Once, during the night Abe came back, and the dark sky let light in and turned to blue with dawn, I remember staring off at my wall and hearing him say, “You don’t deserve all the bad things happening to you.”
I just needed to hear that out loud, and without instigation.
When you find yourself in a shit storm, you can’t help but wonder what the fuck you did to deserve it. My sister said, “You probably did terrible things in your past life.” I said, “Or my next life is just going to be awesome.”
Abe started seeing me again, and, I am ashamed to say, often my mood was contingent on whether or not I would see him. Whether I got a text from him. Etc. Etc. Everyone reminded me how desperate and pathetic I was being, that I shouldn’t be so easily influenced by one boy. But, if there is anytime to be desperate and pathetic, shouldn’t it be when you’re poor and your roommate hung himself in your bathroom?
I remember distinctly saying, “At least I still have my car and my animals.” I know people have been surrendering their animals like crazy. Working in animal rescue, I am aware they started putting down dogs and cats after just 3 days holding, no matter what age or health. Puppies and kittens are being euthanized. Its bad out there. If I had to live in a van on the side of the river, I was going to keep my animals safe or I was going down with them.
I had made arrangements to drive my dogs up to Washington to visit my family.
Then, driving home, my car started weezing, then smoking, and right as I pulled into a Ralph’s in Sunland, it died. I got out of the car and started screaming at God, “WHAT THE FUCK DID I DO? WHY ARE YOU TAKING EVERYTHING AWAY FROM ME!?!?”
Dora calmed me down. Her family mechanic worked down the street. She talked to the staff at Ralph’s to make sure they wouldn’t tow it. I called Abe, who calmed me down immediately. He had been hit by a motorcyclist earlier that day.
I could feel my hair turning white. Broke, living on a grave in bumfuck Sylmar with NO CAR!
Monday morning, the mechanic looked at it and informed me my engine threw a rod and blew a hole in the engine. How is this possible with the engine light only being on 3 days, and NO OIL light going off on my console? Who the fuck knows.
In 3 days, I learned I wasn’t covered on the manufacturer’s warranty because I bought the fucking car from a Volkswagen dealer and was now over 60,000 miles. If I had bought it from a Hyundai dealer (its a Hyundai) I would have been covered up to 100,000 miles.
The dealer wouldn’t cover it because I didn’t sign up for their extended warranty.
AND I still had a year’s left of payments on the God damn thing so . . . unless my insurance company was going to cover the damage (due only to an accident or collison) I was stuck paying off an inoperable vehicle for the next year.
Insert horrified emoticon.
I was showing up to work on the verge of tears. The woman from HR would pull me aside, ask how I was and I crumbled in tears and snot all over her shirt.
She told me to leave for awhile. “Dora has her family, you don’t have anyone.” She gave me my paycheck in cash under the table with a lot extra out of her own pocket and later texted me in broken English, “Take care always. You have to help yourself. Otherwise the help of others who love you will be for nothing. We are here for you. Love you.”
My therapist suggested I get away from my hole in Sylmar anyway- so I invited myself out to Abe’s place in Costa Mesa where I stayed for a week. I got someone at work to stay with my dogs, relocated my cat to my dear friend Jeph (who I trust more with my cat than any other soul alive) and I disappeared. Poof!
I woke up to Abe making me tea and toasting bread.
I watched television.
I got antsy.
We bought all my comfort foods, vegan pizza, vegan cookie dough ice cream, Capt’n Crunch and I got to watch all my girly reality shows.
He kept asking me if I was alright, and I was sure. I said yes, and then he would say, “You have to eat more.”
Abe also revealed to me his origins of belief in the Mayan birth calendar. He told me my birth sign was Cimi: which alternates between light and dark. It also symbolizes death and north (no coincidence every tarot card reading I have ever had surfaces the Death card). It attracts entities seeking change. His birth sign correlates with mine, he has asked me not to share the synchronicity of our birth or symbolic correlations we have found-even with a psychic reading I had a few years ago. He says that YOU the audience, will not understand.
What I did understand, is those who are assigned as guides, allies, and challenges by specific birth date included men I have loved in my past.
Abe’s included family members. Interesting how are lives are molded by two different worlds of love.
Either way, he told me, “You need to become a more empowered spirit.” I had the ability in my birth right.
I called my mother, who said, “I just hope you get everything squared away before I die. I want to rest in peace.”
Me, “Oh Wow. Ok. Great. Thank you.”
Mom, “You need a little pressure on you.”
Me, “That is the opposite of what I need.”
It was hard relaxing without animals or an agenda. There was just this cold bachelor pad with two guys. One who broke my heart 6 months ago, and another who recently lost his girlfriend because he didn’t drink “like a gentleman.” She moved out, he joined AA and a church then Abe signed the lease.
I asked him, “Why do alcoholics need a higher power?”
Abe’s roommate, “Because . . . you alone can’t conquer the disease.”
Me, “Why not?”
Abe’s Roommate, “You need to believe there is something greater than you to help you.”
Me, “You can’t just help yourself, through discipline and focus.”
He slowly shook his head, “You need the higher power.” He handed me a book. I breezed through it. It didn’t answer my question, but I started understanding that, even if its fiction, we have to believe there is more so we can draw strength from outside of ourselves . . . especially after everything inside has dried up and gone cold.
Abe’s parents were pressuring him.
In the time I broke up with Abe, he was a victim of a hit-and-run, his wages and computer were being held hostage by some entrepreneur mad man who was convinced Abe would eventually go back to work for him, and, more recently, that motorcycle slammed into the side of his car. The woman who hit him on her bike wanted to pay without using the insurance company. He agreed.
Abe’s mother called up, wanted him to report the accident to his insurance company and go back on his word because she felt it was unwise, and she wanted the phone number to the entrepreneur mad man to get Abe’s computer back.
He said, “Maybe I should just let her take care of it. Obviously, I am doing everything wrong.”
I said, “Abe, if you let your mother take care of things, I will lose all respect for you. Be a man.”
So after a few hours of smoking, pacing and venting to me, he hired a legal firm to handle the hit-and-run, and the entrepreneur mad man. And he waited for the check from the motorcyclist, which did come.
The next day, his parents told him they respected his decision. Abe touched my back and said, “I am glad you talked me into handling things myself. Even though instead of doing what my mother wants, I am doing what you want.”
I said, “I just want you to follow your instincts and take ownership of your life.”
He gave his nerdy smile, shifted his weight and hung his head in a heavy nod.
When you need someone, it sometimes turns out they need you just as much. Then you realize you need each other to become better people.
Abe was sitting at his computer.
Me, “What are you doing?”
Abe, “It says I can get a free gift card for Walmart. (beat) Its bullshit, right?”
Me, ” . . . yeah.”
Before we left Sylmar, Abe and I got in a slightly intense conversation about my lifestyle. We were back to how he hated my living space being so cluttered with dogs. BACK ON THIS!
He associates animals with filth and I associate them with warmth.
He mentioned that his brother said I should, “stop getting any more dogs.” I said, “That’s brilliant. YA THINK?”
I was not looking to acquire any more dogs, its just . . . Brad doesn’t really care for anyone else but me and when you find a love like what we have- you make room.
So I asked if his brother was employed yet. He said no.
Ok, his brother, who keeps boasting advice, graduated from Engineering school a year and a half ago, and dodged half a dozen job offers. Now, he was living with his parents and playing video games all day.
. . .
I said, “You and your brother need to get OFF your mother’s tit and make men of yourselves. You both just keep hiding behind her, living like teenagers for as long as possible. You should move somewhere far away, just to do it. And you should date other girls to see what you like. So you can see if you really do want me.”
He said, “I don’t need to date other girls to know what I want.”
I said, “How can you be sure?”
He said, “I want to keep my soul pure. I intentionally avoid going out and giving pieces of myself away. I want to keep my soul intact.”
I like that answer.
I thought about how often I give pieces of myself away. Perhaps that’s why I am never whole.
Towards the end of the week, I sat at his computer, tapping my foot.
He said, “You are winding down to the point where its bothering you. I am actually slightly concerned.”
My mechanic called and said the insurance claims adjuster came by and they confirmed the damage to the engine was due to a rock hitting the oil pan and shooting it through my engine. My insurance company would cover it with a $1,000 deductible.
I got off the phone and hugged Abe.
Abe, “I’ve got a rod for you.”
Me, “Yeah? Will you shoot it through my engine?”
Abe and I had started having intercourse again. I had forgotten how seductive he was. He may be inexperienced- but that gives him a patience to feel around. To let things slowly escalate until I feel like I will explode unless he is inside of me.
I remembered telling Alan he was my best lover. I was wrong. Alan and I had a shared fetish. We shared in dark. That was exciting, but sex in and of itself didn’t always get or keep Alan hard. It also made me feel pressure that I had to escalate the fetish to keep him interested.
With Abe, there was no fetish. I just loved him. It was light. Tender. Sweet. No pressure, no problem with hard ons, nothing dirty or degrading or rough . . . just him. He was my best lover just based on that fact alone.
Unfortunately, our honeymoon period was shorter than it was the first time. We still hadn’t dealt with the break-up and that conversation reared its head in our direction with a vengeance.
He yelled at me about leaving him, giving me rent money from his investment and then pushing him away, “so I had no money, no girlfriend and then someone fucking hits my car.”
I knew I had to let him get it all out. I rubbed my temples and absorbed the heat. It never really went away though.
I withdrew a bit. Got quiet. Was cold. He would try to regain me and I would refuse. Such was the waltz that tore us apart in the first place. I would try to retrain my mind to be more open and forgiving. To let things go and not hold a grudge. My head was so upside down, I would react and then have to force myself to go back and edit my reaction with something more mature and mentally sound. Of course, just the act of having a silent temper tantrum and apologizing immediately afterward, over and over again made me look crazy.
Trust me, I was trying.
Then I heard from my dog sitter that Maggie May got out and suffered some injuries to her face and ear from an apparent dog fight. She wasn’t doing well. So the next morning I headed back to Sylmar.
Walking out, I passed by a woman in a “Cancer Sucks” baseball hat with a lit cigarette in one hand and a barking, old chihuahua in the other. I bent down to let the dog sniff me and she said, “Don’t even try with him. He’ll bite you. He bites me! But I can’t take him back to the shelter or they will put him down.”
I got in the car and said, “That woman was awesome.” Was she me in 30 years? Probably. Or maybe I am the chihuahua.
I came back to Sylmar and everything was fine. Maggie recovered. I got in a groove with Abe taking us to work every so often, with some sex and some vegan pancakes at a great vegan restaurant called Green Leaves in Los Feliz.
One night,after I returned home, she had begged for Danny’s spirit to return one night. There was a weird wind storm outside our apartment building on that particular night I remember, because Maggie May, my dog,was growling at the front door. My door doesn’t have a peep hole, so I cracked it open and looked. No one was there.
My dreams of sleep paralysis were returning. I was being forced to the ground by something and having to resort to old Catholic school prayers to wake up.
The next morning, Dora said she summoned Danny and watched an unseen spirit play with the cats. I said, “When you do things like that, you open the door for other spirits.”
Three days after his death, I had a dream of Danny walking off the property. I never really felt his spirit or heard his pleas to care for Dora after that. I told her about the dream, hoping she would understand that I think he passed on.
Later, she told me she didn’t think the spirit was Danny after all. She burned some sage and never spoke to the spirit world again.
There was one more night of Maggie growling at the door and then it never happened again.
Dear God, let the curse lift off this place.