong
to the part of me
that put the dog to sleep.
The part of me that put the dog
to sleep belongs to my ex.
at dinner that night,
he tells me this story
about, at 13,
how he wanted a cat.
The woman next door offered him
the pick of the litter,
but she wanted him to pre-pay
because she needed the cash...
so when the cat gave birth,
he was invited
to pick out his cat
and there's only two kittens.
While he's trying to decide
which he likes best,
he hears the sound
of another kitten
coming from another part
of the house.
It turns out the woman
was trying to hide it.
She wanted
to keep it for herself.
It was white with blue eyes,
which is rare.
So Robert wanted that kitten
and they fought about it,
but he ended up
taking her home.
He takes the cat to the vet
and it turns out the cat's deaf.
Deaf cat.
It was so funny.
It was a long story.
Robert is
a good storyteller.
He told it very well,
in great detail,
with a fatherly tone,
for my benefit...
to share in my loss
in some way.
I'm almost four years
older than him,
so when he was buying
his deaf cat,
I was 17
and pregnant
and on my way to Oregon
to have an abortion.
I was out
for most of the procedure,
so I don't remember
much anyway.
Except that the doctor was...
this older Black gentleman
and his daughter was the nurse.
He was nice. He said,
"I don't want to see you here again.
Make sure you don't
come back for more.
You're not driving home."
But he sent me to this motel,
a block away,
where the man
behind the desk
gave me a discount.
I was driving back
the next day,
and a bat hit the windshield
and I crashed my dad's car,
so I pulled over
and cried for a long time...
until this gentleman
stopped to help...
and offered to stay there
while I pulled myself together.
The whole time,
he was staring at my breasts.
Step up to my eyes
and back to my breasts.
Just couldn't help himself.
He even shook my hand
before he drove off.
I really wanted
to tell my dad about...
that abortion,
but of course I didn't...
although I almost did
a couple of times to hurt him.
So when he died,
I went into a tailspin
and I met my ex
at the bottom of my pit.
He scooped me up
and nursed me back to life.
And we got married.
But at the time,
I didn't really want...
so four months before
we got divorced, he got me my dog.
I was thinking later
that night at dinner...
I really do love Robert.
But he'll never be
what my ex is to me.
My ex made my life miserable
and reminded me every day
that I was a little shit.
He used to tell me,
"You're a little shit.
You're a little shit,
But he was
the love of my life.
Robert's someone I met
after meeting the love of my life.
And I'll bounce back
from this too.
You never bounce back
high enough.
I'm always
that much short of it.
I used to go with a guy
who was a puppeteer.
I tried not to sleep
with him right away,
because if you sleep
with a guy too soon,
he loses interest.
"Take your time,"
he says to me.
"I'll be ready when you are."
This gets to me,
of course, and I'm dying
to take off my underwear
right then and there.
But I don't.
I play it cool.
One night, we're sitting
around my apartment.
He's talking to his brother
on the telephone.
I suddenly reach for his beer
and take a swig.
Then I drink
the whole thing in one go.
After a few minutes, I begin to feel
the effects of the alcohol
and I know that the moment
he gets off the phone,
I'm going to fuck him.
It doesn't bother me
that I'm about to cave in.
It's the beer
and I know it.
But it's okay.
So be it, as they say.
He was a funny guy,
even in bed.
I don't mean,
funny weird.
He was fun, fun.
And he was affectionate.
You know how women are always whining
that guys don't open up,
they have problems
with intimacy?
This guy could cuddle up
to Queen Elizabeth.
And he started telling me
he loved me, right away.
I liked it. And we were humping
like bunnies,
day and night.
Then one day, we were sharing
a piece of pecan pie,
and out of
the clear blue sky,
he says to me,
"I know you're going to leave me."
The moment he says this,
I know he's right.
I deny it to death
and dump him two weeks later.
A neighbor
is already talking me up.
But if he hadn't said that,
if that guy had not said,
"I know you are going to leave me,"
we would probably
still be together.
So he made it happen.
It was his own fault.
And I moved on
to the neighbor.
The world never
stops turning.
The first time
I saw that puppeteer,
I thought he was gay.
His nails were manicured.
It turns out he manicures them
for his puppet show.
He makes these dolls
that are about this big.
They're beautiful.
Their faces and hands,
and feet
are made of porcelain.
And they wear these period dresses
that he makes himself.
They don't speak.
There's just music,
like a ballet.
And for the performances,
he doesn't use a stage.
He just uses a table
and he stands there,
right in front of you,
moving the dolls
on these little sticks.
Oh, he gets into it,
like a child.
The way he forgets himself
when he's working with those dolls,
that is what kills you.
He's like a girl, that guy.
It's the little things
that matter to him.
A gesture,
a word or a touch.
Girls are like that,
although I'm not.
It is not the little things
that matter to me,
but what's coming up next.
That's me. Who's next?
I was married once,
for almost four years.
My husband Albert was a mechanic
with the US Air Force
and he was 12 years
older than me.
We met through my cousin
Lisa Lepore.
He was a tall man, thin,
with a long neck
and a huge Adam's apple
thatjumped when he talked
and made it difficult not to look at it.
He was an awkward man and
he stooped like a large bird.
He had the eye
of a bird too,
but he was attractive.
He proposed after two months
and I wasn't surprised.
I saw it coming.
We had the wedding
and the whole thing.
We got married
on my mother's birthday
and had she been alive,
it would have mattered,
but it was
a coincidence.
At first, the marriage
worked out well enough.
I think I was realistic about
what two people could offer one another
and I never fooled myself
with high expectations,
like women do.
I was studying fashion design
at a community college,
and we had this little house
we rented from his sister
who was a cancer patient.
It wasn't a bad house,
but it was hot in the summer.
In the summer, I tried to stay
outdoors as much as I could.
Whenever I think of Albert...
it's not often...
always the same few things
come to mind.
First, his sister.
She died one month
to the day we were married.
I remember it
like it was this morning
when he took me to meet her
at the hospital.
By then, she had only one lung
and was still in chemo.
We walked into her room,
and she was as gray as a pigeon,
even in the morning light.
And she had these little tubes
going up her nose.
She looked at me and said something
I couldn't understand.
I couldn't hear it, she no longer
had the breath for it...
whatever it was
that she said.
Albert agreed
and smiled at her
and it made me feel a little uptight
to be out of the loop.
Albert talked
to her about me
like I wasn't
standing there at all.
And she just smiled
without turning to see me.
Her lips were trembling.
Her name was Genevieve, but
Albert said everyone called her Evie.
He told her
that we were engaged
and he asked me
to show her the ring.
So I put up my hand
almost up to her face,
and a ray of sunlight
must have caught the solitaire
and bounced into her eye,
which made her squint.
Albert didn't see it,
but I kept my hand there
for a few seconds,
just watching as the ray of light
bounced in and out of her pupil.
It made her other eye
look like a glass eye,
like the eye of a doll.
I don't think she knew
what was hitting her.
And that bony face,
she was more dead than alive.
That's the truth.
Albert sat there
and held her hand,
and I just stood there.
On the way to the hospital,
he told me
how their father
had abandoned them
and how,
when their mother died,
Evie had been
like a mother to him,
even though she was
only three years his senior.
Seeing them in that hospital,
looking into each other's eyes,
reminded me of an article
I had read once
about a brother and sister
who were separated at birth
and adopted
by different families,
who as adults
met and fell in love.
The families turned against them,
and a court of law ruled
that they could not
get married or have children,
so they committed suicide.
He shot her
then hung himself.
In those cases, it's never her
killing him first, is it?
I was thinking about that,
when suddenly
Genevieve went
into a fit of coughing.
Albertjust held her hand
and waited for it to pass.
I had never seen him look at someone
like that before or after.
They were close.
The next thing I remember
about Albert was our sex life.
Albert was the first man
I ever slept with.
I had dated
a few boys before him.
The last one, Saul,
was a beekeeper.
He wasn't very bright,
but he was a good kisser.
That I liked.
I stopped seeing him
when I met Albert,
and I heard
that he was crushed.
Albert was my first.
I always felt...
there was something strange
about intercourse.
And the thought of it made me
a little queasy as a child,
when I first started
to put the pieces together.
The first few times
Albert and I slept together,
only the pain mattered.
And when the pain went away,
I didn't know what
the big deal was about.
And then,
things improved.
The first time
I had an orgasm during sex...
I cried.
I felt it wasn't
the kind of thing
you should experience
in front of another person,
even if they are your husband.
It was too... private.
That's the truth.
Albert had this thing
that he did.
He was insistent,
even from the beginning,
that we reach
orgasm together.
He always made sure
he wasn't ahead of me.
He even went
as far as to ask me
how far along I was,
and it was difficult for me,
talking about it
during the act.
But I got used to it.
You get used to everything.
But then, after awhile,
the whole thing felt forced.
It seemed to be
about him caring about me,
but it wasn't.
It was hostile.
One time,
he did come before me.
That time,
he just couldn't hold back.
I said nothing,
but I held him very tight.
I embraced him and we just lay there
in bed for awhile.
And then,
I whispered to him,
"I love you."
That was the one and only time
I ever said that to him.
I don't know
what compelled me to say it.
He said, "I love you too,"
and it made me feel strange,
embarrassed by him.
Something about him was embarrassing.
The next thing
I remember about him
is the artichoke fight.
Albert told me
right off the bat,
the first night we met,
that he had gotten a girl pregnant
and that the woman
had had the child,
a girl.
Her name is April. He said the girl
lived with her mother in Vermont
and that he never saw them,
but he sent them money
once a month.
He said he didn't care much
about the woman,
but that he just wanted
to be upfront about the whole thing.
I had nothing
to say about it.
It wasn't my business.
And one fine day,
the whole thing
started to bug me.
I don't think it had anything
to do with the money.
We didn't need the money...
at least I thought we didn't.
Albert handled the money.
It was his money.
So I didn't feel
I needed to deal with it.
But suddenly,
the whole thing began
to get under my skin.
In the beginning,
I said nothing.
I held it inside,
nursing it.
Then, one day,
we had this huge fight
because Albert said
I had overcooked an artichoke.
I reacted badly
and threw the artichoke
the kitchen cabinets.
He just looked at me,
up and down,
like I was a stranger.
Finally, he said,
"What the hell
is wrong with you?"
And I said, " I want you
to stop sending money
to that whore in Vermont."
He got up,
picked up the artichoke
and started to eat it.
I waited and waited
and he said nothing,
and finally I asked,
"Will you stop sending money?"
And without looking at me,
he said, "No."
I still remember how he put the entire
heart of the artichoke in his mouth.
things went downhill
after that period.
After a few days,
he took me out to dinner.
He was very patient
and tender with me
and he wanted to talk
about the whole thing.
But I could already feel
my whole interest
in the conversation
fade away.
I lied to him
and said he was right.
I even asked him
to forgive me.
He was very pleased
and he smiled that big smile,
and after dinner, we walked to
Elsie's Ice Cream for a special treat.
During the walk,
he held my hand.
It was the longest
walk of my life.
After that, I don't know
what came over me.
Every day that passed, Albert became
more and more repulsive to me.
The thought of him kissing me
made me sick to my stomach.
The little things I hated the most,
the little routines,
like him clipping his toenails
sitting on the toilet.
We had this cat
in the house,
that we inherited
from his sister.
He would feed it pieces
of canned sardines from his mouth.
I never used to care, but now
I had to turn away when he did it.
Even the sight of his empty shoes
by the bed was unbearable.
And I started to think
of all the things in the past
he had done that had bothered me
and that I had let pass.
Little things.
I can't think of them right now,
but they all came back to me,
driving me crazy.
By that time,
he had already quit the Air Force
and was working in a hospital,
doing maintenance.
I was working
for a tailor in Laguna.
We never argued again.
He even offered to stop
sending money to Vermont,
but I told him
he didn't have to do that.
That's what
he wanted to hear,
so that's what I told him.
But when he started talking to me
about having children?
That was my cue.
After months
of avoiding the subject,
he finally sat me down
and confronted me with it.
I just told him,
loud and clear,
"I'm not having
a baby with you."
I think he was expecting it.
But still, it hit him hard
and he cried,
which he'd never done before,
even when his sister died.
I started an affair
with an older man from Yugoslavia
who worked security
at the Coliseum.
I didn't tell Albert,
but I didn't make much
of an effort to hide it either.
And he never cracked up
enough courage to ask me.
The man from Yugoslavia,
Goran was his name,
he was all right.
A little clingy.
But after my life at home,
my afternoons with him
were like breathing pure oxygen.
I think Albert was relieved
when I finally left.
The truth is,
I can't remember
many details
about our relationship
And the whole thing
is just one big blur.
Here's another I do remember.
I haven't thought about it
since the day it happened.
The first night Albert took me out,
he took me to see a movie.
It was a rerun of Ben-Hur.
He'd seen it
many times before,
and he said he'd see it again
if I was up to it.
I said, "Why not?"
When we got to the theater,
the movie had already started.
We walked into the dark theater
and he held my hand
as we walked down the aisle,
and groped around
for some seats.
Then he let go of my hand.
And when my eyes
adjusted in the dark,
I could tell the whole place
was practically empty.
In our same row,
but all the way at the end,
there was a Mexican couple,
kissing throughout the movie.
They never once
came up for air.
After a while,
Charlton Heston is chained up
and dying of thirst...
and Jesus comes over
and gives him water.
I looked at Albert
through the corner of my eyes,
and I could tell
that he was...
crying... his eyes
were filled with tears.
And I immediately thought
it was kind of silly
for him to be crying
in a movie.
It was a red flag for me.
I said to myself,
"Be careful with him.
He's sentimental."
Sentimental people
are ruled by their feelings
and are capable of anything.
So I thought the whole thing
would go nowhere.
But then,
when he proposed to me,
I had already forgotten
the whole thing.
And I said yes,
and we got married.
It's funny.
I start out with someone...
I fill my head up
with expectations.
And later,
when it's all over, I can't...
for the life of me,
remember what it was
that I was hoping for.
I remember stuff...
but I can't remember
who I was.
The whole...
relationship is like
this weird terrain...
barren mostly,
with two or three things
sticking out of it that I recognize.
Two or three things
sticking out...
like warts that have...
shriveled and died.
There's been one man and
one man only in my life... Roy.
We were married 17 years
when he died at 46
three years ago
last November.
Of course, he wasn't
literally the only one.
There were quite a few
before him, and a couple after.
But they've come and gone without
a trace, without leaving a scar.
No blood on the tracks,
like my mother used to say.
The funny thing is,
before I met Roy,
I never thought of myself
as the marrying kind.
My parents had
a God-awful marriage.
That kind of bad example can be
a burden on children, girls especially.
They never split up,
but my mother told my sister
that she never loved my father.
She said it like that,
plain and simple.
In the long run, that didn't do me
and my sister any good.
Because love, like anything else,
is learned at home too,
like all the useful things
and some of the terrible ones.
From my father, we learned
the most useful advice:
Know yourself.
That, and trying to understand
how those around you are feeling.
After knowing yourself,
that's the most powerful tool to have...
the imagination
to understand others.
It sounds highfalutin
but it's good, useful advice.
My father's advice.
By the time I met Roy,
I had had a number of boyfriends,
and I was only 27.
Some people would say too many,
but how many's too many?
And what's a boyfriend anyway?
Boys I kissed
but didn't sleep with?
My cousin Matthew?
I've slept with him
in lean years and good years,
in sickness and in health.
I never think of him but for that,
sometimes not for years at a time.
Is Matthew a boyfriend
orjust a kissing cousin?
He's got a 10-year-old daughter
I've never met,
and a wife
I saw once at their wedding.
I can't even remember
if I liked her.
After all this time,
Mathew's practically a stranger,
but I could sleep with him
like I could slip on a pair of shoes.
Is Matthew a boyfriend?
Who cares?
The pattern with real boyfriends
was always the same.
If they could make me laugh,
they were off to a good start.
If they had a girlfriend,
that gave me a tingling sensation.
Younger than me was always
better than older,
like the lean over the heavy-set,
and the short over the tall.
I never slept
with them right away.
I liked
to hold out a little.
There's nothing more fun
than discovering a person's
sexual personality.
And the longer I could tease myself
with that, the better.
They all lasted about
the same amount of time... two months.
What is it
about two months anyway?
A change in the weather?
Two periods.
A trimming of your hair,
and then
that desire to move on.
And I never let them
into my life.
Those boys were an aspect
of my life, but not in my life.
That's what I wanted.
That made sense to me.
Sooner or later,
they all became little to me,
they were small
and not enough.
I wanted a man who could possess me.
They weren't it.
I wanted a man
who could defy me,
put me in my place.
I used to have this dream...
that two men made love to me
at the same time.
In the dream,
they looked alike, like brothers,
but I knew
they were the same man.
with 5:00 shadows.
And they were effeminate.
In the dream, I liked that.
They had manicured nails.
And while they're...
fucking me...
there's no other way
to put it...
they only look at each other,
and never at me.
And it's that fact
that turns me on
in the dream.
That's what makes the dream
so hot and vivid.
That and the smell
of flour.
Their hands smell
like they've been baking.
I had that dream for years,
since I was 14.
I never told a man
that dream, not even Roy.
Some things you can't share.
You know what?
In the dream,
it's not those men who are
the strangers. I am the stranger.
In the dream, I'm a blank,
and I love that.
In the dream,
I'm free of the need
to be understood
and the desire to share.
I'm a blank.
Those men are ravaging me.
I'm being had.
I always knew that dream was about
wanting to be worthless,
about wanting
to be nothing.
None of us matters anyway, and the
things that can help us realize that,
they're a great relief.
What I learned
from my husband Roy wasn't love.
I knew love already.
I loved my sister and my father.
I loved my mother with the kind
of love mothers and daughters share,
the mother-daughter thing.
Roy gave me
roots and wings.
My family wasn't roots
but an anchor.
And I had no wings
before Roy.
All I had was the burden
of my dreams.
Roy taught me to build a bridge
between my dreams and who I am.
Let me say that again.
We must build a bridge
between our dreams and who we are.
That's why most people
never find love.
Because our dreams
get in the way.
Love is about acceptance.
It's about settling.
Settling is
the real triumph of love.
It's easy to love a great man
if you find one and he loves you.
But real love
for real people,
that means, loving despite.
My friend Charlene left a man
because he bought too small a dog.
And Sylvia left
because a man was too quiet.
Joan bailed because
he huffed and puffed during sex.
Christine left a man
because his feet were too white.
And Sonia left
because he wouldn't diet.
Roy died in a fall.
He was...
on the roof of a building in Pasadena
with another contractor.
He stood
too close to the edge
and a gust of wind
caused him to lose his balance.
He fell 16 floors.
That is the worst
kind of death
because you have the time
to realize what happened
and to hate yourself for it.
You did it to yourself,
and you have ample time
to realize the horror.
In college, I read a short story
about a man who committed suicide
by jumping off a building,
and as he falls,
he looks through the windows
in the apartments
and the people that he sees,
the lives that he sees,
cause him
to change his mind.
He wished he hadn'tjumped.
I didn't like
that story even back then,
because I knew regret
was a woman's field.
You're writing a story about regret
and your hero's a man,
you got it wrong.
Regret is a woman's field.
That and disappointment.
In those fields,
we make a buck fifty
for every dollar a man makes.
After Roy died,
I couldn't get out of bed.
I kept thinking,
if only we'd had children,
I would have somebody
to share the horror with.
Our friends tried to help,
my family...
they meant nothing
to me then.
Their efforts were...
lame and useless.
These words I remember from a story,
lame and useless.
And then, something happened.
I woke up one day
and went back to work.
I came home...
and the next day,
I went to work again.
And one day
followed another...
and another...
and before you knew it,
I was okay.
I missed Roy. Sure I did,
but the sadness was gone.
And it was okay.
It made sense to me.
Not his death. Not that,
but the way things get left behind,
the way things get out of you.
Like some things pinch your skin,
they cling to you forever.
But others just wash away
without a rinse.
People, things, places,
they can just wash away,
and what's left
is a sense of peacefulness,
and the feeling that we're all alone.
And that's okay.
That's a relief too.
It's a relief to know
that the wind will blow us away,
leaving nothing,
not even a trace,
and it's good to be nothing,
and it's good to have nothing.
If only we wanted nothing
while we were here.