His mother didn’t like me. She mentioned his ex-girlfriend whenever she got the chance. Bridget* this. Bridget that. Have you talked to Bridget lately? Sure would like to see Bridget around. Do you know what Bridget’s up to today?
We met in a dorm room. I noticed a poster of a band I liked. I introduced myself. He introduced himself. She was there. Bridget. It didn’t start out the way it ended. We were friends, sort of. The three of us. A group of us. He got me a Hess toy truck for Christmas and I got him a box of crayons and a coloring book.
He broke up with Bridget. He apologized for his mother. I cried in his room and called her a stupid bitch, but only to myself. Not to her and not to him. Maybe he even said it—I’m sorry about her; she’s just a stupid bitch—but I never agreed. I knew better than to agree.
He taught me how to drive stick. He brought me to the record store to buy Rilo Kiley’s first CD. He later stole the CD. When I asked for it back, he threw it at my face in a mall parking lot.
I spent my first New Year’s Eve away from home. We went to a house party. We watched the ball drop in his car on a tiny two-inch TV.
Once he forgot to pick me up at the train station because he was fucking his ex-girlfriend, only I wouldn’t find out about that until later.
I broke up with him on my bed and got back together with him over IM. Then we got back together again. Then he said her name one time. Just her name. Bridget. And I just knew.
I said something glib. Something like—great. You cheated on me. I know you cheated on me. You cheated on me, didn’t you?
He said—How could you possibly know that?
My point is, people can be tricky. People can throw curve balls. Buy a baseball glove and a face mask and get yourself behind the plate until it’s your turn up at bat. And then knock it out of the park and run the bases as slowly as you can. Just really milk it. Take your time. Wave your hat in the air.
I was 18. I deleted every picture of him, but he looked exactly how you would think he’d look.
Just picture him. You probably have one in your past, too.
*names changed to protect the truly terrible.
photograph taken in New York City with a Minolta X-700