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The PowerPuff Girls

Emo-fictitiousness written up Monday

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The party was over.  It had proven that he was a socially acceptable, normal person. That he had people skills, and a social life that wasn’t malignant.

Ed felt inane. Disregardable. Like even the small victories was just stockpiling news towards the one who managed to crawl into his thoughts. Ed had made the stupid sick mistake of falling in love – and more than just letting himself love someone, but Ed somehow slipped and felt in love, perhaps because he was fucked up. And whether or not being in love was symptomatic of being fucked up, or being in love fucked him up seemed irrelevant.  Both seemed the case.

And for whatever reason, they wouldn’t work. Stephani had decided that she had had enough of him, and he felt the distance, despite her efforts. And he voiced the distance, and she hated it, and hated him for being so dumb as to be demanding more than seductive. And then she increased it. And all Ed knew was that his whims and his better sense were now at constant war, and that some of the best insight about his turmoil could probably be related by a recovering drug addict.

Ed had tried to let go, but found his mind occupied obsessively. Words like selfish became slurs, and slung mud lead to dirty hands that were incapable of a good digital finger-fucking. It was unlike anything ever precedented in their dynamic before.

Stephani really cared about Ed too. But she also had to care about herself, and blamed Ed for making her feel horrible. And in a place like Seattle, after just moving, she found no need for any more of her bullshit with him. She didn’t feel good for him, could rationalize why it’s better for him, and she had honestly grown tired of rationalizing that Ed’s shortcomings made him worth explaining to those who would get to know her.

She found there were better things to do with her mind, and, she knew that Ed had fucked up more than once. For this, he betrayed the idea that he would change into what she wanted, and even proved the opposite. For this, and more, she knew anger.

And she fucking hated how Ed would always have something to say at this point, anyway.

(Plus her new love interest hated when she still talked to Ed.)

So they stopped talking.

Selina also really cared about Ed. Had no false hopes that Ed was there to be in love with her (even though he had proven he would love people.) And, especially after she found those black lingerie panties by his bed – lingerie too adorning and fashionable to belong to any of Ed’s relatives – she was always conscious to not bear any expectations that Ed’s sex life belonged exclusively to her. She admired him too much to expect otherwise, really – Ed was powerful, sexy, passionate, and in a place like New York, one would have to be a fool, and have too little of the connectedness of life and influence to not have side-work. As she told him, she simply didn’t want to know.

But she knew. A smart woman can know a man better than he knows himself, and she knew there was someone else, and that Ed was feeling burned (“By a friend” he had said and believed.) Before this she knew only Ed’s softer, opinionated, funnier side, but knew that he could be determined and focused and that lately, something was making him sad and distracted. She knew something bothered him extra about this relationship, and she saw him fight so hard for it. And, all the while, only once had he ever actually spoken out in anger.

Somehow, she admired that. Knew that something was possibly unfair, or hurtful to someone, and that Ed didn’t seem like he wanted to be a crazy person, yet continued to spend a crazy amount of energy and thought into that friendship which hurt. She had seen him get up to type into documents that never went anywhere, right after turning away and feeling like stone to her touch. She’d seen him take 7 minutes to spend a stupid amount of intelligence into a 12 word text. Oh, Ed was foolish, but he was thoughtful and he cared.

Somehow, she admired it. Selina felt that if a man would work that hard to make something work, and if he was a man like Ed, that it was probably not just Ed’s loss. She had told him that.

So when, after the party, after Ed had rolled a cigarette (he had been drinking and smoking a lot more in the last two months, despite having mentioned that he quit tobacco cold-turkey before) and with the way he had slowly gotten up to go back to the rooftop where the festivities (the really good, successful festivities that her home had hosted) Selina felt a wonder, and then a concern.

She decided she’d finish washing the plate she was dealing with, and then go upstairs.

It really was a beautiful place, Ed knew. In a beautiful city, at a beautiful point in life. If success meant friends, money and women, he should be feeling successful. He knew he should be cherishing the great one downstairs, and would, but, it would be co-dependent and destructive to make her his crutch, and Selena needed to wrap up her hosted events. Plus, he really had wanted a cigarette, and was tired of laughing at music videos that he probably wouldn’t remember with Selina’s roommate.

The night before, he had decided it was ok to feel a little sad (although it sure didn’t feel like he really needed his own permission.) It was just more stewing, and his always having something to say. And that was just the whine of his circular thinking, last night – intellectualization. That it would be ok to feel a little sad, but learn from the experience, and move on. Ed was so smart.

He sucked. The cherry in his rollie glowed brighter in the night’s sky, and brighter still when a breeze flew into it. The smoke would crawl down his throat, into his lungs, trigger a coughing urge that, like all the other spewing urges Ed had been feeling for the last month he muscled down, and away. The noxious mixture of gas would diffuse into his blood and into his brain. And somehow, the dizzying feeling didn’t bother Ed nearly as much as it used to. Being disassociated in the way that only dizzying Carbon Monoxide could didn’t seem to disturb him as much, either.

So he stood, looking out. Feeling, a little ok, but also realizing it was his first private moment all day, when he wasn’t making small talk or drinks or proving that he could do just fine in a politely trendy world. And of course, his mind went to Stephani. About how he would love to take a picture of where he was and text it. He felt like she would appreciate the beautiful river that was just unorthodox for an Upper West Side Apartment.  That Stephani would love to know that the night felt good where he was, and that he hoped it felt good there too. He felt like Stephani would be annoyed, and not give a shit about not hearing about it.

This time, he didn’t even have to stay his hand away from his phone. He had taken pictures earlier that day, anyway. The night felt good. He thought about how it should be enjoyable.

From the top floor’s doorway, able to take in the roof’s patio in full, Selina saw he was doing it again. (She had taken him to a convention before where he was walking and looking full of his regular verve and full of cheer, and then look like some cog had turned deeply in his head, and he’d turn away from everyone and just, stare.) She had learned to tell him the second it happened, (“You look morose.”) because she got a kick out of his amazement when she was right, and it seemed to snap him out of it and bring him back.  She liked it when he was around. He was wonderful to her, and while he wasn’t perfect, exceeding of her expectations.

But this wasn’t a game for her. To Selina, it said a whole lot to see how much he could care about something that he knew was illogical, and in a way she loved it, while at the same time hating how suddenly into his head and just sad he’d suddenly become. How was this guy more full of cheer when they first met in the wintertime, and turning into a depressant on a beautiful night like they were about to share?

“Hey are you OK?” she said.

Ed turned around. Was completely surprised she had come up to see him, but he had spent the entire day being cool and figured that a few more minutes wasn’t a problem. She was always a welcome place of warmth, and he didn’t want to share bullshit that she didn’t deserve to be hurt by.  She had already done amazingly well when she counseled him about the grief that could come with a lost friend without ever once saying one bad thing about this friend (he knew because, he’d never let her.)

“Yeah.” He shrugged. “Just having a smoke.”

Then Ed gulped. And she looked him in the eye and he knew it wasn’t really any use acting like he wasn’t just caught looking morose another time.

“Were you thinking about the Seattle girl situation again?”

“Sorry yeah, it’s dumb.” He said simply, and was even about to put on one of those smirks but-

“Right, cause you’re totally not supposed to have feelings.”

And perhaps the party’s drinks had loosened up her tongue, it was the first time Selina had ever been sarcastic towards Ed.

And, Ed saw it in her caring face and the way she looked him dead-on in the eye and realized, it had been the opposite of nasty sarcasm, too. At least, it wasn’t meant to sharply make him feel bad and tell him what to do, but Ed understood she was interrupting and calling out his own bullshit: Ed was being fucking selective about his feelings again.

He was hurt. He felt like the little child who’s best friend no longer wanted to speak to him so she could eat lunch with the cool kids. It was stupid, and he was stupid. Crazy stupid. He had feelings that he didn’t want to put words to because the words were crazy stupid too, and sounded even stupider. He was sad, and even if life gave him every indicator that he was a cool kid, it sure seemed to take a lot of energy to act like one.

The image of Selena, staring with that shining, observant study – one that actually looked concerned for how he felt more than what he thought it meant towards her – began to blur. His features began to twist and his eyes started to go.

Fuck.

He really had just wanted a cigarette, he thought. But maybe not. Maybe he actually wanted to go someplace where he could be a little sad, and realized Selina wasn’t there to stop that.

“Oh come here.” She said, and now to Ed, Selina seemed like one of the warmest people on Earth.

The cigarette – his excuse to go upstairs – rolled out of fingertips and onto rooftop. He just felt his face go ugly, and his eyes blink extra as one, two, three, four, five tears – just the beginning of a backlog of further tears started to pour, and Ed ran over, and four arms interlocked against two backs as he buried his face into her neck like the sad fuck-off of a kid he felt like.

She was truly aware of the state of his mind, and perhaps more aware than ever let on. She had put two and two together more than once, and saw that Ed had no desire to give so much of a shit as to get hurt, or hurt anyone, but something happened anyway. She saw Ed as an incredibly proud, incredibly amazing person who could have so many things in life, and would rather be a great man than a content douchewad, and that somehow this situation affected him. She had gone through a similar thing and was losing a friend of her own, and had in fact received really good, caring advice from him on what he understood was a similar situation, and amazed at how much a psychological wound he had been hiding, and where everything he had to say had come from.

The tall, well-spoken, smart, well-meaning man cried like a child on the tall, strong, well-spoken, smart, well-meaning woman’s shoulder.

“Come here.” She said more gently, and leading, together they walked from her rooftop, to her room, and still leading, pulled him onto her bed and his head into her chest.

For once Ed’s mind, a thing normally containing a bundle of urges and words, was quiet as he just listened to himself be sad. The mildest flash of anger about being left holding a bunch of bags died as he realized everything lead up to his being sad, but then being pulled into the warmest, most wonderful breasts that he’d probably ever come across. And more, also pulled by strong arms, towards a wonderfully beating heart.

He suddenly found it much harder to be sad. Five, four, three, two, and then one tear was left and he was not feeling sorry as much as, admiration for Selina’s understanding and discretion. While he had had his ups and downs about Stephani cutting him off, and the way that it finally happened, after the ways that Ed could see and cutfully put things, and because of what their interactions represented now, this was a first.

Something in his mind clicked and a welcome reprieve from sadness came in the form of gratitude. Realization, too.

Those two had something amazing all the while, he always knew that but now, more than ever, he certainly felt like it.

Selina was right about everything she had suspected about Ed, including the fact that he had always really cared about her too. And now, assuming he wasn’t dumb – which he sure didn’t seem to her – he knew that she cared more than her own personal self-concern. She knew Ed wasn’t dumb enough to disregard that.

Plus, she thought he was real cute after wiping those ugly tears away.

(And, it turned out, crying into a perfect pair of bewbs made them appreciable to Ed in a whole new way.)

He sniffled. Squeeze Selina lightly. Gave her a little hug and realized he’d now be happy to do whatever she wanted to do for the rest of the night – short of watching the entire Notebook movie and staying awake for it. (They both found that idea equally as absurd, anyway.)

“Hey um,” the bass in his voice had returned. He sounded cheerful and genuinely smirky again. “Thanks and uh, let’s never talk about this again alright?”

They stayed like that, and Ed accepted that he felt dumb, but also still valued. He would not stop feeling grateful to Selina for accepting his dumbness while staying so great herself. And she felt, great.

“Ok.” She said, and smiled. She kissed his dorky cheek and gave him a hug right back.

After a while they went back to Ed’s house to eat bacon and watch the Powerpuff girls.

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