Thursday, July 15, 2010

Never Good Enough

The first time I met Jimmy it was magic. Sure we were nervous, but after the first half hour it was like we had always been together. He was even better than he had seemed online.

I know what you're probably thinking, but I've known Jimmy for eight years now. He's my soul mate. Look, you just don't know him like I do. You don't know what it's like for him. Believe me. I've been to his house.

I was just there a few days ago.

I saw his father hit him. Right in front of me, a guest in their home! I couldn't believe it. He even made him mow the lawn and take out the garbage while I had to sit in the dining room. I had to smile and act polite to a man I hated. What else could I do? I didn't want to make things worse for him. I could fly home at the end of the week, but Jimmy? He lived there every day.

I fantasize about him moving in with my family. It's killing me to only see him once or twice a year. I need him. And he was the first person who ever needed me too.

I had always dreamed of having someone like Jimmy. Someone I could tell all my secrets to, to call no matter how late at night it was. He would answer and he would know the right words to say. Do you know we can quote all the same movies, have read all the same books, we even watch the same TV shows and had the same kind of toys when we were kids. Don't you see? It's a sign! We were destined to find each other. The day he sent me a message on that forum was the start of the rest of my life. I don't even know that I was living before then.

At one point, I realized I would die for him. It was selfish, but I prayed if one of us had to go it would be me first. I knew I wouldn't survive otherwise. I told him so. He said, "I can't live without you, Babe." That word means the world to me. I feel so loved. If he could only speak one word, I'd have him say it again and again.

It's not always sunny between us but we always make up right away. I just can't stand seeing him upset with something dumb that I did. I'm so glad that he puts up with my childish behavior. I wish I was more like him. He's so brave and confident. He always stands up for himself. I'm mousy and passive, I run from my problems. He's so strong. Why can't I be more like him? He always knows just the right words to say. But everything I say feels trite and confusing.

Did you know somedays we can read each other's minds? He always seems to know just what I want. What I need. I want to be able to do that for him, but I always end coming up short. Sometimes I wonder why he hasn't taken on a pretty girlfriend yet instead of talking to me every night. He's told me I'm pretty but somehow I think he's just saying that because he's such a sweetheart. He deserves better than me. He deserves someone drop-dead gorgeous who can push all the right buttons and give him the happiness he needs.

Do you know what I did last week? I was being so dumb! I hate it when I do that. I always try to say the best thing and it ends up sounding idiotic. We were doing one of our on-line roleplays -- they're so much fun! I was the damsel in distress, of course, and he was my swashbuckling hero. I was playing the villain role as well, I love writing those parts! Anyway, we got to the point where they were going to have their final battle atop the ship. Jimmy said I got all the ship terminology wrong. Jimmy says that's just the way I am. I'm not good with remembering things. He can recall details in a photograph he's only seen once. Me? I'm more like a goldfish.

But yeah, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I got super angry. I typed something I still regret. I don't really want to repeat it, even here. Jimmy went quiet for a moment. I couldn't see the "Jimmy is Typing" message anymore. A minute passed. Then another. Then he posted the punctuation I dread:

Jimmy: ...

I knew I had pushed him too far that time. He signed off a moment later. Tears flowed down my face.

I called him several times but he wouldn't answer me. I sent him two texts, then an email. I even tried calling his house phone, but I woke up his dad instead and hung up before he could ask who I was.

By the time I got a hold of him, he yelled and all I could do was sob. I told him how sorry I was. I didn't mean any of it. I told him I would take it all back. I never meant to hurt him. I loved him so much. I would give anything for him. But I knew I could never take it back. I had hurt him forever. He would never forget. How could I do that? Please don't leave me Jimmy, I begged. I don't know what I'll do if you leave me!

I don't deserve someone as perfect as him. I don't think anyone else would put up with me like he does. He's so good to me. Every day I wake up dreaming of the day we'll be together forever, man and wife. I can't wait. We already know what we want to name our children.

I'm such a selfish jerk sometimes. I know I need to give up what I want to make him happy, but sometimes it's so hard. Because he knows how to make me so happy and it's so easy to make me happy. I wish I could do the same for him. My needs are too simple, so sometimes I don't ask at all. I know it would hurt him.

At the airport this morning, I clung to him. I wanted so badly to go home with him, or steal him onto another plane and just start our lives together. Maybe run away to another country. We could do it. I know we could do anything as long as we're together.

I drew him a picture, my best one of us yet, but he spotted all my mistakes right away. My posing was off, my arm couldn't bend like that. His legs looked fat. He handed it back and I promised I would fix it if I could. I know I'm not nearly as talented as he is. I always try to copy his long, curving strokes. He's even shown me coloring tricks but it all fades in comparison with him. He was born to do it. I just fail so badly. I wish I could.

We kiss but it's too brief. I know he's mad at me. I ask him what I did, but he says I should know. And he's right. If I was a good girlfriend I could read his mind the way he reads mine. I ask him if he'll call me when he gets in and he says he probably will.

It's almost morning but I know he'll call any minute now. I'm feeling naseous, and I'm tired and missing him so much that it aches. I need to hear his voice or I know I won't sleep. I need to know he's alive and he made it home.

I've been lying on my bed, staring at my cell phone all night, wishing I was the perfect girlfriend for him.

Author's Note: This story is dedicated to anyone who's ever suffered through a codependent relationship. I have and you're not alone.


  1. "the punctuation I dread"

    Don't we all? Poor lady. So easy to get addicted to love.

  2. At first it seems innocent, the kind of immature love everyone has a taste of, but you move it into something more ominous with slow and steady ease. An unbalanced relationship just waiting to burst into reality. Really well crafted, and very sad to witness.

  3. Obsession, your table is ready.

    Poor girl. I hope she learns to see herself in a better light... and then finds someone who is good to her.

    So well written, Joanie. Great work. I could feel her sliding down that slope.

  4. I was in a long-distance relationship for 3 years (we're married now). IM almost killed us. There are no inflections, no sarcasm, nothing. I was always wondering "what's he really saying?"

    But, yeah, this one's in trouble, and it's not over the meaning of the word "like," or "maybe." I want to hear the boy's side now though. I get the feeling that if we knew a little more about him...Maybe he corrects her because that's how he shows he cares? It's rude, but if you can't communicate.

    Sorry, I've gotten tangential. Still great story, and I would like a "HE SAID" version of this nonetheless. I want this guy to be good deep down, in love and redeemable.

  5. Whoa! They're both off the charts. Great story...there are a lot of co-dependant relationships out there.

  6. Her voice was excellent throughout. Such a sad life. I'm with Monica--I'd like to see it from his point of view. He very well could be a huge dirtbag, but it would be interesting to see. Good story!

  7. @Monica I really like that idea! I think I will do a "He said" version. :)

  8. Well we already know a lot about Jimmy. He lives with his father, who abuses him. Seems like he's practicing, whether consciously or not, to be just like the old man. I would think if this young lady stuck with him he'd likely start abusing her outright.

    Sometimes, when I read a story about a very insecure person I want to scream, "Grow a backbone!" But there's a sensitivity to this girl that needs encouraging. You've created a very clear voice for her.


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