Chapter 31

It all started when we were in Mexico and Jimmy was staying at our house, which was more like living at our house. Jimmy and I can be a blow-up. It can happen even thousands of miles apart.

I grew up with Jimmy, we’ve been best friends ever since, but I’m very controlling, he’s very controlling, that can be a problem, and always has been.

When Brian and I were in Mexico, no matter who called us, I answered by saying “Ola!” When Jimmy called, I said the same thing. “Ola!” Brian and I were having a good time in Mexico. Everything was ola OK.

“You and I are going to speak English today,” said Jimmy.

“What?” I said, not OK with it. “The first thing out of your mouth is not going to be about what I’m going to be doing.” 

I hate being told what I’m going to do. After we got home, and after Jimmy got done being sick, I finally blew up.

“Why is she so mad?” asked Jimmy.

“Dude, it was you who kind of did it,” said Brian.

“I respect that,” said Jimmy.

“You treat her like a two-year–old,” said Brian.

That’s what he does. He’s staying at my house, he’s not paying rent, living for free, and he treats me like a two-year-old. He’s like family, so he drives me crazy. Brian calls him husband number two. He also calls him my child.

“Go talk to your son, he called, he’s called you twenty times today,” says Brian.

Anytime I talk to Jimmy on the phone he tells me how fat my husband is. Brian’s not even close to being fat. He’s fit, but it’s a man joke between them. All they do is sit around and tell each other how fat they are. I say, I can’t handle it, I’m either going upstairs or I’m going to beat the hell out of both of you.

“I think you’re both idiots and you both deserve to be fat.”

But then they start on me, look who’s talking, and the fat jokes come out.

Jimmy comes from a fucked-up background, like me. That’s probably why we hung out together. We both had screwed-up families. Jimmy’s dad blamed him for his divorce, said he was the reason he was leaving his wife, Jimmy’s mother, when Jimmy was in high school.

“You know that’s not true,” I said, but there’s no telling Jimmy’s dad anything.

“My dad wonders why I do drugs,” said Jimmy. He did stupid stuff growing up, did drugs, drank, committed grand theft auto, he was so mad at his parents.

Jimmy is tall, more than six foot, more than 200 pounds. He’s like a giant to me. He was a hockey player once. I always tell him he’s like a big brick wall in my way.

After he moved out of our house Jimmy went down to visit his father in Florida. His dad was once a bigwig cop in Cleveland. He retired to Florida, to The Villages, south of Ocala, north of Orlando. His father was getting divorced again at 80 years of age.

“She’s a bitch,” Jimmy said about his stepmother.

“Stop that,” I said. 

He can’t even talk to his original mother, or mothers in general.

He re-connected with a friend of his, Lynn, who lives in Ocala, and who had been going through a divorce for more than three years. Jimmy’s dad keeps a horse at Lynn’s stables.

Lynn is a polo player. Jimmy found out from hanging around her that polo people are scum. It’s a dirty sport. He doesn’t want her playing it anymore because she’s had heart surgery. If she ever falls off her horse she’s going to die.

“She’s been making comments to me,” he said when he called me. “Do you think she’s coming on to me?

“I don’t know Jimmy, maybe she’s just really nice.”

“Yeah, she is really nice,” he said.

“She is friends with your dad,” I said.

She asked Jimmy to drive her dogs to Santa Fe. He said yes and she flew him and his son JJ down to Ocala. JJ is planning on becoming a Marine, like his older brother. They took her dogs and all the stuff she wanted to be taken and drove everything to New Mexico. She was planning on staying there for a couple of months

After JJ went home, she invited Jimmy to stay for a while. That’s when she made her move. After that they started dating.

“She is nice,” he said.

“Ah hah!” I laughed.

After he came back to Cleveland, he finished some classes he was taking, packed up his stuff, and it was, all right, I’m moving in with her. He moved to Florida, into her $2.7 million-dollar house. She’s the daughter of a rich man. Her parents are moneybags in Cleveland.

But there were complications. When Lynn’s dad found out she was dating Jimmy, he threatened to kill Jimmy, never mind that Lynn is 60-something-years-old and Jimmy is 50 years old.

There’s some strange relationship going on between Lynn and her dad.

It’s a mess what he’s got going with her. She’s got issues. Jimmy was ready to pack up and leave a couple of times. He talked it over with himself and me. 

“I’ll believe you’re footloose when I see you standing on my doorstep again,” I said.

We all know the score, but we can’t say anything to him because he is so stubborn.

“When we were in New Mexico all her shitty friends were there,” he said. “She’s only got friends because she’s rich. Everybody wants something from her, wants what they can get from hanging out with rich people. Jimmy don’t play that. Jimmy don’t date girls for the money.”

Then to his surprise he found out his 80-year-old dad has a crush on his girlfriend. “He’s always kissing on her,” he said. Everybody in the development thinks Jimmy’s dad has slept with Lynn. Nobody knows if he has.

It’s absolutely kind of freaky. He’s trying to be nice to his dad about it, trying to let him know in a nice way that he should stop being the old creepy guy.

“It’s just really hard,” he said.

“I bet it is,” I said. “I bet it is.”

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