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Norfolk Revisited

I cycle through women and relationships in general with the ease that most people do when changing shirts or ties. I dont know how I became this way, although Id venture to say it's because of my overall mentality. While Im social when I want to be, and have great conversational abilities, probably as a byproduct of reading and writing an inordinate amount of time all throughout my life, I feel at my best when Im alone. As an only child, Ive been accosted on all sides by the ignorant and the innocent, the grindingly corrosive and genuinely interesting, about how my upbringing affected me. In response, I usually quote Thoreau, and inform them that my childhood was ecstasy. "But dont you want brothers and sisters?", no, I have my cousins for that. "Do you think it made you weird?" This one used to bother me, now it amuses me greatly. Apparently a preference for solitude begets social dysfunction. Funnily, Ive always found those that need to be surrounded by large crowds painfully insecure and terrified of their own thoughts. Do I believe that my lack of siblings contributed enormously to my development as a writer and general bibliophile? Definitely. Do I abhor intrusions into my privacy while Im writing or enjoying a book? Certainly. A big surprise to those who know me socially or casually is that Im very introverted by nature. There have been many times Ive had the unwanted pleasure of running into acquaintances Ive partied with abruptly on a lazy Sunday afternoon at a coffeeshop or at Barnes & Noble. They begin the interaction brimming with the remnants of the boundless energy we shared the night prior, but it quickly dwindles when they realize that they're not talking with the same person. The unbridled enthusiasm I have for parties and opportunities to be social in large crowds has abated, replaced with a quiet contemplativeness and affability. I wont regale you with stories or venture to cause you to erupt into fits of hilarity because my focus is no longer outward, it's inward. Gender is no barrier to these sparse, spartan occasions. Ive turned away opportunities to speak with pretty girls and cool guys alike because I need my space. Without it Ill explode virulently, and no one likes that, myself included.


In Norfolk I felt utterly abandoned and alone. With my closest family north in Maryland and my life across the vast expanse of the country, I was the consumate loner. Of course I had friends, lots of them, but I still preferred to be by myself the majority of the time. When you're away from home, no matter what hellhole you find yourself in, you carve out your niches. For one friend, it was a hookah lounge across from our favored bar, where we exchanged our guns for gin and drank until our ruddy faces could melt the omnipotent snowfall. For another, it was military housing, the site of many rap battles, fights and drunken idiocy. One morning I was awoken by a sharp kick in the ribs by an inebriated redneck in sharp toed cowboy boots. Ignoring the pulsating pain in my head that matched my newly bruised ribs in intensity, I shot up ready to fight, only to be held down and forced to shotgun vodka. As the world spun and I continued the genocide against my brain cells, I did only logical thing; holding down one of our newly sober friends. He had the audacity to wake up completely hangover free. Asshole.


My safe haven in Virginia spanned about 20 miles. It began with Ruby Tuesday's. A standby from Pensacola, I braved the harsh winds and icy footing daily to dine there. An Arnold Palmer with fresh lemon and lime, occasionally fortified with Ketel One vodka, went a long way towards dulling my constant disdain for the entire state. Warm Penne Pasta topped with double portions of chicken, shrimp and Andouille sausage prepared with genuine affection by Lucky, the elderly chef who boasted of his Naval retirement filled the void left by the loss of homecooked meals. About 15 minutes away by cab laid Ghent, Virginia's approximation of Davis. Friends were enjoyed along with delicious spaghetti and Ynot Italian Grill. I ate there alone, by choice, so stow your moistening eyes, on my birthday in 2014. Following a break up, I spent the day anxiously waiting for her text. Morning awakened and grew into a languid afternoon. The sun sat low in the sky, providing an enjoyable, constant warmth that laid contently in the background. I sat over my second plate of spaghetti, trying vainly to ignore the sobbing that threatened to cave in my chest. My friends had all texted me, asking if Id gotten my daily fill of penis, expressing honest and slicing disappointment that Id chosen to be a ghost on the day they wanted to spend with me. But they understood. My phone vibrated. A girl I had met 2 weeks prior sent me a stylized Happy Birthday motif surrounded by hearts while my heart was shattering from disappointment and neglect. Night gradually overtook the tranquility of a lavender hued evening, and the void outside settled in. I stared into it and steeled my resolve. I would need no one, my heart sealed in iron. A smile began to form on my lips, playing to my new mindset, deepening as I realized what a little bitch I had been. Feelings are fleeting, not all that different from love, and if one could leave me, so could the other. The blonde waitress returned. I got her number.

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