Stained Glass & Thunderstorms is a new CRAZY SAD BABES CLUB series by poet/writer Meredith Aristone. THIS IS PART 1.
It’s winter of 2018 and Holland and I are accidentally on purpose going through most of life together. We are curating an intimacy at our own pace that feels fluid and comfortable. Comfortable enough for white wine and mutual masturbation. And for him to assure me that I won’t have seizures from my Miralax abuse or go into anaphylactic shock at random. He drives to see me at four in the morning when I’m scared and I sleep in his bed at home in Jersey against his mother’s wishes. We go to the gym at two a.m. when we’re bored. We have sex on the floor of his mother’s apartment. She throws out my expensive face masks that I leave in their tiny fridge and says things like “that girl’s up to no good.”
We fight like wild animals. He even makes me cry, sometimes. Though I think I make him cry more. He is the keeper of my hypochondria. We even get into a routine of watching confessional YouTube videos together over stale alcohol and chicken wings. I think we’re in love, but I’m delusional. I tell him so, often. “I’m lucky,” is what I say. “I’m lucky, Holland. Thank you for being there for me.”
“I love you, April.” Holland is sweet, Holland is doe-eyed. He lets me drive his car wasted and paint his nails black just cause. He translates for me when I have to drunkenly speak to an EMT in the lobby of my building because they’re trying to screen me for alcohol poisoning. He takes me on drives, long ones, sometimes weekend long ones and we invent a game. It’s called: The Highway Game and the premise is that the player (me) can point at any exit and decide that we pull off to explore the surrounding areas and maybe even spend the night. We stay at hotels in Allentown and day drink in Phoenixville. I dye his hair blue on the bathroom floor of a motel in Harrisburg. He takes artistic pictures of me in which I’m kneeling on the bed, bare skinned and vulnerable, sunlight washing over me through the window that separates us and the bed bugs from wherever we’ve decided to stay. “You’re something else, April,” he says.
I’m high on the rush of the new things that we keep on doing because we can’t stop. We drink vodka and eat rest stop pizza in his Chevy like it’s a religion. We are almost our own religion. I get kicked out of a dirty Jersey strip club for smuggling alcohol in and falling off of a chair. He laughs, letting me sip his drink all the way until the bouncer is dragging us by the arm. At the very same strip club, we fight explosively, until his mom and her boyfriend have to show up in separate vehicles to de-tangle us and take us home. At an entirely different strip club, we show up sober, and he watches me dance with no makeup in a little black dress. I’m embarrassing, he’s unbothered.
I think he sees me for exactly who and what I am: a time bomb, a fiery ball of panic. One of the most appealing things about it is that Holland doesn’t try to change me, or mute me or reel me in. He’s just along for the ride. He’s there to laugh at all of it. Holland never passes up a trip to New York City or an attempt to sneak me into a bar. He calls me “devil-cute” – just like that. Not cute devil, but devil cute. Sometimes, he does the puppy dog thing where he refers to me in the third person, and his eyes glaze over, all: “Does devil-cute wanna get rosè and some food?” You get the gist. And yes, devil-cute usually fucking does.
Holland doesn’t tell me “no” unless he’s jealous because I’m flirting with some other guy. In which case, he drinks too much and becomes hysterical.
Hysterical Holland isn’t a good time. You guys will see what I mean, later on. If you think the next chapter is bad – it’s just annoying. It gets worse, I promise.
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