Andrew comes over in the morning and decides to wake me up early. Needless to say, I am not in the mood for his bullshit.
“What is it this time?” I wonder aloud.
“It’s about your story.”
“I need you to stop writing about me now,” Andrew demands.
I laugh in his face.
“That’s not how it works, honey. Sorry.”
He looks at me angrily.
“If you had any respect for me, you would stop writing about me.”
I laugh at him again.
“But I don’t have any respect for you. Why would I have any respect for you? You don’t have any respect for me. Respect is something to be earned, darling. You only think you deserve it because everyone around you is sucking your dick all the time. This whole ‘respect’ thing is all just another part of your game. I’m not just going to give it to you just because you demand it. You have to earn it. So far, you have done absolutely nothing to earn it.”
Andrew takes in a deep breath and glares at me.
“I’m somebody important,” he says.
“Andrew, you’re nobody important. You’re an overgrown fratboy who owns a bar in a small town in the middle of fucking nowhere. You don’t even take care of it anymore. You just hang out in your mansion counting your money all day while everyone else does the dirty work for you. You don’t contribute anything to society but drunk drivers on the road. Again, I ask you: Why the hell should I have any respect for you? Because you have money? Wow! You must have worked so hard for it.”
“Is irrelevant to me.”
“Can get over it. I’m not a threat to her. Or am I? Hmmm… if you’re so concerned that what I’m writing about you is going to have a troublesome effect on your marriage, maybe it’s not built on such a solid foundation in the first place. Besides, you don’t seem to have much concern for her when you’re loudly complaining to anyone who will listen about how much you want to get away from her. I suppose it’s always easier to blame a woman instead of dealing with your own shit. Typical man.”
“I’m having another child.”
“No, your wife is having another child. She’s the one doing all the labor. All you did was contribute a vial of sperm.”
Andrew glares at me again.
“Furthermore,” I continue, “That’s not my problem. You wanted to be a character. You knew the deal when you signed your name in blood. You don’t get to decide you don’t want to be a character anymore just because it’s suddenly inconvenient for you. You think any of my exes wanted to be characters? No. But they should’ve thought about that before they acted like raging assholes.”
“I’ll sue you.”
“For the one dollar and some change I have to my name? Sounds like a waste of time and money on your part. I might as well just walk in and give you all the spare change I have lying around my house.”
Andrew slams his fist against the doorway and starts pacing back and forth.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
“Why are you doing this to me?”
“I’m not doing anything to you!”
“Will you please stop gaslighting me?” I ask tiredly. “I am so over this bullshit. I’ve been steadily working on solving my depression and anxiety issues for five years. I’m trying everything and I’ve seen major improvements. I’m not crazy. I know exactly who you are and what you’re doing to me. You’re not going to win. I’m going to stand my ground. You are my character. You belong to me now. There is no escape.”
“I’ll ban you from the bar.”
“I don’t need the bar, Andrew. Bloody Mary’s already belongs to me. I will carry it in my heart with me wherever I go. You can’t stop me from writing about it or any of the characters inside of it. It’s too late. It’s already mine. You belong to me, and all of Bloody Mary’s Bar belongs to me, and I belong to this notebook and pencil.”
Andrew gets quiet for awhile and looks at me worriedly.
“I’m afraid,” he whispers. “I’m so afraid.”
“That sounds like a personal problem to me,” I say. “What do you expect me to do about it? Hey man, I get it. I used to live my life in fear too. The anxiety and depression nearly killed me. And yet… I have survived. Part of what keeps me going is my writing, which you cannot and will not ever take away from me. If you’re so miserable all the time, then go up on the mountaintop and make peace with the universe. It’s not my fucking problem.”
“But my life… you’re ruining my life!”
I sigh heavily and get up from the bed. I walk over to him and put my hands on his face.
“Andrew, I am a writer. It is my job is to show you the reflection of yourself that you’re blind to. What you see in mirror now has been distorted by your narcissism and greed. You don’t even know who you are. You just take on whatever role people put in front of you that day. I feel sorry for you, darling. I really do.”
“You’re a crazy bitch!”
“No, I’m not. I’m Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire. And you, Andrew Darling, are my favourite character. I am not afraid of you. You cannot hurt me anymore. You belong to me now. I have immortalized you on the page forever. There is no escape.”
Andrew looks at me sadly and pulls me into his arms.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I love you.”
“No, you don’t. But I do love you, if only for the sake of my own sanity. In real life, you’re just a Monet. You look good from far away, but up close you’re a big ol’ mess. Thank you for the inspiration you have provided me. We’ll be making our trip to Belize sometime soon. Now if you will excuse me, I’m going back to bed. Will you kindly get the fuck out of my house in the meantime? Thanks.”
Andrew shakes his head and lies down on the bed. He closes his eyes and goes to sleep for a very long time. Against my better judgment, I climb in next to him and fall asleep too.