“The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the character of the individual walking the path.” —Travis Alexander
I’ve been doing this workbook called Half of a Happy Couple. The author says you can’t ever change your partner, but if you work on yourself the relationship will change for the better. Last week’s exercise was to think of what I don’t like about myself in this relationship, and then I wrote a list of all the times I had been too passive.
Like all the times my boyfriend is late. He doesn’t notice. If I ask, he just gives vague excuses like “things took longer.” The other day I’d been fuming for an hour and had gotten hungry, but all I said was that a call would have been nice. I had to be polite so he’d know I wasn’t like his ex, who he always said “did a number on him.”
This week, the exercise in my workbook is about romantic role models. The author says we pick our role models in our jobs and our fashion, but why not in romance? Whose love style do we admire?
I thought about it while I was waiting for him. After he left I had my answer. My romantic role model is Jodi Arias. She was a photographer. She knew passion and what it was to be fearless and really send a message to a man. I want to be like that because it hurts too much to be me.
When Jodi Arias met her boyfriend Travis Alexander, he asked her to be a Mormon. And she was open minded and said yes, and then she proved you could be a Mormon and still send very sexy text messages. Together they exchanged over 80,000 emails! Women writers are the best.
After five months he broke up with her. But she showed persistence and just kept sending more and more sexual messages and he kept responding. Some other things she did were stalk him online and slash his tires and show up in public where he was going to be. They always ended up having sex, and she took pictures of them tying each other to the bed.
I asked my ex-boyfriend to tie me up. He didn’t take the hint, so I even specified to get the Zenith All-Purpose 6mm polypropylene rope and said it was in stock at the Home Depot he would pass on the way to my house. He never got the rope or tied me up, but he did say to let him know if I ever wanted to try anything different in bed.
I’m not saying Travis Alexander was more adventurous. He was a Mormon motivational speaker working for a multi-level marketing company selling pre-paid legal services. That was the company’s name. Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. My ex is an agnostic bookkeeper for Goodwill. He goes geocaching every weekend. His favorite imported beer is Corona. The point is, Jodi Arias and I both know what it’s like to get so obsessed with these totally lame guys we end up begging them to tie us up.
Mostly Jodi Arias is my heroine because she stabbed the ever-loving shit out of Travis Alexander—twenty-seven times—in his own shower and then shot him with a .25 caliber gun! And then later she drove off in the desert to meet another lover and they didn’t find Travis Alexander’s body for five days. Now she is in prison and a rapper made a music video about her.
People say she killed him because she was jealous and possessive, but that’s not true. Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander because he kept fucking her and letting her photograph it even after he texted her that she was pure evil.
Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander because she saw her path to freedom and followed it. No matter how human and familiar he looked in the light of his bathroom that day, she was determined to follow her dream. After all, she’d fantasized so much about it, visualized her big performance while he was inside her that day. It was a perfect artistic statement: the passion of twenty-seven stabs, finished off with the clean definitive gunshot.
When she finally left his bloody house and drove into the desert, she must have felt so free. Never again would she wait for another text, never would she have to worry about him calling her evil just because she tried to love him.
Usually when women fuck up their men, they return them to the dating world. These already arrogant bastards now get to play the victim and flaunt their traumas so the next woman they meet will feel sorry for them and make excuses. But Jodi Arias didn’t give him that chance. I thank her for that. Imagine all the women who never had to hold Travis Alexander’s hand while he said “My ex was pure evil. It’s hard to trust, let alone love anymore.” And the women thinking they could change him. No woman could ever change him as much as Jodi Arias.
When the rapper talked to her on the phone, she said, “If this is what it is like to be hated, then keep hating! I’ve had so much love coming in my direction I can’t even respond to it now.”
If this is how you get love, I will never get it. I can’t think of stabbing my boyfriend without remembering the day he cut himself shaving and I ran for the Neosporin. The day his back went out and I put his shoes on for him. The craziest thing I do is fall in love with broken men.
One time he and I were cuddling in bed and he told me how his ex had been so crazy it only made him feel crazy, even act crazy in return. I said I was sorry and nuzzled his neck, and he told me how she’d make up excuses to get out of sex with him, and at a certain point, a lack of crisis felt the same as happiness. He stayed with her for thirteen years, and now he couldn’t imagine saying “I love you” to anyone, by whom he means me.
When he tells me that, I think I want to be his ex wife, I want to be Jodi Arias, I want to show up with multiple weapons and not stop until there’s blood all over the shower walls and so much love coming in my direction I can’t even respond to it now.
I want this, I want this, I want him to call and say he knows I’m a little more broken than he found me, that he lives like he’s the only fragile man out there, that he’s hurt me in ways that will ricochet through the rest of my love life, whoever I’m with, and, if I’ll have him, he’ll skip the geocaching this weekend and instead he’ll come over on time with the Zenith All-Purpose 6mm polypropylene rope.
And how that’s way more unlikely than me stabbing him 27 times, or even five or six, or me driving into the desert and feeling free.
Erin Lyndal Martin is a creative writer, music journalist, and visual artist. Her fiction has recently appeared in Hobart, Squalorly, and The Rupture. Her web presence is at erinlyndalmartin.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @erinlyndal.