At the end of the first week of December i snuck all the presents into my car and headed to Veronica's. Of course i couldn't wrap anything which was just another reminder of the situation but true to form i didn't let that bother me. I was excited just to give her the gifts. I drove over and with arms full i walked up the three flights to her place. She smiled as she let me in and i set the stuff down and gave her a kiss. If anything was off i didn't see it and so i began chattering away that i couldn't wait for her to open her (unwrapped) stuff. We sat down on the couch and i played Kris Kringle.
There were Oxblood Doc Martens, there were pajamas and a gift card, there were skirts and dresses and even a cooking pan that she needed for her place, something i remembered from the night she had made me dinner. On that night she had made an excellent meal and watched nervously while i ate. I have a history of women wanting to feed me. It's as if i need looking after, as if my diet of booze and drugs might need a bit of steak and some broccoli to supplement it. She was happy and pleased with her gifts and thanked me. She kissed me... and for the first time since i arrived i realized there was something off. Again i pretended not to notice and acted as if all was well and that things were great and in my mind they were. Denial, deliberate ignorance, be oblivious, whatever i wanted to call it wasn't going to work forever. And it seemed the end of forever had arrived.
She stood up to get something and i followed her towards her bedroom. She turned and stopped me. I began kissing her as she spoke, she told me she needed to talk to me, to tell me something. I said sure go ahead. I was kissing her and slowly undressing her. She said she had met a boy. That's cool, i said. She said she really liked him, i continued undressing her, she didn't protest and was now leaning up against the wall, but i could sense it. She wasn't relaxed but rigid. My silly fucking head pretended not to notice but i knew what was coming. I finally stopped. Who? i said. She was naked and looked towards the floor, Franco. Okay, i mumbled, that's great, so what are you saying?
I stepped back and she began getting dressed. I was a bit numb. She took a deep breath and began. Well, she said, he stayed over on Thanksgiving. Nothing happened, we kissed a bit, but i like him, i mean i don't know what to do, there are times i feel horrible about this situation, i think how'd i'd feel if i was the person you lived with, i also know that you're not going to leave. She paused for a second and looked at me, i stared back silently. I mean Franco's nice, he's sweet, but he's not you and i don't feel about him like i feel about you, i'm in love with you but i know i can't have you and i can't keep doing this, i feel like i'm in limbo and there are times when i just wish you could be here and i understand you can't but i just think i have to make this decision, to move on, you're the one i want to be with but... she trailed off. I stood there looking at the hardwood floor. I understand, i whispered. She looked at me, her eyes shining with tears. She stepped toward me and wrapped her arms around me. Thank you, she said, for everything, you don't even know the impact you've had on me, she paused for minute her arms still wrapped around me,
that girlfriend of yours must be one helluva woman. I shrugged. It was all i could do. I was now totally numb. It was as if someone had sucked the air right out of my lungs, like i couldn't breath. I stood there like a statue and nodded meaninglessly, a bobblehead not sure what to do.
You do understand don't you? she asked with imploring eyes... Yes, i mumbled... I do. I walked over to the couch and put on my coat. I began to mumble but the only words that fell out were, I'm sorry. She walked over to me and hugged me again. I asked if i could kiss her one last time and she looked up at me as i gave her one last kiss, slowly, tenderly. When it was over i took a deep breath and in a hushed voice i said, goodbye Veronica. Then i turned and walked out the door.
I was crawling low as i went down the steps, i felt sick, my legs were shaky, hitting the cold December air i shivered. I got in my car and sat there numb and dumbfounded, as if all feeling had been drained out of me. It was over and there was not a fucking thing i could do about it. And she was right. I wasn't going to change a god-damn thing because i thought i was the fucking king, the King of North Oakland, and right now that amounted to fuck-all. At the moment i was nothing more than a wounded boy, hurt by love, hurt because in reality i was more worried about the business than anything else. because i felt any shake up would jeopardize what? being a hot shit weed dealer in the East End? what the fuck did it mean? what did any of it mean... i sat there not knowing what to do, knowing i had to go back to my place and face the Waitress with a smile on my face as if all was well when the reality of it was that i was gutted. What a fucking cad! a shitheel, as usual it was all coming back to me, feeling sorry for me, when i was the one causing all the damage, i was the one acting like a privileged and spoiled child, as if i should get everything i want... for what? why? because i was some ranking hood? It was a better thought than facing the fact that i had fucked it up... and i deserved what i got and i didn't deserve a girl as brilliant as Veronica.
But the drug business doesn't stop... my phone was piling up messages and being Thursday it would be a busy night. I drove home to start weighing and bagging the weed for the masses. What else was there for me to do. There was a light that had gone out.