Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Crazy for feeling so lonely
Crazy for feeling so blue

My friend grabbed my hand as the guitarist perched in the corner of the bar began to play Patsy Cline's "Crazy." "C'mon," she said, "let's dance." She had to dance with me because her boyfriend wouldn't dance with her. He'd been sulking all night, staring at the basketball game playing over our heads on the TV, caressing his Vodka Tonic as though it were the only thing in the room he liked.

"I think he wants to leave me," she'd said in the bathroom earlier that night. "I feel like a loser. I don't understand why he has to be so mean. I shouldn't feel like this. If he loves me, I should be happy, right?"

I had been trying all night to explain to her that he was just grumpy, that he didn't want to go out, that he'd rather be home than here at this bar, but she wasn't listening to any of it.

"I know it's me, Laurie. I know he's mad at me. And I don't know what I did. I think I'm a good girlfriend..." She had started to cry, her voice catching in her throat, her bottom lip quivering. "I just don't know what to do. What do I do? Do I leave? I think he's going to kick me out." She grabbed toilet paper and daubed at her eyes.

I didn't know what to tell her. I didn't think he was going to kick her out, and I didn't think they were on the verge of separation. Their love life is nothing if not tumultuous, and this was just another bad mood being made into a relationship-ending fight. Her mind had been made up. He was leaving. She was inconsolable.

"He's not leaving, sweetie."

"How do you know?"

"Well, I don't know, but I don't think he's going to leave you. And if you're that worried and miserable, just leave him. Why are you waiting for him to kick you out?"

"I love him, Laurie. I just love him so much. I really do. I can't help it. I don't know what to do."

When "Crazy" started, I don't even think she saw the irony that it was the one song she wanted to dance to.

I knew
You'd love me as long as you wanted
Then someday
You'd leave me for somebody new

We danced in tentative circles. She kept her eyes on her boyfriend the whole time. She desperately wanted him to come over and cut in, to dance with her despite the fact that he wouldn't talk to her.

Her mouth barely moved as she whispered into my ear, "Do you think he has someone else?"

"No, sweetie, I don't."

She just nodded her head, accepting my words as affirmation that he's being faithful. She created more space between the two of us on the dance floor and her boyfriend by leading me toward the frosty window.

"Do you think he loves me, though?"

Why do I let myself worry
What in the world did I do

I have told my friend a million times that I truly believe he loves her. They've been together for five years, they take trips together, he buys her nice things, they go for walks in the snow. Despite the fact that he's annoyed by her neuroses and her childish desire for constant attention, he loves her. I can see it.

But all she can see is that she doesn't have a job, and how he must hate that. She can see that he's cranky, and she automatically thinks it's because of her. She sees him looking at another woman, and she instantly wonders if she's put on a few pounds. When he gets angry for no reason, she just apologizes, desperate to keep him happy.

"Yes. He loves you. I promise."

She moves us back toward her boyfriend. "Oh boys," she beckons. "Come dance with us."

Her boyfriend turns to my ex and says "I'm not dancing tonight. What about you?"

For thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for tryin'
Crazy for cryin'
And I'm crazy for loving you

It's strange that my ex-boyfriend is there. When I told him I'd be going to a birthday party, he asked if I wanted company. I never believed he'd actually show up. But as I was walking into the restaurant, he drove into the parking lot and honked at me. "I'm here," his Pathfinder's horn said. "Wait for me." And I did.

"I'm surprised to see you here," I said as he walked toward me, his breath coming out of his mouth in white clouds.

"Nice to see you, too," he joked, pushing his elbow against me.

We walked in together, much to the surprise of my friends who had gathered there before me. We took our seats and basked in the awkwardness of going out as exes. Neither of us knew what to do - Do we hold hands, do we touch, do we stay separate? I'm sure that if a stranger had walked in and seen us together, he would've thought we were a couple. But that didn't mean he wanted to dance.

It was surreal, being that close to the way we were, but still a world away from the future I'd wanted. I'd driven myself mad for years trying to get him to want me as his wife, hoping that I'd be the one who could pin him down. Even when I knew it was hopeless, I toughed it out because I thought, deep down, he wanted me just as badly as I wanted him. I was wrong. He loved his freedom more than he could ever love me.

And as the musician for the night sang "Crazy," my friend and I danced together, watching the men in our lives who have made us just that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's just sad....and you seem like such a smart woman too. Wake up and stop waisting your time with looser men. Why are you hangign around an ex anyway?