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LAce Posted Monday, January 17th, 2005
The Codependent Guide
Patricia Parkinson

How is it that I always end up with the guy that should have loser stamped on his forehead? It’s to the point where I can tell when I’m about to meet one of them; and not just because he’s the only one that wants to meet me either. So, here’s how it goes. I’m staring at this guy, not the best looking guy, but there’s something about him, an edge, that I want to smooth out and run my tongue over.

He’s aloof and wears Levis, button fly - kind of loose - I hate tight. He’s fit, has to be. I haven’t been working out all these years to end up with a slob. I have some pride. He’s in bare feet; this scenario takes place at a beach party, near a hot springs. We’re suntanned in white t-shirts, drinking sangria, getting a bit stoned; all those good “s” words like “smoldering” and “sexy.”

We’ve been giving each other the eye all night. We circle around, stake out our territory and laugh at jokes no one else gets. He stands next to me by the fire and offers me a cigarette. I have trouble getting it lit in the warm breeze. Atlanta Rhythm Section plays from someone’s ghetto blaster. “I am so into you. Just can’t think of nothing else,” like a sign from the God of music. He takes out his lighter and I lean in. His hands cup my face over the flame. Our eyes meet when I raise my head. I love him already.

“Do you wanna go for a walk?” He asks stepping away.

We stroll along the shore, the water laps at our toes, our fingers touch and our hands find each other’s.

Then I ask my soul mate nominee this question.

“So, where do you live?” I get one of two responses.

“I’ve been living with friends until I get my shit together.” Or;
“I’ve been living with my parents until I get my shit together.” He’s 42 years old.

Why doesn’t he just come right and say it? “I’ve been scrounging off these people long enough. Now I’m going to scrounge off you.” But you know, even if he did, I’d still have gone for that walk and fucked him at the hot springs. No question. Our relationship was going to be different. This time, I’d make it work.

I’m a smart woman that’s made foolish choices. Dr. Laura and Melody Beattie aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know. A self-help book where I have to write things down is too much work. Does anybody do that stuff? I want to know how to get through life and avoid these situations; when to turn and run from the beach screaming. There should be a manual. Fuck “Codependent No More.” I want “Codependent, The Guide.”

There’d be twelve signs. I’m getting too old to climb steps. You wouldn’t have to believe in a higher power or make restitution. I’m talking about a guide, not a lifestyle change. I’ve accepted my shortcomings. I understand them. This is how I’ll recognize them, when the screaming will start.

Twelve signs that you’re in, or are about to embark upon, a codependent relationship:

Sign 1: He’s the best fuck you’ve ever had.

Sign 2: His credit card is declined on your first date. You pay. He never pays you back. You say nothing.

Sign 3: You continue to pay throughout the relationship.

Sign 4: He washes his clothes at your house before going to a movie Friday night. Translation; You wash his clothes before going to a movie Friday night. Fold them too.

Sign 5: You’re late for said movie. Go to the bar instead. He gets drunk. You drive, oh, I forgot, he doesn’t have a license.

Sign 6: He can’t get it up when you go to bed.

Sign 7: You wake up the next morning to find he’s peed on your toilet seat cover; the nice Wamsutta one that matches your towels.

Sign 8: You clean it up.

Sign 9: He only tells you you’re pretty when he’s drunk.

Sign 10: He only tells you he loves you when he’s drunk.

Sign 11: Even after all this has come to pass, you still suck his cock, because he’s apologized and the cycle has started again.

Sign 12: You’re consumed by your love for him.

But do we really? Love him? I think it’s the honeymoon phase we love. The make up sex and the high we get when it feels right. It’s an addiction. And when it starts to slip away, as it always does, and we approach the valley, we scramble around in our minds, looking for our next fix.

My fear, my truth, is this; I’m dependent on my codependency.

I don’t think they have a book for it.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Myfanwy Collins on Tuesday, January 18th, 2005 at 9:19 AM
Wow, Patricia, this kicks ass. Funny and heartbreaking--just the right mix.

Posted by Kathy Fish on Tuesday, January 18th, 2005 at 11:25 AM
Oh god, this is great, Patricia and very, very true...excellent story!

Posted by jeff landon on Tuesday, January 18th, 2005 at 11:49 AM
Hey this is really, really great, Patricia Parkinson. And...so what if I still live with my parents!!! They're really nice!

Posted by Katie Weekley on Tuesday, January 18th, 2005 at 7:03 PM
Great piece, Patricia!

Posted by Elaine Little on Wednesday, January 19th, 2005 at 9:25 AM
This is wonderful, Patricia. It hits the right spot, then plays like a fine violin! Great job!

Posted by Katrina Denza on Friday, January 21st, 2005 at 9:10 AM
This is great!

Posted by Miriam Kotzin on Saturday, January 22nd, 2005 at 11:09 PM
The sense of humor in this is so droll. It's delightful. Too old to climb!

Posted by Anna McDougall on Monday, February 28th, 2005 at 2:48 PM
Enjoyed this very much. Too bad it's so damn familiar.



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