Somebody told me Number Three reads this blog with passing interest. This same person mentioned how they were wondering whether I was ever going to write about him at all.
Well, I guess now is as good as time as any.
Our orbits zipped past each other long before our first kiss. We were in the same program at college but I had never spoken to you, and you pretty much didn't speak to anyone who hadn't already left an impression on our professors. You aspired to reach greatness and only wanted to surround yourself with the same. Years later you must have seen a similar flame burning within my eyes.
We spent a brief stint working at the same television station after school but it wasn't until you returned a few years later, when I had established myself at the competition as a wacky girl with blind, bullheaded drive.
The minute you returned, I knew I had to be near you. I wanted some of that passion, some of that cocky swagger to rub onto me.
It wasn't until a few months later. The breezy evenings of September had set in but I was still wearing sundresses with little hemlines. The laid back laughter of a Wednesday night bar crowd had called and so I dashed some perfume on my wrists, behind my knees, the nape of my neck and on my collarbones. I wanted my scent to mix in and waft your direction, luring you to my life.
It was the first time Number Three and I had spent some time together as a pair. Previously we had spent time as an odd little threesome. The Player, Three and Me. A mix of hard, glittery marbles, rolling in the same careless direction. As the days spun on I spent hours and hours with the two men, but never together. They grew to dislike each other, and I had a hard time juggling the differences. Juggling my feelings.
I wanted to impress Three. He liked gimmicks, whether that meant low cleavage or a smart use of a white flash spliced between frames of video. My gimmick was a cicada. I picked one off the gnarly, wooded bar and told him I'd down it for a small bet. It's wings were as thin as the colored, cellophane gels used with his light kits, thoughtfully throwing some color on a subject.
As those paper thin pieces fluttered down my esophagus, I had no idea I was getting lured into your own cheap trick.
You came home with me that night laying down the ground rules. Casual. Casual in an underscored, bold type way. I obliged wanting to just be close. I wanted to pry you open. I wanted to learn your secrets. Learn about your boyhood dreams and your manhood realities. I wanted to discover what made you tick. And I wanted to work my way inside you, too.
Three wanted things to be quiet. He had cleaned up a muddy, rumpled reputation and he said he wanted to maintain a positive impression with his coworkers. He didn't need the stress (or the talk) of a relationship that blurred the line cutting between his personal and professional lives. I gave it the good, college try but I got sick of being denied. Denied of the familiarities that come with the physical frequency we experienced. Denied of the intimacy that comes with anything that lasts beyond short term.
I tried to be quiet. I tried to suppress any acknowledgement you even had a virile side. We'd walk by each other, shoulder grazing shoulder and yet I'd stare straight out that window looking onto the surreal combination of satellite dishes and stallions. I thought if I gave you time and space you'd find your way to mine.
But I had to tell someone. I told my emotional confidant, the guy who could really break down the male pysche for me. I told my best female friend, the woman who ironically rode shotgun with you every day through Eastern Kentucky's rolling hills. She was able to provide some much needed inside baseball. Reasons why you'd unleash your bad mood on me. Reasons why you'd act like your mind was a million miles away from anywhere earthly.
But over time more and more people discovered. And it was actually something you seemed okay with. Showing up at parties with me. Leaving parties with me. Calling me to pick your drunk ass up from the bar because there were too many cops on Main Street. We had turned a corner and you started opening up. Showing me tape of basketball games you shot way back in high school. Ripping off my clothes at the flash of a teasing expression. I remember the washer in someone's basement. I remember you letting me drive your truck when my car was dead. Letting me stay at your house the weekend of the ice storm. Without you. I remember getting Shug's hair all over my clothes, crumpled up on the bottom of your floor. I remember Jenna Jameson.
Yeah, I remember. All of it.
Three and I went on and on like this. Back and forth like a hot sticky ping-pong match. Fast and fleeting but really of no consequence. He never really gave me a piece of his emotions and so I had to supplement the physics of our relationship with the personal intimacy of The Player. To this day I swear if God could have combined them I would have discovered the holy grail of the Perfect Man.
Then Three grew quiet. One month I was dressed to the nines, going to a wedding reception with him (I still can't believe you requested Pussy Control to get all the girls dancing), him showing up at my house later with a hard dick and a bag of sliders. The next month he was ignoring me, ushering into the bar some girl with awful, silver shoes and even worse eyebrows.
He had moved in with her without even really breaking up with me. Yeah. Breaking up. Something has to break when a man stops seeing a girl he'd been sleeping with for eight months.
In time, Silver Shoes got her own payback. That's somebody else's story to tell so I won't get into it here. In hindsight, everyone wrote him off as a man who was "young, dumb and full of cum." I wrote him off as someone who, just maybe, would someday realize the error of his ways. They all said I was better off. And he knew it, too.
I think you only started telling the truth towards the end. You said "Kate. You're a better person than me."
Three, you have no idea.
I still think of you. Not with the piss and vinegar I used to. Now it's kind of a fond recollection of my wild days. I am so thrilled I've discovered the warm spot my life has made for me, and I wish you the best in yours. Still, little things remind me of way back. The Chili Peppers are an instant round trip ticket to the memories of 2002 and 2003. So are the four little letters of N-P-P-A. And the old smell of cigarettes and Polo Blue.
And I'm sure you're reminded of me. At the very least, whenever you look at your long, strong arms and see that thick scar. The Teardrop, as you called it. Earned that wet, wild night you punched a fist through my door window during a party.
So. Kiss your Emmys for me. And your babies and your wife. I wish you the best as you crack open this next, optimistic chapter of your life. I've done some kissing of my own. Goodbye to the past. Goodbye to complacency. Goodbye to settling.