Black Coffee

January 18, 2014

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My original plan was to head home to my hometown of Marshfield after work; plans changed to meeting up with my former roommate Sarah and series of sangria at Scoozi on Newbury street in Boston. Sarah convinced me to go to a party in Dorchester. I had been to an Dorchester party once before, it was crowded and smelled bad and I never felt the need to go back. I had work the next morning and nowhere to stay that night, thus I agreed.

We eventually ended up in front of the house the party was being held. “There is a really hot guy that lives in this house” Sarah  told me before we arrived; I wasn’t paying much attention to her because prior to that summer my “type” was specific to the foreign millionaires I would meet at Splash nightclub in Boston.

I thought I was heading to a party and it appeared to just be a group of friends hanging out. Of the ten people there I vaguely recognized two, I would eventually learn that this how it would always be, spending summer in the city.

I let my wine buzz fill in the awkward silence. Sitting to the right of me was a curly haired boy in stripes. Somehow it came up that we both write for fun. In his excitement, Frank (as I now know his name is) pulled out his laptop and showed me an essay he wrote. My vision was blurred from the alcohol, but attempted to read. “When you use a phrase in writing you’re supposed to use quotations to avoid literal interpretation” I said, correcting his grammar. I’m not entirely sure if I thought his writing was good at the time. I do know that I told him I liked it.

We spent the rest of the night gazing into each other’s flesh drawn eyes, both engulfed in the special connection we found on an old, torn up couch. As everyone started to leave, we started to make out. I felt dizzy as we kissed, but all I could think of was the kiss and nothing more.

Everyone left, including Sarah, who knew I wanted to stay. “Wanna go to my room?” Frank asked, as if it were even necessary. Seconds later we were pressed against his door. He warned me that it had been a long time since he had cleaned, which was apparent. His bed was close to the floor, he had beige sheets I am sure he’d never washed, and a single pillow on his queen sized bed. He didn’t have a nightstand, but instead used an upside-down TV to store laundry detergent. His only wall decoration was a Pulp Fiction movie poster. Of course, I noticed none of this until the next morning.

I walked in first and adjusted myself on the bed as he closed the door. He climbed on top of me. We did our best to gracefully hookup in the pitch black. I announced early on that I was not interested in having sex that night. As women, we’re taught to believe that if you sleep with a guy the first time you hangout with him, he will never speak to you again. I was well aware of the reality of the notion. I felt a pretty strong connection with Frank in my faded state-of-mind. I imagined myself happy with him for a long time, with no evidence to believe it was plausible.

The unbearable heat of the summer, and the bright light shining through his tiny window caused us to wake up early the next morning, still in spooning position. For me, waking up next to a new guy had always brought a feeling of shame. Every time I would wake up after a one-night stand I would hope that maybe this guy was different than the last; maybe he would be the exception to the rule. For some reason I didn’t feel humiliated that morning. Our pillow talk lasted for hours due to an early wakeup.

Frank told me I had the perfect ass. I had only been told that once and it was about a week before, by another guy. I froze my gym membership that month because I couldn’t afford it; perhaps all weight gain went where it was needed. 

It was getting late though, and I had to go to work. Sarah was also calling me on repeat. Frank suggested we get coffee sometime, so I offered up that very moment. He told me he was interested but had under a dollar in his bank account. All too familiar with that same situation, I insisted he let me buy him a coffee. He told me he felt like “a scrub” but accepted anyways. We walked to Dunkin Donuts where he ordered his iced coffee black. I realize now it takes a certain personality type to order black coffee.

In reference to the tie-dyed jeans I was wearing, Frank told me he appreciated a girl with a sense of style. Months later he would describe style as much more than an understanding of fabrics and colors. Style to him was the very essence of personality. Style is what makes a person more special and appealing than the rest. That morning all he was to me was a good companion to have on my walk of shame. We said goodbye with a peck on the lips, leading me to believe we would both identify this as special. I’d been through the same process with other guys.

Frank was a writer, similar to myself. He wanted to write fiction, and I wanted to write my own story. He was an English major, the kind of guy who lists all the required books you read in high school in his “favorite books” section on Facebook; A Separate Peace, The Great Gatsby, Huck Finn, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, and Catcher in the Rye.

While lying in bed one morning, Frank looked over to see a text I had received from one of my friends referring to him as a “hot hipster”. He got angry and explained why he wasn’t, “Hipsters like to think everything is ironic, that is why they love things that nobody else does”, tin lunch boxes, cartoons that have been off air for a long time, thrift store clothing, abstract and unexplained body art, etc. I had a feeling this was not the first time he had this argument.

Something very beautiful and disturbing about Frank drew me to him. He lived in a shit hole apartment and reeked of the issues and youth of America. He had a tattoo that read “thrasher” on his knee that he drew on himself when he was sixteen. Apparently thrasher is a skateboarding term. He spent the summer drunk off his mind on Pabst’s Blue Ribbon, broke from spending all his money on takeout, unable to cook for himself. He spent weekdays working at a finance office near Copley Square. I’m not entirely sure what kind of work he did; as I’m sure he’s not either. Having a white-collar job in the first place indicated a certain level of intelligence I would not have guessed he possessed.

Over the summer we saw each other a few times a week, always in the presence of other people and alcohol. Still, our connection was clear and specific to one another. He’d walk up to me and give me a kiss in front of everyone. It was unhidden affection that was obvious to anyone that saw us together. Both social people, we spent parties talking to only one another, knowing from our arrival who we’d be departing with.

Every weekend of that summer I found myself in his bed. We would attempt to have sex but were often unable due to the effect alcohol has on biology. We’d fall asleep sharing a single pillow, the only one he had on his bed. The next morning he would walk me to the train in the blazing heat of the sun, magnetic to the Dorchester pavement; both of us sweaty from the night before, reeking of sex and alcohol.

I always woke up a little earlier in his bed. For starters, he lived in a very old house with no central AC in sight; he was too lazy to find a fan. I would wake up a little earlier than him; watch him sleep a little bit before attempting to wake him up. He was even more beautiful when he opened his eyes, undeniably his best quality. He was an English major and stereotypically one of the most passionate guys I’d been with. His ways made me question his intentions and I secretly hoped he saw a future with me, something more than a “Friday night” fling. When you become intimate as soon as you meet someone things tend to be less “by the book”; the books he wanted to write, read, and lend to me. From Vermont, his parents taught him to take an interest in literature. Eager to tell me about his literary adventures, ask my opinions and feign for my approval. He told me about a story he was writing including a Dutch foreign exchange student and a baboon. Even though I was temporarily blinded by lust I still thought his concept was bizarre. He thought just because I blogged about my life meant I was into reading; I let him believe that, seeing as it probably helped my cause.

“This will have to do” I looked into his bathroom mirror at my hair stained with sweat, no comb to be found. I asked Frank to smell my shirt from the night before to see if it smelt like alcohol or pot. He said “the perfume covered it enough”. I didn’t wear perfume the night before but it wasn’t worth mentioning. His friends slept over the night before too; they invited me to breakfast. I had to work all too soon but I was willing to cut it close just to be with this boy. I checked my bank account balance and saw mere pennies; I declined the invitation and prayed that I would have enough money on my train pass to get back to my apartment.

The boy of my day-dreams did not match the description I had of my ideal lover. Frank liked to mumble, smoke cigarettes, stumble over his own feet and not remember the night. His eyes were so beautiful however that no written description could do them justice. Eyes so pure and blue they could pierce right through your soul. Those eyes left me frozen but he kissed with so much energy it transcended through me. It’s strange how this same boy refused to let me into his world. On paper I guess I was out of his league. I was the girl who wouldn’t be caught dead in Dorchester; he was the boy that lived there. He had me from the start, and that is no way to keep a guys interest. No matter how “deep” a guy is he’s still shallow. English majors are so difficult like that, always leading you to believe they have so much more substance. They’re not so different after all.

Unfortunately, an overflow of chemistry isn’t usually the mixture for a perfect relationship, just an unexpected explosion of heat. While certain chemicals can burn to the very center of our beings, they very rarely create something tangible. I’m right to believe there was an intense amount of passion, but I’m also right to believe its simply not there anymore. We would wake up on opposite sides of the bed, and spend the night annoyed with each other’s arms, rather then in them. Or when I found myself crossing my fingers, hoping he wouldn’t be at a party so I could flirt with a different boy. Slowly I began wanting his approval more so than I wanted to be around him.

Compatibility is what lights the candle, but it only takes a gust of wind to blow it all out. He gave me a feeling nobody had in a long time, although our sober lips never did touch. My emotions surpassed liquid courage. So easily we allow people to categorize us into “hookup” or “relationship”. Every human interaction is different. I felt something, perhaps it wasn’t “special”, but it was companionship. I wish I could have read minds; avoided pain like the plague and followed his games straight to his heart. I never craved a boyfriend, a weight or burden. I wanted someone to care about who reciprocated the same feelings, no labels or rules, just affection. But it appeared he couldn’t push his “player” ways to the side to stand by mine? I’m not controlling, I didn’t expect “designated us time” I just liked him; I just wanted to be with him more often. But time and time again, I found myself riding the green line back to my apartment rushing to get to work on the weekend morning, looking like sex and feeling like shit. I’d rush to get ready but I’d leave the grease in my hair and the bags under my eyes; collecting coins back at my apartment and hoping it was enough for a train pass to work.

Everyone wants somebody to love but at some point you have to accept that if someone isn’t putting forth effort you are clearly not that somebody they want to love. When you like someone you take the time to text them, call them, hangout with them during the day. I needed someone equally infatuated with me, not someone who nearly drew me to insanity. Frank and I were supposed to be a “one night stand” but summer changed that. I thought our passion when we were together made up for when we weren’t, but that was wishful thinking. I felt like a chapter of “He’s Just Not That Into You”, my friends were always trying to tell me some people just “aren’t big texters”. In reality, a text takes under a minute to write and send. As an English major, Frank should have excelled in that area. If I was something special to him then he would have made plans with me and made me feel special because that’s how he saw me. I loved clubbing, free drinks, and a beautifully superficial lifestyle, but this boy made whiskey dick look not disgusting, but endearing and looked better in thrift store clothes than anybody did in Gucci. His bank account, so empty it made his vacant fridge look fully stocked. His arms were thinner then mine. I know I could have carried him. I said the wrong things a lot and I made myself out to be someone I wasn’t. I would call him after a few shots of tequila– liquid courage not because I was horny but because I wanted to cuddle and talk to him, explore a new place, sit in parking lots for hours babbling about nothing with him. His texts made me smile, his sweat made me cringe, his appreciation for art and literature made me melt. He inspired me to better myself and become more than a pretty face. He’d suggest me novels he knew I’d like and I’d read them and loved them because he did.

I wish he knew the opportunities I had and that all along I chose him. I barely stood a chance against his smile or his fucked up notions. He would tell me he loved me with tequila on his breath and completely forget about it the next day. What slipped his mind stuck in mine. He had an alcohol-induced lazy eye and could rarely walk in a straight line. He was too deep for me to read, but too interesting to not try. I wanted him to see me the way I saw him, but it is easy to confuse distance for complexity.  Maybe his eyes were crystal blue because it was clear there wasn’t much thought behind them. I did want to believe for a great deal of time that he had substance; I think he wanted to believe the same.

It was a summer fling that has since past. We’re back to our separate entities; mine filled with high heels and grey goose, his life filled with generic brand beer, and the Salvation Army. I’m not sure if either of us won.

More about Mackenzie

Retired scene queen living in Astoria, New York with my boyfriend Ben. Accidentally started blogging in 2011, haven't stopped since. Lover of Nutella, hater of white jeans after labor day. Graduate of Suffolk University with a degree in Sociology. During the day I work for Petrossian Caviar, the world's largest caviar supplier and buyer. I have a wonderful life, and I'm excited to share it with you. Also, I have seen every episode of Law & Order: SVU.