You give & you give & you give.
Mini Kit-Kats. Red Sticks of Laffy Taffy. Baby pouches of Sour Patch Kids. Pumpkin-shaped Reese’s.
You pick goodie after goodie out of your plastic, bulbous jack-o-lantern head for each friend who asks to steal a Twix bar because they never got one of their own.
But it isn’t until you’ve returned home to your bedroom, holding your pumpkin bucket upside down over your astronaut bed, shaking it like crazy to find one piece of candy that’s not a 4-pack of Whoppers or a spearmint sleeve of Lifesavers, do you realize that there’s nothing left.
The uplifting and heartfelt power of Christmas giving, instead on an exhausting Halloween. How wonderful does it really feel to be a good person?
I pulled into my ex-boyfriend’s apartment complex around 9p.m. on a Saturday night. I came for the bittersweet nostalgia, but stayed for a peak. He works doubles on the weekends, and used to come home late to a happy Luke who would have been waiting all day long to hold his hands and kiss his nose.
I officially set my mind on the stakeout operation when I couldn’t remember what his car looked like, much to my frustration. I remembered it silver. But also black. I think it was a Hyundai. Acura, or Atari, or Alcatraz. I couldn’t remember.
Why the fuck couldn’t I remember?
I’ll sit here, I thought. I’ll catch a glimpse of him when he pulls in. Then, I’ll leave. No funny business. I swear.
An hour went by, then two, then three.
I didn’t keep my car on that long, of course, out of gasoline conservation as well as discretion. Couldn’t have my headlights calling any attention to myself. Not on my mission impossible.
Even with my windows rolled down, the Oklahoma summer heat waded its way inside. I sat in pitch black silence with sweat pooling across my forehead. Mosquitoes buzzed in to poke bendy-straws into my ankles and forearms. I chose not to care. A form of self-punishment. You fucked up the relationship, the least you can do is can sit here in the suffocating heat and let a couple of insects live their goddamn lives. Someone deserves to be happy.
When the fourth hour of the stakeout passed, I finally gathered enough courage to get out of my car and touch his bedroom window. I thought about taking a piss on it, but remembered I kinda loved him and shit.
Time moves slowly when you’re bored. Weekday shifts at work, a long sit in the salon chair, some civilized-white-people-history class your college requires you to take. That overwhelming internal sensation of “I just want to fucking leave already.”
But I wasn’t bored sitting alone in my car for five hours. I had absolutely no desire to leave. As much as I wanted to shower, or sleep, or eat my feelings with whole pints of Ben & Jerry’s in the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment, I persisted.
The mind forgets much faster than the heart. Trivial details like the make and model and color of your ex-boyfriend’s car.
That’s why I didn’t want to leave.
I wasn’t waiting for my ex-boyfriend to come home from work.
I was refusing my subconscious the chance to let go.
To forget, to move on, to drive away.
Not just of the chance to let go of him but of the chance to let go of every selfish boy in my life who took a piece from my candy stockpile until it dwindled & dwindled & dwindled down to absolutely nothing.
You give & you give & you give, but how wonderful does it really feel to be a good person?
Jesus Christ, you dumbass. He works a Sunday double too. He’s gonna spend tonight with his family in Yukon to be closer to work in the morning.
So I went home.
And I got in bed.
Tomorrow, I told myself, I’m gonna buy a fucking Snickers.