Cindy, the lonely skeptic


I met Cindy at a weird time in my life. I had just gotten out of rehab in New Mexico, and was desperate for change. I hitched it to Austin and secured work as the bookkeeper at a realty company. I rented a small room, not far from the capitol building. I was trying to disappear, I suppose.

I fell off the wagon pretty quickly. I mean, I was able to stay away from junk and blow, even pills, but not booze. I just don’t feel like a man if I’m not spending hours at a time in a bar. So there I was, crouched at some dive, reading a biography of Charlie Parker, when I caught sight of Cindy, across the way, smoking a cigarette and staring off into space. From her body language I could tell that she didn’t have a boyfriend, but more importantly, I could tell that she didn’t want one – a quality in women I find unbearably attractive.

I approached, convinced that she was the woman I would start my new life with. I found out she was a painter and attempted to impress her with my knowledge of abstract expressionism. I subtly dropped some glamorous tidbits about my past as a music manager in LA, but was vague about what I was doing now. I turned on my considerable charm, convinced she would buy in.

“I think you’ve spent a little too much time reading The Game, Knox,” she told me, as she stubbed out her cigarette and walked away. It was a tougher blow than it should have been. I’ve certainly been rejected many times before, but as I was chatting with her, I felt like I was getting back to my old self. And the shut down was devastating, though, not debilitating.

I chased after her outside the bar. “Cindy, listen. I’m fine with you rejecting me. You’re absolutely right to. But I’d rather you reject the real me. I’m not a band manager. I’m a bookkeeper. Three weeks ago, I got out of a six-month stint in rehab, and I don’t really have anything to look forward to except for the next bottle of scotch. So yeah, you can reject me, now. I just wanted to take moment to be honest with you.”

Instead of turning me away, she took me home.  We made passionate love, for what seemed like days and then fell asleep, exhausted. When I awoke, she was standing over me, full dressed, smoking a cigarette. I looker at her groggily, smiling and reached for leg. She stepped back and said, “Knox. This was a pity fuck. You shouldn’t plan on seeing me again.”

“Jesus,” I said, “I would have been better off if you’d just rejected me.”

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