I sit down at the door-sized, plain wooden desk we had made at an unfinished furniture shop on Magnolia Boulevard, and turn on our computer. Almost immediately the chirpy little bastard from AOL tells me I’ve got mail.
I feel a shot of adrenalin, find her message, and start to read it.
Jack, it’s me, Sophie.
This is awkward. But this is not how I pictured my life. You don’t seem to want to … or to be able to control your drinking. Maybe you can get it under control and we can try it again. But I have to go before I start hating you. I deserve better than this. So do you. It’s funny, I want to go stay with my best friend. Nothing against Jean, but you’re my best friend.
GOD! I’m so sick of Hollywood! Show business! Acting! Watching you bang your head against that wall. I remember you testing for that pilot. I think it was five times over about two months, and you got it, and the day before you were supposed to start shooting, they cut your damned part out of the show. Why would you want to go on living that way? And that kind of thing happens over and over.
I feel like we’re falling down a hole and there’s no way out. I’m scared. I’m afraid I can’t make it on my own—thanks, Mom and Dad. But you seem so helpless and I'm not strong enough to save the both of us. Sometimes I think I’m still young enough and pretty enough to attract another man but that scares the shit out of me even more.
I don't want much. I just want to pay the bills and go out to dinner once in awhile—maybe a weekend in Palm Springs. Oh golly, Jack, I remember one time going swimming in a motel pool, then making love, lying in bed with you a whole afternoon and evening, our hair all snarled and tangled, and we still smelled of chlorine when we went out for dinner at ten o’clock that night. And it was just an ordinary motel, but who cares? We were alive and feeling … joy and blissful just being together.
But now we’re always, always scrabbling for a living. Our cars are held together with duct tape. I actually fantasize being with one of those weekend roadie cyclist guys who wears one of those dopey hats, but I wouldn’t mind, because at least he can afford his dopey hat and his bike and all that snazzy spandex. That scares me. I’ve had some wine.
We don’t have children. That’s my fault, I know. You told me in the beginning that we could but I was even terrified of getting married. We don’t even have a dog or a cat or a fucking goldfish. I’m amazed we have a few plants. I’m missing out on life, it’s going fast and so far I haven't done what I ought to do, or what I wanted to. You’re not the only fuck-up here.
Oh, never mind, Jack. I can’t say anymore now. Maybe I’ve said too much already. I don’t even know if I should send it. I love you, but, apparently, that's not enough.
I’ll talk to you later.
I turn off the computer.
I try to imagine how I might turn my life around. Now. Right this second. And then I’d send an email back to Jean’s computer and tell Jean that I’ve got a message for Sophie. I try to think what that message might say. I could tell her that I want to hold her. And God, I do. I want to make all the sadness in her go away. Forever. I want to make everything all right again, the way it used to be. I want to laugh with her again.
I need to make some new plans. I need to make it okay for “us” again.
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