The “B” word

I’ve always leaned into relationships that involve witty banter. I like when people bring their A game. I can talk forever.

I’ve had a series of male friends with whom I texted for hours day after day for months: Brandon, Jon, Tyler…. I’m sure I’m missing a few.

These friends all have incredibly high creative indices and they’re funny. We could riff. Brandon was really special to me for a time. We had an ongoing joke about mayonnaise that I can’t remember, only that he pronounced it “MAH-nayz.” I took a packet of Hellmans’s with me everywhere I went the summer of 2017 to insert into photos I would send him.

One night Brandon texted me to go and meet him for a drink at Ten’s on Speedway. I think he was calling my bluff. We’d only known each other for about a week at that time and I was a bit magical to him. He wanted to see if all that confidence was a veneer. He was looking for faults in my armor.

It was late and I was asleep. I used to take Lunesta to fall asleep but sometimes it just turned off my ability to make decisions and left my subconscious free to wreak havoc. I could sleep walk, talk, text and even drive.

I showed up at the club, now awake, and had no idea where to even look for Brandon. All I knew is that he’d be hanging out with one of the bouncers. How do you search for a man in a strip club?

I decided to show the bouncer on duty a picture of Brandon and ask if he’d seen him anywhere. Brandon, this very sweet scrawny hipster who wouldn’t hurt a fly, just really liked hanging out with strippers the way I liked hanging out with bartenders.

The bouncer didn’t know Brandon. But one of the strippers, this gorgeous leggy blonde, came up to me and volunteered to help find him. I think she thought I was a scorned wife or something. She took my hand and walked me all through the first and second floors. Even into the private areas. The other strippers got curious and four or five of them eventually tagged along.

So when I finally found Brandon at the bar, I had a cadre of scantily clad and glitter sheened women standing behind me. His look was priceless. The magic held.

But not forever.

He found a girl he liked more and I didn’t take the rejection well. I was kind of a monster about it. It took a chunk out of my heart and about six months to heal.

Jealousy used to get the best of me. I can’t say I’ve been cured. Sometimes my ego still nags at me like an infected hangnail. But on the whole, I’ve soothed the savage beast. I just also happened to leave a trail of really badly ended relationships in my wake.

I behave better now because regret is the absolute worst feeling and it never goes away. The only way to avoid regret is to not do things that will cause it later. It’s a present to my future self.

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