Life Since September: A mini-memoir about finding an apartment, love, deceit and my neighbors inability to get their laundry washed in a timely manner

Ah, being alone. Alone alone alone. When you say it enough times the word seems to lose all meaning, as with any other word.

This is a short story of my life, from September 2016. A short story of about 3,800 words that sums up my experiences this far. I felt like I had to write it, I have been so angry lately that I needed some sort of release. Painting has NOT been working, so this is the next best thing.

September, 2016

So, I had been out of Reeds place for what, a month? I found an adorable apartment, 2brs, 1ba, $750/mo with a claw foot tub. NICE.

What was not advertised: holes in windowsills, urine caked on the toilet and walls in said 1ba, lock bolted onto fridge door because its broken and won’t stay shut on its own [lol, what?!], cockroaches. I could have lived with all of the above but cockroaches? NO! Do I even have to explain myself with that one? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, I tried to get out of the lease [that I so stupidly signed BEFORE inspection – it was my first time on my own, I had no idea what I was doing or that I was being duped!] and the property managers were fucking rats. Worse than rats… cockroaches! Email after email, call after call, no response, fighting and badgering for days, they wanted to keep all my money [first and last month’s rent] and be a bag of dicks.

I spent two weeks back and forth with the attorney general, city of MPLS, legal aid, and finally a lawyer. These people were iron, but they did not know that I am the flame that melts the iron. I was not going to walk away with this big of a financial loss! I mean, I just had my heart broken, I was displaced, essentially homeless, and they were taking advantage of me! NO WAY, JOSE!

I smeared them on facebook, yelp, google, and every other social media site I could think of. I felt like I was channeling a 38 year old PTA mom with bad highlights and a Xanax addiction whose husband struggles with intimacy issues.

Finally, they agreed to “settle” and give me back 75% of my deposit. Cool.

Still on the hunt. Still living in my old boss’s guest room… my entire life condensed to Rubbermaid bins stored in a 5×7 storage unit and a cold basement.

Winter was coming. Rentals were hard to find that time of year. Everything had been rented by gremlins of the U – absorbing my potential housing like the sponges of society that they are. Fucking college kids. Go fuck yourselves.

I met a guy. Or rather, he found me. Exciting! Not my type, really, but intriguing nonetheless. He wanted to meet up. We had been chatting off and on for a while. I was nervous as hell. Why me? I am damaged goods, I am gross and unlovable, why me, dude? Oh well. Maybe I will maybe I won’t.

Focusing on work is damn near impossible. What the fuck. I was tired all the time and felt that even getting out of bed was a challenge. Showering… what is that?

New guy, we will call him *James*, attempted to meet up with me. I was so nervous and tired, and just sad still, that I ditched him. Twice. What a bitch move, Martini! Just tell the guy that you’re not ready. But, what if he’s different? He says he is… what’s the harm? It’s not like you’re going to fall in love.

He got me a birthday present – ouch. Said he would mail it to me since I didn’t want to meet up with him. Yikes. I am a bitch! What to do besides agree to meet him at this point?

Man, he’s tall, and cuter in person. Still not my type but there is coffee involved. We talk for hours, laughing and smiling, and I had fun. I kind of like him but he didn’t try to kiss me. Does he just want to be friends? Am I reading this alllllll wrong? It wouldn’t be the first time I read the signals wrong. This is going to be trouble. I went home to Rochelle’s and flopped on my bed. Coffee date at night, giggles and chain smoking in a garage. He got me a present before he even met me, I mean, he has to want to be more than friends, right?

I spend the rest of the night replaying the “date” over and over in my head, questioning my analysis of the night. I fall asleep fully clothed and wake up late for work the next day.

BAM! Lovely rental on Tyler Street, right by my favorite neighborhood of all of NE MPLS, waiting for me! ME! Way out of my price range but I was desperate. So, I put my blarney skills to the test and sat down with my laptop armed with nothing but the property manager’s email and my own determination. I needed the price to drop, a bit. I couldn’t afford my current [or previous] lifestyle with rent near $1k a month. That is stupid. I deserve to shop at LUSH Cosmetics, Sephora & every thrift shop in a 5 mile radius every week. THAT’S MY RIGHT, I earned that! I couldn’t give it up!

Two days with no response. I was feeling defeated. I figured, if I can find a place before thanksgiving life would be good. I could be on my own for the first time, decorate a cute place, and hunker down for the holidays. I had this idea that if I found my own place and was able to be on my own that it would somehow cure my broken heart. Finding my own apartment was the only thing I needed to heal. I wasn’t even thinking clearly, I at one point considered draining my savings and 401k to buy a house… lol, okaaaay, Maria!

Beep.

Email.

A response! Its him, Landlord Jon with the Tyler Street apartment! He spoke with the property owner and they had agreed to come down on the rental price, over $100, to fit my budget! GET. THE. FUCK. OUT. It happened! My dreams were coming to reality! Now, I would be able to be free and could focus on living again. Focus on myself, my “career”, my friends and family, life. Fuck. This was good.

–              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –

Moving sucks and is exhausting. Complications with the apartment being move-in ready on time put a wrench in all my plans. I am a planner. Very anal, like things to be done my way, on my timeline. So, naturally my anxiety was flying high – I felt like my blood pressure was so high that at any point one of my arteries would just explode and I would die, bleeding out in the vitamin isle at Target. That never happened.

It was kind of sad seeing all my belongings stuffed into the back of an empty cargo van. Is this what I am? Are I the sum of all of my possessions? I mean, as I packed and look through all my things I wondered what people would think of me if they were clearing out my storage unit. I have watched a few episodes of that show where they auction off abandoned storage units and have a super anti-climactic reveal of the contents inside. I would try to make up stories about the people who left these items behind. They all had different reasons, of course, but who were they? You can’t really judge a person based on the things they left behind… but, would people judge me? A dresser. Cheap storage cubes. One plant stand. Three old paintings curated from Savers. A Christmas tree stand. A kitchen aid mixer. But no one would get the chance to judge me, or make up a story about me because I was taking my life with me.

I fought with Comcast for two days. They attempted to charge me for internet that I wasn’t even able to use as I didn’t even have the modem… what? Go fuck yourselves, too, Comcast. I was not charged, although they continued trying to overcharge me for three months following, each month I called and berated the agent on the line, knowing full well that they were just doing their job. I broke the Call Center Employee Code by doing that, but whatever, it was necessary. I do not regret what I did.

Now I have internet. WOoo hooo!

My first night in the apartment wasn’t sad or lonely. It was chilly, and I was tired from moving for two weeks.

New guy is still around. It’s been about a month and he’s definitely interested – in what, I am not sure. He’s a flirt, seems like he could really be trouble. We’ve gone on a few dates.

He asked me what I was looking for in a partner one night after he brought me home. We sat in his truck, chain smoking, talking politics. I was almost stumped, I couldn’t really think of a solid answer. I made it easier and told him what I wasn’t looking for: dishonesty, cockiness, dick heads, cheaters, mean guys. He wanted passion, love, a partner, someone to have a family with.

I told him I was crazy. I know he didn’t believe me.

We sat there together, for an hour maybe, parked under a streetlamp, staring into nothingness. Just chatting about love and romance, loss, dreams, hopes… a potential future… together?

He wanted to be my boyfriend, but I just wasn’t sure about that. He promised me the world. I was game.

–              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –

CHRISTMAS TIME! Snow is falling in big fluffy flakes, dusting the great state of Minnesota with a shiny white layer of cold dreariness. I love it. Christmas is my favorite time of year. It’s the holiday season!

I dig through my two giant bins of Christmas décor and spend hours outfitting my apartment into a winter wonderland, like the Macys 8th Floor display vomited a bit into my home. It was great! James volunteered to take me to get a tree. How sweet! Things are going okay, with him.  I like him, a lot! He is sweet, and taking me to see A Christmas Carol! We set up the tree, he kissed me goodbye, and I sat in the glow of Christmas cheer.

It took a day for the tree to settle enough to put ornaments on it and I was able to fashion a nice cover for it so that Elton wouldn’t get sick drinking out of the basin. Good thing I kept that damn tree stand, huh?

I’m not so lonely, anymore. I am settling too, like the damn tree, and it feels really good. I don’t feel like I am such an unlovable pile of shit. I feel like life is finally agreeing to stop punching me and is trying to be my friend. I am happy. Work is going a bit better, I am feeling alive. I am eating, I am sleeping… wow, this is kind of cool.

And then it hits me, in the face, with a brick. He is trolling Instagram for other chicks. Wow. I guess maybe he wasn’t so swell after all? What does this mean? Were the past couple months all a lie? What the fuck? Is there something wrong with me? Why is he doing this? He swears up and down that he’s not looking for another woman but how can I be sure? He found me on Instagram, that’s how our relationship started… he wouldn’t be the first guy to use it as a pick up instrument… yikes.

I’m hurt and angry and he promises to stop, after a couple weeks of arguing about it. Weeks. Yes. Red flag one. I should have known.

He never stopped.

For months, he was hooking up with other chicks and lying to me about it. His solution to the problem of his infidelity was to just block me, and tell me to get over it. He just wanted me to get over it. One of those “what she doesn’t know wont hurt her”. He just continued looking for other women for months, lying to my face and telling me he loved me, all the while hooking up with other women. Ouch. He had no intention of being faithful, he expected me to be alright with being used.

So, I am still hurt, and angry. Why? I mean fuck, I am sure it was the chase, he took my “I am emotionally vulnerable and not sure if I can handle another heartbreak” as “I am playing hard to get, please use me and throw me away like a piece of trash”… not okay, but what the hell am I going to do about it?

My friend read an article about women just. Like. Me. Used, abused, damaged. We attract the same type of men over and over again, we don’t ditch when we see the red flags because we so desperately want love that we are willing to believe that people can change… pathetic. I don’t want to believe it but deep down I really do. I don’t like thinking of myself as pathetic, or desperate, but based on my actions, my thoughts, my feelings, I pretty much am. It’s okay for now. I am working on it. It takes time to become a stronger person.

–              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –

Sunday: I wake up to my neighbor playing his guitar. Look at the clock. Its 7:30 am on Sunday. Okay? He doesn’t seem to understand “quiet hours” etiquette. He is usually jamming on that thing at the worst time. Midnight on a Tuesday. 7:30 am on a Sunday.

I get out of bed and stomp to the kitchen to brew ungodly amounts of coffee. I stomp to be passive aggressive so he can hear that there is life outside of unit 2, but also partially because I have had exceptional pain in my right foot for the past week.

I hobble down to the basement. I need to do laundry, I’ve had to do laundry, and I want to check to see if my bum neighbors took their clothes out yet. Nope. Still there. Both washer and dryer are full of clothes, after two days. Inconvenienced. I slam the washer lid three times like a dick because I am irritated and I want my oblivious neighbors to know. Why is there one washer/dryer in this building?

I’ve got my coffee now. Staring out the window at the gloomy Sunday that I was given. Okay, really, for a day off. I’m lazy so it’s not like I had any intention to go outside and enjoy life in any way. The window is good enough, my portal to the living, breathing world around me. LIFE! EXUBERANT LIFE! OH, how I don’t envy thee! I am perfectly content sitting here, presuming life is bullshit and terrifying, that no one can actually be as happy as they claim. Fuck them. Liars.

I am upset. I thought I was in love. Yea, AGAIN. Whatever. I mean, I knew that I was moving too fast. I knew I needed time from the last relationship… but he was nice. He seemed nice. He was an asshole. A lying asshole.

Now I am even more upset. What do I do? I mean, I have been texting and calling him non-stop for a week with absolutely no response… why am I doing this? So pathetic. I send three more lame “please tell me why” texts before my blood is boiling and I feel my palms start to sweat. What to do with the anger? DUH – break shit.

Alright.

Sit down. Light a candle. Put on some music – downtempo dinner on Pandora is my go-to lately. Close my eyes. Deep breaths. Super deep breaths. Sigh. Let it out. Stretch my neck. Ready.

I’m sitting awkwardly on the floor with my stupid cripple-leg propped up. Somehow I have my favorite stationary out with my charcoal Pentel Sign Pen… I write him a letter. WOW, I am crying, tears are weird. I feel abandoned. He said he loved me, that he wasn’t like all the other guys, that he wouldn’t hurt me… liars lie, you know?

He gave me a lovely black cat print for my birthday. I get up and I take the frame off the wall and gingerly pull it out. I caress the paper. How pretty, the cat is so cute. It was such a great gesture of affection. I remember him giving it to me. How I felt butterflies. I wanted to kiss him but we weren’t “there” yet. I set it down. I’m not sobbing, but it’s more than a couple delicate tears. How sad is this? Why did he do this? I am holding the print, ready? Am I really ready? Do I keep it? NOPE. Tear. I tear it once, I tear it twice. Three times. Four times. It’s practically shredded now, little bits of inked paper scattered across the floor.

What else? We were together for such a short while so I don’t have much but I still feel this incredible need to destroy every memory of him.

The alarm clock. He gave me a pretty fantastic alarm clock for Christmas. It would light up like the sun to help you wake up. Yep. That’s gotta go!

I grab some kitchen scissors, the ones made to cut through chicken bones. I cut the cord. Once, twice, three times, good, that’s good! The alarm clock itself was a little difficult. I was able to snap the base into pieces no problem. The “face”… that thing was sturdy. I grabbed my cigarettes & my car keys.

Flash-forward the 3 minutes it took me to get down the two flights of stairs… cigarette lit, car running, in reverse…. Alarm clock placed perfectly… under the rear drivers side wheel. YES BITCH! Back and forth, four times. It’s smashed now. I’m not sure if my neighbors saw, if they did, would they even care? Do I care if they saw? Nope. They can suck my dick.

I decide I want to bag all of this shit and throw it at his front door. Good idea, Martini. Feed the crazy.

I made it two blocks before I realized this was not a good idea. Am I growing as a person? Turn around, go home. Leave the bag of broken dreams in the back seat of my car with the piles of shit I cleared out of my OTHER ex’s home last week. I’m too tired to haul it all upstairs. I guess there is no better place to store all the memories of my failed relationships.

Hobble to the basement… it’s been an hour [plus two days] so they might have cleared out their shit by now. Nope. Still in there.

My foot hurts. I should have breakfast. More coffee will do. I rummage through my cupboards for something easy, chocolate will do.

Sprawled across the couch. I throw my sketchbook across the room. The sight of it annoys me. A reminder that my creative juices have stopped flowing. The only thing flowing these days are tears and rage.

Netflix! That will save me! Netflix, coffee, chocolate and more painkillers. There is a show called “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce”… I’m not going through a divorce but a breakup is like the same thing, almost. Can’t hurt.

I text him, again. I wasn’t expecting a response, it’s been a week since he’s acknowledged my existence. I tell him what I did, smashing the clock and tearing up the picture. HE RESPONDS!

Maria: So, I went crazy and smashed the alarm clock you gave me for Christmas. I tore up that adorable black cat print for you got me for my birthday. I wrote you a lovely letter and I planned to bag it all up and throw it at your house but I can’t feel my foot, so I got high instead. You won again, Devil Man.

James: I think we should take a break from communicating for a while.

Not satisfying, in any way. What a loser. Him. He is the loser. I mean, yea… I am a bit neurotic, emotional… but he’s a liar. A lying loser who manipulates women to get what he wants before he tears their hearts out and shits in the void that he created. Pig. Pig man. Why am I so upset?

I guess, really, I am so upset because I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I allowed myself to believe him, even with all the red flags. I just hopped on the “manipu-train” and let him lead me on for months. That’s why I am upset. Not with him, he doesn’t know better. This is how he was raised, to be a lying man whore. He doesn’t know any better. But, I do, and I let it happen. I am upset with myself.

Sigh.

Martini, get your head on straight, girl!

Work.

I don’t even want to go there.

Call Center Manager. Sounds simple enough. If I were working for a company that wasn’t 10 years behind the technology game. My boss said it best… “we are working with string and duct tape”… I always compared the company I work for to the Red Green Show… you know what I am talking about, and if you don’t, google it and watch a couple episodes on YouTube and then you will understand.

I am “project manager” for updating to a new phone system that will integrate with our current [shitty] CRM. What the fuck for? I have literally NO experience with any of this shit.

This is my first time working in an office setting, 7 years here, and everything I know I learned from this business. How am I supposed to know what a DNIS or FTP is? Excuse?

We are on a super tight almost unreasonable timeline to get this integration and training completed and I am basically shitting myself. I feel so overwhelmed! How the hell am I going to pull this off? How the hell did I even get this job, with no training and no experience?

That’s kind of impressive… I made a place for myself with no education or experience. I was a bum, chain smoking and painting bedrooms for rich bored housewives and all of a sudden I have a salary and a 13 day European adventure booked for August.

Life happens like that for some people. I forget sometimes that I have to take a step back and appreciate what I do have. Where I am, what I have accomplished. Appreciate my friends and the people who do love me, unconditionally without exception, people who hold me up when I feel like I am drowning. I have to love that I have a juicer now. I have to remember that I have a fluffly, adorable cat who chooses to cuddle up with me every night and hold my arm while we fall asleep. That, my friends, is the truest love I have ever known.

I want a sandwich.

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