“Natalie, I’d like you to meet my special friend, Charlotte.”
“Hi Natalie, I’m Charlotte Strong. Walt has told me a lot about you. You’ve made a fine impression on this nice man.”
Charlotte is one those big boned women with a booming voice. She grabs my hand and gives me this steel vice-like grip handshake. I don’t mind the booming voice, but the handshake? I was counting how many of the twenty-seven bones in my hand she had crushed—one carpus, two metacarpals, and five phalanges.
“Nice to meet you, Charlotte. Walt has told me a lot about you.”
“Like a son to me. Like a son. Not a day passes without Walt checking up on me. Eh Walt?”
“You’re far too kind, Charlotte. You…and Natalie…are two of my favorite people.” Walt’s quiet tones a stark contrast to hers.
Thank you very much, Mr. Guilt Harbinger. You’re not one of my favorite people. Can you quit saying that?
“Well, I guess we should be going. Don’t want to bother you. In the military we don’t stand around and waste anyone’s time.” And she strode out, strong and healthy with a pale Walt following close on her heels.
I should have guessed that.
“You ignoring me?”
Another text from Frankie. He always does this. I don’t hear from him for weeks, and if I don’t reply back immediately, he gets all demanding.
“I’m sorry the number you have texted is not receiving text messages from you. Ever.” I respond.
“I know that trick.”
“Frankie, I’m at work you can’t call me while I’m at work.”
“But I’m thinking about you.”
“That still doesn’t mean you can call me at work.”
“Okay, promise me you’ll respond—or I’ll keep calling your office number.”
“Frankie, you do that and I promise you I’ll kill you.”
“Oh good. I thought you were mad at me.” And I’m hearing his laugh and asking God if there will ever come a day when I can hear his laugh and won’t just cave in. Will he always affect me like this?
And then he texts me a link to the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong.”
He texts again with the lyrics,
I’ve waited here for you
I’m driving home from work…and the tears suddenly start to flow. They just won’t stop.
I have to pull the car into the Safeway parking lot. It’s pouring rain outside. One of those great Bay Area rains. I wish I was by the ocean…I love watching the ocean in the rain.
And it’s pouring rain inside of me, too. Torrents.
I’m still trying to figure out all my feelings. Frankie is so intense and he seems to know me so well. Sending me the Everlong lyrics really pushed me over the age. Women ask for typical love songs songs…”Endless Love,” “I’ll Always Love You,” “Unchained Melody,” but this is my favorite love song. He knows it without my even telling him.
Gwen and Mitch aren’t here. I’m alone at home and I’m longing for some sense of balance…like I used to have at parents’…before Frankie…before Tav.
Frankie came into my life like a hurricane…I want to say toofan, because I once was watching the Weather Channel and they were talking about a “toofan” in India. It came on so suddenly and was so intense for a short period of time…and then, just as quickly it faded away. But the devastation it left behind was enormous.
And that’s what it’s been like with Frankie. I realize that I’ve been swallowing all my hurt and pain…and I just can’t do it any more. I don’t want to see him, but the thing is when I hear from him, I’m so happy. Every time I decide that I’m going to stop talking to him…texting him…or even thinking about him, it’s like he knows this and he’ll make contact. And then, I’m thrown into this downward spiral again.
I just want it to stop. I want the frustration to go away. I want to stop hurting. I want things to be the same as they were with Frankie. Before I moved away. But they’re not. I’m finding it so hard to accept that.
Will I ever stop caring? Will I ever forget him? Right now, it just seems impossible. I see my life stretching ahead in endless emptiness…no sound of his voice, seeing him, being with him…
I’m reading what I wrote and am feeling like the desperate girlfriend. So pathetic. I’m going to have to change my life or something.
Maybe I’ll go to Siberia. Anything to get away from him.
“Nat. Thinking about you. I want to see you soon.” Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Another text from Frankie.
I’m never going to be able to get away from him… I’m going to be hurt and sad and pathetic for the rest of my life. Waiting for him. He’ll contact me, disappear, say sweet things to all his women friends on Facebook…
I wish I had a Fairy Godmother who would whisk me away from all this and find me my Prince Charming…or Paris.
But also not, because I want to call Frankie and talk to him.
Brain…you need to stop.