But What Are You Really?

I’m going back to school. The thought has crossed my mind many times over the years, but I always had excuses as to why I couldn’t go back just yet: children, work, transcripts. The thought of having to get transcripts was more daunting to me than having to juggle children, work, and school.

I will never forget the struggle of transcripts. When I began college, the year was 1991, and to my knowledge, there was no internet. The college application process was straightforward enough – you got your Official High School transcripts, SAT scores, Letters of Recommendation, and your letter of Intent, or essay, and you would make copies of all of these and pay the application which was anywhere from $50 – $100 to EACH college you applied to, and then mail them to each college. If you were lucky you could use the same essay for more than one college, but invariably you had to write multiple essays.

And the acceptance letter. You just knew if there was a large, 8×11 manilla or white envelope shoved into your mailbox that that was a letter of acceptance. The regular letter sized envelope that most bills came in were the letters of rejection. To this day, I consider the large envelopes to be the bearer of good news.

I was opposite girl, having gone to UCSB and then, because of the lure of Los Angeles, I went from being a B student to C, then by the final quarter, all F’s. I lost my scholarship and my admission to the school revoked, all because I was more interested in going to Los Angeles and with my fake ID I gained admittance to all the clubs and met so many celebrities, the highlight of my life occurring at the age of 20 when I met and danced with Prince at his nightclub Glam Slam at 3rd and Boylston in Downtown L.A. (I ended up dating him as well, but that’s another story).

 

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Of course I think, if I had been in school, would I have ever met Prince? I don’t know. Perhaps, but the fact of the matter is that everything happened and I can’t change what was. It is what it is.

Because I was essentially expelled from UCSB, I was free to live in La La Land. I got a job at a Haitian Art Gallery operating out of a cute craftsman style bungalow North of Sunset, near the Screen Actors Guild. Several years later, I enrolled at Santa Monica College, and this time, I had to do everything myself: get the transcripts, pay ALL my own bills, work and go to school. It was so different embarking on this journey on my own, without the help, financial, emotional, and mental, of my Mom and family.

The year was 1996 and the Internet was barely beginning. In fact, in 1997, I remember writing an article for the school newspaper called “Life Without the Internet.” The internet was so new. As were cell phones, the kind that was most popular then being a flip phone, which we now know are basically obsolete or if used are viewed as a relic (albeit a charming one).

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The internet wasn’t so advanced that colleges and schools had all the student records readily available. They didn’t. So to get college transcripts or high school transcripts required you to drive to the school or in my case SCHOOLS in question, and fill out the required forms, and then wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, in lines the likes of which you see at an amusement park, except at the end of the line, the thrill is getting your transcripts so you can begin that college ride. Not quite the same as a roller coaster, but still, they both give you thrills, chills, make you scream out loud, smile, freak out and yet have fun.

Because I went to UCSB, I had to drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to get my transcripts, and then I also had to drive to West Los Angeles City College and Pasadena City College to get those transcripts before I could begin attending Santa Monica College. It took days to get all of this done, many hours of waiting in traffic, waiting in line, just waiting.

 

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Flash forward to 2018. I have decided to go back to school. I’m trying not to think about the age I will be when I get my Bachelors, and perhaps even my Masters. I try instead to focus on the fact that the majority of people who meet me think I am at minimum 5? Maybe 10 years younger than I really am, so although I may be old enough to be the Mother of many of my fellow students, I look more like an Auntie, or Sister.

I went online just yesterday, October 22, 2018, and I was so astounded at the EASE of applying to colleges and getting my transcripts.

You don’t remember your Student ID from 1991? No problem! Enter your Social Security Number and Date of Birth, we will email it to you.

You don’t remember your other Student ID from 2004? No problem! Apply again to the same school and the system will recognize you and regenerate your former Stuent ID number.

Armed with my Student ID’s, I can, with a few clicks, get my unofficial transcripts and begin to apply to school. And this is where it got interesting.

As I said, in 1991, I applied to college and the most personal questions asked of me were my ethnicity and my personal essay. I remember being unsure what box to check for race, because my Mother is (mostly) Italian and Irish, and my Father is (mostly) Creole, a mix of Black, French, and Cherokee Indian.

When people would ask me, “What are your?” I would reply, “Black.” This would invariably prompt them to pause, and give me a look, starting with my hair (curly and long), to my face and skin (either pale yet a bit caramel, or bronzed by the sun), and then they would ask me, “But what are you REALLY?”

So I would then tell them what I knew they wanted to hear. And I get it, it is a bit fascinating to throw two people of different ethnicities together and see what you get. It’s like painting or coloring – let’s combine pink with white, and how about a little red, what new color will we get?

In 1991, the college applications, just about any form requesting your personal information, was all about checking the boxes, and their wasn’t an option for more than one race. It was cut and dried. Black, Latino, white, Samoan, Chinese, Japanese, etc. I never knew what box to check.

NOW, in 2018, I’m not only offered the chance to check “as many that apply” but I am also asked “Black,” “African American,” or “African.”

NOW, in 2018, I am asked what my GENDER is, and my sexual orientation. Am I transgender, female, male, prefer not to say? Am I heterosexual, bisexual, or am I just gay?

Wow. So with the ease of the application, there is still a bit of unease. WHY do I have to answer these questions? Or rather, why do they have to be asked? Can’t we just BE who we ARE, and what happens when or if we evolve?

The person you are when you begin college is most likely not quite the same person you are when you leave. You GROW. You evolve. So certain questions may not have the same answers.

I guess that’s why we have an edit option when applying to and keeping an archive of your school history. If only life could have that same edit or undo button, right?

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Birthday 

He spoiled me. Got off work Sunday night, after having three Don Julio Añejo and being gifted six lap dances, then to his home where we feasted on sushi. He told me I look pretty, “this is how you were at work?” he asks, “this is nice, you look pretty.”

I showered and we lay. Asked in his bed. It wasn’t quite midnight (my actual birthday) when he began his ministrations between my thighs. I was satiated and spent, luxuriating in my cum coma, our legs intertwined with one another’s, my head upon his hairy chest, a blanket of salt and pepper curly hair that I am fond of twirling between the fingers of my right hand. 

He gave me a pink plumeria plant just before drifting off to sleep. I woke in the morning to a gorgeous sunshiny day, and my beau bringing me Bailey’s & Coffee with a hazelnut chocolate at the bottom, topped with frothy almond milk and sprinkled with cinnamon. 

He read the paper and passed it to me, then we began watching Wonder Woman. He left for a time as I drifted in and out of sleep, then he returns to me, still naked, wearing a sweet smile and carrying a plate of three different crepes, Nutella, Peach, and Rhubarb, with a sprig of mint freshly plucked from his garden. 

A second cup of coffee and the crepes are enjoyed by us two while we sit naked in bed, watching Wonder Woman. I feed some bites of crepe to his dog, and we lounge about in bed until the maids come, at which point I go outside into the backyard and alternate between the sun and the shade in his bathrobe while reading a book. 

We are completely comfortable with one another, at ease and effortless. A556AB98-3B34-4C0D-9FBF-4A1A227DF5E8.jpeg

41 Days

It’s been 41 days since I walked away
The anger and rage all over your face
A tangible thing
Clear for me to see
Just how pissed off and mad you were
All directed at me

But now I can realize
I can finally understand
That the anger you felt
Wasn’t really about me
But about a Man
and the Man that you were mad at
The Man who you saw through
That Man you were so angry at
that Man is and was YOU

You resented me for loving you
And yourself for not reciprocating
You were pissed that I loved you so hard and well
It was a shocking revelation
You said it’s hard to be with someone
Who is always giving their all
When you weren’t capable of doing the same
But really you wouldn’t try
For fear you would fall

Because for you to fall in love with me
Would be to lose a bit of yourself
And you’re the King of putting your feelings
High up on a shelf
Out of reach for no one to see
Not you even you can catch a glimpse
And so you live your life slightly protected
You haven’t truly loved anyone
to do so would make you wince

With each passing day
the sadness still lingers
I don’t know that it will ever end
I don’t know that a day will every pass
without me thinking about my friend

I spoke to you every single morning
and each night before I went to bed
Even if I wasn’t lying beside you
It was you I thought of in my head

How do you just stop talking to someone
that you spoke to every day?
How do you just go on with your life
When your lover has thrown you away?

I know I chose to end this coupling
I know it was I who walked away
But I thought perhaps you would really miss me
You’d eventually call and I’d hear you say
Say that you love me, say that you need me,
Say you want to meet my kids
Say that this life of yours isn’t worth living
And it’s with me you want to give
Give your heart and give your mind
Give your home, your hand,
be forever mine

But no
There’s been nothing
Save for a social media block and unfriend
And that is how our story ends.

Day 19

Today is the 19th day. 19 days have passed since we spoke. I keep repeating the day in my mind, wondering if I hadn’t gotten so emotional and told you what I was feeling if we would still be together. And the answer is yes, we would be. But, if I’m being honest with myself, I would still be dissatisfied and unfulfilled because he would still be the same man he is now and always was. I just didn’t want to fully acknowledge what he was wasn’t giving.

I feel partially responsible for having allowed his behavior. For being so accepting of his many trips without me. Not complaining when he would excitedly tell me how he was going on yet another trip without me. And, to add insult to injury, he would want me to help him pack, and be annoyed if I wasn’t able to help him. Once he even went so far as to say I was trying to sabotage his trip by making him late so he’d miss his flight. I would never do that. I would be too afraid of his Scorpion sting of anger directed at me for having missed his flight. Please. Make the damn flight.

When we first met, 14 years ago, I had no children and I was free as a bird. The attraction was instant. I didn’t know he already had a girlfriend, someone he had been seeing for quite some time and eventually propose to. Someone who he said, “the sex was so bad, the first time we ever had sex, I had to go in the living room to jerk off, and I hated kissing her.” And yet you proposed marriage to this person? To be with them FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE???? What?!

So yeah. I was the side chick before that was even a catch phrase. I was the girls who would come to his house and we would make out, long, passionate kisses, and we would have oral sex but never intercourse. I spent the night maybe two times, and I remember just reveling in his company, but I was also a little intimidated by him.

We lost touch with one another because, as he later told me, “I was very drawn to you, and you were a distraction from my relationship, so I had to end it.” I don’t even remember being very hurt by it. We would occasionally reconnect over the years, but nothing physical. He was involved and then I was involved. The timing was never right.

But three years ago, it was. Since he wasn’t seeing anyone else, we were free to fuck. In his mind, having actual intercourse with me all those years ago when he had a girlfriend and I was the side chick would have been cheating. It would have been crossing the line. A line he didn’t want to cross so he could still feel good about himself. So back then, not sex. Just oral and kissing.

I was elated to finally do the deed. But with that came something else: he would no longer kiss me. “I’m only going to give everything to my wife,” he says. “I can’t give you EVERYTHING!” I was like, huh? No kissing? Like, ever? And it’s true. In the three years we were together I know exactly when he kissed me.

1) that first day I went to his house when we reconnected after 14 years. I kissed him goodbye on his doorstep (July 2015)

2) when we were making love. ONCE. (sometime 2016)

3) when he gave me an example of how a reality show contestant kissed Lisa Raye on The Proposal (July 2018)

4) when we went to see a show in DTLA (May 2017)

Let me tell you. We were VERY good at kissing one another, so to take it away was awful. You can’t miss what you never had, and I HAD his kisses, and I wanted them. Often. Just like I wanted him to hold my hand when we went out, or even just because, like when driving or sitting at a restaurant. But no. He didn’t hold my hand EVER. No. I take that back. He did, one time.

1) when we went hiking, he held my hand as we walked amongst the tall redwood trees (June 2018)

So many moments that I should have walked away. But I fell fast for him. Such a renaissance man. So cultured and funny, dashing and debonair. Yet also very smart and at times, endearing.

One moment I should have left as when he told me (before he left for a holiday, alone, of course), that he felt maybe we should slow down. He wasn’t sure about dating someone with kids, hadn’t planned on us happening as it did. I was so sad and surprised. I told him he didn’t have to meet my kids. It was too soon anyway.

Little did I know his ambivalence was probably also due to the fact he had cheated.

It was March 9, 2016, the day before my son’s 6th birthday, that he said he had something to tell me. I had just showered and was naked in his cozy bed. I was anticipating good news. But no. He told me he had slept with someone. He said it was only twice. Yet she went full Fatal Attraction in him and basically stalked him, going so far as to try to kill herself.

Devastated. Cried. All night. He said, “I understand if you don’t want to stay.” But I did. And he said later how it was hard to hear me crying, because I slept terribly, waking up and remembering his words. I went from being the side chick to the main chick. I realized with clarity that he did to me what he had done to his ex. Doesn’t history often repeat itself? Once a cheater, always a cheater?

I stayed with him. I stayed.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to stay with someone who has betrayed your trust? And they met through social media, the very thing I was always so insecure about, him meeting some fan girl on social media and then they connect in real life. Who fucks a fan? Who does that? I asked him why and he said he was bored. Unbelievable, right? I was always ready for him, always desirous of him. And yet he decided to fuck someone else just to pass the time. Of course I wonder did they kiss? Did he tell her to not look away? Did he kiss her? Go down on her?

But time makes memories fade, blurring the memory like a watercolor left out in the rain. Memory, like watercolors, fade in time, and when you are in love, you, certainly me, believe what you want to believe.

So I pined for his kisses and his ministrations to my body. He was the most skilled lover I have ever had. I’m sure no one can replace him in that regard. But still. I wanted more.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to make love to someone whose favorite position is missionary and he doesn’t kiss you!?!?!!? I never knew where to look. I would look at his face but he wasn’t always looking at me. Sometimes he would demand, “Look at me! Look at me! Don’t look away!” and that was hot. I liked that. But when he wasn’t saying that, I would look his way, but he was looking off, or his eyes were closed, Sometimes his face would be burrowed into my neck. But for his maximum pleasure, he would be above me, and so I would close my eyes, or watch him as he moved his member.

All this is making me sad though, because now we are no longer. And I should not romanticize this man. He was so removed in so many ways. And yet.

Sometimes the intimacy was unlike any other.

Painting my toenails. Scratching my back gently. Taking thousands of photos of me. Each photo like a carries, a kiss. Proof that I mattered. Proof that he cared. “I have more pictures of you on my phone than anyone or anything,” he would say.

* In three years, he never met my children.
* In three years, he barely ever kissed me.
* In three years, he went to about 20 countries and traveled within the US, and never took me.
* In three years, he only said “I love you” ONCE (July 23, 2017)
* In three years, he never came to my house

But I should not and cannot put all the blame on him. I said it was okay for him to travel without me and not meet my boys. I said we can keep things separate. I would rather have a little of him than nothing at all. I said it. I declared it. I was easy, breezy, and trying to give him free reign, not wanting to make it stressful and too hard for him. I was always making concessions and making him my priority, even after he told me, “I never asked you to.”

So. This is the 19th day. I ended it. It isn’t the first time in three years we have broken up (that would be seven times, every time only for 3 days max, and once for 28 days. It isn’t the first time, but it feels like the last.

He unfriended me on Facebook and he blocked me on Instagram He sent me back my Drivers License with no note. Not even a Post It. Nothing. Just an envelope with the fucking stamp that I GAVE HIM!

How and why would he block me and unfriend me? I just don’t understand. It, like so many other things, is so hurtful.

I love this man. I loved him. For three years, we would text, talk, FaceTime everyday. Throughout the day. And now it’s all gone. And this almost 51-year-old man has the audacity to block and unfriend when I was his Best Friend. His lover. It hurts. It keeps hurting, 19 days later and probably 19 weeks later too. He said, “You deserve more.” And I know it to be true, but how do I move on when I’m still in love with you?

*forgive any typos or grammatical errors, i can’t bring myself to proof read because it’ll just make me cry

Do you still get your period?

I work surrounded by women. 90% of them are half my age. I could be their Mother, and am often referred to as being, “Like, our Work Mom.” They mean it in an affectionate, endearing way, but nonetheless, I wouldn’t mind being referred to as a “Prima” or “Sister.”

I take great satisfaction in knowing that my body is better than most of their 20-something year old bodies, as I have had two children, and, I’ll say it again, I’m old enough to be their Mom!

Thursday afternoon I covered for one of the bartenders, who at least refers to me as her Work Wife. And she’s 24. Yes, it makes me smile. Especially when she gets pretend jealous that there are two other girls who say that they too, are my Wife. One is a dancer and the other a former dancer turned Nanny who comes in to see me almost every Friday.

I work as a Bartender at a gentleman’s club on the Westside. I always say (and this example will also date me), that if Hooters and Cheers were to have a baby, it would be the place where I work. Like Hooters, we have a mostly female staff. All the waitresses and bartenders are female. The only men who are employed there are DJ’s, Security, and Managers. The dancers, obviously, are also all female, although we were pro LGBTQ before it was P.C., having hired Mimi who was transgender back in the late 90s. And it’s like Cheers because the same men who came in 1994 are coming in 2018. There are many regulars who come in multiple times a week, sitting at the bar in hopefully their favorite seat, ordering the same drinks, eating the same food. For them, I think it’s like a home away from home. Like Cheers, they like that everyone knows their name and are always glad they came. They feel like that are a pat of something. Not apart. See the difference that one little space can make? Space can bring you closer together of further away.

But I digress. So, Thursday late afternoon, my shift is almost over. Heaven approaches the bar and leans into me, whispering to be heard above the thumping bass but not so loud that other customers sitting at the bar can hear her.

Today she wears her hair curly, in a shoulder length style. Tuesday it was long and straight. Clearly Heaven has a predilection and affection for weaves and/or wigs.

She pushes a curly lock behind her ear and asks, “You still get your period, right?”

[Insert screeching of record needle across record here]

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I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly. “What?” I ask her, my eyebrows furrowing, which I try to NOT do because I need botox there. Badly.

She leans in further and says a little more loudly, “Do you still get your period?”

Of course it’s at THAT particular moment that the music pauses, so of course, the guy sitting at the corner bar stool can hear exactly what she said. He turns and looks our way, a wry grin on his face as he tilts his bottle of Stella up to his lips.

I don’t know where she’s going with this line of questioning. Do I still get my period?

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“Yes,” I say, still confused, “of course I do.”

She exhales a long breath, clearly relieved. “Oh good,” pause. “Do you have a tampon?”

I’m like (in my head, because I am very passive aggressive), Bitch OF COURSE I still get my period! How old do you think I am?!?!?! Do I still get my period. No, bitch, no. I don’t have any damn tampons, and even if I did, I wouldn’t give you any. You can bleed bitch. Just bleed. Or go to the bathroom and make yourself a makeshift tampon, go roll up some toilet paper and shove it inside.

But me being me, I tell her yes, and take the time to get her one. And it’s not like it was at the ready in my purse, I had to get my keys from my purse, go out to my car, and then come back in with her precious tampon.

Sometimes, I’m just too nice. I wish that my inner voice could sometimes be the outer voice, you know? But then I could get in trouble, or have a more serious altercation that involves fists and not words, so, I keep the inner voice inside. But WOW. Do I still get my period? So rude.

Despicable He

I need to almost despise him

So that I don’t succumb to his lies again

I need to remember the bad

And what he did to make me sad

So I won’t fall for his charms

Yet again

I need to almost despise him

So I don’t look into his blue eyes again

So I don’t go to his door

Begging for more

Pleading and hoping for another chance

I need to almost despise him

So I can move on

Start a life without him

So I can be angry and annoyed

Remember what he did that

Caused this void

Remember what he did and didn’t do

To make me fall out of love

All the untruths

I need to almost despise him

So I don’t think fondly of his face

So I don’t recall the way he loved me

How he sometimes touched me with such grace

I need to almost despise him

say a big fuck you

you are a selfish man child

Remember how he would withhold so much

And yet still, I was so beguiled

I need to almost despise him

In order to let him go

I need to almost despise him

So I can really, truly grow.

Rise

Today was such a therapy session while driving for Lyft. I mean, it’s just amazing to me the people I have met. They really touched me, specifically Khristina and Elizabeth.

Khristina is a professional wrester from Japan by way of New Jersey. After a three year relationship, she was happily engaged when it all fell apart, and so to mend her broken heart, her high school bestie invited her to come visit him in Japan, and so she did, renting a bike and a tent and cycling from North Japan to South Japan. “Little old women would give me bread and fruits, I would sleep under bridges and on the side of the road, crying the whole while. It was crazy and therapeutic, and by day 20, I was happy I was there.”

Three months turned into six years, and she stayed by finding work as an English teacher, and somehow, someway transitioned into wrestling. She found Japanese people “difficult to connect with” yet still tried dating, having two relationships that didn’t work but still proved to be a learning experience.

A casual invitation to a party lead her to her now finance, a beautiful Norwegian woman with whom she has found her forever home and heart.

Christian said that every relationship has proven to teach her something, although in the beginning of the break up it’s hard to see that. Pondering this, I realize something: it’s going to the movies. If you happen to sit in the front row, you can’t see the screen too well. I mean, you get the gist of what’s happening, but you don’t get the perspective you would from stepping back.

I wanted to know about her relationship and how long it took her to heal so that I could have a comparison for my own relationship fail. Khristina said that she can tell I deserve someone who will make concessions for me and not compartmentalize everything. “Not meeting your children after three years is absolutely ridiculous,” and I agree but I also know that I kind of ALLOWED it to happen because I said we could keep things separate. I told him that we could keep us just us and the kids just the kids, the two didn’t need to meet. Same with travel. I told him he could travel and do his thing and like a good, docile little woman, I didn’t say anything, I held my tongue, afraid to rock the boat because I knew it would piss him off. What I didn’t think about was WHY it would piss him off. It would piss him off because he KNOWS he should be taking me, or at least asking me! But no. He wouldn’t. He didn’t. Again, my bad for letting his treat me this way. We’ve all heard that saying right, ‘people will treat you the way that you let them.’

And it was this sentiment that was echoed by Elizabeth, a very pretty 28-year-old Jennifer Garner look alike but with blue eyes. Married for three years she and I initially talked about kids and siblings, how her brother, “would torture her by having her Barbies walk perilously along a cliff and then fall to their deaths.” She asked if my boys would do things like that, and I said no, they really get along, nothing physical, more love than dislike. She asked if I wanted a girl and I said of course I would love to, but being that I don’t have a man and am 45-years-old, I don’t think it’s happening.

“Oh, you don’t know that. This is the time when your body is like, hey girl, I could be dropping more than one egg because the end is near and that’s when you have twins!” I laughed. She goes on, “And they’ll be twin boys by the way, just so you know.” I laugh harder, “So then I can’t even name them Elizabeth!” Now we both laugh.

She checks her phone, “God I hope my husband made dinner, but I”m sure he didn’t. I just talked to him, and he annoyed me. But I love him, I’ll tell you,you can have the relationship that you think you can’t have, it can happen and will happen when you least expect it. My last boyfriend was a sociopath and this guy I’m married to now, I’m so happy I met him because he allows me to be the best version of my self in work and outside of work, just me, because I know that I have his support and love and encouragement at home.”

At this point, we had driven from Venice to West Los Angeles, and were sitting in my car in front of her house, engine off, talking like girlfriends about our relationships. It blows my mind and immediately set me to tears as I drove home that there are people out there who are so damn kind, people who don’t even know me, complete strangers that believe in me, and are rooting for me. And then I think about all the events that lead to THIS particular person being in my car, like all the events that transpired for Lyft to designate THIS person to be in my car, and for me to get my heartbroken ass out of bed where I was binge watching The Handmaid’s Tale to start driving, even though I really didn’t want to.

Right now it seems so impossible to meet anyone who will meet the qualities about Christopher that I loved, let alone surpass him. To meet a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to love or be loved in return. I can’t imagine anyone replacing him, so high is the pedestal I’ve placed him on, despite it not being reciprocated. I don’t know what I’m holding on to. I guess I am just sentimental and loyal. I believe in romance. But I have to remember who I am, a mother, a lover, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and auntie. I just really need and want to be appreciated and valued in the way that I appreciate and value my partner. I give everything. Chris didn’t. And he knew that and said “it’s hard to be with someone who is giving you their all and you don’t give it back.” And why you ask didn’t he give it back? He just couldn’t. He wasn’t capable. I like to think he’s like a man in a wheelchair whose legs are weak. He could find a way to stand up and see me eye to eye, meet me halfway, but instead he stays in the chair, unable, unwilling to rise.