When the 400 pound lesbian who made her own dresses and skirts told me my boyfriend was the Viscount of Wales, I believed her. He admitted it was true.
I told my father if I married him, I would become a Lady. We already acted like we were married. Hayden bought a white Italianate mansion, and proceeded to tear out walls while renting it out the six bedrooms to the architect we never saw; the woman with the beautiful figure who was obsessed with overeaters anonymous and kept asking me to go; the macrobiotic woman who looked at her own poop, by her admission, and of course judged what we ate; the incredibly handsome and stupid English major with a car and a girlfriend who wasn’t in college but was a buxom blonde always erupting into giggling fits; and the couple who were hopelessly mismatched, he being witty and exuberant, while she was dour, depressed, and highly judgemental, both of them so poor that they made everything from scratch except peanut butter.
Hayden’s father,according to him, was an eye surgeon who had his own jet.
“I’m going to be invited to the Royal Wedding.”
“Can I come?”
“I don’t think so. There are so few invitations, and you’re a size 16. It would be hard to get you a dress.”
I was never introduced to his parents, who never visited. “For dinner we wear evening gowns and jewelry. My mom wouldn’t have any dresses that fit you.”
Though we made out and slept in the same bed, we never made love.
“When are we going to have sex?” I asked constantly.
“Tomorrow, I promise.”
Even though he was supposedly so wealthy, he never had any cash on him and was constantly mooching off everyone for cigarettes and food money. He also had no car, but he had to buy heavy antique furniture and beds for each room.
We lived on one of the steep hills leading up to Cornell. All the girls, including me, had “Ithaca thighs.” Hayden bought me an antique dresser, and for the living room, big as a ball room, he bought wing back chairs, coffee tables, and a persian rug. He could be seen rolling my dresser up the hill.
We would sit by the marble fireplace, smoking, listening to Echo and the Bunnyman, reading Derrida and writing poetry for Archie Ammon’s class.
Hayden had been in the prestigious architechture school, but he switched schools and became an English major, like me, to his parents’ chagrin.
“When I was in High School in Corpus Christi, Texas A and M invited me to study there. I was a math prodigy.”
“Prove it, ” I said.
“They asked me to look at a circle. And I said it was the bottom of a cone.”
Because I was always asking for sex, Hayden created in his mind a vision of me as a Siren, a whore, an overly sexualized woman.
He would never stop tallking about his former girlfriend, a model who was brilliant and wore incredibly creative clothing. I bought my clothes at Ross. I was developing a serious inferiority complex.
However, we began to see ourselves as superior to our professors, even though Hayden was getting incompletes in everything while I was getting A’s. I was writing alternative short stories, like the one about the woman who chopped her lover to pieces and vacuumed him up in a Hoover. I felt my Pulitzer Prize winning teacher, William Kennedy, had nothing to teach me.
Hayden explained this: I represented “institutionalized knowledge.” He was “outside the system” like Genet or Rimbaud.
We both dressed like paupers. Hayden didn’t do his laundry so he always smelled, failed to shave, and looked disheveled. I wore clothes from the army navy store and thrift shops. I did shop in NYC occasionally and bought the shortest plaid skirt ever with matching olive colored cabled tights and a rust sweater that complimented my dyed red hair. “I insist you dye your hair red,” Hayden had said.
I wore an oversized men’s coat with the sleeves rolled up and a two toned men’s jacket over a ruffled white shirt and tight olive striped jeans from Reminscence in NYC. I carried a big straw bag as was the fashion.
“I think you’re an alien from another planet. Your eyes dart so quickly around the room.”
Hayden didn’t believe in studying all the time, like I did. We would go out to dinner constantly and take incredibly long walks. Once, on one of our walks, I needed to pee and so I entered a Fraternity House and used the bathroom. When I came out, a frat guy held a knife to my throat.