THE HAIRDRESSER

By David Phillips

‘That’s enough of that’, I thought again but this time it was certain.  In such blind rage I can’t even remember her exact words, but I knew in that instant that there was no future for us.  I’m pretty sure any person who has been through a painful divorce or breakup has had the same feeling, but the words that then came out of my mouth in retort were some I’d never thought I’d utter at any female in my life.  Maybe my sister when I was an angry teen, but never to a former love and person who I’d longed to be with in such a way that it was borderline creepy.

It started out as a remarkable story I was determined to write, no matter the cost.  After getting hit by a car as a pedestrian, not walking for 6 months, getting pretty keen on opiate based pills, and befriending an ambulance chasing lawyer I had become pretty close with the dog walker for my friends’ daschunds.  I was at a point where I was getting around well enough to get out and about on occasion but far from properly mobile.

Tribeca is a weird part of NYC and though home to the more wealthy, this space was little closer to Chambers Street, so the not-so-nice part of one of the most expensive bits in the city.  Although a 1500sq foot apartment, there was no doorman but rather a little man who operated the rickety elevator that came directly into the space.  During the week the dog walker would come get the little rat dogs, we’d smoke, sometimes I’d sell him some weed, gossip a bit about neighborhood folks and just shoot the shit about the outside world.  My world was mainly still physical terrorism 3 times a week, I’d just been dumped (by a bird who I was chatting up just before I get hit by the car and who came to visit only to prove to herself I wasn’t lying about the whole thing…that’s a whole other story), but wasn’t mobile enough to walk around much without being in excruciating pain.  My world was very small.  One day we were smoking and Jeff asked if one of friends could come by and pick up some weed later. 

By this time I had a minor day time operation going and had re watched the original 90210 in its entirety.  I was going fairly bananas so a new face was welcomed.  Having just gotten back from PT and having a feeling his ‘hairdresser’ friend was going to be hot, I made a point to shower and put on decent clothes.  Sure enough, she was stunning.  Taller than me in heels, medium length brown hair, round in all the best places, nice work on showering I thought for sure.  For people who are comfortable enough to come into a stranger’s apartment and meet a dude who doesn’t even live there just to buy weed, the conversation invariably goes into other drugs and habits as most people in my position would obviously have access to more things, especially those used for pain management.  After the 2nd visit, sure enough, the conversation went to pills.

OxyContin had been pretty popular for a while now. I was no stranger and neither was she.  Much more chic than heroin, apparently the same buzz as thankfully I never made the comparison, less chance of od’ing and fairly widely available.  Needless to say we became friends over OCs, actually had some mutual friends, and summer had come.  It was a fantastic time all around.

I had found a sales job in Chelsea, moved to another friend’s place in Carroll Gardens, South Brooklyn, while he was at the Shore for the summer, and life was pretty good.  For me pills were purely recreational as I had grown fairly sick of such lethargy after I was healthy enough to normally and comfortably walk.  The hairdresser and I had fairly routine communication but nothing overly intense.  I had asked her out numerous times but she never took me seriously.  Can’t say I really blame her as I never thought I had a chance and was pretty clowny most of the time.  We were the same age but she rarely got involved with people her own age or younger…straight high school shit when the freshman girls only dated sophomores or older.  During some deliveries for her I’d often hang out. I had met some of her friends by then, so I’d say we were friends.

Finally one day she agreed to let me take her out.  She picked the place. I tried to sly it up by booking a reservation not knowing she had already booked one as well, but then it almost never happened as I was a bit hung over and tried to bail out.  I rallied, she jokingly canceled on me but then agreed to meet as planned.  I met her at her place in Williamsburg (the trendy part of Brooklyn) and we walked down to this typical hipstery sushi place that was on a block you felt like you’d get mugged on if you didn’t know any better.  That night for me was magical.  We wrapped up the sushi, went to a tacky street fair in Brooklyn that was something out of the Sopranos, we did all the cheesy stuff, took a picture in one of those overgrown chairs with props and shit, the whole shebang.  Had a night-cap, I took her home and we went our separate ways for the evening.  It was perfect in all senses of a first date.  By now she knew I was quite smitten but she still wasn’t sold.

She viewed me as a ‘kid’ in ways, just getting along around NYC, partying, going to shows etc.  In some ways she was correct, but I knew I was starting to ‘win’.  Winning for me would to be in her life full stop.  She needed a roommate, I needed a place to live, I’d make jokes about how I could never live with her as just friends, we’d hang out. I took her to the Black Keys show in Central Park and got sapped for $120 worth of red wine and a concert shirt, the whole bit.  I was getting played a bit, knew it and couldn’t have cared less.  Finally one night it happened.

She had been to see the National and was hoping to party a bit afterwards which meant getting some pills.  By now I don’t think I was even charging her for the damn things but of course I went right over about 11:30.  We had some wine, her drink of choice, and then there it was.  The prize of all prizes was mine for the taking and there was no turning back.  Not being one to shy from a challenge, I knew that my perseverance was going to pay off.  We were a perfect fit in every way, head to toe, from every angle, in every light, to every song.  Sights unforgettable, cute pillow talk, no sleep, bodies exhausted…it was the beginning of a journey that I was positive wasn’t going to end…until that one comment.

Looking back of course I like to think I knew it was doomed, but I didn’t.  I never do when it comes to romance, does anyone?  Come on, I mean a relationship based on a foundations of drugs and booze is a sure thing, right?  Ha…maybe this is a reason I’m still single, but I still believe you can have those moments when something can push your thoughts over the edge in the wrong fucking direction.  Once I go over that edge, there’s usually no coming back.  No matter what happens next the water is tainted to the point of no swimming, not even dipping a toe to see how the water feels.  That one instance when you know ‘that’s enough of that’ and leave without looking back.

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