July 7, 2013

May 14, 1995

The day after Richard and I broke up, I woke up at 8 and put on my clothes and went over to his house and crawled into his bed. “I’m almost ready to go,” I announced. “Just one more hug.” He pulled my arm over him and gave my hand a kiss.

I went home and called Nathaniel. My voice was about six octaves lower than usual.

“We broke up, of course.”

“Oh, kid,” he said, very sympathetically. “It’ll be okay.”

“It’s for the best,” I said.

“Everything will work out.” We went back and forth like that for a while.

“The two of you will stay friends.”

“We care about each other a lot.”

Until we got to “Maybe one day he and I will get back together,” then he said, “Let me put Alex on the phone.”

“I’m sorry about your breakup,” said Alex politely and with spirit.

“Maybe I’ll meet a nice gay man.”

“What are you doing.”

“I’m going to meet my dealer. Tonight I’m going to Biblios, from where I’ll probably take home my friend Ward.”

“You’re so dramatic and tragic. I just love it.”

I went over to Hil’s where that guy Ira was strutting around in his undershirt. I dislike him a lot but that didn’t stop me from pouring out all my sorrow and crying in front of them both.

“I’m trusting my friends to tell me it looked shitty from the outside and it was bound to happen.”

So she says, “Janice, the relationship looked shitty from the outside, it was inevitable…”

Ward delivered the line, “You’re too beautiful to have to cry,” which was exactly what he’d been hired for. Kathy called him “Bambi,” and “the widdle widdle.” He is a lowercase poet. Really it was comic. The sex part was cursory, in the morning, idiotic grappling in the lowest sense. So why am I on my way to meet him now? Maybe this is just the perfect aversion therapy. I’ll really relish being alone. I’m writing about it already like fiction. Ward is so obvious. It would have shown much more maturity and better taste to have just flown it alone. I think I cried 3 times, 2x Thursday night (in bed), 1x Friday morning. How can the sight of me crying over Richard possibly be erotic. He danced around naked and told me about Ward in High School. I was somewhat diverted and charmed. He has good stories but he works them. Anyway, a trick is a trick, I would never mistake it for love.

Nathaniel wonders why he spends so much time groping his female friends, and why we only put up with it to a point. It was wrong of me to refer to him at the party as my auxiliary boyfriend. I was showing off and it was mean. Today (Sun.) he’s mad at me but I called him in time to head most of it off. Charming scene Fri night, spent all day moping degenerately and feeling smug and ridiculous.

On the freakout scale I am trying to judge. I think I never want to freak out again. I think I’m officially ready to quit freaking out forever. Can I be wrong about this? I’m getting much stronger. I’m not having a nervous breakdown, and if you would stop acting like I’m having a nervous breakdown and I’m giving you one too, we could both not be having nervous breakdowns. I’m sitting in our favorite seats next to the window. I guess they’re everybody’s favorite seats. When you sit here with Kathy do you pat her on the thigh. I hate you. I miss you. One way or the other I’m going to be okay.


  1. Satia says:

    Been blogging about the past a bit lately too. Not a lot. A bit with another bit coming. My mother shared a story the other day from her childhood and she came to the conclusion that her parents loved one another. And hated one another. I’m coming to the realization that being angry and dismissive is easier than holding onto love and letting go of a relationship.

    Your blog posts are not helping. I read and then I want to write more.

  2. Kirsten Fitrell says:

    Oh, Janice, I hadn’t realized that you started writing on your blog again! Isn’t there some sort of app you can invent that will enable you to zing your legions when you post? I was missing you and your writing so I popped on to have a gander and revisit old pieces. To my surprise, I found a smattering of new (to me) posts from over the past year. I sat and read them all this evening — transfixed — consuming your humor, your frustration, your shock, your heartbreak, and your gradual, bumpy healing all in one greedy sitting. And now I am missing you even more, further convinced of your open heart and my belief that you are one of the most generous, brave people I’ve ever known. You are, simply, such a beautiful and gifted writer and a wondrous, imaginative, gorgeous inspiration to everyone you touch with your words and your honesty. More, my friend, write more!

    Eagerly awaiting more of your voice

  3. […] One might further conclude from Erlbaum’s tale — just reacting to the reviews, without having read the book — that the nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree. That is to say, Janice Erlbaum seems to have spent her adolescence and young adulthood in “got to have a man” mode, which pattern continued long after her stint as a homeless teenager ended. She reproduces at her blog a journal entry from 1995, when she was 23 or 24, breaking up with one boyfriend and haphazardly hooking up with another male acquaintance: […]

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