Breadcrumb #163


“You kill a killer then the number of killers remains the same.” 

    That was Batman, I think. It reminds me of the irony of hating someone so much that I became the very person I hated. 

     It began on a humid and rainy Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. Washing my clothes that day in the newly renovated Laundromat on my block turned into somewhat of a ceremony. As the machine cleansed my pillows of all the tears I’d cried over my ex, it felt like I’d started a new chapter. The washer clicked to the spin cycle. I silently vowed never to shed tears for him again, to never again soil my linens over that asswipe.  

     My small ritual was a simple gesture, but a powerful one. In that moment, something snapped. That night, on a whim, I hit up this nice guy who had been trying to get at me for the past few months, even though he knew I was in a relationship at the time. Our little fling launched what quickly spiraled into a three-month-long rampage of hookups and one-night stands. 

     Meaningless sex ignited an all-consuming flame. The more I had the more I craved. Toned bodies, thick bodies, big bodies, small bodies. Like a young vampire on the hunt for fresh blood, I couldn’t get enough. It got to the point where I was hooking up with up to three different guys a week, sometimes in three different boroughs. The best part about it was that there were no strings attached. No commitments, no arguments, and most of all, no expectations, except good sex. Switching guys as often as I discarded condoms, once I was done with one I was on to the next. 

Meaningless sex ignited an all-consuming flame. The more I had the more I craved. Toned bodies, thick bodies, big bodies, small bodies.

     I was surprised at how efficient I’d become. The process of cutting guys off afterwards was almost mechanical. My emotions lodged deep beneath my skin, far out of reach of any lovesick individual. I was no heartbreaker; at least I didn’t deign to be. I warned every guy that I wasn’t looking for a relationship. Proceed with caution.

     The delightful carnage hit a speed bump when I met Victor. Every now and then, despite the warning label engraved across my chest, some men caught feelings for me. Eventually, it would get so bad that I had to abruptly stop responding to their declarations of love, delivered in novel-length text messages. 

    Victor was one of those guys.  

     He was handsome, I must admit. I fucking loved running my hand through his curly fro, especially during sex. He was a solid 5’ 10’’ and you could tell he was a runner. I frequently hit him up for more, breaking my sacred one and done rule. One night, after we’d had sex, I was hungry so, without giving it much thought, I suggested we go grab tacos at the Mexican hole-in-the-wall a few blocks down from his place. Big mistake. 

     “So, where do you see this going?” he asked coyly after we ordered our food.  

     I gawked at him for a moment. Was this guy for real? Did he not read my disclaimer? 

     But the glint in his eyes, that twinkle you see in random Netflix rom-coms, confirmed he was indeed for real. I sighed, mentally running through the list of excuses of why we couldn’t be together. I didn’t feel like giving him the talk. When I looked at him, though, I felt something, as if someone were playing my heartstrings with the bow of a violin. Years of what could be flashed before my eyes. I saw us bickering over stupid shit like one of us watching our favorite show without the other, growing suspicious of infidelity and, most terrifying, nights crying alone on my pillow.  

     “I can’t,” I said, rising from the barstool. “I’ve got to go. You can have my burrito.”  

     “Wait,” he protested, following me out the door. “Can we at least talk about this?” Without looking back, I jogged down the street and into the subway station. On the ride home, I deleted our text history as well as his number. 

    While lying in bed, I thought about my ex. Over the course of the two-year relationship, I had nagged him incessantly, pointing out that he was too detached, utterly non-committal and emotionally unavailable. I kind of wanted to call him then just to say, “I get it.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I glanced at my reflection in the bedroom mirror. If this were a paranormal thriller, the ending would reveal that I had been possessed by the ghost of my evil ex all along. At least then I’d have a valid excuse for my cruelty towards Victor.

      “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” 

     I remember that one from The Dark Knight. The film, not the graphic novel. Truth be told, I rather like being the villain. Playing one meant no more sleepless nights or tear-soaked pillows. That night, I slept like a baby.

• • •

Breadcrumb #103


"What do you do for a living?" they ask.

     "I do sales."

     It's an easy question, one we hear all the time. Everyone has the built in answer. I do accounting, I do manual labor, I'm in the union, I'm a waiter. Doesn't matter. We all know what pays the bills.

     "Do you see this as a career?" they ask.

     Here's where the answer changes. A career is full-time. A career is the thing you pursue outside of just the 9-5. A career you see growth.

     9-5 I'm productive. I do well. Great even. I'm one of the few people who figured out my skill set and grabbed ahold of it.      To you my job sounds like a career.

     But let's think about this. Career implies I think about it outside of 9-5. I strive to be better. I strive to reach the next level. I am here because I know I'm qualified, I know I'm persistent, I know that when the time comes I'm ready for the next level.

     I should think about my "career" from the moment I wake up, until the moment I fall asleep.

     Here is where the issue lies.

     Some of us will focus on work. Some of us will focus on love. Some of us will focus on ourselves.

     There's a select few who will focus on taking care of ourselves, taking care of 'the pain.' We self diagnose, self medicate our problems away, and know the prescription from day one.

     We will not get the credit we deserve. Waking up to stomach lining vomit, but still making it through a day at the office. Sitting around literally thinking about the next time we get to imbibe alcohol. These things are seen as childish, irresponsible, and dumb. 

Sitting around literally thinking about the next time we get to imbibe alcohol.

     Somehow we muscle through. Day after day. We walk in each morning knowing the hill is steep, but we walk upwards. Sisyphus himself would be proud.

     We move forward against a downward sloping spiral of addiction and depression, anxiety, or a number and combination of a million other ailments.

     "What do you do for a living?" they ask.

     "I do sales."

     "What's your career?"

     "My career? I'm an alcoholic. I'm passionate about it. I think about it every second of everyday. I slowly improve upon yesterday. Each and every day I think about, 'Where does my next drink come from?' and how can I get there?"

     I pursue my alcoholism every fucking day. 24/7. It's my passion. It's the one thing I give up everything else for. I have destroyed relationships, burnt bridges, lost jobs, ruined sex, killed my social life, fell out with family, been excommunicated, isolated myself, missed funerals, missed weddings, missed life for it. That's a career, that's my full time job. And I do it really well. I am dedicated.

     You ask what I do for a living and I'll tell my "9-5."

     You ask about my career, my passion? You'll run. This takes dedication, and quite frankly, I don't think you can handle it.

     Because deep down in my heart I know if I stop I will die. Not from withdrawal, maybe not even of suicide, but just of sadness.

     I should goddamn well be able to put that on my resume, but the references would be fucked.

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