The Day of the Jackhole

The Day of the Jackhole

Celebrating 40 years on this earth

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1991. Maturity is elusive.

September 23, 2011

Confrontation is on my shortlist of ‘things I don’t like’. Right behind talking on telephones and unwieldy beards. As I leave money on the kitchen bench for bills and the rent that’s left on our lease, I tell myself that what I’m doing is fine. That it’s fine to pack everything you own into the back your 1976 Subaru station wagon and just leave. No warning. Just one day, when your housemate is at class, just throw shit in the car and leave. No signs. No flashing lights. No ‘hey, we should talk about this’ moment with her.

The niggle is there. This is wrong. You know this is wrong. But you’re doing it anyway. Look at you. Gutless.

With the seat folded down, I shove the last remaining things in. My whole life fits in the back of a car. My whole life. One last check of the house. One walk around and I put the key on the bench with the money. Door pulled closed. Out the gate. In the car. I drive away.

This behavior. Is it possible I’m de-evolving?

Don’t fret. This will turn out to be my first lesson in karmic retribution.

After staying with a friend, I end up moving to student housing on campus for the end of the semester and things are finally going my way. By this stage, my name is a high-quality and gritty mud with her. When I see her on campus, which is very rarely, she scowls at me with dark and beady eyes and I shrivel away as though a slug hit with salt.

But life moves on. The next year, I move to the more intimate and older student housing, affectionally called the ‘egg cartons’. On a Saturday, I trudge my stuff in from the car in multiple, bicep stretching trips. It’s a bigger, corner room with great windows and a bit of a view. I put up posters like a teen and kick back on the bed. I like it here.

A guy lives in the room next to me but he’s away for the weekend. A few days later, I’m busily plotting some large and convoluted novel that will be an instant bottom-drawer never-to-be-seen-by-anyone classic, when I hear a conversation coming up the stairs. My door is open so I can eavesdrop on conversations such as this (and also because I like people to see the tortured writer in her torture) so I glance up when neighbor-boy slouches past, unlocks his door and goes into his room. Seconds later, the other half of the conversation follows and … holy shit. It’s her. She glances in at me. Scowls. It’s a sphincter-tightening moment and I look away as she follows my neighbor into his room. They close the door. He is her boyfriend. He is her boyfriend.

Yes, she’s practically living next door to me and I see her happy face and hear her melodic voice every day and that could be seen as karmic retribution. But from where I’m sitting, at my cheap student desk with my crappy novel plot points laid out in front of me, I am thinking but one thing:

SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND?!

(Oh yes, I’m definitely de-evolving)

 


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