The Aftermath of Two Fuccbois Colliding, part two

by Shaun Terry

part one

“But look, the sex thing is just a distraction. That’s not the thing.”

“Okay, Hugo. What’s the thing?”

“The thing is that the whole situation was completely fucked from the start and it never should’ve happened. He didn’t even really wanna be with her. He didn’t know that, but that’s the truth.”

“Hugo, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would he get with her if he didn’t wanna be with her? And what are you: Miss Cleo? You’re a mind reader now?”

“Miss Cleo? I barely even remember that.”

“Yeah, well.”

“She went to prison, right?”

“Think so.”

“Okay, so you’re right. I can’t say with one hundred percent certainty, but this isn’t rocket science. He pulled some classic young man bullshit.”

“Okay.”

Hugo’s toe started to tap on the floor. “So let me just tell you what happened.”

“Of course. So sorry.”

“Yeah. Well, at one point, she had been talking to both of us, and he got all upset about it. Before that, she’d moved on. She’d told him that she didn’t want to get back with him, but fuccbois do what fuccbois do, right?”

James’s head rotated down a couple inches and returned.

“So he did exactly what he had to do to soothe his fragile, young, stupid ego. He hadn’t been with anyone else, so even though he’d turned this poor, sensitive lady down in so many ways, so many times, even though he’d abused and neglected her, he decided that she was his default option and that was good enough for him to put her back through the ringer again. He told her it was ‘inevitable’ that they’d be together. This was his rationale. I guess he was tired of not fucking or something.”

“It’s hard to go without fucking, man, especially if you’re getting some good ass, but ‘inevitable’ is pretty rough. Not a good look.” James’s eyelids tightened around his eyes. “She went for that?”

“Yeah. I mean, I’m sure it was more than just the ass. I don’t blame the guy, but the thing is he hadn’t even been with anyone else. He just kept treating her like shit and I was really in love with her. She was in love with him and with me, which is fine, but he was just being a typical fuccboi.”

“Pretty typical. That’s right. But he just didn’t get with other women because he couldn’t, then?”

“Well, she would say that he wasn’t very interested in other women, but it’s not like women were all over him, either. This guy was young. You know, I guess he did start to miss her. I’m not saying that he didn’t have any feelings for her. Anyway, so he starts telling her all the shit she’s been burning to hear from him for months, YEARS, even.”

James nodded and his voice rose a few pitches and became more nasal, as he mocked, “Oh, baby, I’m gonna change. I wanna be a better man. I’ll do whatever you want. It’s not because you want me to. I want it for myself, blah, blah.”

“Right, but more than that. I mean, she’d been complaining about how he acted for years, so he knew exactly what she’d wanted. He half-acted like he didn’t want to tell her how he felt out of respect for my relationship with her, but the thing is she’d been wanting him to open up and finally show his feelings, and he knew she was in love with him, anyway, so all he had to do was give some indication that something was going on with his feelings and she was gonna push him the rest of the way, making her feel better for him opening up, and letting him say some shit that was really kinda fucked up.”

The corners of James’s mouth bent to form hooks in his face and his eyes flattened out, but he didn’t quite smile. “That’s slick, man.”

Hugo responded, “I mean, it was fucking obvious, but she was in love, so how was she gonna see it? And he probably didn’t even know he was doing it.”

“Yeah. Most people don’t know when they’re being manipulative, and he was feeling desperate and lonely, so he rationalized it. But is ‘manipulation’ the right word?”

“What would you call it?”

“Manipulation. Yeah. But there should be another word. I mean, I think of manipulation and I’m thinking like Scrooge McDuck rubbing his hands together, setting some elaborate trap.”

“That’s true. Still, I think most manipulation happens in people’s blind spots.”

“Yeah. Well, that’s why abuse happens, right?” It occurred to James that the situation was very complicated. “Damn, man. People have to learn this shit the hard way. You can’t convince someone that they shouldn’t go back to their shitty ex, just because the ex was lonely and said he wanted to change. Everyone does that shit. I mean, dudes have to learn to not kid themselves and women have to learn that abusive exes are bullshitters until the jackasses actually grow up.”

“Well, maybe that’s sexist, but I think it’s mostly that way.” Hugo’s eyes met the corner of the room. “I know you’re right. Anyway, it gets worse.”

“Oh. Please proceed.”

“Well, so he’s telling her all this shit and she’s getting roped back in. She’d decided never again, but he’d never pulled any of this heroic shit before because he’d never had to. Now, it’s his only option, right? This time, he’s going to therapy and getting into all this spiritual shit or whatever. Quoting Pema Chodron. They always ended up back together without his having to try. But it’s a matter of his ego, so he’s all in.”

“All in. Absolutely. He can’t let go and he can’t deal with being told ‘no.’ Real fuccboi style. Pema, man. That’s deep.”

“So eventually what happens is she and he are starting to get close and he smells blood. Well, plus, he doesn’t totally know what’s going on with her and me. She won’t admit to him that she’s in love with me, and I guess he’s avoided asking if we’ve had sex, but he also knows she’s getting more emotionally invested in him, so maybe he assumes that nothing’s happened with her and me. It’s more emotionally convenient for him to assume that, I figure.”

“But she won’t admit that she’s in love with you?”

“Well, she told him that she might be or some shit like that.”

“Hugo, that’s kinda fucked.”

“I know, but what am I gonna do? Anyway, so one weekend, she and I hang out for several days in a row and Benjamin’s all butthurt about it.”

“You shouldn’t say that, man.”

“What?”

“‘Butthurt.’ It’s stupid and homophobic.”

Hugo’s eyes narrow, as he looks around the room. “Hm. I see that. My bad.”

“Don’t say ‘my bad,’ like I’m the fag delegation. It’s cool. Just don’t say ‘butthurt’ anymore.”

“Right. Sorry. Well, not sorry. Whatever. Anyway, this one weekend, she and I are hanging out and it goes great. Things have kind of crossed this threshold and we’re totally comfortable, falling more in love, the sex is great, and it feels like it’s becoming real.”

“But she’s also getting more into homeboy.”

“That’s true, but she’s been there and done that. All that has to happen is enough time has to pass and eventually, she’s gonna have strong enough feelings for me, plus there are all the more practical reasons why she’d choose me over him, plus sex with me will eventually be better than with him, at least because he’s young and inexperienced and I’m decent at sex for my age.”

“Don’t talk shit, man. I’ve never heard anyone say how you’re great in bed.”

“Maybe I don’t fuck weird, loud people who brag about that shit, and I’m not saying I’m ‘great,’ anyway. Just not bad.”

“Maybe.”

“Anyway, that’s not the point. I mean, the dude’s young, so let’s just assume that the sex will be at least as good. I mean, who knows? But the way I see it, it was just a matter of time before she felt comfortable enough choosing me, and the thing is that I wasn’t even thinking that it needed to be me and not him.”

“You would’ve been with her if she’d still been with him, too?”

“I mean, I dunno, but I was comfortable with the way things were going at that point.”

“Interesting. But hold on a sec. You said something about ‘practical reasons’ why she’d choose you over him.”

“Yeah. He was just kinda boring and emotionally unaware and shit like that. She thought he was funny, but I could be funny.”

“You can be kinda funny. You’re not George Carlin. You’re not even Jim Jeffries.”

“Just listen, man.”

“Okay.”

“To her, I was this creative person and I understood her feelings and we had all these interesting conversations. She’d talk about how she’d dated other guys who checked off boxes that he didn’t, but no one had checked off all of those boxes, plus the ones he checked off, until I came around.”

“So you were like this superior boyfriend prospect in every way, but she’s caught up in her feelings, basically.”

“More or less. Anyway, so this weekend happens and I’m thinking we’re gonna eventually move in together or something. Or if not that, just that things are about to get more serious at least. But a few hours after she and I part, she texts me and says we can’t talk anymore. This is a little shocking, but I know it’s just a weird reaction, probably to some dumb shit Benji said, and I don’t really know what it means but I figure that she and I are good at dealing with our problems, so I’m cool about it and I just call her.”

“Uh huh.”

Hugo took a long breath. “Well, apparently, he finally decided to ask if she and I’d had sex and so now, he’s fucking pissed. He thinks that she told him they’re gonna be together, but yet she’s fucking me, even though she says she’d never said that she’d made a decision or whatever. Who knows, really, but I trust her. She was always more honest than she had to be. Well, for the most part. Anyway, I guess he’s feeling really insecure. So then, he does what he’s always done, which is to be shitty to her and blame it all on her. He said that she’s terrible and all this shit and then he threatened her, saying he won’t talk to her anymore, so what’s she gonna do?”

“Oh, no. Oh shit, Hugo.”

“Yeah, and in the conversation, she explains how she wouldn’t talk to me for a while even if shit didn’t work out with Benjamin.”

“Why?”

“I dunno. To be consistent? I mean, I think it was like, if she wasn’t going to talk to me, she had to have a reason, and the reason only worked if it worked in both cases. She told me it was because this was all causing her to go through this emotional whirlwind, but she wasn’t suggesting that she not talk to both of us; only me.”

James’s mouth went sideways as he looked at Hugo. “She was more in love with Ben, so he was the priority, even if he was the one being shitty.”

Because he was being shitty.”

“Right. It’s unfair. Human feelings are weird things. Damn, Hugo.”

“He’d put all this pressure on her and she was so in love with him. He was her first love, so even though it made no sense, she just had to make a decision in the moment, and part of that included not talking to me because it was what she thought she had to do to preserve this thing with her beloved fuccboi. He had this card in his pocket. Once he’d built up enough with her, got all those feelings recirculating, made it as though he was going to right all his past wrongs –”

“That shit’s so alluring.”

“He only had to put all this pressure on her and she’d choose him. And he did it right as things between her and me were really starting to build. Maybe he did it out of fear.”

“Yeah, I get that.” James stood up and took a few steps across the living room floor. “I mean… I get that. Man, that dude really did a fucked up thing. Maybe he didn’t mean to. Shit, man.”

James stopped pacing. “What else could she do? She had to make a choice in the moment. Why couldn’t she see it? I guess she just didn’t know. She was just a kid. Fuck. This is what happens when you date a kid, Hugo. Damn. I’m so sorry this happened to you.”

“Well, she and I talked about what was happening, but what could I really do? I mean, she was afraid of losing this thing she’d always wanted.”

“Yeah. That’s so fucked, Hugo.”

“He played it perfectly. She had no choice, really, you know? I mean, I shouldn’t have felt bad about it.”

“Well, to be fair, you were losing the love of your life.”

“Yeah. I know I’m not supposed to blame myself.”

“You really shouldn’t.”

“She was so desperate to deal with the intense feelings she had. She was trapped. She couldn’t do anything different, even if it didn’t make sense, even if every sign said she shouldn’t.”

“She just didn’t know. Gotta learn that one the hard way.”

“So of course I tried to convince her. I made every argument. I tried to be understanding. I was frustrated. But then, I blew up on her.”

“Yeah. All of that was stupid. Everything you just said. Why you did any of that I have no idea. You’ve told me about the blowup. You should’ve just let it go. You knew you were probably gonna get another chance. That shit was dumb, Hugo, and you blew it.” James plopped back down in the old, deteriorating sofa, and the room seemed to settle with him.

“Yeah, well, I wrote a letter back when they were together. There was never a good time to give it to her, and then they broke up.”

James’s voice rose a little. “Yeah. There was never a good time because there was never gonna be a good time. You totally fucked shit up.”

James was now frustrated. He was frustrated by all three parties in the situation. He didn’t want to show his frustration with Hugo, but he knew that Hugo had only needed to have been patient. So stupid, Hugo.

Hugo continued, “You don’t even know what the letter said. I still think about giving it to her.”

“Well, what’d it say, then?”

Hugo reached into his front left pocket and James’s eyes grew, “YOU KEEP THE LETTER ON YOU AT ALL TIMES? ARE YOU A PSYCHOPATH?!

“Look, it means something to me.” Hugo’s hands went above his head and then smacked against his thighs. “It’s not what you think it is. Maybe it’s stupid of me, but I don’t want to lose the opportunity.”

“Opportunity? For what?!”

“I dunno, man.”

“Read the shit, you crazy person.”

Hugo unfolded the crinkled piece of lined notebook paper. He read slowly, “I think I represent something significant to you. I think there’s something inside you — I don’t know how big or small it might be, maybe it doesn’t mean much to you – but there’s some part of you that wants to be with me. You want to know what it’s like to be with me. You want what I can give you, you want what I represent to you. And I think maybe that small part of you will continue to be curious about me, you’ll think about me. When you’re with him, it won’t completely go away. Not for a long time, anyway. You’ll want it to. You’ll feel guilty, but that small part of you will hold on to this idea, this question, this desire. Maybe it’ll grow and it’ll bother you. Maybe it’ll become unbearable and you won’t know what to do. Maybe not. It’s what I think, anyway. It’s what I hope for. I want to haunt you in precious moments with him, but more than that, I want you to be with me. I want you to change your mind. I want you to be consumed by the tension and I want to fix things with you. I want us to heal each other. I want you to stop torturing both of us.”

Hugo looked up from the weathered document and into James’s eyes. James quickly looked away and began repeatedly pinching his bottom lip between his fingers. After a brief spell, James looked back up at Hugo. “That’s so fucked up, Hugo. You want to haunt someone? You’re not even dead. That’s weird as fuck.”

They sat in silence for a while before James continued, “It’s short. I thought it’d be longer. Why would you write that? Why would you think that would work? Did you think it’d really work?” James didn’t realize it, but his head was gently rotating about his neck, back-and-forth. “I’m glad you didn’t give her that. It’s kinda beautiful in a weird way. You’re a very fucking weird dude, man.”

Hugo ignored him. He ceremoniously, even regally, sat in the recliner and put his hands on his knees. He stared intently at a spot a few feet in front of James. Hugo’s face had grown very intense and his whole body was practically motionless as he looked up, “I’ve decided I’m gonna kill myself.”

“No, you’re not. People don’t say they’re gonna kill themselves. They just do it. Anyway, it’d be bullshit for you to do that to Savannah.”

“No. That’s the thing. She doesn’t really know me that well and that’s good. If I died, then she could just resent me, but I don’t have to completely fuck her up. I’m gonna fuck her up. That’s obvious. If I stay alive, then I either fuck her up by not doing enough or I fuck her up by just being me. This is the least bad option.”

“Hugo, that’s some irresponsible bullshit, but you’re not gonna kill yourself, and don’t use some Benthamian shit on me.”

Who the fuck is Bentham, Hugo thought.

“You’re not that kind of depressed. You’re dramatic. You always want attention, but in some weird, fucked up way, you kinda believe in yourself. You’re just feeling desperate. I love you, Hugo, and I don’t ever say shit like that. Not to a dude. It’s not ’cause I’m black. Well, maybe it’s ’cause I’m black. In a way. Maybe. I’m not even black, you know? Shit’s complicated. Anyway, the point is I’m here, man, and I don’t really like you that much, but everyone else hates you, so I have no choice but to try to help you. Don’t kill yourself, man. It’s stupid, and this shit will pass. Look: you stay on my couch, you don’t have a job, shit’s not that bad. You don’t have much to worry about. Just figure it out. I don’t know how the fuck you eat, honestly, but you ain’t lookin’ famished, so I think you’re alright. Why don’t we go out tonight and you can talk to some chicks who are too young for you? It’s disgusting to me when you do that, but it’s kinda funny. I can show you how to get a woman your own age and she’ll be just as hot as the girls you sometimes bring home.”

“Not everyone I date is too young.”

“Yeah, but that shit’s a little weird, Hugo, not to mention maybe a little misogynistic.

“More Patriarchal than misogynistic.”

“Maybe. Anyway, you shouldn’t do that shit, and I shouldn’t enable you, but it’s better than you fucking up my place with a bunch of your blood. I’m kidding. Shit’s gonna be okay, man. Let’s just go out later. I want to. I’m here for you, man.”

“Jim, I can never tell if you’re the wisest or stupidest person I know.”

Hugo walked toward the window. “I’m making the responsible decision here.” Hugo smiled gently and his eyes showed that he was in some place far from James’s home. Hugo seemed serene. “I’m gonna kill myself tomorrow. I’ll have done something good for the world: the least harm.”

James didn’t know what to say. He sat for a few minutes, trying to think of how to help. Finally, he said, “You know, you never told me what happened to set all this off today.”

Hugo’s face barely moved, “I just did.”

Advertisements