Normal History Vol. 151: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 28-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

When we were wrapping things up at the end, he said he’d miss coming to my place on Sundays. That’s what I was. A place. I was a place he liked to go on Sundays. I was not who I thought I was, who I wanted to be. I invented it all. It was completely different for him and, therefore, different for me. I made the whole thing up.

He did everything he could to prevent himself from knowing me. He refused to know me. It was his objective to use me while not caring about me. I allowed this. I was stupid. I didn’t understand. It isn’t just that he told lies. The entire thing was a lie.

I have given up before, but never like this. Not with this conviction. I’ve felt sad about giving up before. Not now. Oh no. This is good. Now I feel like I don’t have any problems. What else can that mean other than I must be doing things right?

I would like to remove the image in my mind of him extending money towards me through the bedroom door while I got dressed after sex.

I thought he was joking. I still don’t understand why he did that. I understand that he doesn’t understand himself, so there isn’t any point in my trying to figure out what he meant by it. He did any old thing, said any old thing. He didn’t know why.

I laughed at him. He put his money away, but later I asked, “Have you ever paid for sex?”

“No.”

Months later, a different story. The hooker he lived with. He was in love with her. All the other hookers. In cars. At motels. How much did he pay? How old were they? What did he make them do? How did his wife not know? How did he think of women? Who was I?

No point in asking. You know why.

“Oh, it wasn’t a lie,” he told me. “It was a reaction.” And since he eventually told the truth, it turned out, in his mind, that he had not lied at all. “It wasn’t premeditated dishonesty,” he said.

These must be the moves of the veteran cheater/liar, and there’s me naively working to process what he was telling me, trying to accept what he was saying, giving him the benefit of the doubt, continuing to have unprotected sex with him while I wondered who he was fucking while he wasn’t looking at me. He wasn’t willing to discuss what I wanted. Why? Because he didn’t have to. He’d found himself the cheapest whore ever. Me. He didn’t have to love or care about me. Bonus. He’d fuck anyone. Even me.

I was a substitute for a prostitute. In his mind, maybe I was a prostitute. That’s how low I sank in trying to be what someone else wanted. That’s where I landed myself.