A tale of two Garths. Chapter 27. Act-traction.
“Only one of you can sign the lease in case you break up,” the short, fat woman with flaming red hair told Garth and I as we handed over the check for our first month’s rent and security deposit.
“But we’re not going to break up,” Garth told her.
“Yes, but in case you do.”
“But we’re not!” he told her clearly getting offended. You tell her baby! I thought as I looked at this woman wondering how she had escaped OZ to become our new apartment manager.
“But you might. And because of that only one of you can sign the lease,” she insisted. I hadn’t signed a lease since what I like to refer to as “The Dorchester Incident of 1991.” And because of said incident, I was sent to collections for non-payment of a security deposit. And it wasn’t because I couldn’t pay it. It was because I refused to pay it. The landlord was trying to squeeze every penny out of the tenants of Dorchester by charging for things like broken bathroom windows when the bathrooms didn’t even have any windows! I knew he was going to send me to collections but it was a matter of principal. He already had $700 of our security deposit and there was no way in hell I was giving him one penny more. So because of this we thought it might look better if Garth signed the lease. My name wouldn’t end up on another lease until the year 2000.
“Okay, I’ll sign it. But just so you know. We are NOT going to break up,” Garth told her as he signed his name on the dotted line. And it was done. We were officially living together. He and I stood there with our arms intertwined and looked at the little white building in the tiny cul-de-sac just off Moorpark Street and the busy Coldwater Canyon Blvd.
We walked into the courtyard of the 5 apartment complex and made our way upstairs and to the very back corner. It was a small one bedroom but it was ours. When you first walked into the small apartment you noticed the large bay windows that overlooked the jungle like courtyard with the Athena style goddess statue in the middle. Posing as if to say, “Yeah, I know it’s not the nicest place. But as long as I’m here it will make you feel like your $600 a month is worth it.” And she did.
The kitchen was so small and tight it could really only fit one person at a time. Why the hell did I let him talk me into this apartment? I thought to myself as we both tried and failed to enter the kitchen at the same time. The bedroom was just past the kitchen and I’m not really sure what shape it was because in all of my years of schooling I have never once seen a shape quite like this. I even googled shapes to help describe it but the closest I could come up with was a parallelogram. But it’s squarer on one side and pointier on the other. Then there was the walk-in closet and considering neither one of us owned much it was perfect for what we needed. It also had a coat closet we were able to stash coats, work out stuff, the iron, and the M-80’s my mom scored for me and gave me for my 25th birthday. Don’t ask.
“Maybe we should get rid of these,” I said taking the 2 dozen M-80’s back out of the closet. “You know if there is a fire we have enough explosives here to blow a hole right through this wall.”
“Nah, keep em. We might find a reason to use them,” Garth said. So I put them back in the closet next to my Body Of Steel work out tapes and prayed that if there was a fire we could get out before it hit that side of the building.
Next to the coat closet was the bathroom. This was probably my favorite room in the house. It was so open and large and had such a beautiful view of the parking lot to the liquor store behind our complex. I mean yeah, we saw bums and drunks and all kinds of seedy stuff go down out there. But on a nice night with the window open you could get a lovely breeze flowing through there. Not to mention it saved us a bundle on cable. Why watch HBO when you can live it!
Our apartment was right next door to Ryan, one of Garth’s best friends. But Ryan’s apartment was actually normal, in the middle of the complex, and overlooked the swimming pool of the apartment complex next door. I hate you Ryan. But we had each other.
Garth and I had already had couple of dressers, and a mattress with a box spring we laid on the floor. We found a green futon and a love seat at the Goodwill and I had a coffee table I had been dragging around with me since San Diego. I’m not exactly sure where we scored the mini fridge but it didn’t really matter because we couldn’t afford much food. A bigger fridge would have just made our small amount of food look depressing anyway. But what I DID have was a CD player, TV, and VCR. Now these were the money items. Who cared about the rest? As long as we had these essentials that was all that really mattered. Right? RIGHT?
“Right Sassy?” I asked my cat as I stood back and looked at my new apartment. “Isn’t this great!” She looked back at me and the look she gave me said, “Are you fucking kidding me? You gave up checkered tile, hardwood floors, and a private balcony for this? You’re going to regret this. Mark my words. You’ll regret this.”
“Shut up cat. Don’t forget who feeds you,’ I told her.
“You gained weight!” my acting teacher David said to me one day as he and his girlfriend Shevonne came into Stanley’s for lunch.
“Oh, I did?” I asked as I looked down at my non-existent waist looking for the mound of fat he was referring to.
“No, it looks good. You’re too skinny,” he told me.
“She’s in love,” Shevonne said teasing me.
“I am. I really, really am,” I said as I beamed.
“So when do we get to meet him?” David asked.
“Well I actually wanted to talk to you about that. He wants to come to class. Would that be okay?”
“As long as he doesn’t distract you, I don’t see a problem,” David told me. I was overjoyed. I was finally going to get to show him off to my acting friends.
“David HATES me,” Garth told me as we drove back to the valley after his first class.
“Why do you say that?”
“Stacy, he keeps calling me Jericho. I told him three times my name is Garth but he still kept calling me Jericho!”
“Um…” I didn’t know what to say. I had kind of become sort of a teacher’s pet. I wanted to please Garth but at the same time I was excelling in class. I was knocking every scene I had out of the park and didn’t want my boyfriend ruining it for me.
“I’m sure he likes you. He’s just really bad with names,” I tried to reassure him. But it didn’t stop. Week after week David called Garth Jericho. And week after week I got more and more uncomfortable.
“I think he may be a distraction to you,’ David said as he pulled me aside one night. No, you’re distracting me! If you would just call my boyfriend by his REAL name there wouldn’t be so much tension and I wouldn’t feel like I’m walking on eggshells all the fucking time! Can’t you just do that for me? But that’s not what I said. Nice, insecure, wanting to please everyone Stacy resided in my body and in my mind during this time in my life.
“He’s not a distraction. Really, he isn’t,” I told David giving him my big puppy dog eyes. But I could tell David wasn’t happy because what he did next was enough to push any mortal man and woman over the edge.
“Stacy, I want you and Dax to do another scene together,” David said as he handed out scene assignments. This was not good. The hormone-inducing Dax had recently broken up with his girlfriend and was now a free agent. Dax and I had gotten closer over the year that Garth and I had spent apart, and I think that we were both aware of the sexual tension between us. It sure didn’t help that he looks like this.
Now David was putting us together for a scene, and giving me my biggest relationship test to date.
After class was over, Dax and I collected our scene from David and talked about when we would meet to rehearse. I didn’t look over my scene until I got in the car, and that’s when I started to hyperventilate. It wasn’t a fight scene. It was a kissing scene. No. No. Please no. I don’t know if I can do this. I didn’t have a problem doing kissing scenes. As a matter of fact, I had kissed, molested, and crawled over the body of pretty much every other man in class, but it had always been acting. The attraction lasted only as long as the scene did. But Dax was forbidden, specifically because he made me so tingly. I was worried that a kissing scene would blow the cover off of what Dax and I had politely been trying to ignore. Anyone but Dax, I thought. I sighed as I started to read the scene. Michael and Josie are close friends who have been fighting off an attraction for the past year…
Fuck you, David. It was starting to feel as if my acting coach had found my stash of M-80’s and was shoving them up the ass of my life.
Dax came to my apartment to rehearse. I knew that he lived alone and going to his place was just asking for trouble. Garth had just gotten a job at Stanley’s and was working that day. Dax and I had been in class together for about a year at this point and I had never been so uncomfortable around him. He and I sat together on the green futon and went over the scene.
“So, we have been attracted to each other for a long time and blah, blah, blah, and they kiss for the first time,” I said as I kept my eyes glued on my script.
“So… I guess we should rehearse this thing,” Dax said. I couldn’t decide if it was dangerous or endearing that he was just as nervous as I was.
“I guess so.”
We went over the lines again and again and it felt so real. It wasn’t even like acting at all for me because the scene was so close to home. But no matter how many times we rehearsed we just couldn’t bring ourselves to kiss. It was almost like if we touched one another in any way we would kill the other. We sat there on that green futon in complete discomfort. Until I asked the question that was on both our minds.
“What do you want to do about the kiss?”
*Insert awkward moment here.*
“Maybe we should just wait to do it in class. It’s a first kiss after all. This way it will be more believable,” Dax said.
“Yea, that’s a really great idea!” I blurted out. Crisis averted! Just as we had decided to save ourselves from a very sticky situation Garth walked in the front door.
“Hey, what’s up?’ he asked.
“Just rehearsing,” I told him. Oh good. The boyfriend’s home.
Dax and I did our scene and just as I expected we got great notes form David and the class really enjoyed it. The kiss was…nice. I’m not going to lie. David kept calling Garth Jericho and eventually Garth got so frustrated he quit the class and not long after so did I. Dax went on to score roles on Sunset Beach, CSI, Drop Dead Diva, and too many more roles to note here. But me? I followed my boyfriend. Because that’s what a good girlfriend does.
To be continued….
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