joey. april 12th.

today was fucking ROUGH. for starters, i was up until 2 am. tea the spring onset insomniac has taken over my life, and i kinda want her to go away.

my biggest mistake was checking my account balance in light of shawn's rent check bouncing. i went to the big city with $600 and didn't bother to check it before i left, because i knew i'd only spend about $100.

i looked last night to see what had posted, and my account was $200 in the red.

i panicked, and was up worrying for a while.

i woke up at 7 for work. i biked, even though it was supposed to storm all day, i was lucky it hadn't started when i woke up. i knew i had to borrow money and bike to the bank with it, to stop the hemorrhaging.

i put $400 in, and have $7 to my name right now.

between the fees and what i spent, plus my checks i'd written for bills that cleared, i was fucked. royally. i spent about 45 minutes there, talking to one of the reps about lines of credit, what i can do to keep this from happening again.

and my head was swimming when i left, which was an improvement over drowning when i went in.

i have a lot of ideas, but won't make a decision until i talk to my parents about a repayment plan, now that i'm not selling the house.

i walked back to work in the rain, trying to calm myself down. and as i walked up to my store, i wrote a status update for facebook that said, '...could really use some GOOD luck. because the bad variety is bringing a sistah DOWN.'

and because my luck was what it was, i lost my signal walking in, and it didn't post.

i strapped my phone to the wall for pandora use, and went back into the back room to make sandwiches.

because i'm at suck store tomorrow, and it's our busiest day, i had to prep sandwiches for today and for tomorrow. i started at 9, went to the bank at noon, and got back into it by 1. i finished at 5.

we have a couple jokes about sandwich making. the best one is, 'i smell like MEAT.'

i actually had kim bring some perfume oil from home, because i got all sweaty biking in and making sandwiches, and i'd forgotten my double spray of angel on my way out the door.

i was feeling rotten. i hugged kim and pam when i came back, in an effort not to cry.

i woke up today on the verge of tears, and chalked it up to hormones that are coursing through my body. that, and stress, and sleep deprivation.

so imagine my SHOCK when i looked up after bringing out a set of sandwiches and seeing joey walk in.

i ran into the back room, did my best to smooth my frizzball hair from walking in the rain and working in the humidity all day.

pam came into the back and said, 'yeah, girl. pull it together.'

i went out front in time to catch his eye.

i walked to where he was (third in line) and said, 'i've been looking for you, mister.'

she later told me that i went back into the room to smooth out with a full body blush.

pretty funny now, but i was proud at the time.

he skipped ahead out of line and said my name, again, in that voice of his.

and he followed me to the end of the counter.

he said something about reeking of formaldehyde, and i couldn't think to say i smelled like meat and pesto. i asked why, and he said that he'd been dissecting a human brain. rad.

what i realize tonight, reflecting, is that joey is the most random person i might know. from the once every month visit, to what he says when he's there.

last time it was, 'wanna see my new tattoo?'

today it was, 'wanna see my dog?'

and he pulled out his iphone, and pulled up her picture.

his hands were SHAKING.

like, really bad.

and he was super nervous acting, which caught me off guard. somehow i was not at all, because he was only there to see me and we both already knew what we were there to discuss. it really surprised me.

with shaky hands, he showed me another picture, and i asked her name.

her name is apple.

i saw he had a pack of marlboro reds in his shirt pocket. i said, 'oh, good. you smoke, too.'

it was a great shirt, kim said probably his fanciest. a nice red plaid short sleeve shirt. which overwhelmed my eyes, the way it was laying on his arms with all that ink.

he said that he's been smoking a pipe lately, because apple puts up with it, as opposed to cigarettes.

and i grabbed my sweater, planning to walk somewhere with him, and he said, 'wanna go have a smoke?' and i said yes.

and i was already two steps ahead, saying i'd be back to the girls, who couldn't stop smiling. kinda like me.

i usually go to this awesome hiding place kit showed me, far from watchful eyes of students and professors who comprise our customer base.

but he wanted to sit right by the front door.

it was cold by then. the rain brought a front. he took off his coat for me to sit on.

fucking sweetest thing ever. but again, two steps ahead, i was already sitting down when he said, 'you can sit on my coat if it's wet from the rain...'

i said it was dry, he put his coat down and sat close to me. i accidentally touched his leg with my foot when i switched the way my legs were crossed mid-conversation.

dude. i'm fucking giggling and grinning typing this out.

it was so AWESOME.

so i don't know what i said first. i know i thanked him for coming by. i told him that i didn't realize he worked so far away, and he said that his lab is under the radio station (8 city blocks or so).

i can't remember, it's all jumbled in my brain.

i got it. i said i was having a rough day. he apologized, and i said, 'it's not your fault.'

and told him how my sister had called me at 11 the night before to tell me that dad now knew about her girlfriend, the way my parents are, in florida. i said that for the last couple nights i'd been up until two, and not happy about the insomnia. he said that he'd just woken up at noon, and that coming in so late was one of the things that made it great to be a scientist.

he'd mentioned writing his dissertation, and waiting for weed, and not getting any, and not sleeping as a result. which did a couple things to my brain. one: sweet. i'll get stoned soon. i've been wanting to. and two: oh, man. a smoker stoner scientist? hmm...tread carefully.

and then he said, 'i'm from florida, too.'

he's from south florida.

and said his parents flipped when his brother came out. we talked about being supportive siblings, and how awesome it is for them to each take back their lives and be who they are without hiding.

i told him about my parents being super churchy, and he said his mom is cuban catholic and his dad is jewish. i said, 'interesting combo', and only then did i realize that i can see it a little. which must be the draw. i'm a sucker for jewish boys.

he's so tall. and so skinny. his beard has gotten thick since i saw him last, his hair pretty shaggy and crazy.

he said his mom would flip when she saw his newest tattoo, and realized that there's a 66 6 in the number plate under hannibal lecter's mugshot on his arm. i don't yet know why he has hannibal on his arm. and haven't seen the rest. i think it might be a fun game to play. i'll show you mine if you show me yours. and i'll even pretend to be coy when i show him my ribcage. but i digress...

i said something about my sister coming up for the summer from gainesville, because the last time i saw him, i'd asked him about it. he said he'd been there once. i said i had, too. then corrected myself to mention the week i spent at shands when aubree had her brain incident. he was still shaking, and smoking super nervously. i was watching him talk and he looked at me. he has really pretty blue and green eyes. which i am sure made me smile at the time.

i was at a total loss for technical terms when it came to what happened to her, because he's a neuroscience grad student. and he seemed to be, as well, so i didn't sweat it.

he said the time he'd been was with his band, and that he enjoyed playing for a big sweaty crowd. that i would have liked them, droney but sweet, and pretty good. that the band his band played with is getting popular right now, who are mathy but screamy, and that i probably wouldn't be so into them.

i thought it interesting that he has a grasp on my music preferences. i mean, i do tend to rule the music in the store, but see him so infrequently that i can't think of a time when we'd ever talked music.

in any case, our cigarettes were smoked, and i apologized for having to go back inside. and said, 'so do you want to grab a drink, joey?'

and he said yes, but that he wasn't into bars, because he wanted to be able to talk and hear me.

second time in a week that a boy has said that to me, but it meant something different coming from him. with matthew, i felt like he's probably said that to a thousand girls, and that it probably worked like a charm every time. with joey, i just thought, 'wow. he likes me.'

i said, 'oh, that's fine. i go to delaware every friday, and have like two cases of beer in my fridge.'

he said he has beer, too. that he gets his delivered. and mentioned the street that my house intersects with.

i said, 'oh. do you live in south philly? are we neighbors?'

he said he lives in center city, and that beer delivery just makes things easier, it was the name of the company, not the street. and then he said, 'i like to put on records and get fazed' or something like that. it gave me a great visual, of hanging out and talking over beer, him getting up to play records that suited his mood. sitting on his floor. it made me smile.

he asked when i had time, and i said that my only plans for this weekend were saturday night bowling in jersey. he made a sound that expressed disdain for jersey or bowling, but probably both, and he asked why i'd want to do that. and i said that i'm going with friends.

so i gave him my number, and he called my phone. what i realized about ten minutes later was that the fucked signal in my store kept the call from showing up on my phone. so i do not have his number. i'm an idiot. and he didn't wait long enough.

i said, give me a call, let's do something this weekend.

and he said he'd see me soon.

and put on his coat, and walked off.

i walked inside in shock. disbelief.

parts of it were so much easier than i expected. but i was grinning like an idiot.

and walked in, with the girls staring at me. and started squealing and jumping up and down, and said, 'i have a date! we're hanging out this weekend!!'

and they cracked up and high fives and all.

it was awesome.

and for the last two hours i was there, i made more sandwiches in the back room, pacing out into the store randomly. breaking into dance, and smiling and laughing. and going back to sandwiches.

and kim made fun of me the rest of the shift, telling me she needed me to act like i have some sense. but that it was so much better to see me so happy and smiley than mopey. that it makes working with me so much more fun.

but i just COULDN'T act like i had any sense.

he came by. and he couldn't stop shaking.

part of me wanted to grab his hand and make a joke of some kind to help him relax a little. maybe he was just cold. but body language stuff just made me think he was really nervous.

i am the happiest girl.

and in the back, making sandwiches, something kinda substantial hit me.

it was this rush of elation, followed by this upset, caused by information trickling down parts of my brain.

this is why i put off dating for a year.

i let boys rule my happiness.

and it scares the piss out of me.

literally right before he showed up, i was mopey and on the verge of tears. i'd already bet the girls that he'd show up tomorrow when i'm not there. and had already asked them to make him call me and demand to know why i wasn't there when he showed up.

i mean, i got ready this morning hoping he'd show. but after the way my day went, i thought it was impossible.

and when he showed up, and left, i was cloud ten-ing.

knowing that he likes me enough to come all that way and agree to hang out this weekend at one of our places just kills me. in a good way, obviously.

but it also wakes up that dormant fear. the one that forced me to be utterly alone for the last year.

i know i'm not putting ever hangups on another boy. which was my biggest fear. or letting myself fall in love in 2.3 seconds. which is my second biggest fear.

and here i am, worrying about falling for a boy.

i texted kit to ask what i could derive from the fact that he's writing his dissertation. and she said that he's about to graduate. and that he's probably leaving.

and i let it get to me. instead of being excited for a first date, i was kicking myself for not jumping sooner. because she's probably right about him graduating, and not too many people stick around.

it was this up and down rollercoaster wave, amplified i'm sure by my hormones. it happened so quickly inside.

it stole a little of my happiness.

this is what i do. i let the future shit detract from current fun. i worry so much about what might happen that i fuck up what is actually happening.

i won't fuck this up, though.

i'm already worried he'll think i have his number and not call me. or that his phone will break before he tells me where and when. because he said it will probably die before he sees me next. because he threw it when he fucked up an omelet flipping trick. hmm.

but worst case scenario, if he doesn't call me this weekend, and thinks i didn't call him because i didn't mean it (he was that nervous), i can always bike past the smoking section of his building, since he told all of us where he works, and get his number.

this was part of that mental sadness tangent, though. what if he doesn't call? will it ruin my weekend? the way it ruined my weekend when that boy tim didn't show up to favorite bar on halloween. the way it was ruining dating site experience when no one was writing me back before there was a flood in the last week or two.

the way i always give up on myself before i even take a stab at it.

ugh. shut up, pms. i hate you.

figures i'll be hanging out with aunt flo about the time he decides to call or text and set something up.

i hate getting so excited about boys. i feel like i did a pretty fantastic job of playing it cool with matthew from the first date last thursday. and when he texted me yesterday to say 'let's hang out again', and i said that thursday was good, i was proud of that as well.

in all honesty, i did have stuff to do between then and thursday.

yesterday, i was up until 11 vacuuming and mopping the entire second and first floors. and organizing the bathroom, and cleaning that, too, after contractor left. we fixed the drain. it was awesome. no more other-people's-shower-water in the tub while i'm in mine. so nasty. it's so awesome to be shown how to fix something, and i told him to step aside while i pulled a sickening amount of stuff out of the drain, making fake throwup gagging noises. we were cracking up, and i was getting shit done.

tonight, i came home to write. and brought out my toe and fingernail polish supplies. and abandoned them on my nightstand to do something else instead.

today i primed over the logo on the wall that ever so lovingly painted fucking BLACK and about three feet by four on the living room wall. i tried sanding it, which really didn't work at all. after the first coat of primer, the marker that he'd used to outline the logo was showing through brilliantly. after the second coat, it's just a hint of raised lines where the stencil was. i'm pleased enough with the results to leave it the way it is for the time being.

and in my room, the atrocious red and blue paint all over my soffits has been cleverly once over'd.

it's a far cry from anything i'd call done. but it is started. and already i feel so much better. it's like i said to nina... i can't be bringing boys in here thinking these ideas were mine. it's embarrassing that he did it. more embarrassing for boys who come home with me to think that i think it looks good. or that i did it.

it's messy, for sure. but it's primer white.

and i made myself stop at ten to try to sleep at a reasonable hour for suck store wake up call.

and it's 1130 and i'm awake. tired, exhausted, even.

i pushed through the work just like i do on the weekends. did all the hard stuff, the taxing stuff, yesterday and today. and that leaves an afternoon and a night tomorrow that will be about me. making my toes and feet pretty. painting my fingernails and shaving for my date on thursday. getting extra sleep, hopefully, for a sleepless thursday, hopefully, before a long and weird friday this week.

it will be good. i'm so much happier bringing matthew over this time, or inviting joey if he wants to this weekend. though i'm assuming he's inviting me over. to drink beer and play with apple and listen to records. and maybe smoke a joint. who knows? it all sounds good to me.

which reminds me...

i canNOT forget to buy condoms on my way home tomorrow. and to tan. yeah. i have big plans for myself.

i told aubree when we talked sunday night... just tell mom i'm whoring it up. she'll forget all about how you're in love. and i'll be come the abomination again.

here's to hoping my mom realizes that she has a daughter that she loves, and that she just wants her to be happy. and i'm not talking about me.

i'm ecstatic. i'm feeling confident and full of myself and excited and ballsy. i'm wearing my skinny jeans from this summer, and fitted shirts.

matthew told me on our first date that i have perfect collarbones. and it is circulating in my head. because i draw people, and the thing that our teacher rode us about more than anything else were collarbones. they give so much meaning, if you place them right.

it was a high compliment.

he also called me a liar when i said i didn't work out. and i told him i've nearly killed two dear friends from dropping my end of things while lifting. and that i can't do a single situp. he felt my flexed bicep. and called me a liar again. i told him i don't lie. and that i swear it.

i can honestly say that i have never felt like this before in my life. not with a level head on my shoulders. i mean, boy crazy 19 year old tea felt like this. but irresponsibly so. obsessedly so. maniacally so.

i found something. and i hate that it took all winter to find it, because it made me want to die. but now that i have it, i know exactly what to do with it. and i have the clean sheets to prove it.

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