April 2009: The Execution Of An Artist

I’m doing laps around Downtown LA. I feel sick. I park outside his loft. I sit in the car. I think about what I’m going to say. I practice it a few times. And I know that no matter how many times I practice it, it’ll never come out quite like I imagine it will.

I’m breaking up with the Artist. I don’t know if it’s breaking up, or an I don’t want to take this any further. Either way it’s not nothing and I know he won’t take it well.

I’m out of the car. I push the buzzer to his loft. It’s hot outside. The metal that the bank of buttons sits in reflects the sun back into my eyes.

Artist: Hello?
Me: Hey it’s me.
Artist: (really pleased) Oh hi! Come up.

He buzzes me in. I ride up in the elevator. I walk to his door. I knock. He opens the door, all smiles, we hug. This is probably going to be the second last hug we ever have.

Artist: This is a nice surprise.
Me: I need to talk to you.

And that could be the end of the story right there. Everyone knows what this means. Every word that comes out of your mouth after that is just a long preamble to getting to the thing no one wants to hear. It’s not even so much the words, it’s the tone. That tone that tells you you’re about to be dumped.

We talk for a while. Well actually I talk. He listens and stares at me. I wish he would talk because I keep talking so that there isn’t a silence. The loft seems really big all of a sudden.

He asks me a few questions about if I’m dating anyone else and the answer is no. The Producer has faded away, there’s a couple of fuck buds, but there’s no one I’m interested in.

I think that that’s worse to hear. I choose no one instead of you.

So he absorbs everything that I have to say. Then he hits me with the sucker punch.

Artist: I thought you were coming round for sex. I thought you were fitting me in in between meetings. I liked that idea.

After my parking lot chat a couple of weeks ago, I’m starting to feel like I’m an executioner walking around LA with a gun and a scythe in the back of KITT.

After that he doesn’t say anything at all. He gets up, we hug one last time. Then he opens the door. I leave. And I hear him make some sound that I don’t want to think too much about as the elevator doors close behind me.

I hate myself and feel relieved at the same time. And in the half hour drive to my friend’s place that I make, the hate part flies away and the relief really takes hold. I really am glad that it’s over. He was a nice guy, but it never went beyond friends for me.

The icky bits of busting up keep their talons into me though and I find for the next few days that I want to physically jump up and down and shake myself to get them out of my system.

I had a photo that he took that I really liked. It was of a guy on the street outside his house. He printed it and signed it for me. It was weird when I got home and saw it there. Like some piece of evidence from a crime that had yet to be tagged and bagged. I was going to put it away. Then I thought, no, there’s no need.

A couple of days later he’d de-friended me on Facebook. When I checked on his status updates, he was writing some weird stuff up there. Through the lines I knew it was about me.

Fair enough. And it was exactly what I wanted. It’s so much easier to be angry at someone for the slightest reason than to think about how you might have hurt them.

So I picked up the photo, took it downstairs and tossed it in the trash.

Months later, I heard he left town. I still think about him sometimes. I hope he’s better. And I wish I kept the photo.

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