Christina Heaston

Someone else’s words…

Posted in Uncategorized by christinaheaston on April 6, 2010

The Girls Guide To Hunting And Fishing
Read this book. At least read pages 209-222. I keep reading the same 14 pages over and over and over. So so good.
(Thanks Jess for sending it my way…)

He’s broad and muscular from lifting weights and running every evening along the Hudson River. Blond and blue-eyed with a strong jaw and skin so pale it looked bleached. He is all handsome and no pretty, the kind that makes you think of the Navy and Florida and girls in tube tops calling him hunky. But he grew up in Manhattan, on Park Avenue: he will rise when you enter the room; he will notice that you’re cold and drape his blue blazer around your shoulders; he will hail the taxi and open the door for you to get in.

On your first date, he will pick you up on his motorcycle, and bring a helmet for you. He nods his big helmet head when he’s ready for you to get on. He fastens your hands around his waist like a seat belt.

You sense that he’s dangerous but don’t know why- and wonder if it’s because he makes you feel safer than you’ve ever felt.

At the restaurant, low-lit and charming, he orders bourbon straight up with a beer chaser, and becomes charming himself. When your dinner arrives, he takes vitamins out of his shirt pocket, and offers a twin supply for you.

You walk through the Village. It’s spring. The air is cool and the sky is clear.

Back at your apartment, your pour him a glass of wine. On your sofa, he holds your hand in both of his, tickling and touching it, lingering at the crotches between your fingers.

You can feel that he wants to own you- not like an object but like a good dream he wants to keep having. He lets you know that you already own him.

He cannot see you often enough. He calls you every day at work, calls you every night at home. He says, “This is your boyfriend speaking.”

He invited you to hear his moribund rock band, Pleather, at The Bitter End. The songs are harsh and vulgar, except “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”

He pushes his clothes aside to make space for yours in his closet.

He worries about your riding your bicycle in Manhattan. He buys you a flashing red light to put on your helmet, and when you ride away, he sings, “Staying alive, staying alive.”

You love Airedales, and he writes away to make you a member of the Airedale Terrier Society of America. You get a membership card and their monthly newsletter, “The Black and Tan.”

He remembers the names of everyone you mention- the people you work with, your friends, acquaintances, your entire extended family- and nicknames them: your complaining cousin Marjorie is “Martyrie”; your boss, Rachel, who has a thing for black guys, is “Racial.”

You tell him your family history. He tells you his.
When he speaks of his mother, he uses the ironic intonation of quotation marks: “Mom” still lives in the apartment he grew up in, which he refers to not as home, but by its address. He passes 680 Park five times a week on his way to psychoanalysis.

You meet a few of his friends from Choate, which he calls “Choke.” They banter instead of talk, and you play audience.

“They do shtick,” he says afterward. “They are shtick-figures.” You wonder at how easily he dismisses them; after all, they’ve been his friends for almost twenty years.

Then your brother meets him and says, “What’s he so angry about?”

That’s when you begin to notice. He argues with the drummer in the band. The waiter is rude, the cabdriver an asshole. The token seller gave him a dirty look; the dry cleaner lost his shirts on purpose. He hates our hateful senator, but with passion.

When you mention antidepressants, he looks at you as though suddenly discovering that you have the depth of a Doublemint twin.

He explains slowly: he wants to use his pain as the impetus and guide in his struggle to know himself; anesthesia is the opposite of what he needs.

You tell him you understand, but say, “Another bourbon and beer? ”

He gets a Polaroid camera and is constantly snapping your picture. In his favorite, you’re laughing hard, wearing a pair of his shorts on your head beret-style.
He says that you look like Patty Hearst during her Tanya phase, captured in a lighthearted moment with the Symbionese Liberation Army.
He says he loves the picture because he can see the silver in your fillings.

In a restaurant, he notices a gaggle of girl models. “It’s like looking at art. The rest of us are just people,” he says. “We know we’re not beautiful the way they are.”

He tells you that he doesn’t want to hide anything from you. He wants to be closer to you than he’s ever been to anyone.

In this spirit, he confesses the thoughts that shame him. You play the role of the Red Cross volunteer, impervious and good-hearted, ladling out mush- until the night he tells you that he has been fantasizing about other women.

You know that men do, you would assume that he does, but this truth said aloud, confession-style, becomes your own lurid infection.

He’s oblivious. He says, “It’s transference,” putting himself on the couch; he’s hating and loving you the way he did his mother. Fantasies are his way of escaping your power.

When he says transference is a universal truth, you say, “For you, maybe.”
You break up.

Everywhere you go, you see women more beautiful than yourself.
You imagine him being attracted to them.
You’re drinking gasoline to stay warm.

When he calls and tells you he misses you, you invite him over. He spends the night.

In the morning, he asks where his razor is. You tell him that you threw it away when you broke up. He says, “I framed your deodorant.”

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One Response

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  1. jmcdougall said, on April 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    love that


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