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Here We Go

July 21, 2010 by · No comments

Erin Chandler

Photo: CarbonNYC

Samantha told me my heart had been broken three times. Samantha’s the psychic medium I talked to the other day. I know everybody thinks ‘yeah, yeah’ but she was good and she was right. My heart has been broken three times. All three times felt pretty much the same… lost, lonely, devastated, like I couldn’t breathe… the same except worse, because each time I was a little older, a little wiser and a little more settled into what I thought was going to be my life.

I thought this morning that it was more than likely the chord changes that kept me so in love with Dan. As shallow and horrifying as that sounds, the music he made on the guitar or the piano, the songs he wrote, touched my soul in a way certain music has since I was a child. It made me feel understood, safe. It spoke to me on such a deep level, on such a gut level, that I assumed anyone who could make music like that must be as warm and sensitive as the music itself.

Poetry is no place for a heart that’s a whore…” Martha Wainwright.

We were out in Hollywood, I was thirty-one and he was twenty-six. He walked two yards in front of the rest of us as we sauntered from bar to bar. He had just moved to LA from Montana, with a mandatory rocker stop in Seattle, giving him ‘street cred’ in the world of singer/songwriters. Dan could play the guitar, sing the blues, write beautiful lyrics and perform like a rock star. He was the real deal. He had a heavy heart and a gentle nature with a rain cloud permanently over his head like Linus. I loved his face, his ice blue eyes.
It’s a cliché, the wayward musician who touches hearts and then moves on because he’s such a rambling kinda’ guy. We lived together for five years before he proposed to me on a mountaintop in Butte, Montana, July 4th, during the firework festival. His family was there to congratulate us as we jumped for joy and celebrated. The sky lit up with colorful explosions.

My friend Gina says there always has to be a gardener and a flower, and what we had was two flowers. Eventually, my flower wilted and his ran off with his boss.
Our perfect little bohemian existence crumbled as fast as it came into bloom. The unconditional love and passion, the starry eyed commitment, crumbled like a house of sand. We used to sit in our candle lit bungalow and write down dreams on small pieces of paper. We stuffed them in a tiny bottle and ran outside half naked to bury our wishes in the earth. We made love day and night, and then floated through an ambitious Los Angeles with a secret. Our secret was we had each other.
We talked about ideas and philosophy. I sat in rehearsal studios and dark bars while he played. He waited patiently in dingy dressing rooms as I poured my heart out on stage. We were ambitious. My dreams were enormous. His, although hidden, were as vital to him as breathing.

And darling I want you to know, just in case I don’t come through… I was on to every play, I just wanted you…” Fiona Apple

So before I tell you how I’m studying Kabbalah and it was nobody’s fault, before I say that I love him and love her and surround them with light, they are a part of me and we are all a part of the creator and bla bla bla… let me briefly spell out the nightmare this ‘love story’ turned out to be.
Her name was Lisa. My first love married someone named Lisa. Another Lisa was with my brother when he died. Coincidence? Who knows? This Lisa owned a B movie company on Sunset Blvd. She was a tough hippie chick, long blonde hair parted in the middle, sort of stuck in the eighties with her cropped jackets and riding boots. She was forty-five when she hired him as her assistant.
We were a young married couple going through a rough time, she was a savvy businesswoman who had never been married. Her lawyer fiancé had just broken up with her. Dan became her talented assistant and shoulder to cry on. She was alone and unhappy. In us, she saw something that she wanted… a home, a connection, a marriage.

“I think Lisa is going to turn the company over to me,” he whispered one night in bed, six months after he began working with her. I thought this was a bit weird. He bought it hook line and sinker.
“I think she really likes me.”
She began to give him more responsibility and gave him a new office and the title ‘Producer’. She dangled her very intriguing carrot, “How would you like to direct, score and edit your own movie?”
I’m sure it sounded pretty good. Meanwhile back at the ranch, his overly sensitive wife had just recovered from a full-blown depression fit and bout with alcoholism. To top off that wonderful experience, while doing yoga in our new place, I slipped and cracked my lower back so I couldn’t move.

I lay in bed listening to Norah Jones, taking painkillers and sipping Guinness. He worked all day and then got in bed and read up on how to be a film producer.
“Does Dan know he’s the next big mogul?” Lisa’s friend said at dinner. He smiled like the cat that just ate the canary.
“You have to be patient with me.” I pleaded. “You’re doing what you love and I can’t do what I love now. I’ve been in rehearsal or working on something since I was eighteen and now I’m not doing anything, so if I’m sad or more depressed, please, just be patient with me.”
“We’re married!” he snippily held up his left hand and presented his ring, like it was burning a whole through his finger. “Do you not get that?”
“What would you do if Lisa tried to kiss you?” I asked.
“Well, we’d have to find another way to pay for this house.” He said.

The phone rang early one Saturday morning, he rustled out of bed to get it. I heard Lisa’s voice on the other end,
“Oh my God!” She screamed. “All her credit cards are still here, everything!” He jumped up like his pants were on fire and ran outside. He smoked a cigarette and furiously paced the patio, phone plastered to his ear.
“What? What’s going on?” I asked from the door when he got off.
“Lisa’s dog walker…” he began.
I rolled my eyes.
“I’m not even gonna’ tell you ‘cause you hate her guts already!”
I tried to be patient, “No, what? What is it?”
“Lisa thinks her dog walker committed suicide.” He said somberly.
“Lisa let her dog walker move in with her and then she found out she was unstable and she had her committed.”
“She had her committed?!” I gasped.
“She went and visited her every day!” He screamed at me indignantly.
So this was the way we were going to play it.
“What does this have to do with you?” I asked calmly.
“She’s my boss!” he yelled. “She might not go to Romania for the film. I would like just once to be trained for my job!”
Oh, she’ll go, I thought. She’ll go.

He left the next day and never really came back. Lisa found out her dog walker did indeed jump off a building in downtown Los Angeles. She found out before she got on the plane and had Dan’s shoulder to cry on for eighteen hours.
He called me a week later and said we needed to talk.
“I’m trying to do the marriage and the job and the two don’t seem to fit together.”
“What’s more important to you?” I asked from my hollow body.
“The job.” He said.
Someone called his name and I heard some commotion in the background.
“See! This is exactly it!” he snapped. “They’re calling me to the set and I can’t go because I’m responsible for you!”
Our romance ended there, on the set of a sci-fi movie about a gigantic Rhinoceros Beatle, starring Christopher Atkins from the Blue Lagoon.

It’s becoming hazy in my mind, which is good. Soon it will be just a fading memory. Funny that I couldn’t breathe for days, I literally couldn’t catch my breath. I arranged to get hooked up to some contraption at a woman’s apartment in Studio City that supposedly infused you with good energy and evened out your chakras. I went out and bought five hundred dollars worth of lingerie. I lost fifteen pounds before he got back to town, but the damage had already been done. He came home and moved out in five days.
“This place doesn’t feel like me.” He said.
For the first time in our lives together he wouldn’t look at me, he wouldn’t kiss me. He just kept saying, “I’m sorry.”
She called his cell phone on New Years Eve and he missed it.
“Your girl friend just called.” I said.
“She’s my boss!” He snarled.
It was New Years Day when Dan walked out in the rain with his bags. He pretended he was just going away for a trial run, but he never came back.

He denied the affair all through the make believe therapy sessions that we went to for six months after he moved out. He talked a lot about his childhood. He talked about how I had abandonment issues. He talked about how when we bought our new house he wanted a studio in the guest room, but I insisted on putting my grandmothers bed in there.
“I didn’t think you would move out!” I said. “And I moved it to the garage anyway.”
“See! She’ll do anything to fix it!” he yelled, as if that was a bad thing.
I promised to never drink again.
“That’s not it,” he said. “Although you do have a strange relationship with alcohol.”
Yeah, I can absolutely swim in it when I feel everything slipping away from me.
“You’re going to keep buying furniture we can’t afford and houses we can’t afford.” Dan said. “The minute we get comfortable in one place you move us somewhere else!”
I have moved every three years since I was born. He lived in the same house his whole life. Maybe that had something to do with it. I exhaust myself now that I think about me, but there was somewhere I wanted to be and it wasn’t where we were. I thought we were building this extraordinary life, and all of our dreams were going to come true.
“You’re a travelin’ show.” My dad said one day as I packed us up yet again. “I feel sorry for Dan.”

I got sick of rehashing the past and turned to the therapist, “You know I don’t want to do this for six months and then have him say to me, ‘I’m not coming home.’”
He looked me straight in the eye, “I’m not coming home.” Then he burst into tears. I went cold.
A year later I saw him walking across Sunset Blvd. pushing a baby carriage alongside Lisa and a nanny. It brought back the same feeling of my other two failed relationships. My young college love lasted five years before he told me, “I just don’t think I’m in love with you anymore.” That was like a bullet. Afterwards, I had a passionate three-year relationship with an Italian love. He said I was like an angel and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. One day he just disappeared. He tried to reconcile a few months later, but I could never go back.

Does love just last a few years? Is it possible for someone to fall deeply in love with me and stay in love? I had prayed and chanted desperately over a candle for Dan, “Our love is stronger than any other force in this world. Our love is stronger than any person who wants us to part. Our love is stronger than any evil or bad wishes from others. Our love is stronger than Lisa and her manipulations.” It wasn’t.
I’ll keep trying, I’ll keep praying. I’ve learned from each relationship but I won’t ever be perfect. I hope there is someone out there who can love all of my imperfections, who can endure the flaws and stops and starts. Or maybe we’re supposed to touch many different people and have different experiences. I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m hoping I have another chance to get it right.

You gotta’ hope that there’s someone for you, as strange as you are… who can cope with the things that you do without trying too hard…” Jon Brion

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