Throw Pillow

My first impression of Phillip was that he was blessed with ignorance.

My second was that I wanted to choke the living shit out of him.

My third, fourth, and fifth impressions are running the gamut from holding his head underwater to a need to find compassion somewhere in my heart to forgive him for being a jackass.

I’m inclined to stick with my second impression.

Sitting on my sofa and wishing it would swallow me whole like something out of a cheap horror film, I’m contemplating means for torturing my former beloved (former, as of 7 minutes and 43 seconds ago according to the clock on the living room wall Phillip had given me as a housewarming present). Picking a cuticle into bloody submission, I grab a pen from the coffee table to make a list on the back of a Netflix envelope:

1) destroy clock

2) choke Phillip

Our romance blindsided me, bringing on a passion I can only describe as a fever. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me on that beautiful September morning when we met that it would be the kind of fever more likely to leave me with a thermometer sticking out of my ass than the type to bring me everlasting love and a partner of a lifetime. Fuck me for being optimistic, I guess.

What I really need to do is pull my head (and the thermometer) out of my ass. This is my fault, my doing and I should have known better than to get involved with Phillip in the first place. I can still remember Grandma saying, “Don’ matter none if it’s in one of ‘dem purty Tif-nee’s boxes. A turd’s still a turd.” I bought into love wrapped in a little blue box and actively chose to ignore the fact that another woman was still wearing the ring that it originally contained. If Grandma were still with us, she’d be pointing all this out to me right now. Then she’d serve me some more corned beef hash.

Was it wrong to love the tingle in my spine as this beautiful man whispered “My love” at the beginning of each sentence he spoke to me as if it were a literary requirement? I mean –


1) destroy clock

2) choke Phillip

3) clean blood off blue throw pillow

 I mean, not only had I deluded myself into believing Phillip’s love was my panacea, but now I have to get up off the goddamn sofa, get a band-aid or something, wash my hands, clean the blood off the pillow and destroy the clock. I don’t have time for this shit.

For the past two weeks, my life has been the emotional equivalent to the rummaging I’m doing in my kitchen cabinets right now as I look for something resembling a cleaning product. I’ve been desperately in search of something that I felt was there with Phil and was convinced if I searched hard and long enough, I might find it tipped-over behind the Windex.

Can you use Windex on fabric? It’s almost the same color as the pillow…

You know it’s not there, but you keep searching anyways, and before you know it, you’ve heaved everything out of the cabinets, you have 3 voicemails because you couldn’t reach the phone since your ass was sticking out from under the sink and your cats are sitting on the kitchen counter where they know they don’t belong but you’re so caught-up in your own bullshit that you don’t even notice.

My thoughts now (16 minutes and 51 seconds following Phillip’s phone call announcing he’d departed on his journey to the Land of Bastards) shift to self-doubt…you know, that painful area where I’m starting to realize that there’s nothing behind the Windex. Was it any good in the first place, this thing with Phil? How is it that for two months it was all good – nothing but Peeps marshmallow candy-flavored goodness – and then it all collapsed into a diabetic, insulin-shock hell? And who was I to sit there and go along for the ride?

 Ok. Windex isn’t good for fabrics.

My friend Wendie said that Phil was just in it for the sex. My reasoning was – how could he just be in it for the sex if he were coming out of a 13-year marriage, hadn’t had sex in over a year and had just officially moved away from his two beautiful daughters, out of his house and we had this beautiful connection between our souls that had kept us wanting – yet at a distance – knowing I’d never cross the line with adultery while he were still in his home?

Wendie said that men had done stranger things for pussy.

Wendie and I didn’t speak for a week. I, however, had brilliant, mind-blowing, peel-the-paint-off-of-the-neighbor’s-baseboards sex four out of seven nights that week.

With a married man.

It never occurred to me during all of this that he was, for all intents and purposes, married. It occurs to me now, however, that this stain is never going to come out of the pillow and it really pisses me off since I just bought it last week.

1) destroy clock

2)   choke Phillip

3)clean blood off blue throw pillow

4) buy new pillow

Did I actually believe he was going to go through with the divorce? Did I put too much stock in his pleadings to just hang in there, to “bear with him,” that he was looking at things for the long-term and I was the love of his life?

Where on earth are my keys?

Was I some naïve little doormat of a girl who just put up with being second best to a woman I refused to acknowledge was there all along? Was I looking at Phillip through fogged-over glasses (likely resulting from one of our “indiscretion sessions”) thinking that he was the victim, suffering from “Poor Guy Syndrome” due to his wife making things difficult for him through the divorce process?

Speaking of processes, you would think that after 18 years of driving I would have figured out by now how to put my keys in a place where I could find them on a regular basis. Every fucking day is like an Easter egg hunt where the grand prize is a Honda Element.

I guess the answers are: yes, and…um…yes.

What was I supposed to do when, for the past 5 months, some part of me knew this wasn’t good? It’s like I was 2 shots of Patron into a Girl’s Night Out, and while I’d had nothing to eat all day, I said “fuck it” and ordered another round because the bartender was hot. I’m currently questioning my intelligence and why I even bothered to go to college when I just could have made like my cousin Marcie and gotten knocked-up at 18, had 3 kids by the time I could drink along with twice as many restraining orders against my NASCAR-loving husband.

KEYS! Brilliant.

The good news is that I’ve found my keys. The bad new is that Target is a 20 minute drive and I have no idea if they’ll still have any of these blue pillows they had last week. Do you ever notice that about Target? One week, they have everything you ever need and the next, after you’ve broken a glass in the dishwasher and your dog chewed clean through the slippers you bought, they’ve completely changed their color scheme and everything you bought has been “discontinued?”

Holy shit. That’s it. I’ve been discontinued.

When Phillip called 33 minutes and…33 seconds ago, it wasn’t to tell me that he loved me, missed me, and he’s sorry he hasn’t called. It was to let me to know he was back with his wife, but he’d call me when he could and hoped we could still be friends, because his girls really loved me and…

After I was done with the whole “stop breathing” thing and had had begun the process of solving the, “Well, what the hell do I say to that?” question, I set into “pity” mode.

How is it possible that someone chooses to live their life that way? By “that way,” I mean trapped as a victim of circumstances that they created, and then choose to bitch, rant, and bemoan their situation instead of deal. I saw (see?) Phillip as a beautiful (hot), intelligent, loving, fun, business-savvy man with so much goodness in his heart and he’s been sharing a roof with a woman who would rather had have a Prada purse than a hug for thirteen years. Then I come along, and suddenly he’s found everything he’s ever wanted—and in me! Jeez, alert the media, my soul mate has arrived.

This is, quite possibly, the longest red light ever.

What do I do with those months of quiet desperation, where I knew I’d never have him yet longed to be close to him?

I am still sitting here at this red light, and I swear it’s been 5 minutes. It’s like my left turn signal is a green light repellent. There isn’t a single intersection in this city that has a traffic pattern to it. I mean, Christ, you’re lucky if the lanes, much less the traffic lights, are in the same place on two consecutive days. The state bird of Nevada should be the orange cone. Fuck!

 How do I deal with the kiss he first gave me, the very day he moved out of his house and insisted on coming to see me when I was sick as a dog, all the while covered in sick-sweat lying in jammies on my couch? It was all I could do to allow that to happen and then I just went head-first into that shot glass of Relationship Tequila. Come to think of it, I should probably announce a moratorium on all types of tequila and “just say no.” Just like Nancy Reagan. Well, maybe not like Nancy Reagan, but more like Courtney Love on one of her good post-rehab days.

Finally! Jesus Christ…all this because of a pillow.

 Anyways, regardless of any of that, I went straight to pity. Then somehow, kinda like that red light that just now seemed stuck in “piss me off” mode, my emotions got unstuck and I went straight past Justin Timberlake bringin’ sexy back into bringing fuck you back.

 God, I use that word a lot. What word can I use instead of “fuck?”

Fuck it. I’m bringing “fuck you” back. I am straight-up pissed, do not pass “Go,” let the bank foreclose on Baltic and Boardwalk, steal my neighbor’s stash of funny money right out from under the edge of the game board and fling it and each and every one of the godforsaken little pewter game pieces up in the air-pissed. But in all of this, I think I’m really pissed at myself.

It’s a given that Phillip is a raging tool who thought with his dick after thirteen years without getting any strange, and that choking the living shit out of him would – while not making me feel any better – provide probably a certain sense of satisfaction that only such a violent action could give. I’m more disappointed at myself for choosing to become the main character in “The Mistress Diaries” in the first place. It’s a tad more adult than most Disney material, but in a sick combination of Arielle and Cinderella, I’ve got a knack for choosing the wrong bloke and selling my soul in the process. It’s a wonder that Eisner hasn’t called to option the movie rights.

Why do I always get the cart with the retarded wheel? Why doesn’t every store just have “that guy” whose job it is to fix all the retarded wheels?

 In all honesty, I knew better. I saw where it was going before there was anything to even see. I just did the classic Franklin Family Trailer Park Move: ignore what’s really there and maybe it’ll move under the porch and you can just pretend that smell isn’t coming from your house.

Family reunions were fun.

I took the emotional beating of never being a true priority in Phil’s life, came running when he called, was there when he needed me (and even when he didn’t), loved his daughters and allowed myself to be loved back by them…and for what? So I could find myself bumping through Target with a cart full of crap I don’t need (but was on sale) while desperately searching for another pillow like the one I bought last week that I bled all over after furiously picking a cuticle while playing “Woe-Is-Fucking-Me” on my couch following the inevitable breakup call?

 I set myself up for this hot date I’m currently on with the cart that’s a card-carrying member of the Tribe of the Retarded Wheel, dried blood on my finger and angst brewing in my soul. If there’s a modicum of truth to the whole reap-what-you-sow thing, it makes me wonder what I was putting out there when Phil started his “deprioritization” process and I decided to put up with it.

I don’t believe it. They have the pillows. Still. Alert the media—call Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, ‘cause I am a queen! No, not that one…no…stained…ripped…Christ, is anything here in salable condition? Will that stain come out? I wonder if it’s washable. Wait…no stains. That’s why I’m her in the first place. This one looks fine, I guess.

 When I step back and look at everything now (1 hour and 56 minutes following the call that brought me to bleeding on a throw pillow), I have no idea why I tolerated any of that. My life, my career, my family and friends…everything is wonderful and I actively chose to be passive. I mean, what is that crap? Phillip, hot and smart though he may be, acted like a certifiable douche and expected me to be along for the ride. The minute I became the woman he called and saw when he found the time instead of being the woman he made the time to call and see, I should have cut bait and told him to get bent. I’m funny, fun to be around, and though the not-so-proud owner of the “Overuse of the Word ‘Fuck’” award, going to be a great partner for someone some day. Hell, I’m a great partner for someone now. The only thing standing in my way is my own head (recently removed from my ass) and my previous rationalization that being a doormat was equivalent to being a compassionate person.

Two check stands open? You’ve gotta be kidding.

 The bright side of all of this is that I’m on the way to getting “me” back, and it only took….2 hours and 3 minutes to recover from approximately 156 days of festering in the role of The Unwitting Mistress.

1)destroy clock

2)   choke Phillip

3)clean blood off blue throw pillow on sofa

4)buy new pillow for sofa

I like the clock.

What is it that’s spilled on every one of the conveyor belts at the checkout? It’s not a grocery store where your bloody meat juice can spill all over everything.

“Hi! How are you today? Did you find everything you needed today, ma’am?”


Every time I’m here, the cashier asks me “Did you find what you need?”

You know what, lady? You see this pillow? This pillow is what I needed. Everything else in the cart is what I found. This store is the devil. I come in for tampons, I leave with patio furniture. I need batteries, I leave with a microwave. Why is it that I can’t leave this place without spending a hundred bucks, and no matter how many items I put on this sticky, meat-juice-though-there-is-no-meat-sold-here-covered conveyor belt, you always assume there is something I have failed to find in my quest, like I’m some prehistoric dink that needs help getting something off the top shelf in Automotive because I don’t have opposable thumbs?

“I did find everything…thank you.”

And gum…I need gum.