[This was the first letter
published in Open Letters.]
June 19, 2000
Get out the Drama-Chana label once again. Well, not really. Well, I dont know. Jesus, Sarah. Im never gonna get all this right, am I? Im going nuts because living so far away from school is taking a toll on my grades and that depresses me. It also sucks because it makes it hard for me to have a job while Im in school which makes me financially dependent upon Clint. Not only that, but I am living with three guys...and we know how that goes. They mess the place up, I clean. Which fucking SUCKS because I have the longest and hardest days of any of us. And all they every want to do is party party party. I told Clint the other day that I want to move out. It was horrible. He cried! I dont know how to deal with other people when they cry...unless I can understand wholly why they are crying. But this is ridiculous.
Anyway, hes pretty much gotten over it. I mean, Ive made my decision. I have a friend closer to school that I wouldnt mind moving in with, and she would let me slide on the payment until I get a job (which shouldnt take long at all). I also want to talk to my sister about her and her kids moving to Dallas, though. It would help them out because Leah (my sister) would be able to find a better paying and stable job in a larger city than our hometown. Her husband is in prison, she has four kids to feed, and hasnt had a job in ten years. If she could just rent out her house she could use that money to pay for an apartment in the Dallas area. I could live there and help out so shed be making a profit from that AND have a job at the same time. Id probably have to stay closer to the Dallas area, but I dont mind all that much...but get ready to scream at me when I tell you why.
Okay...here goes. You know I cant ever make myself write a Readers Digest condensed version of a story, so I hope you have a little time to read.
My roommate Geoff, who just turned 19, is going out with the 31-year-old stripper next door, Amy. Shes really cool, a lot like my sister, and has two kids (Savannah, 11, and Gunner, 8). So thats a pretty surreal situation. Anyway like I said shes pretty cool and we all go out occasionally. Last week Clint and I went out with Geoff and Amy and our other roommate Eric (41) and some other people. We went to a tattoo-and-piercing shop because Amy knows the owner and wanted Geoff to get his tongue pierced. After we had been there for a while I had to go to the bathroom. It was in the back of the shop, past all the tattoo artists rooms.
So I went to the bathroom and was walking back, totally minding my own business, when I hear this voice say "Hey...you...girl! Pretty girl! With the glasses!"
Up until the "glasses" part I thought he had been talking to someone else. I was way past his room by that point. I did a 360 when I heard that part and kinda stuck my head in his doorway with a quizzical look. He was tattooing some guy who was grinning like a cheshire cat.
So the tattoo artist started asking me some questions, most of which I dont remember now because I was so taken aback that he thought I was pretty. I had no makeup on (not that Im not pretty without makeup, but...), I also had frizzy unwashed hair, my horrible black thick-rimmed glasses on, and some stupid green cargo pants with a shitty long-sleeved shirt on. I had had a rough day and I showed it. He kept talking, asking who I was there with and other things.
Amy eventually noticed that I hadnt come back from the bathroom and saw me standing in his doorway, so she came back to see what was going on. Now, like I said, Amy is a pretty hot stripper. So there she was standing next to me with her voluptuous bod, making me feel completely diminished like the stick-rail I am. Amy said hi to the tattoo guy. He sort of glanced at her, said "hi" and looked back at me, opening his mouth to say something.
Before he could get it out, Amy (drunk) said, "Hey, dont you remember me?"
"No," said Tattoo Guy, and then looked back at me and started to say something again. He got about a word out when Amy interrupted again.
"You know, Im the girl that comes in all the time and raids the jewelry case...the stripper thats always here."
Another quick glance in her direction.
"No." Eyes back on me. "I was just talking to your friend here...shes kinda cute."
Amy, like the dear she is, says, in a horribly offended tone, "KINDA?"
Tattoo Guy cracked a small smile and stared right at me. "yeah, youre right...shes fucking beautiful."
Okay. can Chana turn 40 different shades of red? I think she can! I have NEVER been hit on in a nice way before. Hell, I havent been hit on at ALL in so long I didnt even remember what it felt like. Our group got ready to leave right after that, so I never really said anything back. But it made me think.
My God...my heart was all aflutter after that. Not just because of the sweet and obviously honest way he was interested in me. I mean, he OBVIOUSLY saw something in me, and most people dont do that right off the bat with me. Not to mention...he was really really good-looking.
I was hooked.
The next day, while Clint was at work, I meticulously remade myself. I washed my hair, shaved my legs, put on matching underwear (not that I planned on letting him see it, but it just makes me feel better, you know?), pulled my hair back and put on makeup. I wanted to look so completely different that he wouldnt realize it was the same person.
I went to the shop before it got busy and looked around at some of the portfolios. The artists were sitting around on a couch in the front of the store just sort of bullshitting, but the guy from the night before wasnt saying much. One artist was talking about a woman he had tattooed the night before who had an orgasm while he was tattooing her. She gave him a $20 tip. They were all having a good laugh, and they were all staring at me as I stood looking through the books.
Finally someone asked me if I was looking for anything particular. The guy from the night before had been staring at me the most and he suddenly, out of nowhere, just says, "Ill give you a free tattoo if youll be my girlfriend." All the guys laughed at him, started ribbing him and calling him pathetic, saying, "Yeah, girlfriend for a night!" and he looked hurt and looked at me and said, "No really...marry me."
I turned red and said something to the effect of "I dont know if Ill ever get married," which was a good answer because some guy said I was a smart girl and started ribbing some other guy there who had gotten married on a whim and screwed up his life in some manner. The attention was off me for a while, so Tattoo Guy decided to get up and come to the counter in front of me and ask me exactly what I was looking for.
Now, I really DO want a new tattoo. I really wasnt coming JUST to see this dude. So I actually had a few pictures and ideas that I had brought with me, one of which was to go around the dragon I already have on my back. So I had to show him the dragon on my back. All the guys instantly started drooling and some other guy went, "forget him, marry me!" They all gawked over it for a few minutes and then Tattoo Guy asked if I would look at his book.
So while we were going to his room I told him that he had stopped me last night. I was right, he didnt remember me from the night before because I looked so different...but as soon as I told him he goes, "Wow, thats great! I thought I had seen two of the most beautiful women in the world two days in a row and I was going to have to kill myself pining after both of them...but theyre the same person!" Swoon.
We sat down and I flipped through his book and looked at some of his drawings. Meanwhile, he asked me all sorts of questions and told me about himself. He made no attempt to hide the fact that he was all OVER me. But he was not rude about it in the least, not pushy, just absolutely sweet sweet sweet. He has this softspoken manner, and these beautiful blue eyes...oh God, Sarah. You should see these eyes. I thought I could swim in them.
So his name is Steve and he told me about his growing up in Montreal. His family is all French-Canadian and they all speak French (double swoon?). I asked how old he was, to which he replied "twenty-eight, how old are you?" When I said "twenty" he immediately asked if I liked older guys.
I couldnt do anything but tell the truth. Im horribly attracted to younger men. Or younger-LOOKING men. There was a look of concern in his eyes...like his heart was doing the same thing as mine, fluttering around in there like a heart attack.
He asked if I dated much, and I told him I was seeing someone (I cant lie, dammit), but that it was on the rocks (it is
more on that later). He looked a little depressed, and countered with "well, Im as single as it gets." He looked a little embarrassed before he started his next line, sort of holding his head down and looking at his thumbs..."But I *do* like to date...(slight 2 second pause as he raises his head to look right at me)...you."
Okay...heres where I turn four HUNDRED shades of red. How utterly sweet can you get? TELL ME?!?!? Where did this man come from? The sweet factory? Oh my god. Swoon, swoon, SWOON! My heart did flip-flops, fireworks went off, you name it.
It was getting late, so I attempted to make an exit before I just completely asked him to marry me right there. He agreed to design a piece for me and gave me his card. He asked me for my name and phone number, which I wrote on the back of one of his cards, and asked what my usual schedule was. I told him I get home on weekdays after 7:00 p.m. and am home all day on the weekends.
Every time the phone rings after 7 oclock my heart jumps.
I cant help it. Call me crazy. Clint and I have been having horrible differences lately. Things just arent working out correctly. Im running out of time to write this letter (God...I told you it was windy), so Ill probably have to clue you in on the details of the situation when I get home or tomorrow since today is Clints day off and hell be around. But you can bet youll get the scoop. Youre the ONLY person who will get the scoop.
Im so glad I have you to tell these things to. Can you imagine all of that stuff cramped up inside me all the time? Id burst.
I really have to go catch the bus now. I love you, Sarah. Tell me what you think. Im not married, you know. Not that I dont love Clint, but GOD. GOD! Did this guy just drop out of the sky? Ive already pictured myself moving to Montreal and having dozens of little Tattoo Guy babies. Im horrible.
God save the queen (of drama),