I stumbled out of the manual elevator, tripping as I reached the front door. The contents of my purse spilled onto the pavement: lipstick, cash, condoms and my friend’s older sister’s ID. I tried to keep my head up as I searched for the green street signs: 63rd and Lexington. I had paid a visit to blackout city via vodka sodas, and I needed a yellow cab to drive me back downtown where my night could disintegrate headfirst into the toilet. I wanted to purge it all from my system: The alcohol and Carp, who had sustained my WASP fetish for far too long.
Carp looked like a poster child for the Aryan nation and quoted Bret Easton Ellis as if American Psycho were the Bible. He either refused to think for himself or, despite 300,000 dollars worth of education, never learned how. I hated everything about him, but I needed him. We were both addicts. I was addicted to him, and he was addicted to fitting in.
Carp once told me I looked beautiful, and then he said only blacks were good at basketball. I think he believed that’s what people wanted to hear, or at least that’s what they expected he would say. I wondered how he would respond if he ever figured me out. So, one day I came right out with it. Carp had spent the afternoon railing me up against his bedroom wall. He watched me in the mirror as I cautiously stumbled around the room collecting pieces of my outfit and prying my arms and legs back into the olive-color blazer and dark jeans my mother bought me at Bloomingdales.
I could still feel the wall digging into my neck as I pulled my long brown hair into a ponytail and said, “You know, I’m Jewish.”
He was still watching me in the mirror, inspecting every inch of my frame, when he decided to respond, “No, you’re not. I don’t fuck Jews.” I was attracted to his hatred of all things other and almost pleased to find someone who resented my heritage as much as I did.
The first time we slept in the same bed was an accident. His alarm clock struck 3:59 a.m. when I realized I was sleeping with the devil. I woke up with half of my body hanging off the bed as though I innately knew I was supposed to leave. He looked uninhibited as his chest dipped under the navy blue blankets with each breath. I knew better than to stay, but I couldn’t help myself. I held his palm to mine, and then intertwined our fingers so that it looked like we were in love. I knew he wouldn’t wake up since his heart had stopped racing from the lines of cocaine he sent shooting up his nose. I’m sure he was dreaming of small, preppy women in a pastel rainbow and country clubs and yachts and his own reflection in that goddamn mirror. I knew he wasn’t dreaming of me.
By the time we ended up on 63rd and Lex, there was nothing left to say. I followed him like a junky through French doors and into what looked like the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Paintings by artists people studied in college, and furniture with elegant prints that had never been touched. He pushed me up against the atrium wall, when I didn’t fight back, he walked into the kitchen weaving through granite counters. He opened up the SubZero fridge popping out two cold Sam Adams and grabbed my hips, propping my tiny skirt on the granite. He placed his left hand on the counter and his right on me. “Do you mind if I hold my beer?” he asked. I didn’t answer. He slipped between my skinny legs with the beer in his right hand. My frail parts made him feel strong. I wondered if other people thought about us having sex, because it’s not the way he made it sound. It’s like I’m not there. That night he looked at me straight into my frozen, green eyes—chilled from the Sam Adam’s pushing against my shoulder. He looked at me like he wished I would fight back. I should have, but I didn’t know how to fight with the devil.
My self-loathing fixation drove my apathetic behavior, and even with my head still spinning and belongings scattered on the street, I recognized that it was time to find my direction, get into a cab and leave the indolent part of myself on that side street to be crushed by the next Bugaboo stroller waltzing through the Upper East Side.
Alyson Gerber is a New York-based freelance writer who has since abandoned destructive relationships, but refuses to give up blue-eyed men.