Tuesday, August 21, 2012

a girl, a boy, and a sweatshirt

Amazing guest post from a dear friend of the BLOW OFF's.  Let this be a lesson to all of us who try to get our stuff back after a break up:

I made up my mind the night he had quickie sex with another girl in a closet during a particularly sad birthday party. The sweatshirt was coming back.

The details are these: Shortly after graduating, I moved overseas to London in a desperate bid for freedom. In my wake, I left behind a random assortment of boxed up kitchen supplies, an unnaturally huge Ikea bookshelf, and Tim, my on-off boyfriend of my senior year of college.

When I departed for England, we were on one of our “off” periods and so I was perfectly within my rights to leave him, and the smoggy skies of LA, behind. And yet…and yet…

The sweatshirt. During our time together, Tim had taken a particular liking to my high school hoodie emblazoned with “Villa” on the front in bold white letters. “It smells like you,” he claimed. “I want to wear it when I sleep at night.” Well, hell, I couldn’t say no. He even wore it when we were broken up. Everyone knew it was my sweatshirt and, in a way, the large white letters of “VILLA” was like a stamp of ownership writ large across his chest. We didn’t mean for it to end up that way, but as with everything else in our relationship, it just did.

And now, I was going to need it back. A year after graduating, the economy tanked and my hopes for London with it. My visa was promptly revoked and I was thrown back into the quagmire of American living, cheeseburgers replacing dainty scones. If I was coming back to LA, I would have to make a few, lasting changes, beginning with the boy.

I had only been in a LA for a few days the night of the tragic--sex with another girl in a closet-- birthday party, replete with sodden cupcakes and a host of no-shows. Tim and I hadn’t seen each other in nearly a year, but clearly, he had moved on.

The next morning, I boldly texted him about exchanging the sweatshirt. His sardonic reply: “Well you’ll have to take it from me wont you ;)” I wanted to retort, “You slept with an aspiring actress in a moldy closet while the Spice Girls played in a nearby room. The gig is up.” But I held back.

Tim claimed he had a date that night and would not be home, only I would not be deterred; the thought of him wearing my sweatshirt around town made my stomach drop. Instead, I arranged with his roommates to stop by later that evening while he was away.

In a matter of hours, I found myself standing in the living room of a college rental home. Five boys’ expectant eyes on me. They were wearing wife beaters and inordinately long basketball shorts. World of Warcraft was paused on the TV.

“Where is Tim's room?” I asked. They silently pointed down the hall, shit-eating grins on their faces.

Fearing some awful retribution, I reluctantly walked to his door, took a deep breath, and entered.

Clothes were strewn everywhere. School papers and books, DVDs and shoes littered every available walking space. A fan turned ominously overhead, rustling the refuse in its breeze. And there, lying presumptuously naked on the bed, was Tim.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

It took me awhile to find my footing, both literally and figuratively. “Uh, wow, hey. So, you know, I’m here for the sweatshirt.” I looked around, panic-stricken. It could have been anywhere in this hovel. “Do you know where I could find it?”

Without missing a beat, Tim grabbed his crotch and murmured, “It’s right here.”

Where do I unsubscribe?

Shockingly, I chose not to delve into his crotch, but the closet instead. There, amidst heaps of trash and debris, was my sweatshirt, perfectly maintained and lovingly cared for, one of only two items hung carefully on a hanger.

I paused momentarily to let the enormity of what I was about to do sink in. The boy was an idiot, there was no doubt about that. But at one point, we really did care for each other. Hell, he clearly *still* cared for me. But if I was going to come back to a city I didn’t particularly like, after the glories of rainy London, I had to leave my college-self behind. In time, cheap beer would be replaced with…slightly less cheap beer and so on and so forth until I could legitimately say I was not completely ashamed of my life. And as much as it might hurt, this Band-Aid needed to be ripped off.

I grabbed the sweatshirt from its privileged place and turned to say goodbye. Tim, in turn, grabbed a bed sheet to cover his shame.

I wouldn’t see him again for another year. It would be at a birthday party, no less, this time in a bar (lesson learned). And he would be hanging on the arms of that actress, wordlessly watching me as I walked past.


  1. Wow. Great story. Crappy guy who is all too familiar.

  2. I just love that he thought you seeing him naked in bed would seal the deal. That is hilarious. Haven't boys learned anything from watching Say Anything??