When somebody–particularly someone that you’ve been dating for a while–tells you after a long absence from each other that they have news for you…don’t panic. That’s rule number one. Pay no mind to the fact that they just happened to leave out the word good in front of the word news. Relax…it still might not be bad news…well not that bad anyways. Maybe it’s just general news like the upcoming weather forecast for instance….nothing to lose sleep over…wishful thinking.
Rule two…if this person decides to ask you, after informing you of this impending news, if you prefer the good or bad news first–always…and I mean always…choose the bad news first. There’s nothing worse than getting all jacked up on euphoria from spectacular news, then all of a sudden being shot back down to earth feeling like oh woe is fucking me. The anxiety then depression from that alone could cause serious damage to your psyche. I’d much rather take the not so pleasant news first, get it out of the way, and perhaps end the conversation on a high note. Anyway…that’s just me…
Rule number three…quite possibly the most important rule of all…once you get the news–both good and bad–stay calm and think before you act. I can’t stress this point enough. Do not…I repeat do. not. fucking. panic…take a few minutes to digest the information at hand. Try and analyze the situation and think it all over before you flip the fuck out and end up saying or doing something you will regret later on. This type of behavior is not a good look. It leads to rash impulsive decisions. From what I’ve learned over the years, irrational behavior leads nowhere good…and fast. So please try and stay calm for Pete’s sake…or fuck it…flip the fuck out and throw shit…that’s what I did. I had to learn all of this the hard way………
I decided to let my girl drive us home. Well…she might have insisted that she was driving actually…I don’t really remember. Either way it was fine by me. I would have walked if that was my only option. I just wanted to get as far away from that place as possible…and fast.
The moment I got in the passenger side of my car, I immediately smiled again. I noticed a box with a clear top revealing my favorite carrot cake from Whole Foods resting comfortably on my seat. I forget what the frosting inscription said word for word…but I remember it was really nice.
*BTW…if you’ve never had the absolute pleasure of tasting this particular carrot cake that I speak of…you are seriously missing out. What the hell are you waiting for? Click the little X on your screen. Put down your handheld devices…and drop whatever nonsense it is that you might be doing and hightail it over to Whole Foods…like right now. Not later. Not tomorrow. Right fucking now. Yes, actually it is that good. Don’t worry…the blog will be here when you get back. In fact, you might enjoy it even more now that your taste buds have been fully satisfied. That cake is nothing short of spectacular…I promise you…why wouldn’t you trust the guy in prison?? GO!
Back to the story…….
I remember thinking….wow, this day can’t get any better…I’m finally free…it’s a beautiful night…I have my best girl with me…carting my ass around for a change…and I have my favorite carrot cake, which I may or may not share with her. Life is pretty fucking good. I should have done this whole rehab thing a long time ago. Shit, maybe I should play the lotto tonight…never know, if things are going this good I just might win.
Boy was I fucking right. The remainder of the day couldn’t and wouldn’t get any better. Just the opposite actually. It was about to take a turn for the worst…
She drove while I showered her with the expected thank you’s, the you’re so thoughtfuls, and the ever popular goo goo ga ga I love you’s. I make myself sick sometimes…they don’t call me loverboy for nothing. Hey, I really loved that carrot cake…don’t hate. I would have serenaded her with a song if it got me that cake.
The conversation soon shifted to my experiences in rehab. I told her about the different (and I use the term loosely) people I met and how I thought I discovered a new species that slept two beds over from me. I told her about all the crazy shit I saw and how the whole set up reminded me of a prison. Then I made it really dramatic and told her about what my mind and body went through while I came off drugs.
I laid it on really thick. I spared no details. I told her all of the good stuff. To be honest I was probably playing the sympathy card a little bit…like awwwww…poor Matthew…you get the idea. Anything to perhaps make her forget, or at the very least forgive me for all of the bullshit of the past. Works every time…lol.
I also informed her about the theft of my pants. I went on for about twenty minutes about guy code and how you just don’t steal another man’s pants. It’s fucking unethical and immoral. She laughed at me hysterically. Like it was some sort of twisted joke. Like my pants didn’t matter….whatever. I guess I got no sympathy there huh?
The two of us ended up stopping for food somewhere on Route One. It may have been Carrabba’s or the Kowloon. I honestly forget. It was take-out of course. I was in no mood to run into someone I knew…which around my way is very likely. Picture that convo…
Random: Hey Matty, long time no see…how are you?
Me: Hey what’s up…I just got out of rehab an hour ago. Those fucks stole my pants!
Random: (awkward blank stare) Oh…um…that’s too bad…um…well my table is ready…good (awkward pause) to see you..
Me: Yeah, you too…pfff
I definitely wasn’t ready for any public places or interactions, so me going in to grab the food…not so much. She ended up running in the restaurant. I figured then was as good a time as any to start hitting a few people up and telling them I was out…so I looked around my car for my phone…which I found chillin’ in the glove box.
The phone was off. So I powered it on. It was kind of weird to hold a phone. I hadn’t been gone that long, but it still felt strange. I was actually a little nervous to start hitting people up. Like what would I say? Remember, I said in rehab I was in this little bubble. Now it was like I’m back out there…it was real life again…and it was about to get real, really quick…
I had a little inconvenience when my phone powered on. My blackberry was password protected…just not with the password that I created. I remember thinking…fuck. This can’t be good. She must have found something and didn’t want to give me a chance to see it and come up with an elaborate defense as I normally would have done. I had a million thoughts running through my mind…all bad. I cursed myself for leaving my phone with her…mistake number one….
This is when drugs would have come in handy. I could have sniffed a pill or twelve and this lil’ problem would be nothing. I’d laugh it off. That is…if there even was a problem. I still didn’t know. My stomach was back in knots. Anxiety kicked in again. It’s not that I had a guilty conscience…cause at the time I had no conscience at all…I only cared about myself. I just think, looking back, that without drugs even the littlest type of conflict felt like it was epic. You have to realize I was on those pills for almost two years…numb…not giving a fuck. Now it was like a changed password was about to be the end of the world. Drugs are bad…
Instead of working myself into an absolute panic, I used some breathing exercises I had picked up a few years prior. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth, slowly, while counting back from five to one…repeat if necessary. I calmed myself down. I shut off my phone and stuck it back in the glove box as if I never took it out in the first place. Out of sight out of mind…at least for the moment.
I came to the realization that there might be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the password change…and if there wasn’t…fuck it. I would just make up some bogus excuse for whatever accusation was about to come my way. It worked so much in the past, I figured it would work then. Old habits are hard to break…
A few minutes later she got back in the car. She handed over the bags containing the take-out, which smelled amazing btw…and we started back on our journey home. More small talk ensued while I snuck bites of the carrot cake. Hey can ya blame me? That cake is awesome. She’s lucky I didn’t eat the whole thing while she ran in the restaurant.
I noticed the mood in my vehicle had kind of changed. No, it wasn’t because I was eating my cake. However, I’m sure that didn’t help. I couldn’t really put my finger on what was up. It wasn’t a hostile mood, it was something else. I looked over at her, she’d stopped conversing, and she had this expression on her face….not anger…perhaps deep thought. She looked as if she was contemplating telling me that the world as I knew it was about to come to an end…
I tried to pay it no mind. I certainly wasn’t about to play the whole what’s wrong/what’s on ya mind game. I had just left rehab…I honestly didn’t want to hear what might have been wrong. Selfish…sure…but it was sadly true. I was focused on me and my feelings alone. Notice how I didn’t mention that the ride home conversation had been about her or what she had been up to the whole time while I was in rehab. I kept it all light and all about me. For all I knew, she might have already gotten married to someone else while I was inside…or god knows what else…the possibilities were endless. But at that particular moment, I didn’t want to hear it. So I did as I always have done, I avoided the obvious problem on her mind.
I honestly don’t think I was ready for real life again. Relationship issues, problems, solutions, bills, family, shit like that. I didn’t really have the patience for any of it on that ride home. I almost longed to be back inside my bubble. That might sound fucked but it’s true. That’s how I felt at the time. If you saw the look on her face that night you might have longed to be anywhere but in that car….
There was what I call an awkward silence for what seemed like forever. You could have cut the tension in my car with a knife. I remember thinking what the fuck happened in a matter of 20 minutes? We were just talking and laughing about my pants and such, and now all of a sudden it’s like everything’s changed. I guess the closer and closer we got to my apartment…the more real it got…for both of us. That’s the only way I could rationalize it.
So then, out of nowhere…she looks at me with this look…it wasn’t anger…it was something different…and decides to break the silence and says….I have some news for you Matthew…
And before I could even muster up a word or an excuse or anything….
She hits me with–while you were gone….two of your friends were arrested…….
and there’s more…..
To Be Continued…