“I’m right here!” A familiar voice says and with that, everyone kind of stands up and mumbles something that sounds like “Surprise!” and I manage to knock over my coffee and spill it all over my computer keyboard, on my skirt, and over Rob’s CD. I start screaming and swearing and everyone runs over to see what’s going on with me and leaves Rob standing in the doorway, his surprise party blue-balled by me.
He walks over to my cubicle and offers to help me clean up. I shove his mixed CD in his hands and he says, “That’s the third keyboard you’ve gone through this year. No more.”
I have to say that the cookies were pretty damn good. There was an even amount to go around, but I managed to snag two at a time while everyone was more concerned with Rob’s gift unwrapping. I managed to get five cookies into my purse and figured I’d eat them for dessert tonight. I’m not sure I want to share them with Timm though. He can steal his own damn cookies.
Rob got a nicely framed copy of our first issue from Marty, a DVD collection of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies from Bradford, a knit beanie from Ginger, and a vintage cowboy shirt from Amy. I’m not sure what inspired Amy to buy Rob a cowboy shirt. There is nothing very “cowboy” or “vintage” about Rob which is one of the reasons why we wouldn’t have worked as a couple.
The plan is to go to the The Bell House after work and I text Timm to see if he wants to join us. He texts back saying the band is practicing and he’ll try to stop by later, but not to plan on him gracing us with his presence. I don’t think he likes my co-workers much, but in reality Timm doesn’t like anyone very much. At past work functions, he’s mostly sat in the corner, not smiling, and talking about how the Earth is dying. In the beginning it used to really bug me that he didn’t want to hang with my friends, but I had to remind myself that in having artists as boyfriends, comes the anti-social behavior.
At the bar, I pound back four vodka shots immediately. I drink two of them in the bathroom because I want everyone to think I’m going at the same pace as them. I start rambling on to Amy about how inconsiderate Timm can be and that my family and friends think I’m the punchline to the joke “What is a musician without a girlfriend? Homeless”. Well, actually I wouldn’t be the punchline but the point is I’m an enabler for his lazy behavior. What am I going to do? I’ve had a thing for musicians since I was twelve and discovered in my blooming sexuality that I got really turned on by Elton John’s chest hair. Early Elton John. When his whole body didn’t look one big pile of playdough. I then moved on to more normal crushes such as David Bowie and Lindsey Buckingham.
Rob brings over another round of shots. I reach for one but he pulls it away.
“Woah, slow down there partner or you’re going to be feeling it tomorrow.”
“Yeah, well, it means a lot to me. I spent like, four weeks working on that.”
“Thanks Lauren. No one makes a mixed CD quite like you.”
I grab Rob’s arm and stare him down.
“I’m serious, Rob.”
“Serious about, what?”
I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket and it’s Timm calling.
“Hi babe!” I scream much louder than I think.
“I’m driving up and down Hollywood and can’t find any fucking parking. I’m going home.”
“No, no. Did you try looking down Selma or Sycamore?”
“Yes, there is nothing. Look, I tried, ok?”
“Wait, I’ll come out and meet you.”
I grab my purse and an announce to the crowd that though I’ve had a blast, it’s time for me to go. I miss a step off the bar stool and flop down on the poor intern. My face neatly smooshed into her ear, I whisper, “Katie, ssh…please stop wearing low rise pants, ok?”
Rob jumps from his seat and grabs my right arm.
“I’ll walk you ouside.” Rob says.
“No, it’s ok. I’m fine.”
“I know you’re fine, but I want to walk you outside.”
I don’t like feeling like I’m being treated as a child, but I let him take my arm anyways.
We wait outside for a good ten minutes, sharing a cigarette, before Timm shows up. The conversation entails me explaining all 40 tracks of his mixed CD and the significance of each song. By the time I get to the last track, I hear a beep and see Timm’s car stopped in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard and him impatiently waving me to get in.
Rob gives me a big hug and says, “Take care of yourself.”
I can feel my eyes instantly fill with tears, but I hold them into tiny pools. Most of the time, I would have gotten angry at him, or anyone for saying that. I know how to take care of myself. I take good care of myself. However, at that moment, who was I fooling?
I turn away quickly so he can’t see my eyes and jump into Timm’s car. He peels off down the street and I watch all the lights of Hollywood blur into a line.
We pull into our driveway and I watch as Timm gets out of the car and goes into the house. I stay in the passenger seat. I’m too tired to get up and the warm wind coming down from the mountain feels so good on my face. I finally get out of the car, but trip on a stone lining the path to the front door. I fall into the front yard and lie on my back, staring up into the sky. I think about Sad in Silver Lake and I wondered what she is doing tonight. If she was thinking the same thing I am thinking right now.
I straggle into the house and walk over to my computer. Timm is making himself a sandwich.
“What were you doing out there?”
“Thinking about my assignment that’s due tomorrow.”
I can smell the mustard he’s putting on his sandwich and it makes me want to throw up.
“Did you have fun tonight?”
I’m thrown by this question. It’s been a long time since he asked me about my day.
“Holy shit! There’s my wallet! Can you fucking believe that? I’ve been looking all over for this thing!”
“…it was a good night.”
“So, check this. We practiced that new song I wrote. The guys seem to think it’s a good one. Chad created a killer bass line for it. I think this one is going to be our song, you know?
Dear Sad in silver Lake…
It’s Tuesday at 10PM, I’m drunk, and in the backgroundd, I hear my boyfriend rambling on and on and on and on about his music. I just fell in the front yard and he DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE for ten minutes. My boyfriend never asks me how my day went. Instead, I come home to him sitting on our bed, playing his guitar, and the first words out of his mouth are, “Check out this new song I wrote.” Then for the next hour I’m forced to sit there and listen to this new song he wrote and give him feedback on whether or not I think it’s selllable and I pretend to be interested he accuses me of not being supportive and if I pretend to act interested, then I’m guaranteed another three to four hours of listening to him when all I really want is to push him out of a moving car and go to sleep. The end goodnight…