... it's day 14.
What else could I say?
Everyone is gay.
What else could I write?
I don't have the right.
What else should I be?
("All Apologies" – Nirvana)
DAY 14: AT 4:18AM
I'd had trouble sleeping and I'd always heard that if you can't sleep, it's better to actually get up than to just lay there. So I got up. Kat was still fast asleep. I looked at the digital readout on the clock on the dresser and it was 4:18am. I'd probably only slept a few hours. I made my way out to the kitchen, got a glass of water and then sat on the couch. It was still pretty dark but I managed to find my smokes on the coffee table and light one. The doctor had told me I should stop smoking.
I realized I was still thinking about that second doctors visit. I'd always had a touch of hypochondria, but after destroying myself over the last couple years I guess I had forgotten all about it. Now I'd find myself fixating on what was going on inside of me – how my heart would beat ... if my liver hurt when I pressed on it ... why I had so many headaches. I wondered if that was one more symptom of withdraw – always convincing yourself that something was wrong.
As I sucked more toxic vapor down into my lungs my thoughts drifted back to the AA meeting yesterday. I was still trying to interpret how I really felt about those sixty minutes of my life. It was like, the people there had many more problems than me – had even been through crazier shit – but I didn't want to feel sorry for them. I still wanted to feel sorry for me though. All I could think of was, how fucked up was that? Feeling sorry for myself is kinda what got me to where I was in the first place. I couldn't deal with something in the real world, so I'd escape into the world I decorated with alcohol and drugs.
I thought back on the first time I ever got drunk. I was 15. I remembered feeling so liberated once the alcohol started to take effect. I felt like I could have done anything ... been anybody I wanted to be. The world was a topsy-turvy carnival ride of fun and magic and I never wanted it to end. Of course I had ended up puking my brains out, then blacking out and waking up on the bathroom floor with a killer headache. But I'd had so much fun that I was willing to pay any price to go to that place again.
It didn't help that liquor was easily obtainable. At that point though, I was still reserving getting drunk for more special occasions or for times where I was either very depressed or very stressed out. When I started going to college though, the depression deepened and the amount of stress increased. I also started getting more into the music scene and hanging out with friend's bands. When me and Matt had started our band, I was getting drunk every night we played because I was too fucking shy to get up in front of a crowd to sing without a few drinks in me. I didn't even realize the road I was traveling down.
So here I was, alone in the dark again ... lost in my thoughts. Every choice I made was a path ... one that could lead right back to the main road I didn't want to be on again. Even sitting in the dark thinking about this shit was bad, but I couldn't help it. I crushed out the first smoke in the ashtray on the table and lit another. Even smoking was bad, but there I was doing it. What made me want to do things that I knew were bad for myself? Was it really the way they made me feel? Or was there more to it that that. I had to assume there was more to it than that ... a lot more. I always felt life was about exploration anyway. You push yourself to your own limits. For so long I lived under the creed of "live fast, die young". I never wanted to get married. I never wanted kids. I just wanted to get as fucked up as I possibly could ... play music as loud as I could ...scream my fucking lungs out. Now, I didn't know what I wanted, but I knew one thing: I wanted to live.
DAY 14: 12:34AM
Kat had to go back to work today so I was essentially on my own for the first time in a couple weeks. I have to admit, I was a little scared. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my day really but I wanted to keep my mind occupied. I had managed to go back to sleep for a couple hours, but I didn't want a repeat of the middle of the night and Kat to come home to find me posted up on the couch with an ashtray full of cigarette butts.
I had made a bunch of phone calls – the usual, "hey I'm still alive" plus a call to Brian about the shows we had coming up. I'd gone on the internet and checked my email. I'd taken the dog for a walk. All that shit almost felt normal. Almost. For so long I was living my life in an alternate reality – out on the road, getting wasted, and doing shows. This was a hundred and eighty degrees different from that and I really realized it when I was by myself. I guess it had been about 3 years that I was living like that though so I tried to convince myself it was normal to feel the way I did.
I wanted to do something nice for Kat, so I started to clean the apartment. That also kept my mind off my issues. After mopping the floor, vacuuming, changing the sheets on the bed, cleaning the kitchen and the living room, picking up clothes off the floor in the bedroom and going to do two loads of laundry I was wiped out. I felt like I'd run a marathon or something. I guess I was more out of shape than I thought. I knew I was probably 30 or so pounds overweight, and I highly doubted that ten or fifteen minutes of sex was an actual workout. I figured I should probably start doing some jumping jacks or some sit ups or something.
Just as I was taking my pants off to get in the shower, I heard my cell go off. It was Kat.
"Hey, did you get my note?"
Oh shit, I though. I didn't see any note anywhere.
"Oh jeez, well it's a good thing I called then! Go out to the kitchen and it's on the fridge.
Man, I was a dork. I wondered how the fuck I'd miss that. It was right in front of my face practically when I was in cleaning the kitchen.
I read the note and my stomach kind of tightened up.
"Y-you made me an appointment with a ... massage therapist?"
God, that just scared the fuck out of me. I'd never been to a massage place before.
"Well yeah! I thought it would help. You like massages, right? It's really relaxing and it's good for detoxing. I've been going to that place for a year, they're really good."
I liked when Kat gave me a massage and I didn't want to seem ungrateful that she'd made an appointment, but still, going to some place, getting naked, and having someone run their hands all over your body was way, way outside my comfort zone and I was sure Kat would have known that.
"Well, er, I dunno ..."
"Look, Gerard. I know it may be a little outside of your 'comfort zone' but do it for me. I really think it will help you."
God. She asked me to do it for her. Fuck.
"Um, okay, I guess."
"Good! I hope you'll relax and enjoy it."
"I dunno. Oh, is there anything I need to do before hand? Like not eat or something?"
"Well I just take a shower and that's it. I wouldn't eat right before going over there. They'll tell you to drink a lot of water afterward too."
DAY 14: 1:55PM
I took a deep breath and walked into the massage place. I mean, I know everything was legit and all, but I just couldn't help feeling like, dirty for some reason. There definitely were places around this area that gave, er, happy endings.
I was greeted pleasantly by a lady at the front desk who said, "You must be Gerard!" I said that I was and she gave me a sheet of paper to fill out. I was happy to see it didn't ask shit like the doctor asked. It really only had stuff about any previous or current injuries and a space to write any special conditions. In the special conditions I wrote that I recently quit drinking. I turned the paper back in and sat back down. I was really hoping I wasn't going to break out in a cold sweat. My palms were already clammy.
Within a couple minutes another lady came out and called my name and my heart ratcheted up a few notches until I felt like everyone in the office could have heard it beating in my chest. I made myself get up.
"Hi! I'm Carrie, nice to meet you. Your girlfriend comes in all the time."
I really didn't want to sound like I was nervous because it was stupid, right? Why should I be nervous ... people went to a massage place to feel good, right? Yeah. If only I could convince myself I was having a nice time.
"Um, hi, I'm Gerard."
All I could think of was, oh jeez ... dork ... duh. She knows your name already.
"Well come on back."
So we entered a small room and in the center was a massage table. In the corner was a small water fountain, a chair and an end table with a bunch of bottles, a couple candles and a stereo. The walls were painted a light green and there wasn't any artwork up.
"How long ago did you hurt your back?"
I had put down on the form that I'd slipped a disk in my spine during one show.
"Oh, um, that was like, I dunno, maybe 6 months or something? I think it's all better now though."
"So you know which vertebrae it was?"
Fuck. I didn't really know. I just knew it was somewhere in my lower back.
"Uh, I don't know which one exactly. It was in my lower back."
I nervously pointed at my lower back. She made a note on the paper.
"Okay. I see that you've recently quit drinking, that's great."
"So this will be good to help your body in the detoxification process."
"Yeah, I guess. That's what Kat told me."
"Well good. If you can just undress and then lay face down on the table under the sheet. Oh, and you can leave your boxers on if that makes you more comfortable. I'll knock on the door in a minute and then we'll get started."
So she shut the door and I just stood there for a sec before looking up at the ceiling and trying to take a couple deep breathes. I took off my clothes and laid down on my stomach on the table between the sheets. I just closed my eyes and tried to really pretend I was somewhere else. I heard her knock.
"Are you all set?"
The next thing she did was light the candles and turn the main light off so the room got way darker. In one way I thought that was better, but in another way it made me even more uncomfortable. She put some ambient music on the stereo.
"I'm going to be doing some deep tissue on you today. I'll need you to tell me if the pressure is too much at any time."
I felt her grabbing the sheet off my back and then she actually tucked it into the waistband of my underwear. I felt my whole body tense up and in my mind I just kept repeating, oh shit don't freak out over and over again.
I think the next thing she did was get a bunch of oil on her hands then I felt her touch my back. I couldn't help but get tense. I was freaking out and I knew it wasn't helping. Kat had just plunked down money for me to do this and it was supposed to be for my own good and I was self-sabotaging it.
"Your muscles are really tight."
"Um, sorry, I uh, well I've never had a massage like this before."
"Well, just relax and let me do all the work."
Relax. That was the real trick. I tried to imagine I was just lying in bed and that it was Kat giving me the massage. But then I quickly decided that wasn't good because then I might get turned on. Then that spiraled into a whole, "oh fuck what if I did get turned on?" line of thought. I couldn't imagine people doing this on a regular basis, I was absolutely miserable there for at least the first 15 minutes and she had really only been touching my upper back and shoulders.
I was trying to disconnect myself so much from what she was doing I almost didn't realize she was going over my lower back and then moving the sheet around so that she uncovered my left leg. I felt her run her hands down the side of my leg and my eyes flew open. Of course all I could see was the floor. I tried to just focus on the floor and get lost in that. I couldn't believe I was laying there with some woman I didn't know at all smearing oil all over me and touching me.
When she got to the other leg, I started feeling more upset with myself. Like, why couldn't I handle a stupid massage? I mean, tons of people did have this done on a regular basis, right? I was supposed to be relaxing, why the fuck couldn't I just be okay with all of this? Why'd I have to be so fucking shy sometimes? I liked getting a massage from my girlfriend. I liked giving massages. Was this whole thing so much different?
"Okay, I'm going to have you turn over now."
I wasn't expecting that. I thought she was just gonna do my back the whole time or something, but now she wanted me to turn over. I really didn't want to freak out about that. She had lifted the sheet up and I slowly turned over and then she set the sheet back down and laid it over my stomach. I kept my eyes closed ... as if somehow she wouldn't see me if I couldn't see her.
She did my neck first and then my shoulders and then the top part of my chest. I hoped she couldn't feel how fast my heart was beating the whole time. Then she took my left arm. I don't know why, but I actually felt myself relax a little while she did my arm. I tried my best to get into it ... to really feel her fingers digging into the muscles. She did the other arm and then I felt myself tense right back up again when she moved the sheet so that she could get at my left thigh.
I couldn't help but think, fuck ... her hands are like inches away from my balls. It made me really uneasy. The only upside was that she was quick about it. Knowing it was my first "professional" massage she probably figured I would be freaking out about that. She did my other leg then the last thing she did was my feet and that helped me to relax again. So at least it ended well.
"Okay! We're all done. Just lay there a minute and take your time getting up. You'll want to relax for the rest of the day and drink a lot of water. Deep muscle therapy can release toxins into your blood stream, especially if you haven't been that nice to your body! So if you don't feel that well tomorrow, just eat light and keep drinking the water and you'll feel a lot better."
"Um, okay, thanks."
I continued to lay there like she said while I mentally counted off a minute. I sat up then got my clothes on and breathed a sign of relief that I'd lived.