It was supposed to be the halfway mark of the trip. The plan was that we would pick-up Sylvia, the Airstream trailer, drive up to Maine, and start down the East Coast. The discovery that Sylvia was a death trap changed everything. Instead of moving forward, we were stuck in New York for a couple of days while we waited for repairs that would make the trailer roadworthy. Margie was happy, the break meant she had plenty of time to organize her receipts, work on her taxes, and pay her bills. She skipped out the door to visit her accountant and I stayed in the apartment and organized film.
It took me two hours to write three pages of notes that began and ended with “all work and no play makes Heather a dull girl.” After that, I decided to call Lisa. Since I left L.A., my relationship had morphed from lover, to concerned housemate, to angry tech support. On day 2, we talked about the loneliness of a single bed. By Day 5, our discussions centered around rain drainage. Two days ago, I was screaming into the phone “click on the fucking apple in the left hand corner of the screen and tell me what the fuck you see.” But, it was February 14th and we had been together for three years, surely we could pull it together for one romantic conversation on Valentine’s Day.
Lisa answered the phone with a mysterious, “I have something I want you to listen to.” I don’t know why I thought it would be sexy. She put the receiver inside something that sounded like the test of the emergency broadcast system in a wind tunnel.
“That was our dryer.”
Next I heard something that I guessed was a leaky faucet.
“Rain leaking in the kitchen window.” I was 0 for 2.
The third stop on the tour was a visual. “There is runny shit in front of the back door. Bonesy refuses to go the bathroom outside in the rain.”
I was hoping for sweet nothings and I got an incredibly disturbing sensory tour of our house – and, that was the good part of the phone call. What followed was a detailed description of our finances. Our bank account was over drawn by $245, when the bank fees were added in, that number would rise to over $400. Lisa wasn’t scheduled to start a casting job for another week. We had no money anywhere.
I was accused of abandoning her, our house, our life. What could I say? I didn’t know how to fix anything. “Thank God I’m not there” was the only thought I had at the moment. So, I just sat quietly until she eventually hung up on me.