Bad Habits » Moodswing

Control the Hole

Don't just fill it


Lary draws the line at homicide, he says. Like this is some new development. Like until recently homicide was perfectly inside the line but now he's on an anti-killing kick. "It's been a week," he smiles that evil smile, "and I hardly even feel the urge."

"Don't tell me about your damn urges, you demented old dick sack," I say. Jesus God, we've already been sitting here for the past hour listening to Grant talk about how easy it is to suppress his own urges -- mainly his urge to eat like a normal person, as opposed to the caterpillar he thinks he is lately, seeing as how he's on day 20 of a new diet that consists solely of fruit, beans and rice. All I can say is I sure as hell hope he's wearing an adult diaper, because a diet like that is dangerous, I tell you. It'll percolate in your guts until it blows out the back of your ass like a shotgun blast, and that's not something I want to see.

"I feel fabulous," Grant chirps, placing a slice of dried pineapple on his tongue like it was a communion wafer. Ha! I tried his diet for one week. It was supposed to clean me out internally, leave me all fresh and feeling energetic, when the fact is I seriously thought I was gonna die horribly clutching my eyes like the victim of a biblical curse.

"My head is killing me," I complained to him. "Am I supposed to feel like this? Why does this diet hurt my head?" And where was all the energy Grant said I'd feel? I was more energetic when my diet consisted solely of Slim Jims and chocolate-covered peanuts. Granted, I was 18 then and could have eaten my own Moped and probably felt healthier than I do now, but even so -- even today -- after a week of peeled grapes and crushed peach seeds, you'd think I'd at least get a spring in my step or something.

"Well, I feel fabulous," Grant repeats, smug. 'I don't know what your problem is."

That right there is what has me foaming at the mouth lately, because Grant and Lary both constantly gloat over how easy it is for them to control their urges, and we are talking normal urges, like the perfectly normal urge to eat a bowl of brownie batter for breakfast. It's just easy as cheesy for them to keep from doing that. Me, though, what the hell else have I got to live for? I don't have any abnormal urges I can amp up in order to suppress the normal ones, like I can't go copulate with twice as many Mexican busboys like Grant does, and I can't taxidermy 20 extra animal corpses in my basement like Lary probably does. I am, frankly, cursed.

"You got to control the hole," he tisks, pointing to his mouth.

"I have way more holes than you do," I remind him.

It's true, that's the curse. Extra holes. They can't all be empty at the same time, either. It's just not natural. It does not help, at all, to hear that my ex-boyfriend is dating a 20-year-old contortionist (or whatever). For God's sake, when you break up with someone they should at least have the decency to die quietly while reaching for your photograph, especially after you declined Lary's heartfelt offer to have them assassinated. I swear to God, I don't know what's wrong with the world when a perfectly passable female like me ends up dateless for a 10-month stretch. It's not like I don't get out there. It's not like I can't be easily found, clear as day, under my desk in the dark with brownie batter in my hair. Christ, what is wrong with people, are they blind? Come and get me.

Because odds are I can at least snag a bad one, and it used to be that even bad relationships were fun in their own way. I once dated a British bartender who lived in Grand Cayman. The odds of that lasting were about 80 points below leprechauns on the list of probabilities, but at least it got me out of the house. Way out. I can still remember the color of the ocean as the plane made its approach: pale blue like the knees of a child's dungarees. See what I mean; even when things don't stick, things stick.

"You gotta be like a screen door," Grant keeps telling me. "You gotta let things pass through you."

"Right," says Lary, who is such a cinder block nothing ever gets through him. You'd never find him with his head in his hands because the hole in his heart all of a sudden widened like the horizon one day. You'd never see him doing what he can to stuff it shut again. He and Grant both are tough as Teflon. Their hearts could deflect a shower of old power drills, I swear. They are such sea urchins -- such crusty emotional acid vats -- that I thank God for them every damn day.

"I love you guys," I mumble.

"Did you catch that?" Lary says.

"I didn't catch that," Grant says.

My words ricochet between them, not sticking. I smile, though, because even when things don't stick, things stick.

Hollis Gillespie is the author of Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories and Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood. Her commentaries can be heard on NPR's "All Things Considered."

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