I’m sure you’ve been in my position before. I know you have because all humans are obligated in this life to interact with other humans, which inevitably ends in loss, one way or another. The really messed up thing is that it’s not like someone is the loser and another person gets to win, we just all lose in differing degrees. But I guess, looking at it the other way, we all win just a little bit too maybe? I’m not all about that silver lining shit right now though. I’m angry. I was done wrong. I was betrayed. I feel lost. Yes, this is still about that fucking asshole. I’m sure you have one or two of them yourself you just can’t shake. The same one you keep complaining about over and over and your friends look at you like “Really? This asshole again?” Yes. That asshole manifest.
Hopefully by the time you read this I have coughed all of him up and spit the oozy sticky tumor of it mixed with mucus and spit and unwanted clingy bacteria onto the dirty sidewalk with icy nonchalance, never pausing in stride and leaving it to lie there petrifying and hardening into oblivion. Dirty motherfucker.
But for now the barbed tendrils are clutching my heart, filling the insides of my lungs and choking up my throat with emotional turmoil.
One more day, I tell myself. One more day. Tomorrow is one day closer to who I am and what I lost. That bastard ripped me so far away from my best self I can’t even find her anymore.
How could he have lied to me for so long? How could he have tricked me into thinking it was safe to love him? That’s not fair. The truth is it’s never safe to love anyone, and I’ve always known that. You, whoever you are out there in the world, I need you to remember this and think long and hard about what I’m experiencing and learning. Involve yourself with people fully knowing you are at risk of anyone becoming that Asshole. Mess with the universe at your peril. Give good out there, but the majority of what you’ll get back will be a mixed bag of pain, confusion and anxiety with a little sprinkling of fun moments to keep you wanting more, keep you hungry for living. I try not to expect too much.
But I think this time I caught a break.
I won’t bore you with the mundane details of my recent break up. All the usual relationship foibles apply. Cheating, lies, passionate chaos. Just imagine all the cliche things people do when they are afraid of being honest and afraid of letting go of people, imagine all the breakups you have had that left you a raw wounded bleeding animal. However it ended, you shuffled away carrying a heavy cross of rejection. Maybe later you sort of felt better, almost like yourself again but then out of nowhere some innocent thing set you back on your heels and you spiraled quickly back to square one.
Clearly that’s somewhere near to where I am. My individual first square is full of whiskey, wine, junk food and obsessive self pity. This is just the context for you for my degree of emotional insanity that seems is now mixing with mental insanity..maybe.
The thing is, something is happening. Time travel. Either I’m schizophrenic or I’m serious magic. You most likely don’t know me, as I’m just writing this to whoever. I guess in case something happens to me and people wonder if I did that crazy shit because I was on drugs or whatever, let me just assure you it’s because I’m imagining things that appear to be believable in my mind. So this is a memoir of my temporary insanity. It’s pretty surreal. I have this feeling it’s the universe trying to make up for all the fucked up shit that’s happened in my life, the universe is like “Here take this, it’s not much but it might make up for what a shitty hand I dealt you.” That could be. Or maybe I’m a witch, or maybe my force of will has given me this gift. I’m a seer or a visionary. Does it really matter?
I could produce theories all day. The fact is, for me at least, this is happening. The situation is this: everyday at noon the last few days, I travel forward through time to midnight for 15 minutes, and then travel back to the present. The future I experience is afterward gone, erased from existence.
The first time it happened I was in a park in the middle of the city. That was where I first met the aforementioned Asshole. I was moping on a bench, staring at a few kids playing and thinking, we could have had kids if he wasn’t such a dumb asshole. The kids laughed and screamed, running around like rabid animals. They were so happy it was making me furious. I was about to get up and position myself and precarious coffee in their path so I had an excuse to yell at them when all of a sudden I was in my bed, and it was night time.
“What the fuck!?” I slurred out, and looked down. I was in full-on PJ’s, wine stains all over my shirt, fuzzy drunk with Hot Cheetos misting delicate crumbs out of my mouth as I yelled in alarm. The TV was blaring a Netflix binge I had been planning, the new season of House of Cards just came out. I turned it off immediately, confused yet certain of one thing: no spoilers allowed. My right hand was orange red from the Cheetos, and my left was gripping my cell phone. I looked at it and saw that I had been composing a message as yet unsent to my Ex: “yrg sux, go to hell dick bag sucker you’re soo…” I quickly deleted it.
Shit. I felt a sinking feeling. I looked again and saw I had sent my Ex four messages with no response, all of an incriminating nature.
5:14pm: I was in that park today where we met. Why are you such an asshole?
6:32pm: I’m sorry I called you an asshole. Want to come over and fuck?
7:45pm: Just kidding I hate you. Go fuck yourself.
11:30pm: I set your cutting board on fire. Why don’t you love me?
Jesus christ. What happened? This is fucked, what a shit show. Then I realized I smelled something burning. I got up out of my snack nest and went to the kitchen. The cutting board my Ex had given me as a birthday gift was scorched in a circle matching exactly my stove burner. It was one of those novelty cutting boards shaped like a guitar, because he knew my secret wish was to be a rock star. He had given it to me and said “You’re my Rockstar.” That cheesy lying asshole. I saw a few more wine bottles on the table. No wonder it was hard to walk. Motor skills, fire and drunk don’t mix well. Thank god I hadn’t set the whole house on fire.
That was my first time. I popped back to the park 12 hours earlier, no longer drunk, poised in the path of running children. They smacked right into me as I had previously hoped but I was flustered from time travel so rather than spilling measured amounts of coffee and screaming at them they knocked me flat on my ass with hot coffee entirely splattered all over my face and chest. I didn’t care. I actually laughed. I started hysterically laughing, my belly pulsing with it, strange noises coming out of me like a dying hyena. I sat up and wiped myself as best I could, feeling happy for some reason, giddy. I looked up at the sunny sky and silently thanked the Universe. I pulled my phone out and double checked whether I had sent any messages to my ex. Whew. No messages sent. Thank god.
For the first time in a while I knew exactly what I should do. I had a purpose. I had a fucking SMILE. I deleted his contact immediately, and history just to be sure. Probably for the best if I was going to end up getting weepy and wasted in the near future. I headed home, found the cutting board, the shirts he left, his briefs, his power cord, the drawing he made, all the pictures of us, anything I could find that reminded me of him, driftwood from that trip, that nut butter I bought because he liked it, the shirt he always asked me to wear. I stripped out of my coffee covered clothes and put on my power suit. I wear it whenever I want to feel like a badass. It’s these super tight black cutoff shorts and a crop top that says BITCH in sparkly rhinestones. This bitch is ready to play. I get all the shit and take it out to my back yard. It was time to send him off properly. BBQ time. I arrange all his items in my grill (it’s one of those big wide ones), douse it all with half a can of lighter fluid and sprinkle some coals in there. I light a match, look at the flame and imagine our life together, I mentally superimpose his butthole face onto the flame.
“Goodbye Asshole.” I said in my coldest monotone bitch voice. I threw his dumb flame face onto his shit. And my shit. Our shit. “Burn it all the the ground” I growled, my power suit doing its work: my legs spread and I lift my arms up over my head in exaltation as the grill roars to life with light and sparks. A pretty decent fire ball flares. “Arrrrrrrrrrrrr” I yell into the sky, my hands curling into fists in the air as I finish my guttural battle cry. I leave my arms up, my eyes closed and smiling, face upturned to the sun soaking in the warmth.
That felt good. I thought maybe that was as far as it went with cosmic intervention for my mundane relationship issues, but I was also sort of prepared for it happening again.. Just in case. The next day I was waiting. I was already in my power suit, sitting on my front step ready for knowledge of the future. I looked at my clock and closed my eyes at noon, opening them at midnight 12 hours later. It happened again. I was fucking pumped. Time to be MAGIC.
I was at work. Nothing magical about working the night shift at OfficeMax. I work during the day too, I do kind of half and half. They need goons to come in at night, receive product and restock the shelves for the next day. Sometimes I’m alone, sometimes my supervisor is on shift with me if there’s a big load. Either way the cameras all over the store are monitored by corporate and sometimes they call to keep you on task. It’s pretty creepy. But this time, I knew I was on eraser time.
I got a crowbar from the back, went onto the sales floor and started really giving it to the brand new HP All-in-One Printer on display. This printer is like number million in a long line of HP series printers which are all EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME. They all look the same, they all do the same thing, they are slightly different only in inconsequential ways.
“What’s the difference?” I said in a high pitched mocking bitch-customer voice as I broke the scanning glass with a satisfying shattering sound. “There’s NO DIFFERENCE” I roared and cracked open the ink cartridge. Dipping two fingers into the powdery ink substance, I drew two lines under each of my eyes. I checked my watch. 12 minutes of eraser time left. I have 12 minutes to fuck with the bastard.
I pick up the phone at the store and dial his number. Yes, I know it by heart.
I don’t say anything for a second. The sound of his voice hits me in the chest, harder than I expected. Like an icy explosion.
“Jenna? Is that you? I know this is your work, it’s coming up on my cell.”
I look at myself in the reflection of a computer monitor nearby. I look super badass with ink lines under my eyes. Eraser time.
“Hey Jared. You’re right, it’s me. I just wanted to let you know I was never that attracted to you but I was really turned on by how much you were attracted to me. I thought from the beginning you weren’t right for me but we had all this inertia and you were pretty fun. I wanted a certain thing but I was lazy and didn’t want to go any farther than you because dating is hard and so I tried to fit you in my life and convince myself it was the thing I wanted. But you just didn’t fucking fit. I began to hate you. I was more attracted to you the more I hated you. We had great hate sex. But you ruined it all the time by talking and trying to cuddle and wanting any sort of real relationship. But I can pretend pretty well. I give good girlfriend. And I could’ve spent my whole life with a sorta ok person for myself and never really be happy. But thankfully you fucked up a bunch of times and I was upset about it. Then I wanted you again. All of a sudden, I was going to lose this vision of my life I had assigned to you. It was never real though. I see that now. Now I’m thinking, that’s just fucking great and thank you. I still hope you die though, you should’ve gone about this like an adult not all backward like a piece of shit.”
I take a big breath in.
“Jenna, I don’t even know what to say…it’s the middle of the night.”
I hung up.
That was another great moment. I spent my last few minutes that night climbing the shelf and throwing the remaining HP printers to the ground around the latest model, hoping they would get it and realize they haven’t evolved. It’s time for change. “You’re all the same” I lectured them as I swooped back into the present. Destroying things is really empowering turns out. The painful echo of my break up was still present but muted for the time being. You know what else is always the same? Me. I was always the same. Every time I went through a breakup. I spiral, I have a hard time letting go, and I just hang on and on. I hold tightly to my pain. Why is it that the worse someone treats me, the more I want to be with them? Why can’t I just go quietly into the night instead of waiting for all my emotions to bubble out of me at a vigorous boil for forever until one day they magically dissipate indefinitely and I feel nothing? Who knows.
I decided to take a chapter out of my own Printer self-help book and change things up. Clearly my job wasn’t the most gratifying part of my life. I called work and quit that afternoon.
As a person-of-magic, I now had skills that could be monetized. I had been wearing my power suit for two days straight at this point, and it was all beginning to go to my head. Screw money, I’m in it for the big deal issues, saving the world and taking names. Do I want to fight crime? Or commit it. “Eraser girl strikes again and no one but her remembers,” headlines would read. I could knock up some banks or whatever. Money is great, but the sparkles on my shirt were saying “Jenna, you got to use your powers for good, you owe it to yourself to feel super important.” And those sparkles were right. I was meant for great and important things. I decided. My new job is Magic Time Traveller Badass Crime Resolution Specialist.
I was going to take a crack at crime fighting. I courageously downloaded a Police scanner app on my cell phone, and got ready to time travel the next day. This is like Minority Report and I’m Tom Cruise. I shot to the future, in bed and cozy. I grabbed my cell phone and listened to the scanner. Let’s see. Noise complaint. Drunk and disorderly. Car accident. Here we go: Robbery across town! Just the thing for an aspiring crime fighter to cut her teeth on.
Cut back to noon, present. I head out to the address I had gotten from the future. It was a divey neighborhood bar, sort of hipster like, sort of nasty but in a comforting way. They had bad lighting and pinball machines, and a happy hour special that was completely irresistible. A shot of Jameson and a PBR for 5$. Well. Need something to do while I wait to prevent a serious crime. I had a few. Maybe a good 5. It’s 7:00 PM and I have a few more hours before I save everyone but I’m having a hard time recruiting help.
“Soooo I was saying I travel through time ok. I never said I had a teleporter ok. I took a cab here duh.” I burped into the bearded bartender’s face while saying “Duh”. Really drove it home for him.
“I see. So I’m going to get robbed. And how do you plan to prevent the robbery you saw while time travelling this afternoon?” He said as he rested his chin on a meaty fist, eyebrows raised.
“I didn’t see it. I heard it on the scanner!” I slammed a fist on the table. I’m fucking magic, doesn’t he get that?
“Right. So what’s your plan?”
“Well I came here. Ok so here’s my plan… I’m drinking. And I’m warning you so you know, you’re welcome. And I’m going to punch him I think. Or no, I think you should punch him. I’ll kick him in the balls.”
“How do I know when to punch him?” He asks with a grin on his face, pouring me another shot of Jameson.
“When he tries to rob you dumbass.”
“But what if he has a gun?”
“Damnit.” I didn’t think of that.
“Let me help you out. Ok so say you know the general time this happened. Do you?”
“Yeah sort of. Midnight. Probably like ten minutes before.” I take the next shot of Jameson, whiskey dribbling attractively over my sparkly BITCH shirt. I look at my crop top admiringly for a second. I’m a Time Hero. “Ok yeah, I get you. I’ll just call for the cops like 10 minutes before it happened when I was in the future. Good call.”
The bartender winks and takes away my pyramid of empty shot glasses.
I almost protest as it is such a work of art but I tell myself to focus. Your best shot at paying your tab now is making that 911 call at the right moment. They gotta clear it when they realize you’re legit.
I waste time losing at pinball for a while and then realize it’s 11:45. Hero business time.
I pick up my cell and call 911.
“Hello 911, What is your emergency?”
“Hi, there’s a robbery happening, please send someone quick.”
“Ok, what is your location?”
“15th and Grand, Pappy’s Bar. Come fast!”
“What does the perpetrator look like?”
“A person, I didn’t see, I gotta go.” I hang up.
So sly. I’m super smart. I feel dizzy. I hazard a glance over to the bar. There’s what appears to be a sweet old lady but I’m pretty sure she’s looking my way like, “That person can fight crime and I’m a criminal.” The grandma routine is a perfect disguise. Why would an old lady be here at midnight? It’s obviously a set up. I was set up!
I lunge forward, planning a strategic boob punch, when I vomit on my crop top, lurching a little with the force. A large figure walks past me, I see a silhouette of a shotgun in two massive gloved hands. He booms “This is a hold up!” As he strides towards the bar.
Damnit. I struggle to react but end up pointing wordlessly at him.
As he passes me on a beeline to the bar his boot hits the beer and Jameson mixture pooled on the floor in front of me and he slips rapidly and comically on his back, his head cracking on impact and the shotgun blasting a hole in the ceiling.
“Woah.” I whisper, watching blood seep out from under his masked head.
The bartender walks out from behind the bar and stands next to me in shock as a policeman opens the door to the bar.
My body starts swaying. I look at the bartender’s face and wink at him. “Goodnight!” I yelp as my brain shuts down. I can feel my body crumpling down against him as if from afar, and before I fully black out I register him saying “You’re one crazy bitch.”
Damn straight motherfucker.