Amanda’s Story End

04 May

There is an epilogue to this story. Amanda, better person than I, drove a laundry basket brimming with Johnny’s detritus back to his apartment, leaving a spot of bare hardwood floor in the corner of her room, suddenly empty of boy things. When she arrived, Johnny was showering. She made a last visit to his oddly antiseptic room, dropped off his things, and collected a few of hers. As she left, she absorbed a few minutes of awkward flirting from Johnny’s passably handsome roommate.

“Let’s hang out sometime.” Such were the details of his plan.

Sure thing.

When she left, Johnny had not yet finished his shower, no doubt due to his efforts to remove some deeply embedded grime.

Days later, when she told me the story, I suggested that perhaps she could have allowed the Columbus Department of Sanitation to take care of things for her, but she said she couldn’t do that. I bet she could have, if only she’d put her mind to it.

In a few months, she’d meet a mohawked drummer in a punk band. His name is Daeron, and he’s quite nice. A few months after that, they’d move in together.  A year after that, they’d be engaged. Happy endings for everyone!

Well, almost.

Let me gather my thoughts.

During this winter, my basement lodgings had begun to appear less temporary. A few particularly important numbered boxes had made their entropic way to the tops of the stacks. Some of them were more empty than full. Stacked milk crates in the corner had become my dresser. Between Andi and now, I’d had a few dates that had not gone further than the first date.


A psioratic social worker with short hair and a smile filled with unending teeth. I drove to Columbus to meet her, because in my mind, I still lived there. Her cat liked me more than she did, and we spent an evening sitting on carpet at opposite ends of the couch. After a year of silence, she called me up to invite me to see Social Distortion in Cincinnati. We went and milled around in a crowd of thirty-year-olds watching a punk band made of forty-year-olds. We saw a duck’s ass combover.

That evening I’d discover we had an acquaintance in common: a man I’d known in college who had gone on to become a guard at Abu Ghraib and who, according to Rachel, performed cunnilingus with relentlessness. Yes, really.


A plump hipster with skin like steamed chai. I wanted to touch her, but I did not. Online, she had posted many pictures of herself. Ani in flannel. Ani with mopeds. Ani in flannel riding a moped. One picture showed her in profile doing a handstand on the beach, no doubt meant to showcase her lighthearted and easygoing nature. Free spirits frolic on the beach. It’s true. Ask anyone.

Free spirits also sometimes, until they reach their mid-twenties, genuinely believe that dragons were real in the historical, bones-in-a-museum sense of the word. She thought knights killed them. She did not believe this in spite of available evidence; she just thought that available evidence led inevitably to this conclusion. Perhaps I am shallow, or perhaps she made a tactical error in revealing that particular information on a first date, but I couldn’t handle it. A day later, I responded with a sincere, profoundly clichéd offer to proceed with a platonic friendship. She responded with silence. Goodbye to Ani.


A red-haired cyborg. We went on a few dates.

As with so many other times in my life, I still don’t know exactly what happened.



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