Some people are just not meant to be together, most people probably shouldn’t be in relationships at all, like my parents and my friends, and of course, myself.
Blair Ramos and Martin Craven would be lumped into that category, filed under people who should be kept apart. They would say that there something between them, a romantic notion of a spark, but it’s more like napalm, a scorched earth kind of romance.
They would try to glue the love back together but the pieces were smashed to bits and it was so broken it could never return to form. Sure, it was easy to briefly forget and fall back into the same routine, after all we are creatures of habit and maybe it was convenient when necessary, and the familiarity made a chameleon of the damage when the loneliness outweighed the resentment.
Blair was seated on a bar stool, her hands in her lap and her pint on the bar. A bar that was probably not as much of a shithole as the Memorial Park Bar, in the sense that it was nicer looking and newer but it was just a better dressed shithole. For whatever reason no businesses seemed to thrive there, it was repeatedly sold and revamped but nothing lasted in that space. This time a sports bar tried to pass itself off as a lounge. Whatever image the owners were going for didn’t matter to us as we rarely ventured there. It was in the neighborhood but not part of our neighborhood.
Bars are like anything else, they get forgotten in time, they close and get thrown into a heap of obscurity like Hank’s, the Chicken Coop or the Tipperary Arms. Just think about how down the road no one will remember you or give a fuck about something you did that you thought was special. You’re not special. Nothing is.
People die, bars close, and walls get buffed, nothing lasts. Nothing is sacred. Check yourself.
That night was nothing out of the ordinary, but don’t most memorable nights start out that way? There were a few heads in the bar. Only the occupants had no redeeming social value, just some empty, shallow humans bereft of any principles or substance. Though there was certainly no shortage of uncontrolled substances, no discredit to them, that was every bar.
And then there was Blair, seated on a stool, speaking very little, mostly she listened to her girlfriends gossip and bad mouth their other friends who were not present. As the night dragged on they drank tap beer and chirped a little louder. They discussed boys and television shows. Blair shook her head, popped her chewing gum, took sips of her beer and missed every opportunity to interject and share her opinion, offering an anxious chuckle here and there.
Blair was with Sabrina and two other girls, people she considered friends, people whom she adored, whose input she valued. Though the way they treated one another was not indicative of a caring and reciprocal friendship, a mere oversight.
Obvious to those on the outside looking in, it didn’t seem like they were genuinely concerned about her well being, an apparent lack of sincerity, I found it troublesome because our crew was the exact opposite. Our friends treated each other like family, we cared about one another and were concerned about Martin and that specific relationship because of the way it affected him, regardless of his denial.
We wondered about the reasons behind Blair’s behavior, the decisions that she made but only the ones that impacted Martin. When the lifeguard is sleeping, the girl drowns. An attractive young woman hellbent on attention. Was she trying to be adventurous? Was she simply looking for intimacy that Martin couldn’t provide? She came from a decent home, better than most of ours and still she seemed unstable. Each of us had no doubts as to where our instability stemmed from, We knew exactly what damaged us, Blair was a little tougher to figure out. Maybe be was smarter than all of us. Maybe she knew that life was short and she wanted to experience everything she could and have as much fun as possible.
A group of guys entered the bar, these were friends of Blair’s friends. They blended together, the guys hugged the girls and the girls kissed the guys on the cheek. One of the guys was named Sebastian. Sebastian positioned himself in the corner on Blair’s left hand side. When he kissed her hello, he made sure to kiss close to her mouth when she offered up her cheek, testing the water. He talked closely to her, and she blushed throughout the interaction, and the attention she got from him made her damp. After discussing banalities Sebastian went in on Martin.
“Why do you fuck with that herb?” Sebastian asked.
“I don’t.” she said.
Martin and Sebastian had beef. Like most, it was over bullshit, residual beef, a guilty by association kind of thing, but at the end of the day, still beef. There was a mutual dislike between the two, but initially Martin never treated him like an adversary whenever they interacted, Martin didn’t view him as a threat or worthwhile. But things changed and Sebastian’s odious behavior got back around to Martin. It wasn’t Martin’s style to talk shit to the girlfriend of an enemy. Martin wouldn’t act like that if he was around Sebastian’s girlfriend, current or ex, he would compartmentalize. Martin was not the kind of man to talk shit, period. Martin obviously hated that Blair hung out with these people. I mean we all knew what went on in the neighborhood. Blair could deny it all she wanted but Queens was just entirely too small for talk not to travel and circulate. Martin may have acted like he didn’t know, but he did, he heard about almost everything that went on with her. Each rumor was rooted in some grain of truth and every little bit of truth at that time stung.
Martin would be out drinking and run into people at the most random places and they would assume based on Blair’s actions that they were broken up and they felt compelled to tell Martin things that he didn’t want to know about her. Things he might not have known until then, so he would feel like an asshole and play it off like he knew about it the whole time. He’d swallow back the vomit that crept up his esophagus. The truth always finds a way out like running water.
The worst part was Blair never defended Martin, there were a lot of problems but still, she never did. Instead she smirked and told Sebastian that she and Martin had broken up. Right there in the moment the way she looked at him, Sebastian knew it, he had it sewn up. Wildflower.
“Oh, you don’t? Since when?”
“Since you walked in.”
“You’ve wised up,” He said, with an heir of victory, readjusting his fitted baseball cap. The team on the hat did not play in Queens.
“ Can you excuse me for a minute? I have to use the ladies room.” Blair had to piss out all that shitty beer.
She excused herself from the rest of the group. Blair slowly made her way to the bathroom, eyeing the dirty tiles on the floor. Blair was tipsy and felt acutely self aware about her walk, feeling that her balance was a tad off. One foot in front of the other, like walking a tightrope she thought to herself. Sebastian watched her leave, staring at her ass in her tight blue jeans. Sebastian made a split second decision, an urge helped the thought process and he made a move. Blair’s friends paid no attention to her whereabouts and no one bothered to ask Sebastian where he was headed or maybe it was just obvious what was going on in the corner. Just as Blair was about to close the bathroom door behind her, Sebastian caught the door and joining her inside he secured the dead bolt lock. She laughed and playfully questioned him, “What are you doing?”
He said nothing to her. Sebastian moved forward and kissed her on the mouth and neck. The act of kissing made her feel important. Blair wanted to feel special. She wanted to be wanted. And she was those things to Martin, but it wasn’t enough to make her happy. The attention was everything. The more it got around that the boys could fuck her, the more the boys paid her the attention she craved. Sexual ouroboros. She was wanted, briefly, then when the focus shifted and no one was around she longed for Martin. It would be accurate to say that her romances were short lived but so was her reconciliations with Martin. Blair wasn’t doing anything that we weren’t doing, but the double standard was alive and well, whether you liked it or not. No one was entirely innocent.
Sebastian wasn’t looking for a relationship. None of the most recent guys who went deep were. They weren’t interested in her personality or getting to know who she really was, beyond the scope of saying hello and standing around each other. They wanted the physicality of her. They wanted what they thought she had to offer, only Martin thought she offered more and that was subjective. Each time some other piece of shit slipped his way inside her we thought it would prove Martin wrong but he made excuses and accepted her for it. Deep down he knew the girl that he loved drifted further and further away. Martin would tell you that he was more mature, only when he told you that none of her exploits bothered him he was really trying to convince himself. Everyone fucks, he’d say, what’s the big deal? People have sex. Get over it. It’s normal. It doesn’t mean anything. But did Martin truly believe that? Partly, if at all, though I found it suspect when he said the contrary. Blair’s behavior ate away at Martin, though he would never admit it out loud. He took a page out of his father’s book, keeping his thoughts to himself.
Whatever made Blair feel special, however temporal, had the exact opposite effect on Martin. He felt absolutely worthless. Nobody’s nothing. The more unloved Martin felt the more empowered Blair seemed to be. He was the dirt caked into the grooves of her sneakers. Martin was the security blanket that when the fun was over she looked to him to wrap herself up in something real and warm, because every rejection for her felt like winter. A season Blair hated. At the end of each passing Martin would go back on his word, a proclamation he never made out loud, but still everyone else heard it, wishful that they would just put it to bed already.
Sebastian guided Blair back against the sink. The sink hadn’t been properly cleaned in who knows how long. Blair sat upon it and the cheap cabinet grunted underneath her. Sebastian made his way between her legs. He kissed her and pulled her sweater up, flipping up her bra and unveiling a pair of nice perky breasts. He marched his dirty hands down to her pants, he unbuttoned her blue jeans, tugged them down under her ass with her panties in unison, pulling only her left leg out. Her jeans hung down the side of the sink. Sebastian undid his own pants and withdrew himself from his boxers. The disease incubated just under the surface eagerly waiting to reveal its symptoms. He failed to mention anything communicable. She didn’t say a word, no protest or consent, just nonverbal cues as she went with the moment. She was an oil slick. Her body welcomed him, as he shoved his dirty, unprotected penis through the nap of her pubic hair. She hadn’t expected anything to happen that night so she hadn’t groomed, to which she was only slightly embarrassed, not that Sebastian cared either way.
Sebastian hammered himself into Blair a few times before his filth dribbled into her, yellowing discharge mixed in with his gloppy seed. She took notice of the ceiling, the water stained drop ceiling tiles. She found the imperfections on the ceiling and thought of certain men.
“I’ll see you at the bar,” Sebastian said, fixing himself. Blair never said a word, only wondered what this meant for them. She wiped herself with toilet paper after she urinated. Someone outside the bathroom had knocked on the door. She looked at herself in the bathroom mirror, as she pulled up her pants and zipped them up, she hoped that she wouldn’t get pregnant, she hoped that Sebastian liked her and wondered when she last had her period.
Blair went back to the bar, and tried to play it cool, wondering if Sabrina or any one else might’ve had an idea of what happened in the bathroom with Sebastian. Blair made rationalizations, she thought that not enough time had passed for anyone to think anything scandalous. If Sabrina had any suspicions she would pull her aside and ask her outright. They hung at the bar after coitus for almost two more hours. Blair spent most of that time nonchalantly trying to make eye contact with Sebastian. Although he spent the remainder of his time at the other end of the bar with his boys. Sebastian never let on that something had happened and he never gave in to that feeling he was being watched, though he felt Blair’s eyes on him. Blair figured Sebastian was playing it cool also, in an attempt to avoid gossip within their circle, which was already rife with incest and drama.
It might as well have been forever, but finally Sebastian walked over to her. Blair hoped something real was happening between the two of them. She hoped he would say something sweet in her ear. She wanted him to make her his. She wanted him to tell her to meet him at his house in a little while, or better yet to take her by the hand and walk her out of the bar in plain sight, hand in hand in front of everyone.
“I have to go drop something off,” Sebastian said, bumping his greasy cheek into hers, harder than she liked. “I’ll catch up with you later.” she tried to channel his indifference, there was no warmth in him any longer. Blair said bye, immediately feeling alone and used. The high of being wanted came crashing down. There was only one thing for Blair to do to heal her cloud of rejection.
In the early morning hours, Blair was wrapped in Martin’s arms, in his bed where she looked him in his eyes and told him that she loved him. The gonorrhea slept soundly, delighted and snug inside its warm new host. Everyone is capable of committing atrocities, large and small, forgivable and unforgivable, but it all depends on what you’re willing to endure, and how much you can overlook.