Subject: Well, here I am in Fort Lee
My parents’ house. You may remember this was the fate I was desperate to avoid. Yet here I am. Honestly, Glenn, it hurts so bad, I just want to lash out, cause pain to someone, anyone.
I had drinks with your ex-wife the other night. I wanted to thank Jane for saving me from Sherry. I suggested dinner, but she said drinks were fine. She had a dinner anyway — not with Steve, but with some other guy she’s seeing. Whoa! Talk about sowing your wild oats. Although, since she’d only slept with you since college, I guess she’s got to make up for lost oats. Here’s hoping you’re out there doing the same — although the email you accidentally sent to me, inquiring about cooking classes at Sur La Table, sends a different message, ha ha!
Sorry. You’re hurting and I probably shouldn’t be “busting your chops (balls).” But you’d be irritable too if you’d been through my last couple of days — coming back from my meeting with Mr Wicker on a high, the $50 per useable idea certifying me as a genuine freelancer as opposed to a wage slave — only to find my stuff in the lobby of my apartment building, The Rooms At Rec Center. And not all of my stuff, either — my credit cards were gone, likewise my Vince Vaughn cardboard cutout from “The Internship” (underrated — takes Silicon Valley down a peg or two!) I was evicted. And when my select coterie of NYC friends informed me that there was no room at the inn, my choices had dwindled to one. God, buddy, I just can’t get past this hurt and anger and desire to lash out.
I think Jane’s over you; your name didn’t come up at all. Dammit, Glenn, I’m busting your chops again! Sorry! But I’m not deleting it. It’s information I think you should know and it shouldn’t sound wounding if you read it in a different tone of voice than what I had in my head. And she’s really adjusted to life in Manhattan — not just connecting with guys, but also reconnecting with old college friends. Did you know she’s the co-chair (with that idiot Doug Gendler who broke your mini fridge) of the annual New York Alumni Mixer? You should come out, dude. I know you just said you’d never go camping with me, but maybe we can have an urban adventure (hashtag #sexclub, JK!) (But let me know.)
And then I paid the bill with the last, the all really, of my furniture sale money, and got on the bus home to Loserville, a/k/a Fort Lee, New Jersey.
My family was having dinner. My dad — who is openly carrying on a flagrant affair with vodka — said to my mom as I came in, “So here comes Brian. We’re two for two, Maggie.” This is because my little brother Tommy is also living with them. He’s the guy that got divorced and is now the public face of Jersey Strong Crossfit. You might remember him as the high school kid who came with my parents on homecoming weekend, and told us Brandywine “was a shit school.”
Has he changed, outside of his post-divorce shaved head and tattoos and veiny biceps? A little — my mom had (typically) made some quinoa recipe she’d gotten off an NPR food blog, and to my surprise, Tommy was shoveling it in. “This shit’s like an ancient superfood,” he said, mouth full.
“Tommy,” my mother said, but that was it. Tommy gets away with everything.
“He’s not wrong, Maggie,” my dad said. “At least in the shit aspect.”
I laughed. Tommy held his hand out for a fist bump. When I made my fist he hit it really hard. “Fuck, dude, we are going to be doing so much fucking bonding it’s going to be sick.” He didn’t sound like this when he was married, and just a plain old English teacher. “I’m gonna put 15 pounds on you, easy. I’ll show you the ropes tomorrow.”
“You mean the ropes in my room?” I asked. Because the other thing I didn’t mention, Glenn, is that my bedroom no longer has a bed in it. Instead it’s painted black and red, and has Tommy’s workout equipment — benches, weights, weight racks, and those massive ropes that CrossFit guys use.
“So am I supposed to sleep here?’ I asked my parents when I saw it.
“You’re supposed to sleep in your own home,” my father said.
Tommy said that after he does his night lifting, he’d put a couple of weight benches together and throw some sheets over it, and he must be done by now, so hopefully, after a good night’s sleep, you’ll be hearing good news from
— Bri 3.0 (coming soon)
PS — If you still talk to Jane, try not to mention the part about living at home. I know she still thinks of me as a peer.