“So. She finally left you.”

 “Finally?” Jimmy demanded. “We were together for barely 5 months. And I use ‘together’ loosely.”

 Woody takes a pull from his joint. “I think Barrett would say you two were together.”

 Jimmy picks up a pebble and tosses it down the hill. “She would say we were obligated to tolerate each others’ space.”

 “Oh come on, Jimmy. Barrett really loved you.” Woody passes the joint to Jimmy. “She was always all over you. I can’t recall a night out she didn’t try to suck your dick at the bar.”

Jimmy squints, staring into the sunset. “She was trying to overcompensate. Trying to get me to reciprocate the affection she feels people in couples are entitled to.”

Woody takes the flask from Jimmy and drinks, then turns his attention away from the sky high view of the San Gabriel Valley toward Jimmy. “Couples are supposed to be affectionate toward one another.”

“I guess. I don’t think you should do it just because you’re supposed to. I like to do it when I feel it, in private. And definitely not when I have something more constructive to do.”

Woody guffaws. “Really?? Dude, you’re never going to be in a fulfilling relationship if that’s the way you feel. You can’t just go around chasing ass forever. It’s like that guy in the Wedding Singer said: ‘No one wants to see a 50 year old dude hitting on chicks.'”

Jimmy inhales the smoke, then while exhaling, “It works for George Clooney. Not that I’m comparing myself to him.”

“You’re not even Matt Damon, bro. Come on, man, you have to want more from life than just a new face each night.”

“Bold words from you, my friend.”

“Yeah, but I’m me. You don’t want to be like me.” He takes the joint from Jimmy.  “We’re talking about you, douche bag.”

Jimmy sips the whiskey. “I do want something meaningful. I definitely do. I just have high expectations. High standards. Barrett, for lots of reasons, didn’t make the cut as someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, or even the next few months.” He takes another pull. “That’s what I thought, anyway.”

“Well, bro, obviously she could tell.”

Jimmy looks into the valley trying to recognize places that are familiar. In-N-Out, Santa Anita racetrack, the liquor store he and Woody were just at, have been at, hundreds of times. There’s the park his Kindergarten class used to walk to where Jimmy would always stare into the well there and try to find the bottom.  “Yeah, well I was frustrated with my place in life. I loved her, I do love her, but I couldn’t help but project my frustrations on her. I feel that was part of her job, to siphon some of that off so I can be happy and then love her.”

“That’s awful.” Woody exhales, drinks whiskey.

“Shit, I know. But it wasn’t just that. There were just irreconcilable shortcomings that I could not tolerate. I saw them as weaknesses that didn’t just negatively effect me but effected her as well, held her back from achieving anything substantive.”

“She did seem content with the simpler things.”

“Well, she is.” Jimmy holds in a hit, takes a large gulp of whiskey, then exhales. “The bare minimum. The easy route. And in a way I envied that about her. I even tried to emulate it in certain aspects of my life to ease the stress I put on myself. But I finally had it when she claimed she was too depressed to take out the trash or clean the dishes, or do fucking anything except sew patches on her clothes. I don’t accept that.” He takes another hit from the joint. “I’ve been depressed before and you don’t fix it by wallowing in your own bullshit.” He coughs with vigour. “You get your fat ass up and start doing shit. Even the simplest things like organizing your room or just going for a walk. She didn’t understand that.”

“Uh, well, did you ever think that maybe she was actually fucking depressed?”

“She just wanted me to constantly give her the attention she felt entitled to, like a black hole is entitled to gravity.”

” ‘Constantly’? I think it was more like ‘adequately’. She wasn’t asking much, Jimmy. Yeah, you two didn’t seem like the most miserable couple I’ve seen, but you weren’t exactly smitten either.” Woody tilts the flask back but there’s nothing left. “Where’d she go anyway?”


“Mark? Mark… I don’t know a Mark.”

“One of her many exes. He lives in New Orleans. I realized she was gone when I read the note, but first I discovered her phone. A text from me was on the display, just my number, not my name. I figured she forgot her phone when running out for work. I couldn’t figure out why my name wasn’t displayed. So I picked it up. Despite my rule that phones should not be checked, I checked it. There was also a text from a 504 area code saying that they would see her tonight. That’s when I noticed the note. I Googled ‘504’. Sure enough, NOLA. She must be with Christine, I thought. Then some how it hit me on the way here that it was Mark. She’d been texting him constantly the last few days. I thought nothing of it because I don’t dwell on that shit and I hate how she would always flip out over even the most innocuous text from an ex of mine. I should have broke my rule. I should have read those fucking things. This morning I thought she impulsively decided to leave. Turns out she’d been planning it for days, a week maybe. Maybe longer. She had planned to get there just in time for Mardis Gras, the little slut. She was so quick to dump me through text a few days earlier over something I said. I took her out that night and we had a great time. Too little, too late.” Jimmy picks up a much bigger rock and throws it. “We still bickered every day until she finally left. “

“You said she felt you were unwilling to give her even the bare minimum of affection. She probably would have actually appreciated you checking her texts. It would have shown her you cared.”

“I have a dog. There’s only so much affection I can allow in a given day. It’s exhausting.”

“You’re equating her with your dog? No wonder she left you, bro! If I had known all that I could have warned you that you were gonna lose that girl.”

“Yeah, well, fuck you, you didn’t.” Jimmy smokes the joint and pauses a moment. “Did you say, ‘you’re gonna lose that girl’?”

“Yeah. Like the Beatles song.”

“Huh, that’s… funny. I never listen to that album, I hardly ever even put on the Beatles, but today on my walk home, in fact, into the grocery store to buy dinner for Barrett and me, that very song was playing on my headphones. When I got to our place I put it on the hi-fi. The whole album is about breaking up.” Jimmy pauses. He stares at the sun as it makes its final approach toward the horizon. “ ‘You’re Gonna Lose That Girl’. It’s like Mark was singing it directly to me. ‘I’ll make a point of taking her away from you / The way you treat her, what else can I do?’ “


“I didn’t even think about that until just now. I just stood there, checking email, preparing dinner, not noticing all her shit was gone, blasting The Beatles. The note was right there in front of me, saying she had a ticket to ride.” He takes another hit from the joint. “ ‘I think I’m going to be sad / I think it’s today / The girl that’s driving me mad / is going away’”

“It’s like the universe was trying to tell you, ‘I told you so’.”

“The universe was totally mocking me. The night before, I actually wanted to cuddle with her. I wanted to be close to her. I was happy we were together. I felt we were happy together. And it’s like she just changed her mind this morning.”

Jimmy looks out over the landscape. The sun is almost completely set now, just a thin pink line that the darkening sky is just about to cross. He can see the house where he and Barrett fucked in the driveway while stumbling to a friend’s house drunk on Four Loko and vodka. That reckless passion was what drew him to Barrett so much in the first place. It’s why they were together. It’s how they got together. Reckless impulses.

 Jimmy takes the joint from Woody and inhales the last hit, leaving a smouldering roach. He spits on it, and crushes it into the dirt beside him.

 Jimmy stand ups, brushes himself off, then looks down at Woody. “Well, I’m ready for the bar now. I gotta go find another girl.”


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