Honey for Nothing
Note: Andrew had a lot of staying power for a teenager. I broke up with and cheated on him for two years straight, and he never once thought of not welcoming me back. Then, one day, he woke up and broke up with me and when he said it, he meant it. And then oh how I suffered! I crank-called him all summer long. When that didn’t win him over, I moved in with his best friend/bass player, but he ended up being schizophrenic and tried to rape me while I was ironing clothes, so I held the iron against his chest until I heard the sizzle. Boy is life exciting when you’re vengeful. These entries come at the beginning of Andrew’s and my second year together. I was living with Rachel in New Hampshire and visiting Andrew in Boston. Rachel and I were eighteen and Andrew nineteen.
April 13, 1987
Andrew and I were painting. I said, “Why don’t you smile when you paint, then it will come out better.” He looked at me and said, “I don’t paint for fun, Lisa.” Andrew is such a party pooper. I have to return the elephant-trunk-for-penis underwear I got him because he says he’ll never wear them. “I think they’d make you more dimensional,” I said.
“Do something to me you’ve never done before,” I told him.
He looked around the room. He grabbed a pair of long johns, tied my hands behind my back (I was on my stomach), then he poured honey all over me! It was sticky and cold. He untied me and we took a shower.
When I got home, I said to Rachel, “I’m right into fucking. If it weren’t for diseases, I’d be fucking everything that moved a little. I mean, I finally come of age, and now the world has come of AIDS!”
Rachel: “I hear ya! I’m right into fucking too!”
Me: “Actually, it bores me.”
Rachel: “It bores me too! I was afraid to tell you!”
I don’t love Andrew. I don’t like him. I hate him! I don’t know why I keep going back and back and back to him! I’m gonna go call him now.
On the bus to and from Andrew’s, I pretend I’m all different people. To the bus driver (thirty-four years old, lives with his parents, works fifteen-hour shifts, doesn’t read or write or listen to records, likes to talk to pretty girls like me that ride the bus), I was a sixteen-year-old blues singer, my father was in the Air Force and I grew up in Japan; I was an avid Celtics fan. To the old woman on the bench (has poor blood pressure and isn’t supposed to eat Chinese food but does every day anyway, has wanted to see a Hank Williams concert her whole life, spends most of her time waiting for buses or doctors), I was fifteen, the youngest case ever to have hardening of the arteries; I believed that faith in God is what’s missing in today’s culture.
I broke up with Andrew but Rachel and I went to his band’s show anyway. I was drinking. This bald young man had a popsicle and no, it was my popsicle.
“Give that popsicle back to me,” I said.
“Okay, here, go ahead.”
“Thank you, this is very good,” I said.
“Why are you saying thank you, it’s your own popsicle.” And he was sucking the popsicle, I was sucking the popsicle, then I was sucking his finger. There was a tongue in my mouth besides my own tongue. A tongue big like a cock and “Hey,” I said. “What are we doing in the girls’ bathroom on a
toilet? Let me out!” A girl came in and sat in the stall next to ours. Pssss! went her pee. “Shhhhh!” I whispered to my evil stallmate. I was wearing a short black dress and a garter belt and black stockings. And white underwear. He slipped his hand under my dress. His fingers were all dirty
and calloused and he put his hand on my clean, gentle thigh-flesh and oh! slipped one dirty finger in, then two, then he moved them around. He moved his whole hand around underneath my dress and I said, “Oh.” Then I said, “I just remembered something,” and ran away.
And then I was outside, with my great orange feather boa and a feather in my hair, and a colored cigarette between two gold fingers (golden gloves). A guy was standing near me, not even talking to me, and this girl came over and dragged him away and said, “If you say so much as one word to that girl I swear I’ll kill you!”
I said, “Well!” and with a great swing of my boa I was off. I went back inside to hear my newly ex-boyfriend’s band. The bass player watched me the whole time. And oh, it’s so sad, I’m so beautiful and I know it won’t be this way later. Tomorrow I won’t be quite as beautiful as today and so on, until in ten years it’ll all be gone. The pale ones like me are always the first ones to lose their looks. But let’s not think about that now. Today is the day. And it’s a glorious day! I got on stage to sing a song. They didn’t know I was going to, but I just walked right up to the singer and said, “I have a song to sing for you.” He looked at me and I stared right back at him, so he said, “Okay.” I looked at the musicians and I said, “Okay boys, play something slow and dirty.” Andrew wasn’t going to play, but then he saw that the other guys were, so he had to. I stood legs apart, skirt high, head tilted back, eyes closed and lips parted and then I let loose with a torrent of the worst, most violent yelling I think there has ever been! I’m really a terrible singer; I didn’t even try. I just attacked my voice, like there were fists inside my throat broke my voice into a million pieces and spit it out.
The band gave me and Rachel a ride home. I sat in back of the van with Andrew. I told him I slept with my old flame Douglas. He didn’t say a word. “Say something. Say something,” I said. “I open myself up for you and you’re content to watch me. You never volunteer anything of yourself. I do all the action and you won’t even comment on it. You just wait for me to do the next thing.” He still had nothing to say! I said, “Andrew, I hate you.”
“Do you mean that or are you just saying that?”
“Both. You’re always so fucking calm.”
“You’re always so fucking cruel.”
I felt strange not knowing what Andrew was thinking about, so I called him and asked.
Andrew sighed and said, “Sex.”
I said, “What about it?”
Andrew said, “Having it.”
I said, “Let’s play a game. Say the opposite of everything you feel or think.”
Andrew said, “We weren’t fighting and then we were. I didn’t care why, but you told me anyway. You are very predictable. You are stupid, ugly, dull, flat. I don’t like your eyes, I don’t like the color of your hair. You are fat. Just ugly.”
I said, “Let’s play another game. Let’s leave out every other word. I’ll start: I you force to sex you.”
Andrew said, “I you love .”
Love, I’ve decided, is gross.
It was warm today. The air smelled so good. I sat on the warm car. I was wearing a short cotton dress. The sun touched my legs and my arms. Some boys walked by, I leaned over to pick something up, they saw my underwear, they whistled, I laughed.
In springtime, the Mad Tracer of Dover emerges from hibernation to trace big-breasted figures in the sand and dirt. Everywhere you look on the ground in Dover, you see naked women. He comes from the halfway house.
Later: I was in my glass drive-up Fotomat booth. A guy called and said he’d seen me in there, said I was pretty. I poured out my soul to him. I told him all my problems with writing and immortality and my friends. He is twenty-three years old and has a girlfriend named Wendy. I said, “What’s she like?” He said, “Nothing like you.” I called Andrew and told him.
Rachel snuck into my booth with a present. We became Fotomates on acid! I peered into my own eyes and it was a witches’ world and then they ovulated! I entered the opulent den. I held things like pieces of napkin and hats and such up to my eyes, to protect them. Sakes alive, I was discofied! It grew cold and dark and we ran out into the snow and the rain.
“Oh it’s so hot! It’s so so hot! Like the tropics! Oh!” We ran to different balconies to serenade the inhabitants. We ran holding hands through the snow, singing a song to the river. Walked downtown, circled a dead glove three times and stalked invisible passersby, converting them to Catholicism. We saw a shoe display in a lit window. The ugliest shoe in the world was spotlighted. “Now there’s a shoe,” we announced to the oncoming headlights. “There’s one for you!” We displayed the shoe to its maximum appeal with our long, long, long arms. Then we bowed reverently, three times, eyes closed, to the ugliest shoe in the world. We called Andrew and I said, “Well of course Descartes said perception is a form of thought what did he think it was, a nose?” I took a stress test and it came out black, the highest amount of stress possible. I’m all bummed out. I thought I was a real mellow dude.
I woke up at Andrew’s with my period. I asked him to go to the drugstore downstairs and buy me tampons. He said, “No, I don’t buy those things. You go.”
“I’m all bloody!” I said. Silence. “You’re not going to do it.”
I grabbed a ten dollar bill and walked out the door, wearing nothing but that ten dollar bill! Andrew stopped me. I stood there, legs spread, arms crossed and said, “You have pictures of naked women all over your room, and you think you’re so free. You know what you are? A prude!” And I threw the bill on the sidewalk and ran inside to take a shower. When I got out of the shower there were tampons on the dresser.
2000 postscript: When my book Dancing Queen was published in 1997, Andrew found me again and wanted me back. I guess some people can’t get enough abuse. He said he was living in the woods with his rifle and had gotten fat. He was doing so much Buddhist practice, he said, that he sometimes spent forty-eight hours straight in a trance. I did not take him up on his offer.
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