Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Story of Kim 2: Jefe Loses Out

The redhead's name was Kim, and she was a nice calm young woman, a year or so older than me. Edward and I took her out to various places, most of which I can't recall, but I remember we were downtown (clearly violating Kerr Park curfew, for those of you who spent your angry youth downtown skateboarding or taking acid) when I realized he and I had been competing for this girl's affections all day. This was my problem for a long period of time--taking things at face value, and/or missing subtexts and/or obvious body language. What can I say? I'm an idiot--I'm better about it now, but back then I still thought people not only said what they meant, they said everything they meant.

But once I realized what was going on, I did some quick mental arithmetic and decided a number of things:

1) Edward clearly wanted this girl, for one of two reasons

a) he was very attracted to her
b) his competitive nature had been aroused, and he just wanted to "beat" me.


2) I really wasn't that interested in Kim.

So I backed off, and if I remember right, even began upselling Edward a bit--but I did make excuses and leave them with plenty of the night remaining.

Turns out that's all that they needed. The next time I saw him, they were seeing each other, and both seemed quite happy. Edward was pleased to have someone that was (to all outward appearances) stable and calm, and Kim made no secret of how much she enjoyed Edward's, uh, dynamic energy.

So the summer progressed, and the coffee flowed, and I got a number of roommates in what was formerly a very lonely house. We were all busy, in short, and I think Edward and I may have drifted apart a bit, because he was working while I was free, and vice-versa. It was sweet to see Edward bustling about shouting and pouring coffee, while his little redhead sat at a small table in the corner doing a crossword puzzle, occasionally looking up to moon over her boy.

After a few weeks of this, Edward and I found ourselves alone on my porch together, with some sort of beer in a can, and thoughts turned to Kim. Being a neurotic, trouble borrowing motherfucker, even back then, I was beginning to wonder just how Edward had managed to wrangle such a cute, mild tempered woman into dating him until he moved away to school, in a couple of months.

In this first conversation, his reply to my query was "well, I just told her, 'look, I don't want a long distance thing, we have this time together,' you know, just laid it out, and she's OK with it." And this seemed as it should be--you have rules, and one of the rules is that if you're capable of talking about the difficult stuff involved in a relationship, you're capable of being honest with one another about the relationship, and by dint of being rational, adult human beings, content with the way it's going to progress and/or end up. Shit, this is how -I- deal with things, right?

But by the middle of July, I could tell something was wrong. Edward was...not quite dodging Kim, but spending more time at my place than he had during most of the summer. Kim's doting looks were tinged with need and maybe a hint of desperation, and her omnipresence in the cafe became obsessive.

At the beginning of August, I asked him again about "how things were going." He said basically the same thing as the first time, except slightly more specific. As a bit of a forensic conversationalist, what I gathered from our second discussion was mainly that they had already had multiple conversations about what I'm sure she termed as "their future," despite earlier agreements that there was no future. If you make it clear at the outset that you don't want the relationship to extend past a certain date, for instance, there's no reason to bring up the fact that it wouldn't be cool for the other person to move to whatever city you're moving to. In short, things were getting out of hand for ol' Edward.

Now, back at the beginning of the summer, I thought she was attractive and fun. After a month or so of watching her watch him work the cafe, I not only wasn't attracted to her, it would be fair to say I didn't even like her.

[I've given some thought recently to criticism that I don't like anyone's boy/girlfriend, and I think I can completely avoid meeting this criticism by pointing out that this girl was really and truly a freak. So there.]

And so, the end of the summer came, and since I don't remember Edward's going away party it must have been a hell of a good one. I was in the middle of some serious shit in my own life at the time, having lost all three roommates to ridiculous circumstances. I found myself not only roommateless, but also owing back rent to the tune of nearly $1000, and no visible means of income (my LSD connection had been thrown into disarray because someone in the group was a narc, and I wasn't making that much money anyway). In short, we kind of lost track of one another. In late September, I got my old job back, which helped the money situation for a bit, but then winter and short days crept in, and I found myself sick, cold, and lonely one afternoon in early November.


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