Jerry Wick and Jenny Mae part 4


I had just gone through an excruciating break-up that left me with an empty bottle of aspirin and a heart clutching at nothingness, being ripped from an idea of romance fashioned by little boy dream and adolescent thoughts.  I felt shell-shocked by my own emotional instability; a grown man teetering on the precipice of mortality by the sheer luck of my fear of the unknown.  A morning spent rubbing a battered throat, filled with the remnants of charcoal, aspirin and bile; a body replenished with shame and the destruction of a myth.  I felt alone; about as alone as a person could at the age of twenty-two (or was it twenty-one). I left the hospital with my ego between my legs an unknown future and an infected sense of self.  My girlfriend for the past year and a half had dumped me unceremoniously the night before, for another man-her boss at Ameriflora of all things.  His job hurt almost as much the break-up.  I pictured him to be a dark-haired man with a polyester-cotton dress shirt and a mustache.  Ameriflora was an international flower show that Columbus threw to attract international visitors, from a visitors standpoint it was a disaster; losing millions of dollars.  From a middle-management employer who managed to shag a gorgeous young twenty-three year old all the while breaking the heart of a lonesome sometimes charming record store clerk, Ameriflora was a boon.  I went back to the half double I shared with two young feminists, one recovering from a debilitating heroin addiction and one recovering from alcoholism.  They tried to nurse be back to humor but all I wanted to do was crawl back in my bed and cry.

I only had a handful of friends or so I believed.  I had left Jenny Mae nearly twenty months before-our drinking had gotten out of hand even by my own low standards.  There were nights where she didn’t come home and my own drinking had been leaving me queasy.  She had formed a band called the Rhavers, named after some hillbilly gibberish spoken in “Blazing Saddles”.  The band was an odd-lot, one blind drummer named Kenny who had an unhealthy passion for the Beatles and classic rock-he was at least fifteen years older than us.  A goofy-tall bass player whose pranced like a Muppet peacock when he played bass and a young frat-boy guitarist who wore a ball-cap backwards and tied his sweater around his waist while filling in Jenny’s innocent songs of love with phony eighties guitar-licks.  The final straw was when I suspected her of sleeping with the guitarist.  That fact that I also found myself asleep in the pricked bushes that lined the front of our house with my pants around my ankles.  Some things are not quite as funny as they appear.

After I left Jenny I found myself, to my own disbelief and questioning having the ability to be found attractive by the fairer sex. The years spent with Jenny had pummeled me into believing that I was really unattractive had performed their toll, I inherently believed that I would never have another partner either emotionally or sexually.  In fact when I left her last words to me were “you have no friends, they are all mine” followed by “you’ll never get laid again.” I surfed some couches and had a small apartment in Athens, Ohio, living below childhood family friends in my brother’s old apartment.  A few days later after leaving Jenny with the encouragement of Jerry Wick, I asked out Nora the blonde woman from Ron’s band.  We hit it off extremely well.  I wrote her poetry and she cried in my arms. We took walks and discussed art, music and writers. She wanted to be a film maker.  She wrestled with being a feminist, her lust for me and her longing for being strong independent woman appeared to confuse her as much as it impressed me.  I was scared shitless by her.  Her care was genuine and being the weak-kneed man with an enough emotional baggage that I needed my own carousel when traveling and ended the relationship before it could start.  I still pined for Jenny.

Shortly after my break-up with Nora I started seeing Sharon, the one who dumped me for Ameriflora.  She was a friend of Ron and Trina’s (Ron’s patience wife).  She went to school in New York and had lived with J Mascis who had managed to transform my life into the sound of his guitar.  That Sharon happened to be beautiful and exotic was the icing on the cake.  She also happened to be even more emotionally unavailable than I was (at least from my perspective) and our relationship was an example of bait and switch.            One night when Sharon and I were out we stopped at Staches to grab a beer, an industrial band called the Head of David were performing.  There were about twenty-eight people there.  The band was dreadful.  Sharon grabbed my arm and asked if a woman sitting up front was Jenny, I leaned over and looked.  No, this woman looked almost oriental with black smooth hair.  Then she turned and it was Jenny, wearing a wig.  She scowled at me.  We left.  From then on Sharon begged me to end all correspondence with Jenny, her fear of my leaving her must have been real for Jenny dominated my conversation.  Her music, her laughter and her way of life.  I missed her terribly but I did not want to have a romantic relationship with her I only wanted to be in her life.  Several days prior to the Ameriflora revelation, Jenny had asked me to come back to her, that she would change and even slow down her drinking.  I told her that I wanted to be involved with her life but that I was committed to Sharon.  “That bitch,” she said “if you keep seeing her you can not be my friend” was her reply.  “You don’t even know her” I said, “besides she knows J Mascis.” I left that night for all intended purposes without a friend.  In Sharon’s bed, she asked me what happened and I told her, Sharon smiled and told me how happy she was and while we made love we heard Ron vomiting in the next room.  Less than two weeks later she dropped the Ameriflora bomb on me.

Back home in my bed after the aspirin milkshake, nursing what was left of my pride I slowly picked up the phone.  I called Jenny and Jerry.  Jenny was disappointed, said she would come by but was hesitant and added “I told you so.  But you are my friend and I’ll help you.” She came by a few hours later but would only wave to me outside my window; she wasn’t ready to see me yet.  We could talk on the phone.  I was filled with shame.  I was small.  I called Jerry, he said he would pick my up later.  He was only starting to drink a little bit at this time.  Taking his time over the past year to reproach his alliance with alcohol.  He bought be French fries covered with chicken gravy from the Blue Danube, he made me life and that made a big difference in my life.

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