By Justin Jones
My ex was cruel. And hot. And masculine. And mean. And [insert any positive adjective here]. And [insert any negative adjective here]. He possessed a blend of the most wonderful—as well as the most tragic— qualities one might imagine an ex having: Enough good in him to fall in love with, and keep me hooked, and enough bad in him to cry over (and keep me hooked).
Above anything else, though, he was smart. He wasn’t an intellectual by any stretch, but his common sense and chessstrategist- like thinking was impressive. He knew, for example, how to disarm me in any argument. I called it his “Cowboy Maxim.” “Who is that?” I question him in bed one morning. He’s leaning off the edge and texting someone. Silence. “WHO are you texting?!” I ask, more forcefully.
I suspect he’s cheating on me. The notion calls for sleepless nights, but my distrust isn’t enough for me to break up with him. I am in love, after all. He doesn’t respond, and still he texts. I grab his shoulder and lightly smack his arm. “BRADLEY! Are you texting that boy I saw you with?” He turns toward me and kisses my lips. He tickles my neck with his scruff. I’m pissed, of course, but I can’t help but laugh.
I resort to punching his arm to get him off me (an act that he thinks is cute, which further infuriates me). He suddenly jumps off the bed and runs into his walk-in closet. I’m left by myself, my sides hurting from laughing. I sit up, frustrated, and suddenly very weary. I’m insanely jealous now, and whether it’s the boy with whom he’s cheating on me, or his mother, he knows his silence as to the question of whom he was texting pisses me off.
“BRADLEY!” I yell. “Please tell me you weren’t texting that boy.” “I wasn’t texting that boy,” he says happily from his closet. This angers me even more. “No, tell me the truth! Were you texting him or not?” There is a silence, and then from the closet he emerges wearing only underwear, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat: a combination that, for whatever reason, never ceases to cure my peeve.
He smiles at me as he walks over to the bed. “Why, hello there, young man,” he says in an exaggerated western accent. He puts one leg up on the bed. The shift in weight emphasizes his muscular thighs. UGH. Why does he have to do this? Can’t he see that I’m mad and that I wanna stay mad?! He does this all the time, sometimes with flowers in hand. I can’t pinpoint what it is about him in this moment.
He’s still the man who pissed me off moments ago. But the scene is too seductive. I fall for it every time. He kneels on the bed, and the scene gets graphic. An hour later, he’ll be holding me. I will have forgotten that I was ever mad. And he will continue to be him, the man with the Cowboy Maxim.Justin Jones, 25, is a writer based in Minneapolis. In addition to his column lovejones, Justin pens Through These Eyes, a bi-weekly column for Lavender Magazine. He writes about things like being alive, being in love, and drinking too much. Facebook.com/JustinJonesWriter