I was hiking with my new roommate Dora one morning after hearing that I had to vacate my new residence because a neighbor said my dogs were “threatening.”
I said, “I will have to save up, give up acting totally and focus on saving myself, and my animals.”
Dora said, “You can always come back to acting.”
I said, “Yeah, Hollywood loves old actresses.”
There are some exceptions. Melissa Leo, who people say waited tables to the bitter end until her break-through role in 21 Grams and her Oscar nod in Frozen River.
Later, Dora and Danny decided that if they cashed in Danny’s trust fund and bought a house now, I could take over the lease with someone who had no dogs. Frank came to mind.
I told them, “Don’t rush into buying a house. That’s a big decision.”
Dora said, “I know. We have been fighting.”
I didn’t mind the idea though, and told Frank about it. He has been surviving off of his poker wins and would pay a lot less in rent.
Frank said, “I will think about. I will think about it seriously because I really love that space. Though, know, if I move out to the middle of nowhere, you will become my entire world.”
Sylmar is kind of the middle of nowhere. I scratched Frank off the list.
The weekend after my last-blogged-about-week-in-hell, I went to a Doggie Daycare Birthday/Early Halloween party. Danny and Dora carpooled in with me.
I took several lines of the cocaine and dressed up as one of my favorite dogs at work, Atticus. He is a one-eyed doberman puppy whose tail moves independent of the rest of his body.
I got fluffy ears and a tail for $14 from Halloween Town, an eye patch for another buck with a piece of red paper taped in the center as my dead eye ball and hit the floor as soon as the door opened at the party. I came in on hands and knees, ran between people’s legs and slapped the Great Dane at the party in the face. That’s what Atticus does.
I also stuck my ass in his face so we could formally introduce ourselves. Yeah, I was off my rocker.
In the first 2 minutes, I fell on my fingers wrong. The amount of cocaine in my body prevented me from feeling any pain, but my brain knew that I had done some damage.
I picked up a bottle of vodka and nursed that sucker all night.
Usually, I have a very low tolerance for alcohol, but being high on coke for so long had my brain acclimated to any high. I wasn’t registering a thing any more.
A girl who I used to work with was there. She was dressed in thigh highs, a corset and some Old West Theater Make-Up.
I said, “You look gorgeous.”
She said, “Thanks, but I look like a whore.”
I said, “Nahhh, you look way too healthy to be a whore.”
She said, “I knew you were coming as Atticus, but I didn’t know how you pull it off. You did, though.”
Its all in the performance.
I said, “Thanks.”
Sasha (my manager) was dirty dancing with Ocean in the kitchen, and I would clumsily join in every once in a while. Jose, my young co-worker, was trying to feed me drinks even though he and I had it out on the large dog playground earlier.
Jose refuses to listen to any white girl at work. He won’t even acknowledge that you are talking to him. He also happens to be a dumb shit 19-yr-old with the handwriting of a 6 yr-old and doesn’t know how to spell the word “romping”.
I had to call the manager on the playground to talk to him. He was putting pit bulls on a lot of time outs, obviously he is afraid of them. After I let them out around 10-15 minutes, he would pull them out of my hand, LITERALLY, and send them back in.
The manager came and spoke to him about listening and working with the other attendant. That was followed with a tense silence, and now, a few hours later, he was feeding me alcohol. I knew the night had gone too far when he held my head in his hands and said, “Kiss me out of respect.”
I said, “No.”
He held my head straight so my mouth was facing his.
He said, “Out of respect, you have to do it.”
I said, “NO! Kiss Taylor out of respect.” (Our 27-yr-old, heterosexual male manager)
He said, “No, cause I am a man.”
I said, “Whatever.” Shaking out of his embrace.
I remember inviting Frank over to the party. He mostly stayed outside to smoke cigars and interview people he only knew through my blog. I love LOVE when people introduce themselves through the character names in this blog, as opposed to their real name. I kind of feel like God.
Upstairs, Sasha and Camille (my little brown lesbian) were upstairs on the couch. I gave Sasha a raspberry on the vagina, over her pants.
|when you blow directly on someone’s bare skin resulting in a tickling sensation for the other person and makes a ‘farting’ sound, usually done on ones stomach|
She said, “Whoa! That’s what a dude would do. That’s not what a chick would do.”
I said, “You didn’t like that?”
She said, “No. NO.”
I said, “Teach me. I want to know how.”
She said, “I find it hard to believe YOU have never gone down on a woman before.”
I said, “I haven’t.”
She said, “How is that possible?”
I said, “I have made out with women before but never gone near a vagina. Tell me how.”
She said, “I can’t tell you how. You have got to want it. You have got to want THESE.” (She grabbed her breasts)
I said, “One more chance.”
Music was playing and everyone was outside smoking. It was just me, Camille and Sasha.
So, I applied all my knowledge of the stripper Frank bought me on X, and the free class of Pole Dancing I took with Ocean and general experience with erogenous zones- I gave Sasha a lap dance.
The tease of almost kissing, the trailing fingers, the hair . . . I knew I did well, because she stopped talking.
I abruptly got up and gave Camille a lap dance, too.
When I finished, I got up.
I said, “So, how’d I do?”
Sasha said, “Well, you can’t be a TEASE either.”
I said, “Jesus, I just can’t win.”
As predicted, I got carried away with the party and let Danny and Dora go home without me. I stayed and drank more until quickly things deteriorated.
A love triangle slowly burned down in front of me and a few of the remaining guests. Two of my friends were left heart broken on dirty steps in Hollywood, as Sasha drove away, before stating to me, “If you ever want to try going down on a girl, call me.”
Jude, our ex-manager from Doggie Daycare, was there and talked down the birthday boy after some sort of sexual/amorous confrontation and its inevitable rejection. It was truly exquisite the way he handled it.
Jude, “You are just going to have to count this as a loss. Now get it together and move on.”
Jude is the perfect man. He looks like a Utah Mormon, is great with dogs, never condescending or frustrated as your boss, and unfortunately, in a very happy homosexual relationship for the last 9 years.
Jude had more finesse than me. I turned to the Birthday Boy and said, “Next time you profess your love, take out the vampire eyes and teeth first.”
Jose, even less finesse, “You live . . . and then you die.”
The Birthday Boy, “Jose, if you don’t shut the fuck up, I am going to punch you in the face.”
Jose, “Don’t hate man, I have been around.”
Frank took me home, as Jose reached in for my head again, preaching about some kiss we needed to have out of respect.
This part of my life is a bit fuzzy. I know I hadn’t slept with Frank, but with all the times he took me home and gave me a back massage, I am uncertain what we talked about or what happened.
One thing Frank often said was, “How is your supply?”
He did care about me in a way, but even if it took killing me through intravenous cocaine, he was determined to have my body. If he really cared, and I look back on this with resentment, he would wouldn’t have been so careless with my health.
I said, “Was that party worth it?”
He said, “You crawling around on hands and knees with fuzzy ears and a tail on, dry humping girls. Yeah, it was worth it.”
Then, the day crawled up to my doorstep.
The night before, my Cowboy Whore, Joel, took me out to dinner. We had a nice chat about my relationships and we smoked a little ganja. It was friendly.
Shortly after he left, Dora knocked hard on my door.
I opened it. There she was, in her uniform from work, bewildered.
Dora, “He’s gone. He took everything and left.”
I said, “What?”
Dora said, “Danny broke up with me.”
I kept cool. They are both kids in their early twenties. This is what we do, when fighting for our own identities, we push the people closest to us away. When you get older, the fighting just wears you down, and you realize very little is worth warfare.
I went upstairs to their apartment. It was stripped clean. He took the TV, the desk and computer, his bike, I mean . . . it was empty.
I told her to calm down and have a seat.
She was out of breath.
I said, “What happened?”
She said, “He just showed up and took everything. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened. He said it would never work between us, we will always fight, and he left.”
It was odd behavior from Danny. Even though I only socialized with Danny on occasion, he was always kind and seemingly level headed. He hung out, watch Arrested Development, laughed at my jokes, showed me how to use the coffee press and helped me with my internet. He was a nice guy.
I said, “He loves you, he will come back.”
And he did, almost immediately.
He was there at the front door, charged in and demanded his pugs. Roxanne and Otis are their elderly pugs and they were lounging in the bedroom.
Danny, “Give me my pugs. They are mine.”
Dora, “GO! JUST GO! Do you want to see my face? DO YOU!? JUST LEAVE!”
He pushed his way into the bedroom. Dora pushed back and asked me to call the cops.
I was going to stay out of it, obviously, I couldn’t anymore.
I grabbed Danny’s arm and said, “Calm down. You two just need to talk this out. You love each other.”
Danny retreated to the front door as Dora screamed, “GO ON, GET OUT OF HERE!”
I said, “Why are you pushing him out when you want him in?”
Danny said, “She always does this.” He threw up his hands and left.
I talked Dora down a little afterward. I knew where she was, when I was her age, I would have been drunk and carving lines into my forearm with a kitchen knife. When you are young, you are cursed with the feeling that the things you love are all or nothing.
For better or worse, when you get older, you realize the people and things you love change. You change. Love will cruelly decide for you what lives and what dies.
You can tell someone that the feelings will pass and there will be a new day ahead of them. Until you witness that yourself and survive all those tragic moments, getting on your feet faster and faster after you are knocked over, you really can’t tell someone how much is ahead of them. They won’t believe you.
Dora drank wine, and went to bed with tears and mascara on her face . . . but she was relatively ok.
The irony here is why would I be contemplating suicide if I am so aware of the temperance of problems? My problems are reoccurring, not the people, not the jobs, all of those change. In the end, I have supremely bad luck and knowing what is in store for my future doesn’t fill me with the brightest optimism.
I feel cursed.
The next day, I was rescuing a dog from San Bernadino and transporting her to San Fernando. Those rescues pay me for my time and gas- it pretty much is the dream job if it was consistent.
That morning, Danny was here. I walked up and smiled. I knew he would come back.
I ushered myself quickly into the bathroom, covering my face and said, “I am not here. Ignore me.” Then I took off.
When I came back, two and a half hours later, the police and fire department filled up the entire back of our road. I had to park down the street and walk up to our apartment.
I was singing Prince. I remember this because I thought, “Damn it, I was just in a good mood again? Now the cops are at my place.”
I walked up the stone steps and saw Dora crying. She had another blond girl to one side and her mother on the other.
I said, “What’s going on?”
She said, “Danny hung himself in the bathroom.”
Her mother nodded and rocked her back and forth. Dora’s Mother said, “They are trying to resuscitate him but its not looking good.”
At this point, I couldn’t catch my breath. It wasn’t a full on hyperventilation but I just couldn’t breathe.
I started heaving a little and Dora’s Mom said, “Oh God, don’t get her steamed up again. Go over there.”
I went over to my little courtyard table and lit a cigarette. I think that’s what I did. I just remember not being able to catch up to this.
I thought for sure he would live. I mean, how could this be? How does anyone pull off a hanging, much less in our tiny bathroom? WHO HANGS HIMSELF? This isn’t a 1950s jail cell? CHRIST!
I got myself together, discretely and calmly broke down my cocaine station (a plate, a thick, plastic ring to crush the nuggets into powder and the cut straw) and hid it in my underwear drawer, and went back up to Dora on the steps.
Dora kept mumbling things about how they fought and he locked himself in the bathroom. I couldn’t piece together where she was. I mean, WTF WAS HAPPENING? I was only gone for two and a half hours . . . Dances with Wolves takes more time!
I sat with her and she asked for a cigarette. I remember saying I was out because I was quitting.
The police came out and told us he was gone. Did it happen like that? Did they come out and tell us he passed away? Or did I walk up and someone told me he passed away? I think I asked a cop so I wouldn’t have to bring it up in front of Dora.
Danny’s siblings or cousins showed up. Two guys and a girl, all in their early twenties if that. They were calling Danny’s parents.
Dora shouted, “Don’t tell them anything so they don’t get in an accident! Wait til they are here.”
We waited until they were here. I heard Danny’s father on the street below. I heard his voice when he found out.
“NO! NO! NO! OH POOR DANNY!!! WHY GOD?!”
I will never forget what that sounds like.
Then I heard him say, “Its his girlfriend. She did this to him. It should have been her that died. I WISH DEATH ON HER!”
The girl on Dora’s right held her hands over Dora’s ears and told her not to listen. Dora screamed, “He’s RIGHT! HE’S RIGHT! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!” She turned beet red and swung her head around. She was convulsing.
I got behind her and tried to hold her down. We were surrounded by rock, so I really thought she was going to hit her head. Her mother and the other girl held her down, too, and told her to calm down. It was like she was possessed.
She calmed down and I asked the neighbor if Dora could sit inside so she wouldn’t hear him. The neighbor is in his 60s and kindly agreed. Dora took a seat in his clean, a/c apartment and settled down a little.
My room was closer to the street. I went back there to make a call or two. It was hot, so I had to leave my window open as relatives collected outside, sobbing and holding each other.
I called Frank. I can’t tell you how much I hate AT&T when you have to repeat “DANNY HUNG HIMSELF IN MY BATHROOM” over and over again through static while only getting “I really wish I could hear what you are saying” back.
I texted my last two exes, Abe and Alan. Both wrote me back asking if I was ok. That was nice.
I called my sister. She can be very monotone about things, “Wow, that sucks. Sorry.” She means well, but what does anyone say?
My parents were in Italy.
Frank was driving right up, even though I had to be at Doggie Daycare in a few hours. My room was sectioned off with crime scene tape.
I sat there, alone in my room, crying as the family shouted things like, “She will have another boyfriend next week.”
Someone pointed to me and asked, “Is that the girlfriend?”
I watched them go from standing up and walking around to melting over in tears on the ground. I sat there and watched all of them.
I felt tears and dirt on my face and my head got hot with frustration. Why am I sitting here, seeing all of this? Then it came to me, I am the witness.
Frank showed up and I said, “So . . . you want to move in?”
He chuckled low, and said, “Its too soon. People like you and me deal with things like this through comedy, but most people don’t.”
I nodded my head. The family was very close by, I shouldn’t have made the joke.
Frank sat there, hunched over and massaged his forehead between his index finger and thumb. That’s all you can do.
I said, “Thanks, Danny. Now, I can’t kill myself.”
Frank smiled a little, “No, you can’t kill yourself now. He stole your thunder.”
I didn’t want to go back up and be with Dora. I figured she wanted people close to her right now.
I got dressed for work and left all my information with the police. They were kind. The one officer said, “You have to go to work? That’s terrible.”
What was I supposed to do? Stay here. Sit here. Watch. Listen. What I missed was his body being carried out and his mother shouting, “WAKE UP, DANNY! WAKE UP! PLEASE!”
I pieced together things over the next few days; Dora and Danny were fighting. They took a break in the argument that morning and Dora locked herself in the bedroom.
Danny said, “Why won’t you just let me die!?”
Some time passed, Dora came out and saw the bathroom door was slammed shut, and used a fork to open the door. Then she found his body, untied him from the dog leash stuffed in the door. She called her sister, who was the blond girl I had never seen before helping her now.
Her sister tried to resuscitate him with CPR until the police came.
Two things are so unsettling about this: NOT ONCE did I ever even get the inkling that Danny was depressed or suicidal. Dora and Danny just came back from a weekend in Catalina. And Danny was the kindest man in my life at the moment. Kinder than my last boyfriend.
That night of the party I remember telling him he was the perfect man. He said, “Tell Dora that.”
The other thing is, how does anyone hang himself on a door? He was taller than me, and I can touch the ceiling in there.
I went to work dumbfounded. I came in and just felt stunned.
Sometimes you tell people what happened, they say yeah, and move on like they didn’t register anything you said.
I wonder if they ever listen to anything I say, or if they just assume they misheard me.
The others, Trent and my other co-workers, just leaned back with their mouths open. “Wow” Silences.
It was like my reality dropped out from underneath me. When you are there and you realize someone you lived with just killed himself in your bathroom, you can’t feel the floor, or your clothes or someone touch your arm. All you feel is that instinct to wake up.
The night before, I felt the warmth of his body heat on his arm when I held them apart. That was blood. That was life.
Every other time I felt bad, going to Doggie Daycare helped. This time, I was just pacing back and forth. The Manager came up to me and said I could leave. She looked me over carefully and I shrugged and said ok.
I didn’t know what to do.
I went home and really don’t remember what I did, other than feeding Dora and myself a Xanax. She fell asleep in my bed. I think I popped on a movie for us or something, because I remembered my father putting on Reservoir Dogs for us when my friend drowned in the Columbia River when I was 17.
You don’t watch the movie, you just sit down and think while giving your brain a chance to be distracted.
The next few days are really a blur. I should have written while it happened, but my mind was black. It still is to some degree. I just want it out of my mind, so I can rest.
I woke up the next morning, and Dora was outside with pictures of Danny propped up against the wall next to their front door, burning candles. She was playing songs off her iPhone, just laying there. She seemed very together.
Dora would say things like, “I will miss him, but I know its not my fault.”
Or, “He tried this before, eventually he was going to hang himself.”
Or, “He is in heaven now, watching over us.”
She also forged his signature on a check for rent, came into my room and said, “Did I do this right? He said I could use his checking account if I ever needed to.” I looked it over, she had no idea how to write a check.
He killed himself a few days before rent was due. By the way, THANKS FOR THAT DANNY! Why couldn’t you wait until after the first?
I remember going to use the toilet those first few days after he died, and apologizing to Danny every time I had a bowel movement. I added, “But you chose the spot, man.”
In my head and ringing in my ears, I would hear, “Take care of her.”
Over and over again, “Just take care of her for me.”
I said aloud, “Alright! ALRIGHT!”
Jesus, I don’t know if that was real or not.
The bathroom garbage lid was dented in like someone used it to hoist their weight up. I haven’t asked Dora about the details, but every time I sit down on the toilet, I look at those dents and wonder if his last few breaths were filled with fear and regret as he realized he was going to die.
The bent fork to open the bathroom door was left by the sink for a few days.
Now, what do you do when your roommate’s boyfriend of 2 years kills himself? You sit there. Or, you stand there. You listen. You stop snorting cocaine.
I liked Danny a lot. Living here without him doesn’t feel right to me, and I only knew him for a couple months. But, I knew that every cell in my body had to focus on Dora, because soon . . . very soon . . . this violent loss was going to sink in and she was going to lose her mind.
And she did.
To be continued . . .