The other night was my decision. It wasn’t as if I were abandoned or even second choice. I was planning to have dinner with The Suitor and one of his larger-than-life friends (who always gets a table at any booked restaurant). I got dressed, put on makeup, then stared at my distended stomach in the full-length mirror. "I’m not going." It wasn’t because I felt too fat. It’s because I wasn’t even hungry, and I have no self-control. If I went, I’d have eaten carbs and courses. This wouldn’t do. "Just bring me something home." A salad maybe. This was at 7:15pm.
My jeans were the first things to go. I then hid beneath the covers and watched three girl movies. No texts. No phone calls asking what I’d like to eat. It was now 11:30pm. "Did you forget about me?" I texted. When I didn’t hear back, I called him. "What happened? I thought you were bringing me home food? Are you going to be there much longer? Should I just order something delivery?" He’d already left the restaurant and was onto drinks at BLT Prime, or Steak. Who remembers? The kitchen was closed. I wanted to throw something. I feared I sounded like a nag. I’m a grown up. If I were hungry and didn’t hear from him, I could have just ordered in. But we had a conversation! There was a deal. An "I’ll bring you something home." I didn’t realize that something would be him at 12:30am. My stomach growled. "Not nice," I said.
"But I love you, baby."
"Not nice. You forgot about me."
"I was talking about you the whole time. Spoke with a guy from London about your tour and his possibly sponsoring the event."
"I don’t care. You didn’t call all night, knowing I was home waiting." This is the part I hate most about myself. This helpless nag who expects. Well of course I expect, expectations were set before he left. Still. I didn’t have to take it personally. He’s out having fun with his friends. He’s been drinking, and he’s enjoying himself. It’s not about me or us. Stop thinking so much.
And that’s when I get jealous. Food jealous. He apologizes, because I basically force him to, so I don’t believe him. Then he attempts to give me the play-by-play of his meal. "Oh man, I wish you had come. The food was spectacular. It was at this restaurant in Tribeca named Roc (The owner is Rocco). I began with paper-thin prosciutto–"
"STOP RIGHT THERE! I WANNA KNOW RIGHT NOW, DO YOU LOVE ME?" Meatloaf was appropriate, for once. "Don’t you dare." I cannot, under any circumstances, hear about all his delectable feasts. I don’t want to know. It’s like sharing with me the details of a former lover. Telling me about the curve in her back, the perfume that when he still smells it faintly on the street, on a stranger, he can’t help but get excited. Telling me about each course in detail is not the gentlemanly thing to do. It’s horrid. "I don’t want to hear!"
Why? Because I want that. I’m not jealous that he’s enjoying himself without me, am I? A little, yeah. But mostly it’s because I didn’t have it too. Shouldn’t I be happy for him? It’s like Vegas, Tahiti, New Zealand, or Africa. He’s been to places I long to visit, and when he tells stories of these places, I listen, but I feel myself getting a bit angry. A bit more than a bit jealous. I wanted those experiences with him. Knowing he was in Tahiti with her makes me never want to visit. But I want to visit! But I know if I’m there with him, he’ll compare it to the last time. I don’t want him to remember. We all have pasts, but we needn’t run back over our tracks if they can be avoided. It’s all silly insecurity. But I don’t fear he’ll remember and pine, wishing he’d chosen differently, it’s just I’ll be thinking, with each thing we do, "he’s already done this. This isn’t new for him." And I will enjoy it less because of it.
It’s not just a food jealousy after all. It’s a jealousy I create and keep, bound and preserved, as if it’s tucked behind glossy cellophane, attached to a sticky page of the past.