The Urges That Trouble Young Men

And even though we shared the same bedroom, we remained worlds apart. Even though our clothes were kept in the same dresser, we rarely saw each other undress… By the beginning of fall, our relationship had completely fallen apart.

My watch stopped moving when she left.

It was the end of summer, one of the hottest on record, and I remember sitting on the porch of our apartment trying to fight the heat with tattered wet towels and slushy frozen lemonade.

I remember watching her sunbathe in the bikini I bought her, stretched out across her colorful beach towel with large designer frames shielding her dark green eyes from the sun. And when other guys would walk past, I’d watch their eyes drift from the sidewalk and onto her body and I could feel my fingers digging into my palm, both hands forming aggressively tight fists.

“The fuck you lookin’ at?” I’d shout, standing up defensively with my chest puffed out like some kind of cartoon. But the guys wouldn’t respond, they’d just look at me and laugh to themselves. And my girlfriend would just turn towards me and peer over the rim of her sunglasses long enough to tell me to sit down and shut up without moving her lips.

So I did. And I would.

At night we would sit on opposite ends of the couch, staring listlessly at the images flashing across the television in silence. We would watch sitcoms that weren’t funny while utterly ignoring each other’s sexual advances or hints of intimacy.

And whenever I’d see a handsome actor seductively delivering his lines, I’d wonder whether or not he looked like the guy that my girlfriend cheated on me with. I would glare blankly at the illuminated images, lost in my own imagination, cringing at the scenarios brewing between my ears.

I remember watching her leave.

It was my fault. I chased her away. I broke her down.

I took off the gold watch and heaved it against the wall in one last desperate act of defiance. And after she left, I picked up the watch and examined the shattered glass and the broken gears sprawled across the carpet.