A Special Man

erwin caluya

Her: Hey. I read that.

Me: What?

Her: That book. Are you reading Bossypants?

Me: Oh! Yes. I love it. I think Tina Fey is inspiring.

Her: Yes. It certainly seems like she’s carved out her own path. So what are you doing here, at a bar, in the middle of the afternoon?

Me: Ha. Good question. I was just thinking the same thing…

Her: Ah. But that’s not an answer.

Me: I’m waiting for a date.

Her: Oh. Very nice.

Me: That remains to be seen.

Her: Oh? First date?

Me: Yeah. First date. I’ve never met him.

Her: Is it a blind date?

Me: Sort of? I don’t think people do that anymore. I met him online.

Her: That sounds so exciting. The prospect of meeting a stranger online in real life. That’s not something someone from my generation does very easily. It seems scary.

Me: It’s not. You chat with the guys for a while before you meet up. Just to be sure they’re not a crystal meth addict or anything.

(pause)

Her: What do you do for a living? I’m sorry. That’s a cliche question. I’m not from New York, and when I come here I often wonder how people survive.

Me: Uh… I teach improv classes mostly, and do comedy gigs.

Her: Oh! I love improv! I just LOVE it. It’s magical.

Me: Really? Most people just tolerate it.

Her: No, it’s truly a wonderful thing. So glorious to see people working together, and agreeing. The spontaneity. There’s a real connection between the audience and the actors.

Me: That’s true.

Her: I really love it. I was very fond of a man who did improv – a long time ago…

Me: Did he? Was he good?

(pause)

Her: He was great. I like to think I’m kind of responsible. I took him to his first ever show at the Groundlings. He jumped up on stage with them and started playing.

Me: Wow. Really? Were they weirded out?

Her: No. You’d think they would be, but they weren’t. He was so good at it, even before he took any classes. He was such a natural.

(long pause)

Her: I was married to Phil Hartman.

(long pause)

Her: I was his first wife. He married a few times.

Me: Oh. Okay. Sorry. I thought…

Her: You thought I was the woman who shot him.

Me: For a second, yeah.

Her: No. I’m not. But I know her.

Me: I… That must be horrible. She must be very disturbed.

Her: She was very disturbed, and I can’t say that I’ll ever forgive her. But I’ve gotten to the point where I feel sorry for her. She was a very self-absorbed, very selfish woman. She was like poison for him, but he was so drawn to her.

Me: It can be hard being with funny people. Being their partners.

Her: I’ve heard that, but that was never the case with Phil. He was so loving, and such a wonderful man. He loved making people laugh. It was his reason for living.

Me: I get that.  I do get that for sure.

Her: I know you do. I love improv. I love people that can just do that. It’s a gift. You have a gift.

Me: I’m trying to think of something self-deprecating to say, but who am I to argue with Phil Hartman’s wife?

Her: Exactly. Except I’m someone else’s wife now.

Me: That’s good. So you’re happy?

Her: I am.

Me: Good. Hey –

Her: What?

Me: Did it hit you hard? When he was killed?

Her: Yes. Yes it did. He was my best friend, for a long time. Even after our divorce he and I were very close.

Me: I’m so sorry. He’s one of my idols. He was a great man.

Her: That’s a good way to put it. Can I tell you a secret?

Me: Okay.

Her: The night that he died, I had a dream. I hadn’t thought about him for such a long time. But in my dream I was getting ready to go somewhere, and I was late. And I was annoyed. And my husband was nowhere to be found. And suddenly Phil appeared in my bathroom, where I was putting on my makeup. And I was shocked. And flustered. And he was the last person I wanted to see. But then he put his hand on my shoulder, and all I felt was calm, and warm. I felt loved. And he said, “So many people love you. I love you. And this is all gonna be okay.”

Me: Wow.

Her: I had this dream almost exactly the time he was shot. Very near to that time.

Me: Wow.

Her: I feel like it was him visiting me, one last time. I feel like he wanted me to know that he loved me. And I do. I know he loved me.

Me: That’s amazing.

Her: I feel like a shot. Should we get a shot? What do you drink?

Me: Bourbon. But I don’t –

Her: Can we have two bourbons? I have to leave to make dinner with my husband, but can we?

Me: Yeah. We can.

(pause)

Me: Hey. Thanks.

Her: What?

Me: Thanks for being open. That felt really good. Thank you.

Her: Thank you.

Me: For what?

Her: For being funny. Thank you.

Me: I wasn’t being funny.

Her: I know. But thanks for being a funny person.

Me: You haven’t seen me perform. What if I’m not funny?

Her: I know – but what if you are?

Me: That’s even more scary.

Her: Exactly. That’s even more scary. But that’s a whole other conversation.

MonDATE

rendered by Alexis Millena

Him:  Why did you txt me?

Me:  We’ve been hanging out lately.  I saw on Facebook that you went out for Pride instead of studying.

Him:  Did you notice how I didn’t call you, even though I went out?

Me:  Yes.  That’s why I txted you.

Him:  Did you ever wonder that there might be a reason I didn’t tell you I was going out?

Me:  Sure.  You wanted to get blackout drunk and have sex with strangers.

Him:  That’s right.  And I didn’t want to see YOU.

Me:  Stop that.  We’ve been getting along very nicely.

Him:  I don’t care.  I want to punch you.  I don’t have to see you all the time if I don’t want to.  I don’t have to let you back into my life just because you decide it’s time for us to reconcile.

Me:  Are you on drugs? You’re the one who came here.

Him:  No.

Me:  How wasted are you?

(pause)

Him:  So here I am, okay?  HERE I AM.  You summoned me.  You txted me and I came right over, just like I ALWAYS do.

Me:  Don’t.  Don’t be like that.  We’ve been getting along.  Remember?  We had a good time at the movies.  You came to my party.  You’ve spent the night.

Him:  I hope you don’t think we’re having sex.  We’re not having sex.

Me:  I don’t care.  I just wanted to see you.  There’s a closeness between us.  A specialness.

Him:  I want to hit you.

Me:  Well I’m putting this knife away then.

(pause)

Him:  What’s different now?  What’s different?

Me:  I’m different.

Him:  Well I’m NOT.  I am the same.

Me:  No, you’re not.  People grow and change.  You’re different now.

Him:  That’s so arrogant of you.  You’re so completely arrogant.

Me:  It’s true.  What I said is true.  Also, I’m arrogant.  You’re right.

Him:  This has – we’ve already done this!  Twice.  I hang around you for a few months and then I put my heart on the line and you rip it out.

Me:  That’s not fair.  You approached me as I was going through a couple of failing relationships.  I was broken at the time.  I couldn’t give anyone anything.

Him:  And that’s different now?

Me:  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I’ve been single now for almost a year.

Him:  What’s wrong with you?

Me:  I don’t know.  I’m broken right now.

Him:  Good.  SO AM I.

Me:  GOOD.  THEN WE ARE THE SAME.

(I hold him.  He struggles.)

Him:  Don’t.  Don’t you do this.  Why can’t you just leave it?  Why did you have to start bothering me again?

Me:  You don’t have another friend like me!  I am the only friend you have like this.  I’m the only one who is going to show up at your house in six months with a can of paint, a mop bucket and a broom.  I will FORCE you into adulthood.  I need you.  You have an incredible mind.  Incredible.  And you waste it away.  And that’s going to change.

Him:  People don’t have very much luck forcing me to do things.

Me:  I know the feeling.

(pause)

Him:  Go on a date with me.

Me:  Be my friend.

Him:  Go on a date with me.

Me:  No.

Him:  WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?

Me:  Intimacy.  Closeness.  Specialness.  If you want to have sex, fine.  If not, that’s okay too.  I feel good when you’re around.  You brighten things up, and you’re very stimulating, intellectually.  Why can’t we enjoy what’s right in front of us, instead of focusing on the one thing we can’t have?

Him:  Do you want to go on a date with me?

Me:  Yes.

Him:  Will you go on a date with me?

Me:  No.

Him:  Why?

Me:  So many reasons.  Because one date will lead to seven dates which will lead to me ripping your heart out.  Because if I let myself fall in love with you I would force you to stop doing drugs and drinking all the damn time.  I’d make you get on a mortgage with me.  I’d make you adopt a kid.  All of those things terrify the shit out of you.  You’re not ready for that, and you know it.

(pause)

Him:  Can we just go to bed and hold each other?

Me:  Yes.  I would like that very much.

Him:  Michael.  I’m not like this.  I don’t let people affect me this way.  I’m the one who goes out and parties and does drugs and fucks three people in one night, and I’m not even ashamed of that.

Me:  I know.  And you’re also brilliant.  And I’m not willing to let that brilliance go.  You don’t believe this but you affect me too.

Him:  How do you know that it won’t self destruct and implode again?

Me:  I’m wiser now.  I don’t have to be right about everything.  I won’t let it happen again.

Him:  I will.  I’ll ruin it.  I’ll fly off the handle and ruin everything.

Me:  So be it.  I’ll let another year go by and approach you again.

Him:  I hate you, a little.  I’m angry at you.

Me:  No.  You’re angry at yourself. (pause)  And me, clearly.  But the drinking and drugs?  That’s you being angry at YOU.

Him:  Do you know what I did tonight?

Me:  Jerked off twice, got restless, went out, got wasted, fucked a twink?

Him:  That is accurate.  Yes.

Me: Why don’t you hold me for a second, till we get tired?

Him:  Fine.

Jerk.