I saw the Adele video for Hello for the first time today (without warning) and now I’m laying face down on the couch, sighing dramatically, flopping around, wondering if the Mr. would pretend like he wants a divorce just for the weekend so I can put that shit on repeat all weekend.
We had this exchange about it a few days ago.
“The song Hello makes me wish we were going through a break up so I could sit around and be dramatic and listen to it.”
“You mean a divorce.”
“Yes. Temporarily. CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT MY LIFE WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE IN MY 20s WITH ADELE SINGING MY LIFE SOUNDTRACK???” These young bitches have no idea how good they have it with her voice serving as the foundation of many of their breakups.
“Remember when I used to be heartbroken over you in the basement as roommates?”
“Diddling yourself on your bed?”
“No.” I glared at him. “Listening to fucking Celine Dion on repeat, sobbing and,”
“Diddling?” He obviously thinks he’s hysterical.
“WRITING YOU LETTERS YOU NEVER ANSWERED. JACKASS.”
It’s like he wants a divorce.
For those of you that never heard the story, How I met Mr. H, Part One, here you go.
It was June, 2003, and I had just moved to DC at the fresh young age of 23 to start a new life in politics. If you can imagine, I was a younger, longer haired, louder, more naive, less jaded, less toned down version of myself. I was living with a coworker on her couch until I could find a place in a new city, surrounded by people I’d never met, making the wages of a sweat shop worker and living a lavish life filled with drinking .25 pitchers at My Brother’s Place, playing Senate softball poorly and dancing off anyone in Adams Morgan until I either passed out in a chair or close the city down. I was somewhat homeless but having the time of my life, making no money, meeting lots of people, being entertained daily by the delusions of the Senate and drinking my organs into stage 1 of failure, all while looking for an apartment daily on Craigslist, the world’s sketchiest yet most reliable online yard sale.
One day, after vetoing 500 ads in the Housing section that were filled with pedos, Smith Point douches, creeps, weird hippies, druggies and awkward college kids, I found what seemed like the most amazing ad on the planet, as though I was meant to read it:
(paraphrasing having no record of real ad but I assure you, I am being mostly accurate)
Looking for a new friend to add to our three-story townhouse in Old Town. From New England, loves New England sports, drinking and traveling. Not looking for drama, douches or anyone high maintenance. Must love dogs and hanging out and having a good time. Email me if interested.
Well, I was interested. I was from New England. I loved dogs, hanging out and drinking. I would pretend to be not dramatic and move in with two guys on the water in Old Town and it would be perfect. I answered the ad with something equally casual sounding, downplayed my dramatics and excitement and set up a meeting where I said I’d get a ride, not needing to meet him at his Jeep at the train station, though the offer for the, “I’ll be the guy in the Jeep with the dog,” seemed appealing, charming and also creepy.
And so one day, mid-June in 2003, I arrived on the door step of 1203 Michigan Court only to have Mr. H, then a decade younger, open the door with that smile that would ruin me for the entire next year straight. He was wearing his typical metro outfit of cargo shorts, some tee-shirt with an international city on it, his hair short and lighter (but not blonde like he claims) and his accent straight out of Southie. He made gave me a tour of the house and my soon to be basement bedroom and bath, nodded briefly towards the, “really sweet and fun but excitable dog outside” (who he happened to not let in or near me which should have been the real warning sign that dog, Dante, would spend the next year of my life biting me and tormenting me) asked me a bunch of questions and then told me to hit him up if I was interested and if not we could all hang out sometime.
And so 24 hours later (I forced myself to make it a full day), without any thought, I signed myself up for $750/month in rent, making only $1200 a month total, which shows I have great judgment, am super good at math, enjoy punishing myself and make terrible decisions in life when faced with good-looking and charming men. Either way, there was something about that house and the roommate and I had to be involved.
So technically, I did meet the Mr. on Craigslist, but just in the Housing section, where it is usually assumed we met in the casual encounters or missed connections folder, which is 1. disgusting and 2. stupid. 3. in theory probably would be typical of us.
My mother will tell you that when she moved me in a week or so later that she “knew you would marry him” but 1. she’s not psychic and 2. in fairness, we were with other people, who at the time, we intended on staying with. Really. I say really because while it actually took only 6 short days at most to actually fall in love with the Mr., months to admit it and slowly ruin my real relationship, a year for the entire shitshow to blow up and 6 years for us to get it straight and get married. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
You want the falling in love part, right? Well, that part was easy and equally awful.
The Mr. and I were instantly best friends from night one, which was great for anyone looking for some entertainment, but pure torture from my standpoint. We’d spend most of our time out after work at happy hour, drinking, watching the Sox and talking the nights away–about family, about friends, about big dreams, about dysfunctional DC and a very strong and very mutual hatred of anything New York. We’d play Trouble and games we made up over shots. We made a lot of eye contact and we spent more time with each other than most people in an actual relationship, truly enjoying every second of it,and it was as self-destructive as it was intoxicating because the Mr. was pretty captivating. I had never met anyone quite like him, with his laid back attitude, adventurous spirit, fabulous cooking, love of shot taking and boyish smile, and well, I was smitten.
It was the second weekend in the house where the trouble began and from that moment, there was never a good chance to look back. It was a Friday, it was mid-day, and we had found ourselves on the back patio, drinking beers, smoking and talking about life, first drinking our way through a beer or two, then three, then six, then it started to rain. It rained lightly, then harder, then painfully and soaking us, pouring, yet neither of us moved an inch. We couldn’t, you see, as we were smack in the middle of a deep conversation about whether or not we were with the people we were meant to be with. Were we settling? What is the meaning of life? Are there really exact matches for people in the world? Basically, we were acting dramatic and philosophical and the sexual tension and electricity was enough to spark a real storm of epic proportions. 30 minutes turned into hours, puddles were forming and the only move we made was to the store to get more beer, and then into the city for a night of endless chatter, ridiculous bar tabs and a shot for every time the tension got to be too much. I drank a lot of shots that summer.
That night, like most others that summer, ended with us parked in our driveway, a few doors away from the house, windows steaming up while we talked about something that did NOT require attention at 3am in a running car, like Wakefield’s pitching or our next camping trip or what cheese makes up the best grilled cheese or interviewing a new roommate or anything, really, just so we could sit in the car longer and not go back in the house. And so we did. More chatter to replace non existent kissing and more sighing and staring out the windows at the same time, to replace real words, I suppose, and to avoid going back inside to phone calls to the boyfriend back in Boston and late night visits from the girlfriend.
The Mr. had morals and standards that I did not and refused to address this ridiculous behavior we were displaying. He was a stubborn one, refusing to kiss me drunk in cabs, refusing to do much of anything but give me that eye in public, or pull my hair, or punch me in the arm, or anything weird and pathetic that I could add to my, Yep, he definitely loves me right back, list. He also, however, refused to stand too close to me when he saw I was looking aggressive, refused to be near the stairs to my room after too many shots, refused to speak words to me about the “us” that was going on in my head, and he also refused to give in trying to make his relationship with his girlfriend better and work, which was bizarre considering by fall they had broken up and gotten back together at least four times. Reconciliation was something I saw no sense in, considering at that point, I threw a not so secret happy hour to celebrate each break-up and despised her just for breathing, which was easy, because there were plenty of other good reasons to hate her, like the fact that she had a boy name or that she was 90 pounds and had D boobs or that she cut her hair like a soccer mom or had a tendency in public to high kick and rub her nipples and shout SUPER STAR and then promptly leap on his lap and shove her tongue all over his face, pissing all of her girlfriend urine all over the territory she rightly owned. For an entire summer he went on with, “You’re not being fair, Heather.” and I was all, “You’re not.” It was really working out well for us.
At some point I realized I couldn’t take it anymore, somewhere between sobbing endlessly to Celine Dion in my spare time to drinking my sorrows and heartache away in heavy doses of tequilla, all while playing the happy but tormented roommate for 6-8 months with minimal dramatic outbursts. One night, I stayed up late, wrote a 5 page letter expressing my love, my confusion, my apologies for doing this and I signed it, knowing I could never go back. I woke up early, placed the letter in his bag near his metro card, went to work shaking and tried to not vomit for the entire day.
I spent the entire day watching the Notebook on my computer, knowing that in a few hours, I was in for an evening that would rival my favorite romantic movie, and I barely stand how slowly the time went. While I wanted a romantic evening of epic proportions, I also wanted to leave work to start drinking until my face went numb, with him hopefully of course, in what I figured would be the first night of the rest of our lives–a night filled with kissing and declarations and SoCo and lime shots to celebrate freedom and true love and the future. Instead, my other roommate and I met him and the 4th roommate at the sketchy 7 Eleven down the street accidentally, made no eye contact, bought enough beer to kill a horse and promptly went home to tie one on, the four of us, which I assumed would THEN lead to the above.
After a few hours of nothing happening, I waited. At 3am when the troll girlfriend strolled in, I was still waiting. I went down into my basement room, laid dramatically and drunk on my bed, listening now to Ben Harper, over and over, waiting for him to come get me until I passed out with my clothes on. The next sober morning filled with hallucinations and regret and hard liquor bile, I waited. I waited another day and a week and month and he never said a word. Not one. Not one fucking word and by day three I had already gone through his man purse at least twenty times looking for that damned letter and it was gone and there was no draft back waiting for me to read and make kissy faces to.
Feel free to turn on your loud and pathetic copy of Celine’s “To Love you More” and put it on repeat with “All by Myself” 80 times and you have yourself an accurate version of the next four months of my life in the basement. I blame those fucking violins. Also sprinkle in a few failed attempts at breaking up with the boyfriend, a few verbal confrontations with the troll girlfriend and there you have it, adult decision-making at its finest.
After about a year, it was clear we couldn’t play the game much longer. My boyfriend had decided to move down, he was making up daily with his girlfriend and I was going to light the house on fire, jump into traffic or commit myself and so I was moving out. One week, I’m not sure when, with the boyfriend moving down, we were going to attempt one last drink-off and I figured I’d just get over it. Get over it and then throw myself on the bed, stare at a wall and alternate for years between depression and blowing out vibrators as I played out the sex life I was supposed to be having with him for all of eternity. Seriously. That year I blew out two high powered, battery operated vibrators effortlessly, if you’re wondering.
That morning I took him to the junk yard/impound lot to claim his Jeep for the 90 millionth time in a year and clarified that there would be drinking that night on my last night and he would be attending. Troll girlfriend had a funny way about her those days in finding any excuse to keep him away from the house, away from me and away from group drinking. It was annoying and I wanted none of it on my last night. We, as roommates, were going to have one last send-off, and also, she wasn’t invited. It was casually confirmed, but it didn’t work out that way.
It was me, a few friends and the other roommate and girlfriend that started drinking that night, and drinking hard and being loud and while having a good time, we missed him, he who was apparently being held captive on the second floor within shouting distance. Apparently he was not allowed downstairs and he was being nice by staying up there and the only good it was doing was for the liquor distributors because I was drinking anything I could get my hands on at an alarming and soothing rate.
Then I started to get emotional and dramatic.
Then I started to be loud.
Then the roommates and friends took my side, mostly I think so they didn’t have to witness our awkward love affair any longer, and they knew I was leaving. We were all shit talking him for staying with her. He was awful. He was badly behaved and whipped and awful and one day we’d punish him. In twelve hours I’d leave and he was ruining it and technically ruining my life and I hoped he could hear us but knew he was probably smart enough to have on a loud movie or ear plugs.
And then the doorbell rang. Then footsteps. And then she came down the stairs. Alone. To collect the pizza she was going to hoard with him ALL NIGHT LONG.
And so we did what all nice and not jealous and spiteful and mean adults do. We heckled her and we taunted her and we demanded he be let downstairs to come play.
And she did what all whiners and babies do. She went right up and told on us.
And then it happened.
There was the slamming of the door and he was racing down the stairs angrily and I knew I was going to be in trouble but it was too late for that and so I filled up my vodka and slammed it back and my heart started racing and I was mentally prepared and sweating and also slurring and unattractive but no bother, I assumed most people are when they take their last stand.
“What in the hell is wrong with you? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU ALL?” He was standing there with his arms crossed making a face that slightly concerned me and he was yelling all but I didn’t have to be sober to know he was looking right at me, not that I could tell while I was detailing the floor with my eyes. And he kept yelling, which I had never heard him do before, which made me kind of stop breathing but I was also gaining confidence of the liquid variety which was going to be good for no one.
“LEAVE HER ALONE. SHE HAS NOT DONE ANYTHING TO YOU.” He started to go back upstairs but then in an interesting move I’m sure inspired by gang violence, my other supporters started defending our group violence in a way that delighted me and made me want to clap like a seal.
“She’s awful. She won’t let you drink. She won’t let you come say goodbye to Heather. It’s her fault. Come down. Come hang with us. Stop being a hermit.” A number of other things were shouted out to him as reasons to come down, none of which made any sense and suddenly in my vodka haze it became very clear that he had chosen to stay up there and he had chosen to not come down on my last night and he had chosen her. He had chosen her and not me. I sat there quietly, probably because I was almost unable to form words, but mostly because I have no verbal self-control. I said nothing until he basically MADE ME.
“Anyone else? You? You?” He was looking around the room wildly and stopped with me, which honestly was his biggest fucking mistake and he knew it. “WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY?”
And with that, he fucking asked for it and so, without thinking twice, I let him have it.
“Why don’t you go back up there and tell her what you told me?” He gave me one look of warning which I shot fire back at with my eyes and carried on screaming, “YOU GO TELL HER THAT YOU DON’T LOVE HER AND THAT YOU ARE WITH HER BECAUSE YOU FEEL BAD FOR HER. Go tell her.”
Technically I don’t know if he ever said those exact words to me or if I just heard them but it didn’t matter in that moment. His eyes had changed and I was dead to him and he looked at me and the ground and without saying a word, he went upstairs and shut the door.
I spent the rest of the night in my basement, crying and drinking.
I woke up that next morning to meet my mother and the packed van at 6am. He was gone. He was gone for the day with not a note in sight, no goodbye, not a second glance back.
And that was the last time I talked to him for a full year.