Sunday, June 05, 2005

Houston, we have a problem we're fucked.

Saturday, June 4, 2005, 5:00pm

Here's what happened.

Steph comes down for the weekend. We spend the afternoon together, and eat at Cottonwood Dairy, of "Love in a Phonebooth" fame (parts 1 and 2). I got the fried clam strips, like I always do, and then we come back to my house to watch a couple of DVD's and have a nice, relaxing evening together.

About halfway through "Fargo", I develop severe stomach cramps. I get up and walk to my computer table, about 15 feet away.

"Where you goin'?"

"I have to fart."

"You can fart in front of me. I'm a big girl."

"Obviously, you have no idea what my colon is capable of."

I lift a cheek and give birth to a loud, juicy ass-blast. I carefully sniff the air. "Jeee-sus!" I say, but remain perfectly still. I don't dare get up and walk back to the couch; a fart this nasty is impossible to shake. It will follow you to the ends of the earth, like an orphaned child, blanketing you with its stench, a scarlet letter of stinkitude.

The smell finally dissipates after a few minutes, and I rejoin Steph on the couch. She curls up next to me and we both doze off.

I wake up after midnight and sit down at my computer to check my gmail account. Yeah, Steph is right behind me, but she's gone for the night; she never wakes up before morning.

There's a message in my mailbox from a girl I've never heard from before, who writes, among other things, that she has "been in love with" me since she read "THIS". I hold my mouse over the link; as I guessed, it leads to the infamous "You're So Vain" post.

I'm about halfway through a highly-detailed description of her masturbation technique when cramps grab my midsection like a giant vice. I stagger to the bathroom, wincing in pain, and fling myself onto the toilet just in time. I'm there for at least ten minutes.

When my gut is finally clear of the suspect seafood, I walk slowly back to the family room.

Steph is sitting at my computer table, and on the screen is a blog that I've seen a million times. I've seen it so many times that I don't even really see it anymore. Except for right now.

"HI, MY NAME IS STEVE, AND I AM A SEX ADDICT," it says at the top of the screen. She must have read the e-mail and followed the link.

My heart goes cold, as if stabbed with an icicle. My jaw works silently. NOW what do I do?

I knew this day would come. I've been careful about not letting anyone I know see me working on the blog. I haven't told anyone about it, not even family, not even my best friend. But I knew that eventually, as more and more people read it, someone who knew me was bound to find it, and see through the sometimes thin layer of artificial detail that disguises my work. I knew it, but I wouldn't let myself think about the fallout that would result.

She turns to face me, squinting as if reading a foreign language. "What IS this?"

"Steph, I-"

"Is this on the INTERNET?"

"Steph, let me explain."

"Did you make some kind of sex site?"

I am humiliated. I am embarrassed, defeated. I don't just feel like giving up; I feel like giving up and throwing myself down a flight of unfinished stairs.

"Remember when I went to therapy last year? The doctor wanted me to keep a journal, and then it just kind of-"

"Don't, Steve. Just don't. Just forget it. I can't do this anymore. Every day it's something else. I'm gonna be really busy all summer, and really busy with school next year, and I can't deal with this anymore!"

She stomps up the stairs.

"Where are you going?"


"Steph, it's after midnight! Stay until morning!"

She comes back down the stairs and kisses me gently on the lips. It's a slow, loving kiss, a kiss that makes me think for a moment that everything is ok, that she has forgiven me and that we'd forget all about this tomorrow. "Thank you....for everything," she says, before bounding back up the stairs.

I stand by the bathroom door as she stuffs her overnight bag with deodorant and shampoo. It's a black, flat-bottomed bag, like guys carry to the gym. It says "VOIT" on the side. Seeing that bag on a Friday night was comforting; it made me realize that I was going to have a fun weekend with someone I really cared about. Now the sight of it tears me apart, because I'll probably never see it again.

"Steph, let's talk about this. We can get through it. It's not as bad as you think it is. The site is all anonymous. I'll take it down."

"Steve, this is never gonna work, you and me. You know I'm right. Right?"

"No, I don't."

"Bye," she says, and the Voit bag goes out my door.