It’s not you
My hell, I’m as spontaneous as a pimple. I couldn’t believe I just vomited the words: “Move in with me?” Seriously! I should scrawl ‘Loser’ across my forehead in permanent ink.
Charlie’s first reaction to the question was to laugh. He does that a lot. Maybe I’ll scrawl ‘Human Laugh Track’ across his billboard of a forehead in permanent ink—okay, his forehead is actually proportionally sound, I’m just being a bitch. ‘Hyena’ would fit.
He eyed me, as if he was inside my head taking photographs, “You’re thinking something cruel again, aren’t you?”
“Did you not mean that?”
“Mean what?” I scurried into cluelessness.
“You just asked me to move in with you.”
“Well, yeah—temporarily, I mean—” I would’ve felt more comfortable being buried alive at this moment.
“What?” He grabbed me by both shoulders to steady my nerves that were taking over my body.
“You can stay until you find another place, or—longer.”
Charlie stifled another laugh. Can people laugh without a tongue?
Once he locked eyes with me he said those three little words that turn people into minced meat, “It’s not you—”
“Portus!” I commanded under my breath. We just returned from seeing the final Harry Potter movie.
Unfortuantely Charlie heard it and gaffawed. Dropping his arms, he explained, “Tommy, you are one of the funniest persons I have ever met and you bring me such joy—”
“Hey, I say that too!” Run, girl run! He gave me a freeze-frame look, and I did.
“Tommy, you’re sweet and neurotic, qualities I love in you—the combination is spellbinding.” I guess we were both channeling Harry Potter. “But I haven’t lived on my own, ever. I’ve always lived with family or roommates, and to tell you the truth I’m over it. I want to try living alone for once, does that make sense?”
For a 28-year-old, of course; but for me, who’s about to turn 42, not so much. “Sure.”
Those four little words that turn people 180 degrees and sprinting for the hills, move in with me, obviously still do the trick.
A few days after my faux pas, I still hadn’t responded to two voicemails and a dozen or so text messages from Charlie. I should have, I haven’t received any today. I had saved all the other messages and so I went through them again, though by this I point I could recite them verbatim — okay, maybe not verbatim. I can be overdramatic. The messages started out somewhat apologetic and sweet, but hurried to less apologetic and more accusatory—still with underlying sweetness.
I sighed and slumped over on the couch. A few moments passed before my hands took over and punched in Charlie’s cell number. Ahhh, karma, it went to voicemail:
Hi, you’ve reached Charlie Carmichael.
Unfortunately I am unable to take you’re call at
this time. I would really like to get back to you
as soon as possible, so please leave your name,
number, and a brief message. Thank you so
much and have a really great day, bye.
I paused, soaking up his sexy voice, and then realized my message wouldn’t likely be brief—or necessarily coherent. And, of course, after a minute or two of rambling I hung up, uncertain of the sense I made, if any. I guess now only time will tell.
Suddenly I was urged to listen to Asia. I fingered through my tower of cassettes until I found it, 1990’s Now & Then. I slipped it into the cassette player, pushed the stubborn play button, then wedged a nail file in between it and the pause button to keep it from shutting itself off. Technologically advanced I am not, but I do have nicely manicured hands.
As John Wetton broke into one of my favorite songs “Heat of the Moment,” I was instantly transported back to my old bedroom in the basement of my parents’ house. I wished that the Portus spell would’ve worked more quickly. I was 20 years old and partially in the closet (I had come out to my friends but not my parents). Daniel and I had skipped our art appreciation class at the U of U and went back to my house—both my parents worked—for a little gay R&R. (Rimming & Risting) Okay, that’s just bad form. I had put on Asia—back then I had the vinyl record—and Daniel and I really got into the heat of the moment. So much so, that in the middle of it he asked me to move in with him. Uh, excuse me, this is the first time we’ve been biblical! I realized immediately that was another overdramatization for an agnostic. I nudged him off me and did my best to let him down softly, “It’s not you—well, maybe a little. You’re three years older than I am, so we don’t really have much in common. I just don’t see it working out.”