I know that warehouse. It’s where that crazy party was a few years back. The one where Anabelle was smacked in the face with a box of mac and cheese thrown from the roof like a grenade. I lean on a rickety lamppost in a busted up parking lot along Schuyler Street. It’s a good spot to rest and scan the flat landscape. I met Monica at this warehouse.
I never understood Monica. We’d see each other frequently. All summer we went to pubs, shows, and other events. The Fallen Angel bar was our hangout and we may or may not end up elsewhere. Sometimes, we’d plan to meet and she’d never show up. Never apologize. Never mention it or even fake an excuse. It would of drove me crazy if I didn’t think it was a temporary relationship.
Anyway, at that party, I was at the bar/receptionist desk when this girl put her arm around my waist and head against my chest. I wasn’t complaining when I said, “Yer pretty friendly” thinking it was a case of mistaken identity.
“Can ya pretend ta be my boyfriend? Hey Anabelle.” she said under her breath. I hate getting into the middle of drama, especially at parties. “These two guys won’t leave me ‘lone ‘nd I told ‘em I was with ya ‘cause I saw ya with Anabelle.” They looked like ‘roided out creeps with preppy appearances and unblinking stares. There’s nothing wrong with having a girl on your arm, so I agreed. “Thank you so much. I’m Monica, by the way.”
She really wasn’t my type. Too much of a girly-girl. Took forever getting ready. Always worried about her hair, makeup, or whatever. All dolled up even though we were only going to a dive bar. How can one person own so many damn shoes? Her roommates and I became good friends as I took up space on their couch waiting around. We’d be at least an hour late to everything. It got to the point that if we were going to something I’d lie and say it started an hour earlier than it really did. Many times, we’d still be late and it drove me nuts.
Beyond the superficial crap, she was an interesting person. I have no idea where she’d get this stuff either. I’d mention I liked some band and she’d give me a bunch of music from all sorts of unknown groups. She’d loan me books by authors I’ve never heard of or thoughtful movies from strange places. I’m no artist, but she found some of my junk fascinating. I still don’t know why. Monica took a bunch of my doodles and gave them to others.
One time, we went to a lousy bar because they had some lame promotion. Of course, there was a line halfway down the block in spite of five better pubs within eyeshot, all with available seating and cheaper, stronger drinks. Anyway, here we were standing on the sidewalk like idiots when some girl came out of the lounge to talk on the phone and have a cigarette. No big deal. So, the girl tries to go back in and Monica pushes her. Starts mouthing off about cutting in line and all sorts of nonsense. Obviously, Monica didn’t know she had already been in the bar. Well, I bear hug Monica and apologize to the girl, allowing her to go back inside.
As I started to explain the situation to Monica, she started hitting me and spouting off about embarrassing her in front of everyone. Now I’m embarrassed about the both of us. I hate that bar, I hate fighting, and I hated the whole situation. So, I just went back to her car and sat until everyone was done and we could go home. I was a designated driver by default. Monica loves picking fights. Would pick a fight with a grizzly if she perceived it wronged her somehow. No idea what went through her head when she got like that.
Monica’s not crazy, at least not more than the average person. There were just some topics I learned to avoid. Hell, I don’t bring up some topics with anyone anymore after her reactions. She could be extremely sweet too. Like the time I was sick and she brought me spicy soup I like from the Thai place. Or when she cleaned my grandpa’s house for him when I had to put in all that overtime. But, she either ran “hot” or “cold.” There was nothing in between.
That was two years ago. It’s funny the things I remember and the stuff I forget. Thinking about all that’s changed and how everything is the same. How random it can all be. All because I hitched a ride with Anabelle and she decided to bring me to this warehouse instead of going home.
It was uneventful when Monica moved to L.A. to be an actress/waitress. She just told me “I’m goin’ ta Los Angeles ta fulfill a dream” and that was the last time I saw her. As I said, it was a temporary relationship and I went back to Milwaukee a few weeks later.
Maybe I’ll go to the Fallen Angel for a drink before closing time. It’s not that much out of the way. On Station Street, I seem to be the only person around. It’s eerily quiet as the orange lights obscure the midwestern sky. I wonder if the bartender is still there; the aspiring singer. Gave us lots of free drinks while singing along to the jukebox. Not bad either. I hope it hasn’t turned into a hipster bar or anything. Then again, there’s something depressing when nothing’s changed.