I kept looking at the clock on my computer screen. It had been another long day at the office. Is it almost 4:30 yet? I could not wait to leave. Aside from having too much to do for an upcoming deadline, I had to sit and stare at the back of his big head. My ex of five months sitting in front of me; the man I managed to fall in love with and the one that also broke my heart. I still loved him, but equally hated him for his callousness towards me both personally and professionally. Every minute in that office was torture. I tried to be stronger, but he always managed to beat me. I tried to be better, but he managed to come out on top anyway. I finally tried to play hardball and stick it to him (no pun intended) as he continued to do to me. And I finally felt good…guilty, but good.
Catholic guilt is kicking in as I type this, but vindication sometimes is a great thing.
Nevertheless, I needed to leave that office as soon as I could. I felt trapped. Drowning under the relentless pressure to move on and accept that we are no longer together while he just sits there playing with his computer and rocking out to his Pandora looking like some damn fool, all the while ignoring my existence.
Did I ever mean anything? Did he really love me? Oh screw it! I’m far better looking and much smarter than his sorry ass anyway! Still, I could not wait to get out of there. Any moment away from that boy playing at being a man gives me the chance to breathe again. His presence was suffocating me.
I look at the clock, 4:20. It’s quitting time! I hurriedly race to close the files and shut down my computer. I gather my things, and brisk by him as I head out of the office. I need to hurry to catch my 4:30 train, and these legs weren’t made for running! Fortunately, my legs did not give out on me this day and I manage to make it to the train station with a few minutes to spare. So, naturally I grab one of the free alternative weeklies before ascending the stairs to the platform. Still winded, I find an empty seat on the upper level of the train next to the stairs and passenger car door.
I sit down and throw my belongings on the empty chair next to me. Exhausted from my day, yet exhilarated from my regained freedom, I begin to sleepily browse through the weekly. I flip through the pages, and notice a yellow paper insert fall out and onto my lap. Too tired to pick it up, I pay no attention to it and continue reading through the paper. Suddenly a lady comes up to me and asks me where the café car was located. I tell her to just walk to the next car and follow the sign. But as I am telling her I notice that that she has a perplexed look on her face and that she was not giving me direct eye contact. She was instead too fixated at staring… down there. After I give her the directions she manages to pry her eyes away from their fascination with my crotch and look back up with a strange grimace to thank me. I don’t read much into it and just figure she is interested in seeing what I am reading, and end it at that.
As we approach our first stop, passengers begin crowding the aisle next to me in waiting to descend the stairs once the train comes to a stop. Again, I notice people oddly looking at me. And again, they are looking not so much at me, but at that other part of me. Of course, I put little thought into it. Hey, I was exhausted and just wanted to get home!
The train stops and those passengers giving me the strange looks finally descend the stairs and depart the train. I go back to reading. Ten more minutes and I will be at my destination. I manage to doze off briefly with the newspaper still in my hands. I awaken to the sounds of the conductor announcing our arrival to my destination. I fold close the paper, and put it in my bag. I look down on my lap (my crotch to be exact) and notice the yellow paper insert that fell out earlier.
In big bold letters it reads: “GOT GENITAL WARTS? KNOW THE SYMPTOMS!”
I do not have genital warts.
I’m From Heyburn, ID: “When I think of winter, I think of you and our fights. The cold tiles of our kitchen floor are as harsh in my mind as your tone of voice when you shoved me to the floor. I think of how, for months, I never got an apology. Never an admittance you had done anything wrong. I think about the future, and wonder if other lovers will be as malicious and deceiving.”
I’m From New York, NY: “Our bedroom was the size of a double bed. It was cramped and sexy. I’d never had a boyfriend before. I fell in love so quickly. Once he left a trail of rose petals from the front door, down the narrow hall, and into the double bedroom. He was lying there naked and waiting. After we made love I noticed the petals on the floor were yellow and that Dolly Parton said yellow roses mean goodbye.”