vacation

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

I used the razor, the one when you’re at someone’s beach house you’re supposed to ignore.  I used it, taking care to remember its last position on the shower shelf, to remember how to return it.  I shaved my legs, wondering who would use it next and if they’d notice things were less sharp now; wonder if a guest took advantage of more than hospitality.  Then I showered for longer than I should, using hot water, not ever thinking if there would be enough for others.  Selfish.  Vacation.

You never noticed my legs, that they were smoother.  You didn’t notice me, in the corner, anything, until another man did.  Then suddenly, it was back to love, back to attentive, back to the words I wanted to hear.  Back to jealous, which meant loving me.  You still didn’t notice my legs.  Or anything beyond your own boundaries.  Beyond you.  Vacation.

Then we had sex, hoping no one would hear, wondering how loud we were being, if things were louder in our space, the way I imagined you could hear me swallow back tears.  Our silent sex should have been hot, trying to be quiet, trying to go unnoticed.  It wasn’t.  It was trying.

It was work that I felt I was failing at.  You seemed distracted and to be performing favors.  To be a part of silent sex just to say you were, like saying you visited a tourist attraction to prove you’d been somewhere.  I’m not a lighthouse or ham museum.

Even when no one is keeping count, when there’s no time clock to punch, even on vacation, I feel like I’m doing something wrong.  And if I ever express it, you shake your head, and hold mine in your hands, telling me to look at you, asking me how I don’t know how much you love me.  You might believe in your eyes and hands, but I don’t.  I don’t believe eyes or hands or promises, and that was before you.  And any chance you get, you say just that.  How I’m broken, how it’s not yours.  You’re on vacation, even from me. 

And when I ask you about your day, during the week, you give one word answers because you don’t like to burden, because you want to give me a vacation from what burdens you.  And by doing that, you’ll get just that, a vacation from me because I’ll stop asking, caring, wanting.  You.  I’ll want a vacation from your sarcasm, your want, and complaints about my being me.  And you’ll get your free paid vacation from me.  And you’ll pay for it for the rest of your life.  So enjoy it, the sun, the space, and the solitude.  It’s yours, my gift to you.

Maybe we were that couple, in that house, visiting, stealing soap, ignoring the hair that isn’t ours, but maybe we are as temporary as our visit.  Maybe we’re as new as that first sound, the yellow dog outside the house, the yelp, the crickets by the ocean.  Maybe that’s us, there, in that moment.  And as real as it might feel, maybe that’s all we are, a morning.  A wakening, a couple who is courteous, who asks if you’ve had enough fish and would you like more rice, but really, that’s all you are.  This couple that won’t be there tomorrow, for the bacon that he likes a little chewy.  You won’t really be there for more than eggs, despite knowing how she likes hers.  That’s just information; it’s not glue.  It’s not an anniversary.  And despite how quiet the sex is, how often someone tells you, “God, I love you,” it’s not, and it never will be.  Because when it’s done, when the seal and crest and intimacy stops being so, he leaves the room and talks about things as if he was never there.  You were fooled, really, because despite how he pitched it, despite the words and the eyes, he was thinking only of the moment, not of the now, or the later. 

Comments

  1. I liked it. It had a nice flow to it, but it raises some interesting questions. For example, you make it sound like the failing was all on him, but is it necessarily that? Maybe it was a little from each. Maybe an overall lack of compatability?

    And how does the last bit jive with the concept of living for the moment?

    I still like it. It just makes me wonder a bunch.

  2. You speak the truth. No matter how many times we convince ourselves that a relationship is real, it's really only an illusion. One that flaunts itself in a carefully wrapped package tied closed with a pretty pink bow. When you unwrap it, it's all just filling. I just wonder why it always takes so long to see what's really inside….or what isn't.

  3. FWIW, everyone needs a vacation from everyone, now and then. The strongest bond in this world is parents and their kids (no, not husband and wife). But ask virtually every parent of three kids in the entire planet if they would like for you to watch their kids for a couple of days, and 100.000% will say yes.

    The point? This guy can love you completely, and still need a vacation from you. Should the two of you go away for a week and have him ignore you the entire time? No. But if the guy is not attentive for the entire time, or he doesn't feel like sharing his burden because he simply wants to get away from it, no problem. No one can be on 100% of the time.

  4. Like a good friend, you learn about someone the more time you spend with them. I've gotten to the place where I recognize your writing excercises vs. your initiated thoughts. What I mean is this post is clear(to me) to be a writing excercise. Yes, you touch on valid points, emotionas, thoughts but you use language as a tune up. It must be so hard to be as prolific a writer as you are. I say that but seeing as it is your life, maybe it is easy. Either way, I enjoyed this post for what it said but more for what it represented to me; a writing excercise.

  5. Anyone who can use "Ham Museum" in such an emotional (or is it emotionless?), well written entry is one bad ass mofo in my book.

    Still lovin' it.

  6. Stephanie,

    my ode to you…www.mariakelly.blogspot.com
    hope it gives you a chuckle at least…

    Maria

  7. Okay, now I'm worried. Watching you go through this love thing is like watching someone near and dear to me walk on glass. I want to give you shoes – I want to protect you! But I'll settle down. Scuse me. It's going to break my heart in several pieces when my teen daughters decide to enter the realm of relationships. Yikes. Thanks for the beautiful writing though – and the glimpse inside. You've given me food for thought to go with my lukewarm coffee.

  8. Jeezz you people are a sappy lot…

    Steph,

    Boy oh boy your high maintence, what are you 15?

    Look, your old enough to know how this ride goes, 4 months of great dinners, great friends, and great sex, then the reality kicks in… and by the way its that when the love kicks in. You need proof positive signs that he loves you, just the way you are? (broken or not)

    Hold on to your hat woman here it is, HE'S DOIN THE WORK! He's doing the reassuring hands, and the "take one for team" quiet sex. He doesn't need your problems, your doubt, your dirty looks, your money, or truth be told…(that's right we, guys fake it too) your sex. He does it because your worth it to him, and your only worth it to him because he loves only you! If you beat that out of him, only to prove right, how worthless you think you are, it will be you who will pay for it for the rest of your life.

    He didn't notice my shaved legs so "chuck" him. REALLY? WOW!!

    Sigh… your better than this.

    C.C.

    PS. Hint… like anything else when you make "their" job easy they'll make "your" job easier. Try, no better yet force an attitude change (internal) for 48 and see if things don't pick up!

  9. They've begun to call me the "Southern Stephanie Klein." I'm not sure what I feel about that (being the proud Southern lady that I am) so I'll just take it in stride and recall your best writing.

    Belle

  10. Ummm, people, if you would notice at the end of Stephanie's post, it says "PAST TENSE"…like, not her current relationship.

  11. I simply love today's post and I'm happy to notice that most people understand that it's a reflection on a past relationship :)

  12. Phew – okay. Sorry – I didn't notice the past tense part. But Stephanie, I've still got shoes to loan you when/if you need them. Cute ones even.

  13. I offer no life lectures or relationship advice. So much 2 cents has been thrown your way that you should have enough now to go to Fourbucks. I read you blog for my own selfish entertainament. Well done!

  14. I don't like that new picture of you. You look hot and smoldering, but there's so much contempt in your gaze. You were caught in a fraction of a second being someone not the least bit you. Take it down and go back to a beautiful bubbly shot, one showing your generous brand of redhead conviviality. Sharing blades spreads disease.
    I AM SENOR NUMBNUTS.

  15. Interesting that you went with black and white. Interesting more, that from what I've read, that a shirt could be completely correct and completely incorrect at the same time. Then again, it is only a foolish t-shirt.

  16. Wow. Simply haunting. You had me hanging on your every word. I even put a hand up to the screen when I saw that the end was nearing so my eyes didn't skip to the last word.

  17. In Madrid, my friend and I went to a natural history museum. But there were no dinosaur bones or mammoth tusks. There was just room after room of taxidermed animals. We called it the dead zoo. The craziest thing was that in order to exit, you had to pass through, not a gift shop, but a goddamned butcher shop. After staring at stuffed elks, dogs, pigs, and sheep all afternoon, you pick up some chops and sausage for dinner. True story. I AM SENOR NUMBNUTS

  18. p.s. your raw honesty – not just in this post about using the forbidden razor but in many many other posts as well – is so sexy.

  19. I agree with Cave Canem. At first, I felt sorry for the 'bump' in the relationship, but it's true; your man is wonderful, give him a break, cherish him. You're very lucky to have him, and vice versa. I mean you shouldn't expect him to fill your life up single-handedly, perfect is just asking for too much from one person.

  20. This was beautiful Stephanie. Regardless if this is "a writing exercise" or if this was actually something from your heart —-it's one of your best writings (besides "A Gay Ending") ;)

    Some of your readers seem to not 'get you' or understand what you are trying to say apparently. By stating 'he didn't notice I shaved'–it simply a metephor indicating it's the small things we seek sometimes that make us happy. Am I correct in assuming this?

    In any case, entertaining as always!

  21. I have to agree with Mike on this one–it's pretty melodramatic. You can't look so hard, NOTHING and NO ONE will hold up to that scrutiny. All real, loving relationships eventually (hopefully) end up like the couple in the movie Fargo…embrace it for the love of G. It seems mundane to those who are expecting a fantasy but it is real life. You have to find contentment with yourself and let him be on vacation even when he is with you. No one wants to have to provide constant reassurance. It drives 'em away. A self-fulfilling prophecy…

  22. I hate to get stuck on such a small detail when you've written such a beautiful post, but…

    You should never share razors.

    I have chronic Hepatitis C and my doctor gave me and my husband a long list of things not to do.

    Sharing a razor was the first thing on the list.

    This is the end of my public service announcement. Carry on.

  23. is your current relationship not enough drama for your blog? why go past tense? seems rather contrived for a diary…explain?

  24. I liked it. A lot. Just as I would a well written piece. …and it does go well with a Greek Tragedy, even as an outsider.

  25. Gosh! Steph, I visit your blog quite often . . but clearly I'm just not part of your target market. It's like returning to the scene of dreadful traffic accident; I know I shouldn't look but I just can't help myself!

    You're writing is quite pleasant but I feel frustrated about the content. Don't worry so much about the grammar and syntax, bowl me over instead.

    I wish you all the best, honestly, but give me something that inspires and motivates. I'm not interested in piffle – not acceptable from someone who can write as well as you. Best, K.

  26. When people ask me what went wrong with my marriage, I'd love to be able to recite this post. It's real and it's painful. Like the new pic as well.

  27. Oh, and by the way… I had lots of 'splainin to do when my wife asked where those red hairs came from on my Trac II.

  28. I think that I will second that "fcuking brilliant" comment! Thanks Stephanie for being a part of our lives.

  29. Cave is absolutely right about his comment about noticing your legs. Sometimes I shave with the electric, sometimes with the razor, because it's much closer. It never even dawned on me that my wife should notice. What were you expecting? 'Oh honey, you shaved your legs, what a great day'? Heck, I shave everyday, and no one has ever said anything to me.

    If you're putting another brick in the wall for him not noticing shaved legs, how long before you complete the wall? Or is this a defensive mechanism? Build a wall of cheap bricks before you can risk getting hurt?

  30. Great post!
    But, as Ana said, don't share razors anymore! With all what you can hear about diseases… you never know!

  31. Speaking of pictures, why do you have so many pictures posted of yourself? It seems a tad vain? While there are some with friends, all are of you and most of you only.

  32. Kali, Check out the shirt and the line underneath. It's her blog, her life, her stories, her photos. Any personal journal is vain. Why you hatin', girlfriend?

  33. Joey B ~ we all have differing ranges of sensitivity to details and emotions – it's not good or bad, it just defines us more individually from each other. It appears Stephanie's entry encompasses an inherent ability to allow herself to fall deeply in love versus her partner's lesser desire for mystery, exquisite connection, and meaning. Quite honestly, that level of intensity is what culminates in the often riveting writing we currently enjoy.

    Justin ~ I find compatibility to be a bunch of bunk. Devoted commitment is the name of the levy game in my book.

  34. Just a few generations back, and all marriages and cherrish relationships held up "forever" and people married younger. But today, the biggest problem is the bar is so high, the demands and expectations for both men and women.
    And that's with more and better things than past generations.

    But Stephanie and millions of other women out there,it is not going to be easy, for you to find that everlasting mate. If only there was humbleness, and appreciation for what you have, and can build on and not the overwhelming focus on what is and what he is not doing perfectly, and/or is not there and/or something is missing.

    Millions of these women are more miserable because they want and demand it all, and it will never come. An impossible task for anyone to expect, regardless of who they are or think they are!!! That is why, for them, "love" is always temporary and never "forever". You have to give unconditionally, too and not with these sky high standards.

    I mean, I met a woman yesterday, who told me flat out, she would not get involved with a guy unless he was making $150,000 or more annually. Does this person deserve to cash in on her looks and get a life of paradise and enjoy all of life's finer moments. Why does she so strongly deserve and expect this? Does some guy, in the male society owe her this? She can be had at the right price!! That is the problem, a major problem, and good example to illustrate, as we all face this in society. She will be miserable & ungrateful, even if she finds the guy who meets this criteria, and gives her all the things she desires. Because that is the way she has always been. It is embedded in her!! Its in her heart!!! That will not ever change!!!
    So you can't say all men are … or all women are…

    What is the ideally sound guy? What defines that?
    Someone with a great prestigeous career, with lots of power and money, a Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt look, someone who opens lots of doors for you, and takes you to gracious places, and constantly drools over you and keeps you on this high pedistool? Does it take all this and much more to make "love and happiness" fully recognizable and work?

    People need to become more practical and less outlandish!!!
    I wish you well Stephanie!!! Millions of people are reading your daily entries, and you can have positive impacts on them. That should be the most important factor of you doing this. Stephanie Klein has a great ability and as of recently, maybe a responsibilty, as most people will never have this chance.
    Why would you not recognize this? There is a huge beenefit in this, Stephanie!!

    As a society and human race we all need to improve and become better people to others and ourselves!!!

  35. I couldn't read the whole thing because you just sound like too much of a doormat. Why the hell would you give nookie to someone who's acting like such a shit. Have some more pride in yourself woman! If he isn't behaving as he should (as in cherishing you) and you are putting out your best efforts then read the writing on the wall and move on to someone who deserves you. The guy sounds like a shiiite.

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