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Nothing

It ends not with a bang but a lasagna

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Jesus God, if I need any more evidence -- at all -- that I am wasting my life, all I have to do is look around at the bunch of bottom fish I have for friends. Grant, for one, won't even pick me up at the airport when I ask him. No, he was busy hanging a chandelier above his dining room table. Strike that, he was not even the one hanging the chandelier. He got our neighbor, Chris Mulder, who is a lighting designer -- not a handyman or a custodian, but a famous designer-artist with a gallery and everything -- to hang it, and it wasn't even one of Chris' own creations. It was just some retro-metal number Grant bought retail. So getting Chris to install it was like asking Picasso to paint the bathroom, if you ask me, and it's no goddamn excuse to leave me stranded at the airport.

"I'm his hand-me-this bitch, bitch," Grant bitched back at me.

"Shut up and get your worthless pansy ass to the airport and pick me up!" I shrieked, but by that time Chris was already standing on Grant's table, which, knowing Grant, was probably the whole point. "Stop pretending you have a life without me," I said into the empty line. "You'd be nothing without me, you hear that? Nada! Nothing!"

Next I called Lary, which of course was a whole other mindfuck in futility. He was working. Again. Lary. "Oh, my God! I can't believe you're working again," I wailed. He works all the time now, thus seriously endangering his carefully cultivated image as a burdensome sack of maggots. "You're not supposed to have responsibilities, you retard," I reminded him. "You're supposed to slide through life by sucking on the near-dry teat of public tolerance! Now come get me anyway! They won't miss you for the next hour or so." Lary makes his living rigging things, and unfortunately he was, right then, dangling from a carabiner way high up above stuff and couldn't comfortably extricate himself.

"You douche!" I hollered. "You're nothing without me, got that? Nothing!" Lary, dangling, just laughed, and I could hear the high-uppity-ness in his voice as he told me to fuck off.

I would have called Daniel, but he is the one who drove me to the airport to begin with, and you don't want to double-impose on people. He'd left a message earlier, to say his mother had called to tell him his father was in the garden shooting armadillos. I really wanted to hear about all the dead armadillos, too, like, can you keep their shells to make lampshades or something, and why does his dad have to shoot them? Can't he just shoo them? But asking a person to make more than one airport run a week is crossing the line. Thank God for Daniel, though. "I'd be nothing without you," I tell him.

Next I would have called my boyfriend, but he had complained previously that I treated him like he was at my "beck and call," so I told him I was sorry and I'd wait for him to call me. But stupidly I'd called him a couple of times after that anyway, and he acted extremely put out by it, so I tried to make up for it with some homemade lasagna, which was a mistake.

First of all, my boyfriend is a really good cook himself. He can make excellent Thai Panang curry with nothing for utensils except an empty tuna can, a crack lighter and a fondue fork. So I don't know what I was thinking with the lasagna offering except to say that I usually make fabulous lasagna. But my original recipe calls for all kinds of expensive ingredients you get at Whole Foods, like red peppers roasted over a fire of burning gold bullion, sausage made from cows raised on caviar, and cheese aged in bank vaults surrounded by diamonds. In all, one pan load of this stuff costs more than a dinner in Paris, plane ticket and all. Anyway, lately I've been experiencing what I like to call "income limbo," and I can't afford Whole Foods anymore unless it's to go there and troll for food samples, so I've been selecting all my food from the aisle of discounted canned products at Family Dollar. I thought I was being quite resourceful, but in truth I guess my improvised lasagna came out tasting like a dish of dirty, discarded toenails.

That was five weeks ago, and I know it was bad lasagna, but I didn't think it was disastrous, relationship-wrecking bad. I mean, c'mon. I've known this guy for a long time. He's seen the worst of me, hasn't he? Years ago, back when we were just general friends, as opposed to the boy- and girl- variety, he used to sit right across from me at Thumbs Up while Grant and I compared torrid car-sex experiences, and let's not forget this man has seen me, you know, naked and stuff.

Believe me, when you're naked, there are all kinds of opportunities for unflattering angles. There is just nothing to hide behind. Nothing, and I kind of hate that. Shit, I keep kicking myself, I should not have made the lasagna. Or maybe I should not have let him see me naked. Or maybe it was something else. There must be a million things wrong with me, a trillion. In fact, I am probably just a walking waxball of wrongness, the biggest bottom fish in the trough. Why else would someone you love leave quietly one night and never talk to you again? Not a single word. Nada. Nothing.

Hollis Gillespie will host a reading/signing of her new book, Confessions of a Recovering Slut and Other Love Stories, 7:30 pm, Thursday, Aug. 18, at Barnes & Noble, 1217 Caroline Street, Atlanta, GA, (404) 522-0212

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