“Giving too many fucks is bad for you.” Mark Manson
Karleen was introvert, sensitive and German. I’m outgoing, spontaneous and loud. Dating her was challenging. We spoke English and got our ideas across, but it felt rough, like driving a car on the wrong gear. The cultural barrier, I guess. We used to work side by side behind our computer. She played with the school’s finance while I wrote my stories. Those were the times of silence, focus and harmony… We were in sync, until I broke the mood with a loud burst of laughter.
I had been writing consistently for 33 weeks. The story #33 was about my time with Alex in Baja California. Writing about someone else is touchy. I genuinely cared about Alex, as a former lover and a friend. And for the first time, my words would have a direct impact on her.
The exercise was delicate. I had to sort through facts and my perception, but also consider hers. We had beautiful moments, drama games and funny misunderstandings. My sense of humor is dark, mean, and distasteful to sensitive people. Alex was sensitive and sometimes a drama queen. I wrote the first draft in one selfish sitting, puking phrase after phrase. The words were as raw as the inside of a blue steak. I laughed all along.
My wise friend Pablo has been my editor since day one. Editing is like untangling headphones from your pocket; it’s where the magic happens. The same ideas remain, but the phrasing gets leaner, smoother, and melodic. Pablo laughed at the first draft and warned me Alex would not be pleased. So, I wrote a second version, a more appropriate one. I sent the two to Alex and asked her to choose the one she preferred.
I received two long voice messages. Alex was disappointed. With a hint of tears, she stammered between judgements and accusations. I called her on the spot.
- Hey, what is that all about?
- You gotta be FUCKING kidding me!
- I don’t understand your reaction, that’s why I’m calling. So…what is it?
- What you did was lower than anything I would have expected from you
- I guess you didn’t like the raw version
- You disappointed me. I would never be able to trust you again.
- What are you talking about? I sent you the story so you can choose BEFORE I post it!
- How kind of you…
- Yeah it is kind. I even wrote two versions just to make it okay.
- You don’t get it.
- No, apparently I don’t. Explain it to me then please. I’m listening.
- You disrespected me. You shared our intimacy and revealed details that are nobody’s business. All so you could crack a laugh with your friends…how pathetic.
- I HAVEN’T SHARED SHIT YET! That’s why I wrote you. To get your opinion BEFOREHAND, because I CARE!!!
- If you did care you would delete everything about me, as a sign of respect.
- I told you last year that I would write about us. You said you were totally fine with it. If I knew you would react like that…
- You really don’t get it.
- So, the soft one it is?
- NO! None of them. Remove all descriptions and don’t mention me again. Find something else to write about!
- I can’t. It’s my story as well.
- If you care about me at all, you would.
I took a long, deep breath.
- FINE! I’ll rewrite it… and kill the character.
- Thank you
We had shared so much together… I thought our bond was stronger than that but Alex slapped my delusions away. I apologized for hurting her but still. Her words were bitter, like an unfair death sentence. She cut me off her life.
I lost an amazing lover and a friend that day, all over a few butt jokes. Was it worth it? Despite my good intentions, there was nothing I could do about it. Alex’s backlash left a scar in my mind. A scar that would shape all my future writings.
Of course the truth is precious... but maybe some truths do not bear saying.