In this installment of Fixing Me, Gregory Sherl obsesses over all the men she touched below the waist.
So I’m in the shower, right, soaping my legs and arms and parts of my back I can reach if I stretch out like it’s bed even though I’m standing, and then I get an idea for a book I want or maybe need to write: the definitive book on jealousy, called (drumroll, whistle, side hug) … Jealousy.
Out of the shower I run my new book idea by Elizabeth.
First, I tell Elizabeth, I need the names and addresses of all the men you touched below the waist.
In my mind I have already rented a car, bought a tape recorder that fits in the breast pocket of the new black T-shirts I have also bought, some Clif Bars for energy.
Epic, I tell her. We’ll be rich or at the very least, not nearly so poor.
My beautiful future wife says, You can have a book or a marriage.
And this is the end of that conversation.
I’d tell a joke here but I’ve got nothing.
For the past few nights I’ve been sleeping on the couch. I don’t mean to but it’s where I nod off, and the next thing I know it’s morning. Sometimes Elizabeth is getting ready for work; sometimes it’s the weekend, and Elizabeth is still in bed.This morning I wake up a little after nine. It’s Sunday, and Elizabeth is still sleeping. Last night Elizabeth made black beans and rice, and then we drank wine while watching L.A. Story. In L.A. Story Steve Martin talks to a signpost. The signpost tells him that the weather will change his life, twice.
I don’t find this even a little bit strange.
Steve Martin’s car breaks down in front of the signpost because it’s supposed to.
My heart is cracking in Vermont. It’s supposed to do that, right?
Gracie, our cat, is curled up on my legs and thighs. Gracie is a heater, so my legs are always on fire, but that’s OK: I live in fucking Vermont, the opposite of a heater.
I pet Gracie until I can no longer pretend that I don’t have to pee.
Is Gracie jealous of everything else I touch today?
Sitting in my apartment I think about my past. I think about my fiancée’s past. I think about how I could fit all of the women I have slept with in the kitchen. Yes, they would be crowded, their elbows might bump, rub into walls, but these women could fit there, drinking a Petite Sirah and not making eye contact with one another.
But my fiancée’s lovers: they would roll into the living room, the hallways between the guest bedroom and the master. They would stretch out and smell like men on the couch. They would smoke cigarettes on the patio, though they would have to take turns. It’s a small patio.
These men’s coats wouldn’t fit in the coat closet. Coat closets are small. These men are not small; they hulk, flex in front of mirrors, wear too much Axe Body Spray. They would have to drape their winter wear over the backs of chairs, leave their down coats in the empty dishwasher, covering the front of the TV set, or preferably inside the fireplace.
These men would scare Gracie; she would hide in the coat closet. She would stay there until my mind wandered onto something else, and these men upon men would disappear from the apartment they were never invited to.
Who has the energy to brush his teeth before or after breakfast?
I have been thinking about all of the ways I could die but not mean to: get hit by a car while crossing Main Street, try to ski the black diamond, accidentally brush my teeth with acid, maybe just not eat.
What I mean is I have been thinking about suicide, but I don’t want to kill myself—I don’t really have the energy to properly do it.
Do Good Men ever kill themselves?
If they do, are they still considered Good Men?
Or are their titles stripped, so they are forever known as Mediocre Men?
The Men-Who-Once-Tried-but-Really-Look-at-Their-Peculiar-Hearts Men.
I tried once, took a bottle of pills while lying on some blue carpet and drooling on my grandmother’s throw pillow. I didn’t do it right, so I woke up in a hospital room covered in charcoal, surrounded by worried eyes, worried hearts, more years of wishing I did it right.
Three days later the doctors let me go.
I was cured! Or maybe they were bored of trying to cure me.
Six years later here I am.
Surely, I am some kind of project.
Surely, these men don’t think about me. Why am I always thinking about them?
I’d tell a joke here but I’ve still got nothing.