In the middle of the night, with the slight sugar of champagne fading on the back of my throat, Abe and I drove separately down to Costa Mesa.
We got to his apartment and fell asleep.
Me, “I did everything I could to save us, didn’t I?”
Abe, “You did good.”
We woke up late, and on a last day together you want to fit in everything. I had less than 12 hours before I had to head back up to Los Angeles.
I pulled out my magic pills.
Abe, “You want to take them now?”
Me, “Well, might as well. I have to be sober by tonight.”
Abe, “This takes an hour to hit and then you won’t be able to drive back at 5.”
Me, “Just don’t worry about it. It’s now or never. I can’t take these with me.”
I had thought about taking them to Paris with me, but it seems like an extraordinarily bad idea to take a hybrid narcotic overseas and then hallucinate alone in a foreign city.
So we measured out what was left between the two pills and swallowed them with our orange juice and coffee.
I wanted to see “Cabin in the Woods”.
Abe was nervous, “We have to see an early showing or we won’t have any time in the afternoon for ourselves. We missed the 10:15am showing. That’s it. The next one isn’t til 1pm and we won’t have time.”
I pushed him aside, “Let me work my wizardry.” I typed in Moviefone and found a showing across from Disneyland at 11am.
We drove over there and I could feel myself start to levitate over the passenger seat. The ground was especially rough on his Honda tires and my head high was hitting sooner than expected.
Abe pulled into a driveway that said “Disneyland: Character Entrance Only”
I said, “What are you doing?”
Abe, “This was the only place I saw we could park on Google Maps.”
Abe pulled out and tried to turn around in the driveway when an old man with white hair and a beard in what looked like a Southern Confederate uniform waved at us to stop.
Me, “Shit. Just stop. Don’t move.”
The man slowly walked over to my side of the vehicle, bent down and said, “What are you doing?”
I said cooly, “Sorry, we were just trying to park for the movie theater across the street.”
The man, “There is movie theater parking across the street.”
Me, “That makes sense. Can we just . . .?”
Man, “Yeah, just turn around, carefully.”
I rolled up my window and said to Abe, “Pull yourself together, man.”
We pulled around and I ran into the movie theater. Abe took his time, visiting the bathroom and the drinking fountain first. I waited at the door and we walked into a completely empty movie theater.
Now, I don’t know how many people have seen ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and I don’t really want to recommend you seeing it since it’s a comedy horror movie that is not really that funny nor that scary. I have never seen a horror movie with little to no suspense in the action sequences before. The film is popular because there is a twist.
What made the film special for us (Abe specifically) was the human sacrifice element- which I haven’t seen in modern horror. And why that element is a funny twist to see in Abe’s company is his genuine belief that the Illuminati facilitate human sacrifices, and, he would it take it one step further, the Illuminati made this movie to get the main population used to the idea that some of us must be sacrificed.
*The Illuminati (as defined by Wikipedia) is a name given to several groups, both real (historical) and fictitious. Historically the name refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. In more modern contexts the name refers to a purported conspiratorial organization which is alleged to mastermind events and control world affairs through governments and corporations to establish a New World Order. In this context the Illuminati are usually represented as a modern version or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati.
So when the first image of someone’s blood pouring through a sacrificial tablet appeared, I laughed.
Abe said, “Ah, I see. Illuminati.”
When a red phone rang in the control center of the human sacrifice, Abe leaned back and said, dryly, “Oh, the Illuminati aren’t happy.”
In Abe’s universe of paranoia and conspiracy, a movie theater experience, especially on hallucinogenics, becomes a hand delivered message from a cult that operates on an international scale.
I said, “Have you seen the carpet recently?”
The floor lights over the theater carpet brought to life reds and greens, blinking in various directions like neon lights spinning through broken arrows. I felt like we were in the middle of a large, untouched Pac-Man game, my seat at the center of an Atari maze ablaze with blinking power pellets.
We left the movie and walked out into an overcast afternoon.
Abe said, “I have never been here before.”
The little mall across from Disneyland had several restaurants that were closed, and between them were various murals. I wanted to admire them, but Abe kept tugging on my sleeve.
Abe, “We are running out of time.”
I said, “Look, time won’t stop. The day is escaping us. (I looked at him and shrugged) The day is escaping us. There is nothing we can do about it. Let’s just try our best not to avoid the time and enjoy this moment together.”
He sighed and pulled out two cigarettes.
We took pictures by the murals and giggled.
Then we swung by his place to pick up Brad and took him to the beach.
Abe and I walked to a place not too far in the sand where we could bring a dog without being reprimanded, turned on some old 60s Rolling Stones and laid out in the sun.
Old 60s Rolling Stones is a lot like boppy, Beach Boys music.
I said, “Where’s Gidget?”
He laughed though I am not sure he got the reference.
We laid there next to each other and I studied the baggy outline of his pants as it fell short over his brown socks and shoes. He seems so much like an overgrown boy.
The sand dunes moved like an old cardboard cut-out of waves someone would use in an old theater production. The clouds were magnificent and billowed in rhythm with the sand like they were on the same circuit as my blinking Christmas tree lights.
When you hallucinate on small doses, you know what you are seeing is not real. You are not confused and nothing seems terribly unpredictable about the shapes that unfold. You are in control of what you see.
I told Abe, “You can’t keep approaching problems from the same angle. That’s when people get trapped. You have to acquire the ability to approach the problem from different directions. That’s why I like hallucinagenics, it helps your mind learn how to look at things from a radically different angle. You get used to that. It becomes a skill.”
Brad was panting by my side.
I said, “Do you think he is ok?”
Sand lined his gold hair and his eyes were closed in a meditative pant.
Abe, “He is happy, baby.”
I cuddled up to Abe. I would miss him. And when I got back, I knew I would be a totally different woman.
The Doors came on his ipod, the psychedelic chimes rising in audible steam out of the cheap plastic bag by his feet.
“The End” came on.
♪ ♫ “No safety or surprise, the end.” ♪ ♫
Then we left.
His brother called when we were at his apartment. His apartment is always cold.
Abe, on the phone, “No, tonight’s not a good night. Its (her) last night in Los Angeles, so it’s really not a good night. I can’t come over. (silence) I will see you guys tomorrow.”
It was good to hear him choose a night with me over his family. I love how loyal he is to his family, but now it’s become part of a greater dependence to his life as a child. He has no interest in forging his own path, his own Friday night or his own family. He seems totally apathetic towards becoming a father, a husband or a man of his own, and forever content remaining the oldest son of someone else.
We made love at least twice in his cold bedroom, as the sun died behind grey, ocean clouds.
Writing about this now, a month later, I can’t recall anything special about the lovemaking other than it being the last time I felt close to someone. The last time I didn’t have to worry about my words being misinterpreted or about my body odor working through my deodorant or fumbling to find when I should end a moment.
I miss that.
We showered and he said, “I am going to be good.”
Abe, “I am going to be good . . . while you’re gone.”
Me, “You’re always good.”
I mean, lets face it, he doesn’t exactly have a mob of girls knocking at his door.
Abe, “I am going to be good. Are you going to be good?”
I looked at him, naked, washing the shampoo out of his hair and didn’t know what to say.
I wasn’t going to be “good”, I intended on enjoying other men, maybe falling in love with someone else. He broke my heart only a few weeks ago and didn’t deserve any false promise in return. But I just made love to this man, naked in front of me and he was looking for a little corner of polyester and nylon threaded comfort before I left his bedroom.
I muttered, “I will be good.”
Then, Abe took 45 minutes to repack my car. I was so late. It was after 9pm now, and I promised Frank that we would have quality time before I left LA.
He texted to see if I was ok.
I texted back, “Yes, he is dragging this out and reorganizing my car. We will stay up late tonight.”
Frank texted back, “I thought that might be it. I am looking fwd to it whenever you get here.”
We kissed goodbye, and I can say I don’t remember the kiss. I remember he drove in my passenger side until I got to the end of his block and we puttered through a lot of cliches.
“I love you”
“I will miss you”
And I called him “sweetie” which felt awkward out of my mouth. I never call anyone sweetie, but smelling of man’s soap and semen, I said, “Take care, sweetie.”
Who jumped in my body and said that?
And then I patted his back shoulder as he jumped out of my car.
This man who I was having one of the most intense on-again, off-again love affairs of my life, just sprang out of my car door and my life, and all I could offer him was a pat on the shoulder and a “Take care, sweetie.”
Driving away, I felt tears that never came.
I didn’t want to let him go, and I still don’t really want to let him go. But thank God something happened in my life to break the spin cycle our relationship was on. I needed something to jam the spoke before we went through another ride together.
I showed up to Frank’s, all my dogs were reunited.
Frank, “Do you just want to get Thai Food? Does it make me old that I just want to grab a bite to eat it in a quiet restaurant on a Saturday night?”
Me, “If that makes you old, then I am old. (stretch) It’s going to rain tomorrow. I feel it in my knees.”
We ate half of a dinner in Hollywood, then came back and had a glass and a half of champagne. I was exhausted.
Frank made a half joke/pass at me- going in for a kiss or something.
I said, “Please don’t. I just had a lot of sex and can’t deal with that right now.”
He laughed and said, “I figured.”
The next day when he sent me off, we mashed together in clumsy affection and kissed each other goodbye. It wasn’t laced with champagne and romance, but felt like a weird victorious punctuation mark. Friendship. Gratitude. Time.
It all ended on a wet kiss on Frank’s mouth at 9am on a Saturday.
And from there, with my three dogs jammed in the back seat, we headed north to Washington.