Until tonight, I was never sorry for having called you.

Not after that first conversation, when all I was asking for was a ride to the game, and somehow I managed to fuck even that one up. I'm not good on telephones. I put down the phone and smacked myself in the forehead with the heel of my palm.

Not when I called from the Red Cross to ask if I could come over and watch CNN with you, because I knew that you could tell me what was going on, you could translate it through the media giberish, use that fine expensive degree and help me understand.

Not when yours was the last number I called and the phone was in my pocket and I accidentally pressed the button when I sat down or leaned wrong, and you called a little later, with mild annoyance in your voice, because it was, after all, 1:30 in the morning and while I was out drinking tea and heckling while others played pool, you had to work in the morning.

Not when we'd had our first fight, and I'd decided that I'd punished you enough with a weekend of silence, and we only ended up fighting some more, and had to be mediated, finally, in front of other people, cause we were causing a scene. Repeatedly, I'm told.

Not when I decided that our relationship was too light, too fluffy, that we needed to have conversations about the meaning of life, about god (The Supreme Architect or The Diva, either one, really). And that night when I tried, we ended up gossiping for 2 hours about game mechanics and snippets and little bits and pieces of nothing.

Not when I called you from the height of the fun and still managed to sound wistful on your answering machine.

Not when I'd decided that it was over, when I hovered around the corner from your place and a block from mine, in the annex in front of a school with the janitors looking out the window at the crazy girl on her cell phone in the middle of the night. When, at the end of the conversation (that I'd sprung on you from nowhere, you had no idea this was coming, did you darling boy?) we both had tears running down our faces.

Not until now, a month later, which I've spent flirting and laughing and turning down dates with your friends (because I thought it would hurt you, stupid me, if I said yes to any of them, and I lectured them about loyalty and friendship). When I call you, and I've had hell tonight and today, and I want to vent and get your advice like way back in the day.

But thanks for helping me find that core of hard, bitter, bilious anger. The kind that I can ball up into a hard little nub and use to power myself better than a nuclear plant. I've worn my knuckles raw on the punching bag and it's still not enough. These hateful words aren't enough and tomorrow my box of hollow points that I've been saving for a special occasion won't be enough either. I've remembered, finally, the bitch. Thank God.

It's not really any of my business who you fuck, is it? Not anymore. But I thought you had better taste than that.

Useless women annoy me, and she's at the top of my shit list these days, without any of your help. I respect anyone's right to slut themselves, but looking tacky while doing so is completely another matter. Is it possible to be both a tramp and a tease at the same time, because I didn't think so and yet somehow she manages it. she makes everything we do less valuble simply by her presence. I said all these things to you months ago and you agreed wholeheartedly, but maybe it was because I was fucking you then and not now.

Because she was there, with you, when I called.