After having no contact with my ex-girlfriend for a few months, I received the following email from her.
"How's your intention holding out, Coleman? Could we do coffee?" - B
I wondered why the message was so casual. She had never called me by my last name before. No one had, except my high school wrestling coach. “Coleman! Get with it!” he used to say. “Quit daydreaming.” (My acne medication made me daydream a lot). As an aside, Coach Chamberlin wore sweat pants that gave him moose foot which is the male equivalent of camel toe.
Once, during a wrestling match I got slammed to the mat so hard I not only got knocked out, but got knocked out of my tights (the coach called this an anatomical enigma). Trying to escape from the single leg seatbelt, my opponent pulled my tights around my waist - Coach Chamberlin yelled, “Somebody get Coleman off the mat!” and two of my teammates pulled me off by my elbows thus yanking my tights down to my knees.
I wondered if the email that referred to me by my last name was meant to be like Coach Chamberlin's moose foot - something I would never forget. I also wondered if, like many of my own short messages, it was hard to write. Sometimes the shorter the message the harder it is to write - sort of like painting a masterpiece on a grain of rice instead of on a big canvas.
And I wondered why, since I never drink coffee that she would suggest “doing coffee.”
I wondered a bunch of things and then my inner Francisco-Goya-Woody-Allen emerged and I got a bohemian anxiety attack and began to visualize all kinds of scenarios:
Maybe things didn’t work out with the guy she was dating and she was feeling lonely and thought a caffeine fix with the one guy she claimed to no longer feel attracted to would end in an argument and knock her relationship-o-meter down to the bad end of the spectrum, hence making her feel better. There’s nothing like creating a new drama to take you out of the current drama of your life.
Maybe it was her version of a karmic olive branch.
Maybe she just wanted to write about the experience on her blog.
Maybe it was to help me realize that I just wasn’t over our relationship. That despite my sudden need to date all of New York, that I was neither over our relationship or her - which seems strange to write because before her email I thought I was completely and utterly over her.
And then, I was reminded of what our relationship had been like a year ago.
Last year around this time, we were in the long distance relationship portion of our relationship. She had moved to NYC and I had stayed in Richmond, Virginia. We both still had an 804 area code but we were many miles apart. Every other week I would get on the Chinatown bus and ride the highway during the witching hour with ex-cons, drug addicts and a who’s who from the Jerry Springer show just to see my Clownfish.
For a full year, I was in-between two lives.
I remember that it was about this time last year that I was driving myself over to the Chinatown bus station in Richmond and was stopped at a stoplight on the Boulevard. That’s when the Universe cued the drunk driver.
He was driving a grey Chevrolet Impala. He dropped his cigarette and when he reached for it, he hit the BMW SUV behind me that shoved me into the Ford Escape SUV in front of me. I became a Toyota Echo sandwich. My spine tightened. I tried to untwist myself, but couldn't. I began to cry.
Everyone else got out. Made phone calls. I couldn't get out. I felt stuck in-between. This was a metaphor for my life. I was like one little slice of pink pimento stuck in between a processed bologna-like loaf with artificial flavoring.
In that very moment, I developed the sudden and uncanny ability to remember names. I felt like my life depended on these names because I kept thinking I was going to be taken somewhere where they were going to amputate my leg accidentally or remove an organ and if I called someone by their actual name he or she might think I knew what was going on with my life which is more than I can usually say for myself.
Kirk Adcock the paramedic and Kenneth Brody the firemen and JD Samuels the EMT and Laura Hardy the police woman put a collar around my neck and stuck me on a stiff wooden board.
On the board, it was just like in the movies. I watched the world from the board pass over me like clouds.
At the hospital, Farrah Sarkozi asked me a bunch of intake questions.
She asked me if I had ever tested positive for Tuberculosis. I said, "What is the right answer?" This made Farrah laugh.
Farrah asked me if I was being sexually abused at home. I said, "I wish." Farrah got a little sparkle in her eyes and laughed some more.
Beth Jensen came in the room and said she liked my black and red and green Adidas. I told her they were made from hemp. Beth was wearing Clark Kent glasses. She helped me off the board.
In the x-ray room I fainted and threw up. Heidi Rice wanted to cut off my favorite black Guess hoodie, but I begged her not too. Heidi said the zipper kept showing up in the x-ray. Heidi must have taken fifty thousand x-rays to finally get the zipper out of the photo.
I waited for the x-rays. Tamia Priddy came in the room and got my billing information. Tamia asked who my insurance carrier was. I told her, "Naked." Tamia said, "Excuse me." I said, "I'm riding naked," which meant I didn’t have insurance. Tamia didn't laugh. It was my own private joke that only I understood.
Anthony Caruso came in and said my x-rays were ok. When my parents came into the room I introduced the entire medical staff to them by name. My mom thought it was weird that I remembered 27 names. I thought it was important. My friend Ory once said, "There is nothing as pleasing as hearing your name." Rain Man once said, "Kmart sucks."
I left my body when the car hit me and it was hard to come back to earth eventhough the other guys insurance company was Geico and whenever I talked to him on the phone I imagined I was talking to the Geico caveman. I stayed away from my body for quite a while wandering around in the proverbial ether and wondering aloud what my life was trying to tell me about being in-between.
At some point, I came back into my body and moved to New York City and tried to make it work with my Clownfish. It eventually failed. And I left my body again when we broke up. Sometimes it feels safer to go to a far away place.
And that little eleven word email she sent me - a message no bigger than a tweet or a finger nail clipping - well it’s helped me see how I’m no longer stuck in-between with a woman that never really wanted to be with me. After my inner Francisco-Goya-Woody-Allen settled down, I actually saw that sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together*.
*You may have noticed from my past posts that things have been "falling together" now for about a year now. Nothing new to report, but it's quite promising nonetheless.