Tag Archives: molly

Coachella Day 3, Pt. 2: Saturday 90,000 People on Drugs

Saturday, April 13th, 2013 

Part 2

Trent and I were without much narcotics. There was some coke left over, in addition to a bag we found the night before, but finding privacy and still air for lines in the desert just puts me on edge. It wasn’t my scene for coke. Violent Femmes were on at 6pm that was the one band I wanted to see.

Today would be the day we wouldn’t let the rich kids get to us.

“I hate you white people because you are rapists, child molesters and sociopaths. Look at all the serial killers. They are all white! … and now you are taking over Coachella,” Trent said just before squeezing my knees affectionately. “No offense.”

“None taken,” I said casually. “I don’t consider myself white. I am a black, jazz singer trapped in a tone deaf white woman’s body.”

vanessa-hudgens-drugs-coachella04_4daeee459e19a-t

Walking around asking strangers for drugs was hopeless the day before, with the exception of a middle-aged hippie from San Francisco.

“Do you know Molly?” Trent asked, as we pressed shoulders against each other on a hay stack.

He stopped. “I sure do. I know Lucy, too.”

“Lucy?” I asked. “Who is Lucy?”

He stepped closer to us and spoke quietly, but shrugged. “Lucy is acid.”

“Lucy in the sky, I get it,” I said, happily.

“How much do you need?” he asked.

“Just a few hits each.”

“Oh … I only deal in grams. A sheet of LSD would be around 40,” he said.

We didn’t have enough money to buy a sheet of acid when we wanted a psychedelic and MDMA or Molly or Ecstasy. We just needed a handful of party favors for the weekend. However, if my phone hadn’t died weeks later, that would have been a helpful business contact for Los Angeles. Acid is non-existent down here. We explained our position.

“I get it. I just can’t walk around with $5 bills filling up my wallet,” he said. We weren’t the big spenders. The college kids who hoarded their drugs and kept privately within their SUV campsites had a bigger spread, bought more drugs and could splurge. This guy financed parties.

The next kid we met, a spacey-Eskimo teenager stopped when we asked, “Do you have shrooms?”

“Shrooms …. Oh… I would really love to help you … but I ate them all.”

We did however find a cool young kid who sold us some good mushrooms at a decent price. I can’t recall much about the kid other than he seemed like the one person who was lucid and smart enough to sell drugs at Coachella.

Security Check Line at Coachella

Now, there was the security check into Coachella concert grounds. Naturally, because I was the girl, it would be easier for me to pass through carrying. Security guards don’t like to feel up girls. My secret was the purse. There was a zipper pocket inside. I put the drugs at the bottom and a big packet of handi-wipes on top of them. No one would think to take all my items out of the inner zipper. It would just hold up the line too long. The other place is behind a driver’s license or bill fold in my wallet.

On the final day at Coachella, one female security guard, the bull dyke type, felt up my bra. “Wait a minute! What’s this?” she said.

“My tits,” I said. “I know. I have big tits for my body type.”

“Hold on,” she said, calling over an equally bloated, blotchy faced, female guard with hair cut close to the skull and small earrings as if it was a last ditch effort to distinguish gender. She felt my breasts, too.

“She’s clear,” said the second guard.

“Ok,” the first guard said, motioning me through. I gave her a look of outrage and invasion. My eyes narrowed, my lips pursed and I glared. I picked up my purse with in total disgust; the same purse carefully carrying weed, a pipe, two packets of shrooms and leftover cocaine.

Trent Walks Ahead

Inside, we stopped by a few forgettable artists when we decided to duck into a tent and offer to get someone high in exchange for a light. That was harder than it sounded. This was no Woodstock. As social of an event as camping in the desert seems like it must be, it seemed the venues and concert-goers had fine-tuned the art of isolation, despite Coachella’s conception and design. Most people were drunk and bumped into you or cut you off in line without as much as a head nod. Others just avoided you. Once in a while there was someone who was passed out or fell sick. One girl was throwing up. Trent was holding her hair back and feeding her water. We found out the four kids standing nearby were her friends. They were too absorbed in the concert to help her.

“That’s your friend, she needs your help,” Trent said. They kind of nodded, bleary-eyed, smoking a joint and turned back to the concert. “Hey!” Trent said again, grabbing their arm. “She needs help. You have to stop what you’re doing and get her out of here.”  This time they were a little more awake and made the minimal effort to lift her up. Trent and I kind of chuckled about it, like the wind was knocked out of us. It didn’t matter how poor we were, what color our skin was, these people were so disassociated they didn’t even have each other.

Inside a tent, we found a volunteer who was chilling out off-duty. We asked him for a light in exchange for a bowl. He was friendly, mid-twenties, dressed comfortably with a little extra weight on him. He wasn’t over-weight, he just looked normal. He also smiled through his beard, made eye-contact and warmly regarded us. It was a bright ally in an unfriendly country.

As we sat down to pack the bowl, we spoke about our expectations and the people around us. “You know I expected something different. But whatever, they are doing here what they seem to want to. There are lots of perfect bodies. That takes a lot of discipline. They are goal-oriented and I respect that. But there is more to life than just reaching goals. Like, where is the love? I would like to see more love, more physical love, more self-love. I don’t know why it’s missing but maybe they don’t need it. Maybe it isn’t as important to them. I just come here, listen to the music and try to be kind,” the stranger said. We smoked not long before Trent yanked on my sleeve and said he had to leave.

The stranger sensed the sudden pain, like he too felt the heat of a flame and waved us goodbye without question.

Outside the tent, Trent walked quickly away, crumbling in tears. “He reminds me of Kent.” His last love. We are all haunted by loves, but until we fall in love again, the hauntings are a hassle, a chronic ache, a struggle. When a new love makes his way in, the spirit remains but is somehow friendlier. At least that is how I feel about my lost loves. The anger and resentment drains out of you, the disappointment fades, but the love remains.

starbucks all you need is love

***

Violent Femmes took the stage. We were late getting there. It was the one band I wanted to see. Initially, before the line-up for Coachella was announced, there were serious rumors that The Rolling Stones would headline. You can imagine what that did to a girl like me; I was practically foaming at the mouth. I wish I could say when the rumors were denounced, I let it go.

I never let it go. I held on to the fantasy until Saturday night. The truth was once I walked through the campground, waited in line through security to the festival grounds, I could see that it wasn’t the Stones crowd. Their music would be wasted here.

The other artist I wanted to see was Lou Reed, but he backed out the week before the festival. Last week he died. My heroes are ghosts.  It would be easy to say this left me with a disenchanted life, but I have been lucky thanks to Los Angeles and a little bit of resourcefulness and ingenuity. I have seen the greats, what’s left of them.

Violent Femmes is a weird little band. My best friend in high school introduced me to them. He was two years ahead, drove a pick-up truck and had a big crush on me. He liked a lot of things I didn’t really care for like Lord of the Rings (the books), martial arts, boy stuff. We still enjoyed Kubrick films together, shared pots of ramen we didn’t bother to scoop into separate bowls and went to Germany as exchange students in the same group. He was a good friend.

Violent+Femmes Original

His sister bought tickets to see the Violent Femmes at the county fair. She told Rob, my friend, that he could bring anyone he wanted … but me. She didn’t like me. That was my one chance to see them.

Now, twenty years later, here it was my second chance.

You could say they are “folk punk”. They are just a cool sound. Funny enough, they started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1980 through 1987 on their first run. I was trapped in that hole of a city from 1982-1991. My sister had an album by them and I never forgot the song “Confessions”. It wasn’t until I hit puberty that I invested in my own album, a best of. I sunk into the off-beat, whiny vocals, the grating bag pipes, the angry lyrics, the dark stories. Now they were old, and fucking thrilled to be playing again for a crowd.

VFemmes Lead

VFemmes Bag Pipes

I was into it. I knew the words. I wanted to dance but it was an odd scene. Only a few girls were moving and Trent was off to the side, checking his watch. He wasn’t into it. It was a good show. The sun set.

Violent Femmes

Next on our to-do list was a band called Sigur Ros. I never heard of them, but I live in my little room, with my classic rock, my books and dogs. People don’t sit around and share music anymore. We settled into a group hanging out on the grass not too far from the stage. We ate our shrooms.

A couple sat behind us to the left. A white couple, fairly average in looks, the girl with medium length brown hair and a black coat, her boyfriend a little larger, also in black, held her close. She looked so unhappy. So despondent.

After a few minutes, I looked over to check on her and watched a tear fall down her cheek. Her companion tried to console her, but she elbowed him away.

“Uh oh,” I said, tapping Trent. “The drugs are kicking in for someone.”

“Where?” he turned to look and suddenly her face was covered in tears. She shrunk and buried her head into his lap.

“Yikes. That was fast,” I said.

“Music is emotional business,” Trent said. “There are 90,000 people here and we are all on drugs.”

Snail Photo by Sarah Parvini

Coachella had a theme, though it wasn’t totally evident. There was a huge snail that moved an inch every so often across the grounds. I didn’t even know it was moving at all until Trent told me. Then he pointed out the large, decorative ladybugs and a praying mantis. “We are the ants,” he said.

praying mantis

When Sigur Ros came on, I had no idea what to expect. The mushrooms make you sick and sleepy at first, and then your eyes are reopened. I couldn’t see them through all the heads, but white light fell over us like we were children running underneath a parachute on a summer day. The music was gentle- a piano, a bowed guitar, percussion and the sound erupted into something new. Music I never heard before.

sigur ros guitar

sigur-ros star storm

sigur ros stage

A voice sang in Icelandic through the music. A feminine, angelic voice. Even listening to them now, as I write this, I feel chills run up from my ankles to my thigh. My heart pounds harder and my eyes tighten. What beauty. Who knew Iceland reinvented music?

The show peaked with a choir. Whether there really was a choir there or not, I cannot say for certain. I am not a journalist. I am a music lover and a drug user. I raised my hands high and felt warm tears spill down my face. The scream of the vocals weak but sharp, growing through the strings and lights. It was like a pharaoh’s voice screaming to us. It was a perfectly unique moment. And finally, I had my moment where I felt one with the selfish frat boys, the girl crying in her boyfriend’s arms, the drunk guy who bumped into me and the Eskimo who ate all his mushrooms. The music was the gel oozed between each individual and clenched us together.

Sigur ros

When the music stopped, the lights turned off and we all blinked out of our daze, still sticky from the thumping harmony. We slowly climbed away from each other, wet, touched, awake.

I turned to the people around me. “Ok. Where are the Stones?”

“The Stones?” an older guy said, with a beard and a biker scarf over his head. “You mean, The Rolling Stones?”

“Yeah, man. The Rolling Stones.”

“They couldn’t get them, but the Stone Roses took their place,” he said.

“Eh, that’s bull shit.” I turned to Trent, “What do we do now?”

“They were great, right?”

“Phenomenal.”

“Phoenix is on the other stage,” he said, leading me through the crowd to more music. It didn’t have the heart, and I hung back with Sigur Ros’ toy piano plucking my brain. The light from their stage still burning bright inside me.

“You want to go back?” Trent asked.

“Sure,” I said.

We stumbled across a pile of ice someone dumped on the grass. I stopped to address it, “Hey, you make great music.”

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Hippie Chic: Coachella Day 2 … Friday

April 12th, 2013

It was Friday in the desert. I waited as people woke up. As I get older and work more, I get used to being an early morning person. The coffee and food trucks were lined up beyond the campgrounds, in a different section even further beyond the toilets and showers. I heard you had to hit the showers early if you didn’t want to wait in line for hours.

I watched the risers to gather a picture of where I was and prepare for the experience. Frat boys. Topless. Long shorts. No body hair. Identical. Sorority girls. Daisy dukes and bikini tops. Lots of daisy dukes and bikini tops. They were all loud.

“COACHELLA!” someone would scream.

greetings

The heat weighed in heavy almost immediately.

Trent got up to a beer and a few lines of cocaine.

A couple stumbled in front of us. The girl taking the boy’s hand and pressing it against her groin while seemingly entranced in a kiss.

“And I thought true love didn’t exist,” Trent said.

“There are so many daisy dukes and bikini tops that it has become a permanent fixture in the background. Our canvas IS daisy dukes and bikini tops.”

We ventured into the festival. Though I was wide awake at 7am, I was exhausted by noon and we stumbled by something called the Do LaB to fall asleep in the grass. The music was hypnotic. It didn’t really have an identity to itself, but a comforting, predictable beat. Similar to a mother’s heart beat from inside the womb. There were layers to it that, in my opinion, achieved an echelon above the usual pop hit I spin through on the radio.

Pictures in the News

Do Lab Day

I sat up to watch the beautiful people dance. The beautiful, bronzed, thin, muscular, self-aware puppets danced. Everything was so hyper-aware. The flower in the hair. The face paint. The shoes and painted toe nails. I heard the phrase “hippie chic” on the television one day. It seemed counter intuitive. Hippie chic.

Hippie chiche

Hip·pie  /ˈhipē/  noun: a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair and wearing beads, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.

Chic /SHēk/ adjective: elegantly and stylishly fashionable.

Paris Hilton

So unconventional becomes conventional. Rejection becomes acceptance. Were these girls really interested in what was happening in Afghanastan or Egypt? Had they formed opinions about Obamacare and the Affordable Healthcare Act? Were they working to reclaim their country and assume a new identity of freedom, revolution and peace?

Maybe. I couldn’t talk to them. They didn’t see me. They didn’t look for a connection. On the contrary, I stared at them. Their flat abdomens swaying in unison to a beat. The bored little hippie dolls, unmoved, uninspired, with pouty lips. They only knew how to be adored. How to be fucked like a rag doll. They didn’t hear the music. They didn’t see me or Trent, sweating alone in second hand clothes under the bright, orange awning. They didn’t see each other. All they saw was themselves. They were the center of their own universe. Walking back and forth to the outdoor toilets like it was a grassy runway. Always on their phones. Always videotaping. Always assuming they were the one person who was supposed to be noticed.

Do Lab Girls

These girls become a blur and, for once, I was thankful for the bit of chub I acquired during my first 6 months of winter. Michael was feeding me well, too well. He would still drop everything to get whatever I suddenly found a hankering for. Vegan sundaes. Candy sprinkles. Vegan nachos. Daiya cheese. Wine. Beer. Vegan pizza. Vegan pizza. Oh yes, vegan pizza. I have learned to watch what I say aloud, because he will bring me whatever I suggest. The princess treatment was appearing and reappearing in my midsection and arms. I like being skinny, but this particular weekend I liked being chubbier … if just by 5 pounds … just so I could be different.

Me and Trent

It was there, sweating, awake, mildly disgusted by the orchestration of trend and vanity, that a beautiful boy stopped to stare at me. Fat, little me. With my Princess Leia buns and vintage sun dress. He smiled at me. My cheeks burned and I looked down.

Michael knows about my weakness for male attention and sex. If you hadn’t met me but read only my blogs, you might think I prance around in diaphanous clothing, slipping behind the nearest curtain with the first available man. I am rather shy, in a way; otherwise I wouldn’t work so hard to entertain.

It was my first adventure alone, without Michael, in a privileged playground. I didn’t know if I trusted myself yet. So when the beautiful, Greek warrior stared at me with the smile, the smile that can blind one from moral obligation, I turned away. Sure, they were all snot nosed kids who spent more time on their figure and wardrobe than intellect and community. I could still smell their sweat.

The center stage was overcome by a skillfully choreographed show of alien-clad dancers. Females with popping limbs and bopping heads. Water guns were turned on the crowd. With the spray power of a garden hose, one body after another collided with a foaming charge of cold water. It looked delicious. A male dancer came towards us, front and center in the performance. His legs were covered in black latex and stretched over his shoulders in thin straps, leaving his chest and back completely exposed. The muscle in his stomach and arms worked under the perfect flesh of a tight machine. Each working part triggered another, muscles taut and pulling to another lever, another tool, a further apparatus on a flawless stringed, meat symphony.

Performers Do Lab

A ring descended from the top of the stage and stopped at the man’s face. He was crawling on the floor to the ring and broke character for one, holy moment. He grabbed the ring in one hand, and I saw him mouth the words “You can do it” before he clasped on with both hands and was raised in the air like a phoenix sprung from her body. My mouth dropped open. It was sky ballet. I wasn’t even on drugs yet.

Ring Performer at Do Lab

I turned back for Trent, who was awake. I walked through the crowd. Flower halos. Converse shoes. UCLA flags and baseball hats.

“Do you want to go back?” he asked. We needed to get drugs.

We didn’t know anyone holding extra to sell. We had to approach strangers. So we would simply ask people if they knew Molly. Most people kept their head down and their mouths shut. Though Coachella was supposed to be a collapsible community, no one wanted to venture out of their inner circles. They were uncomfortable if they were spoken to, and didn’t want to share. Of course, we were offering to pay them.

“We came prepared. Learn your lesson,” one 18-year-old blurted out to us.

“We have an unreliable drug dealer,” I said, casually.

Trent has a switch. And before they had smarted off to us, Trent was flipped. We were tired of being ignored and avoided. We were tired of people treating us like we were hobos, panhandlers or freaks. We were all there for the same reason. The walls in Indio were taller than ever.

“You are just a couple of kids, you don’t know anything,” Trent said, throwing his hand in the air and storming off.

“Why don’t you chill out!?” one said. Trent turned towards them, the whites of his eyes screaming at them for more. Feed me more.

“It’s ok. It’s not worth it. Just let it go,” I said to both of them. More to the two young men than Trent.

There was bickering and I gently pulled Trent towards our tent as the confrontation spilled and fizzled into nothing at all. It was hard. We both had been bashing most of the yuppie, white teen trash washing into the festival all day. At one point, I was picking up receipts off the ground by the ATM machine and reading off account totals. “Balance $2,004.00, $6,458.00, $11,899. FUCK YOU!” Needless to say, my balance was in the negative. Trent had struggled the first half of the day trying to remember his pin for his ATM card. He called his bank and his mother trying to figure it out before it just came to him, in the middle of a hot afternoon, while overpriced beers were spilling over rich kids’ fingers. We had plenty of food in the car from the Target run the night before. It was the feeling that we were excluded from some gradiose American experience. To run off to musical festivals with no job to get back to, no rent to pay, no car breaking down every couple weeks. To have unlimited resources to do anything you want. To just fuck off without consequence. Of course each person has their own conditions to grieve. Their own price to pay. That didn’t ease the bitterness as they paraded in front of us, noses high, money and luxury cars everywhere, and worst of all, ignoring us just like they would anywhere else. If we served them in a restaurant- which we probably did. If we mopped their floors, paid their share of taxes, bought from their family brand, we were expendable. We were invisible. And here in a paradise constructed of synthetic, pharmaceutical and musical fantasy, our fantasy was interrupted.

Frat Boy Indian

I would like to think I can be a better person. That I could let go of class and kids, the miles between the cost of my time and the cost of theirs, the year it took for Trent and I to save up for this weekend so we could feel a part of something magical and current, something that could give us the vision of a life we wanted and the commercial it has turned into. Tickets are over $300 each and continue to rise every year, making it only possible for a certain type of person to go; the type that makes sacrifices throughout their year for a ticket, or the type with a large, disposable income. To throw those two in the desert together was mephitic to the point where it was almost paralyzing.

Trent and I fed off of one another. Sneering. Glaring. Quipping. It did us no good.

Back at the campground, we met a kid who would trade us Molly for $30 and some blow. I guess cocaine was a little more exotic to that breed. Good thing our unreliable drug dealer was never short of one thing: blow.

As night fell, my sinuses tightened and I felt the onset of a migraine. I didn’t drink enough water. I used to have them all the time, but now it is rare. I have credited the dog walking for improving my circulation. When a migraine takes hold of me, it is by the throat. If I move, the pain can become so overwhelming, I am forced to vomit. My neck and head lock and I freeze. The Molly still flooded me with serotonin. My heart sped up. My eyes peeled back to reveal the world underneath the obnoxious screaming and drunk lechery.

night coachella

Beach House played. Trent was ecstatic. It was the first time he was really happy. Poor, unfortunate souls like ours feed off music. More than food and money. The music reclaims us.

Beach House

There was a string of huge balloons tied in a long rope across the sky. They were so big; you could see them from the sky, miles away. They bobbed gently in the desert wind. And over the string and gently moving balloons was a full moon. The music came to me through those large round spheres, full of human breath, moving with the Earth’s voice and I saw it. I saw the music.

The whole note.

The half note.

The crochet.

The quaver.

The breve.

The minim.

Each note danced overhead to the soft, hypnotic music.

Balloon Chain by Robert Bose Photo By Sarah Parvini

I had to lie down to keep my head still, as to reduce my physical suffering. My face buried in the cool, cool grass. The heat from the Molly extinguished on midnight dew. I remembered my Third grade teacher scolding us for pulling out the grass in the playground. “That is God’s carpet,” she said.

God’s carpet. It held me still so the music could play through me.

Music was coming from two other stages. It felt like all the instruments were colliding over my head and spilling in lost notes through my hair. The volume so loud the ground shook. My head shook as if the fingers of the musicians were pressing down on me with each cue.

I stayed there in child’s pose. Occasionally, someone would ask if I was ok. I said I was great. Better than great.

moon rise

That is when we found blow on the ground. These kids were so fucked up, they were dropping their drugs on the ground without notice. We collected the baggies.

Next on stage was the Yeah Yeah’s. Trent led me to the next stage, and I fell to the ground again. My feet behind my ass, my face planted in God’s carpet. And the music came again.

“Do you need water …?” Trent asked. “A cigarette?”

“No, I just need to be still.”

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio

Once in a while, a drunk would step on me, trip over my back, press their foot onto my hand. They couldn’t see me. I was beneath the light. Beneath their line of vision. Swimming in the world of dreams.

“No one can see you down there,” a stranger said, trying to divert foot traffic.

“I know,” I said.

I know.

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A Shade Rather Than a Scream: Coachella 2013 Pt. 1 … The Night Before

Here I am. It is Saturday night and I am getting over a cold. The fatigue won’t leave me. My hands, my feet, my head all ache to rest in bed. The idea to rest more gets me frustrated Michael, my lover, has reminded me I have been sick for less than a week. I despise the feeling. In an effort to pick up my spirits, I am writing another entry in my much neglected blog.

***

Thursday, April 11th, 201:. Trent and I were finishing up my rounds out in Burbank. The final bit of pet sitting services on my schedule before I took three days off: The old lady recovering from cancer who needs the kitty litter box cleaned once a month. She likes to talk about rock n’ roll and politics. She always leaves the radio on, when I am not there, that is her only outlet to the world. Traffic was bad out of LA. We had to swing down to Anaheim to pick up two  boys from Mexico City we connected with on Facebook who bought the camping pass for Coachella Music Festival ahead of time. (We had neglected to do so) Then we had to stop off at a Target so we could put all our camping supplies and food on my Target card. That was the arrangement as Trent bought my ticket months in advance. And then we had to pull into the small town of Indio, California to set up camp for a three day weekend of drugs and music.

coachella-2013

Sure, there were thoughts that the two young Mexicans would slice our throats, steal my 1996 Saturn and enjoy the rest of the weekend with my Target card. We needed that camping pass though, and as we pulled into a Days Inn off the 5 freeway, I saw two young, rather innocent kids no more than 21 years of age, waiting patiently in the empty, sterile lounge through tiny, double glass doors and large luggage on their laps. One was Salvador, tall, virile and handsome. A thick head of black hair and dimples that rose and vanished under a blanket of rotating expressions. The other was a larger boy named Fernando. He was shy, with a broader face but long hair to hide behind. His nose and lips more prominent and more self-conscious.

It would become apparent that Fernando was in love with Salvador. Of course, we were all in love with Salvador. We couldn’t have found gentler and more generous souls anywhere in this big, bad world. We lucked out.

Black Betty

Just before driving into Indio, we decorated my car. There is a prize for the most decorated car, promising free entry into the following year’s Coachella Music Festival. It was then that I took out the window decal I bought over the internet. Over the rear windshield, we spread out in large pink letters, my new, used car’s name: Black Betty. As a foursome, we scratched it over glass so it would take. It wasn’t centered. Fuck it.

We drove off the freeway and followed signs to the music festival, then got in a long line of cars waiting for a camping spot assignment. Cars in front and behind us were dumping bottles of alcohol. “Yeah, you can’t bring it any glass containers,” Trent said.  At the Target parking lot, we had already poured two bottles of cheap, white wine in an emptied jug of water. It barely covered a quarter of the jug. Cans of beer were acceptable. Trent always needed a huge stock of beer.

check point

It took over an hour to gently roll Black Betty into the field where camping passes were scanned and cars were checked by security. Our security officer picked up our plastic jug. “Smart,” she said. “Ok, go on through.” We were packing some drugs but not as much as we wanted. Our Los Angeles drug dealer was rather unreliable. Somewhere between a psychotic disorder and a drug addiction, he was barely surviving in a one bedroom apartment. He lived in a pile of discarded clothes, disposable razors, emptied Snapple bottles and expensive, vintage movie posters.

lsd_flesh_of_devil_movie_poster_artOne of the last times I went to visit him, he told me “they” broke into his apartment. He threw his arms around his apartment as if I could see how much worse off everything is than it was. I couldn’t tell the difference. He pointed to the back of his front door, “See dat! Do you see dat!?” he said in a thick German accent. “It is some kind of witchcraft symbol. Cult bullshit! Dat wasn’t there before. They left dat!” I looked at him, bare chested under his leather vest with a thin, cloth scarf tied around his neck and struggled to find the symbol.

I found what appeared to be spilled coffee on the back corner of his front door.  I hadn’t heard from him since. I knew he was moving. I knew he was changing cell phone numbers. And I was unable to replenish our stash for the Coachella festivities. We knew we could buy from kids holding at Coachella.

Coachella Bitches

As we slowly rolled in, I saw bronzed, white girls in uggs and matching outfits. Midriffs and streaked, chocolate-blonde hair. They all looked identical. I had forgotten what it was to be young in mind. To long to be identical to the others. They waved neon, light tubes in the air, pretending to be a little more tipsy than the other. A little more available. Just a little different from the other. A shade of variation instead of a scream of uniquity.

I hadn’t gone to a regular University. I applied to one college: a hippie four-year school with no grades, no tests and a reputation for stoner students who are awarded academic credit in exchange for a self-constructed academia around growing marijuana. Evergreen State College was the beginning of the real me. Everything synched for the first time in my awkward, uncomfortable, painfully shy existence. Those kids listened to my music. Those kids tripped to Beatles and Pink Floyd, running through rain forests and drumming next to fires. Those kids let me feel that my instincts were leading me in the right direction. It was the beginning of my real life. I wasn’t waiting anymore: waiting to move away from my parents, waiting to get through an unenthusiastic educational institution, waiting to move out of a strip mall. Waiting to talk to people who already knew me. At 18, I was able to skip over football games and frat boys, sororities and keggers. I escaped, and somehow was brought full circle in Indio.

TheEvergreenStateCollege

Evergreen College in Olympia, WA

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Coachella in Indio, CA

I was shocked to see them there. My impression was that Coachella was a modern day Woodstock. A celebration of psychedelics, good music and spontaneous friendship. I tried not to hate the BMWs and the Mercedes Benzes as they all lined up in perfect order from each other. I think my car was the only model assembled prior to 2005 in our entire section. The bitterness yanked on my lower intestine as my parking break through anchor on its stretch of field and grass. I kept asking Trent, “Did they work for the money for that car?” As if any answer would heal my working class scratches and bruises, the scars and scabs that hardened and broke back open. Trent related to the feeling and we both exchanged snarky remarks as we pitched a tent in strangers’ headlights. Earlier, we watched two young girls smoke a joint like a cigarette out of their parents Lexus. We were already worked up before even entering festival grounds.

“You don’t know what you’re doing!” Trent screamed at them. They posed like we were paparazzi in my pathetic headlights. Like we envied their uniformity and money. We did envy the ease with which they slithered into our world.

Once we were settled, I hid in the tent for a quick nap. I was working my ass off with school and work. I wasn’t sleeping full nights. I rarely had a day off. I was grouchy and exhausted. When I slipped off into a starry doze with the cold desert air settling on my face and chest, I would startle to my name.

Then again.

“Just a few more minutes …” I called before feeling my body lift to the sky.

When I got up, everyone was up and celebrating with beer and pre-festivity drugs. No psychedelics yet. “We feel so sorry for you,” Salvador said.

“Every time I called your name, you woke up for a second to say you would be right out. I would just call your name out whenever we got bored and you sat right up to talk,” Trent explained, as he broke over laughing. “Your brain will not let you sleep!”

I rubbed the star dust off my face and grabbed a beer. “I am up. What time is it?”

“Two” someone answered.

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Trent and I stayed up all night terrorizing our neighbors. Two young men named Houston and Benny who were separated from their group. We may not have gravitated towards them if they moved within their pod, but they were on their own and close to us, so we went a few rounds of psychological banter and bruising before feeling a comradery. Benny was attractive. He looked to be about 20 to 21, but was tall. He had a soft face. Almond-shaped eyes. He looked down when he chuckled to fill the void. Trent and I tore him apart, asking him question after question about his sexuality, about his childhood, about his fantasies. He kept standing until dawn and one of our neighbor’s stumbled out of his tent to use the toilet. “You two could make a fortune breaking down someone’s psyche like that. I have been listening to it all night.”

Trent spilled his lovable cackle. Trent would break down pretty boys. If they were straight, it would be more fuel for the fire. I know Trent well, but I still haven’t figured out the paper puzzle for which he unfolds. How does he fall in love? How does he give himself over? How does he feel free? When he comes close to any of those great moments of being human, of manhood, he hides under fists.  The last time he was in love … it was beautiful, but complicated. Emotionally gentle but psychologically rough. Monogamous but paraded as polyandrous. I fell in love with both of them. When Trent lost him, so did I. And so the ballad fades out into the next, sad love song.

Trent at Coachella 2013

Trent at Coachella 2013

There was a typical Hollywood hot shot walking around, retreating to his tent every ten minutes for another line of coke. Another young man, somewhat attractive, promising to give me a deal on Molly. Trent didn’t trust him. We all hung out drinking beer, waiting for free coke and watching as one by one, another festival camper disappeared into the tent for a few hours of sleep before it begun.

Trent and I stood there as the sun rose. “Are we really the last ones standing?”

Then it was Friday.

sun rise

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Acid, Ecstasy and Disneyland

Ask me the first time I let Michael into my heart?

I can tell you the steps, the baby steps, he made across the line into that first pumping valve. The first memory is taking him to see The Hollywood Stones in winter of 2012. The Hollywood Stones, once called Sticky Fingers, is the Rolling Stones cover band who first introduced me to the music back in 2001 in Pomona. I liked it. When I saw them last year on the Queen Mary, I had familiarized myself with the albums “Sticky Fingers” and “Let It Bleed” just because they ushered me through the door. I schedule my entire month around seeing them. As I once said to their saxophone player outside an Orange County steakhouse, “Hearing ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ live is just a gift.”

Dancing to the Stones

Once, the mentor, who broke my heart and leveled my self-esteem with her post-semester evaluation, invited me to her house for a reading in her Topanga home. It was the perfect opportunity to touch base with her again and give some credibility to my commitment as a writer. When I saw that The Hollywood Stones were playing the same night, I looked over at Michael. “Should I pretend to struggle over this decision?” I scratched out my old mentor’s event and wrote HOLLYWOOD STONES on my wall calendar. When I dance, when I dance to the music, it becomes my religion. That is when I feel the most alive.

The first night I took Michael to see them I knew that it would be a good indicator of where we would end up. Abe, my ex, would quickly run and hide during my dances. Was it out of fear or embarrassment? I never really figured it out.

Michael was ordering us drinks when the Stones hit their first song on stage. I was walking out of the bathroom and I felt the eyes of the band on me. It was a small venue. I am always the first to dance during the first song. And I am always alone.

I looked over to the bar and waved in Michael’s direction then started dancing. Michael creeped on the dance floor in my winter’s jacket. He was wearing it so I wouldn’t have to lug it around. I stopped to smile at him, as he sauntered on the floor towards me, sliding each sleeve up his forearm. I looked at the lead singer, Dick Swagger, and I watched him smile.

That was one of my favorite moments.

Another was on New Year’s Eve in a gay bar called Akbar. It was free and a last ditch effort during a busy dog walking season. Michael, Trent (my gay boyfriend) and myself all walked in knowing the DJs were usually hit and miss. This night it was Elton John, The Animals, The Monkees, The Black Keys, Jet and even Nancy Sinatra. We had a bag of cocaine on us and Michael was regularly excusing himself to the bathroom to take a few bumps.

“Does he know to take it easy on that stuff?” Trent asked.

“I don’t think he has had that heart stopping, ‘I am dying’, moment yet,” I said.

He never did. When Whitney Houston came on, Michael knew he couldn’t leave the dance floor, so he cleared the stage in front of the DJ and set up lines for himself in front of everyone. I admire that fearlessness. I worry, but I still admire.

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Another favorite moment of us, in this rather young relationship, is coming home from the AWP conference in Boston. It is a conference for writers and publishers. He picked me up from the airport. At the baggage claim, I watched him looking for me. As soon as he saw me, he grabbed my arm with such force it almost hurt. He yanked me in for a hard kiss. A real kiss. The kind you see on TV and convince yourself don’t really exist. I kissed him back, forgetting the department head and president of my school were there waiting for their baggage too. When I opened my eyes, his arm swung up in my face … with flowers.

There was the negative as well. Michael doesn’t understand why I maintain contact with my ex-boyfriends, ex-lovers. I told him, “I don’t know how you can be intimate with someone and not stay in touch. How can you stop caring?”

In fact, Michael was no longer in contact with the girl he was going to move back to Milwaukee for before we started seeing each other. I knew she was upset at him from various angry, bleeping text messages around the holidays. That always bugged me.

‘She blocked me, ok?” he defended.

Other things, as it did with other cohabitating partners, bothered me; eating cereal next to my head as he stood over me to read while I was writing, this tick of pulling and sniffing on his nostrils, and gagging himself with a toothbrush while brushing. The clanking of his spoon against the bowl. (That isn’t specific to him, my roommate Frank is creating the same jarring sound from the living room as I write this) His rearrangement of my garments in the dresser. Little things bothered me, but they never really contended with his undying love and devotion. Whenever you consolidate your life with someone else’s life, there is friction.

It is difficult talking about how I love people. Last year, I was really hurt with many people. My  roommate hung himself and died. My ex-boyfriend broke up with me a few days before agreeing to move in with me and take me to his cousin’s wedding. My parents kicked me out with no money or shelter. All that happens to a broke girl is a kick into survival mode. You still have affection for people, but you don’t invite them into your soul anymore. It is a liability. And, at that point, it would be just plain stupid.

Michael’s mother gave us a timeshare for a Disneyland tower. I stocked up on my favorite drugs; MDMA, acid and Ecstasy. Acid, for some reason, is in low supply in Los Angeles. Luckily, my roommate Frank had two cubes of sugar he was saving in a friend’s freezer.

We arrived. I was in a pink sock hat, heart pajama bottoms and a Doors shirt with a Hunter S. Thompson biography and a stack of oreo cookies under my arm. I expected the Disney staff to either be over-serving in typical Corporate-Magic fashion or ignore us. Instead, the staff seemed to know exactly why we were there.

HST Flip Off

“That’s a great book,” the Bell Hop said.

“I know. It is blowing me away,” I said.

“They only use the words of people that knew Hunter S. Thompson. It is one of my favorites.”

What a pleasant surprise. They were kind, assuming a lower but friendly tone with us as we were escorted to our hotel room. We got in and watched the afternoon burn off. When we woke up in the middle of the night after beer, Taco Bell and a nap I wanted to take the acid. Michael was reluctant, wanting to wait until we were in the park. The drugs would hit me long and hard. My friends know that drugs hit me in “a weird way.” I don’t know if it is my brain chemistry or what exactly, but I get a bang for my buck no matter what. That is why I always dose low and slow. Even things like cough syrup and tylenol were given to me in minimal and controlled doses as a child.

I dosed and Michael followed soon after. One of my favorite things to do is watch old Looney Tunes episodes on psychedelics. We had the pleasure of an old Sylvester the cat episode. When acid kicks in, you know. The colors start getting strong. So strong they almost leap out of your television set. You laugh so hard you start uncontrollably cackling until tears cool down your face. All of this happened in the course of one hour, but not with Michael.

Sylvester is after the mouse, but somehow the mouse was able to substitute himself for a kangaroo.  Of course, the house bull dog has no sympathy for Sylvester. Scared over a mouse? Get in there and do your job! Sylvester gets the shit kicked out of him, and when the bull dog sees the kangaroo, he grabs Sylvester by the scruff and drops them both on the back of the truck. “When you start seeing a 5-foot mouse, then its time to jump on the water wagon.” Both Sylvester and the dog look defeated as they are carted away.

This was hysterical, and I couldn’t stop laughing. How things happened and in what order I am not sure. I accidentally hit a switch on the wall, and our bed boards lit up with electronic fireworks and a lit Disney castle to the hard, strained chords of a music box orchestra. We were both astonished.

I had to leave for a cigarette and be by myself. I know Michael wasn’t feeling it and was quite disappointed. So I walked outside and smoked next to a few potted trees in a huge,empty, concrete parking lot. It was 4am so no one was there but the night crew.

I looked at a bush next to the ashtray. “You just want to be free to grow, huh? I understand.” Everything seemed so controlled and fake. Sectioned and tarred. I smoked two cigarettes and watched the night time sprinklers go on. I watched the leaves dance for water and touched their pointing tips to feel some life in this endless parking lot. “I am sorry,” I whispered.

I walked back into the hotel and got in the elevator with a Hispanic man from the cleaning crew. My pupils were the size of dimes. “These graveyard shifts will shorten your lifespan, man,” I said. He giggled.

The elevator doors opened to Michael, waving his arms. He was worried about me. After huffing and puffing, he took off down the hallway to our room. “Have a good night,” the night man smiled.

We got back in the room and I laughed off his tantrum. I was only gone for 20 minutes, the acid was expanding his time. “I was really worried about you. Like, where were you, man?” He was adopting my dated vocabulary.

“I was outside. Those plants don’t like it out there.”

He calmed down after 10 or 15 minutes of panting and complaining. We hugged and kissed. When he had to poop, I dragged the chair into the bathroom and sat outside the toilet door because I didn’t want to be alone. It wasn’t just that. Something is vulnerable about a man on the shitter. He kept the door closed but we giggled so hard, I toppled over on the chair as it rocked clumsily between bathroom tiles on the floor.

Suddenly famished, we ordered room service (something we couldn’t afford) and the cart never made it as far as the beds before we fed off the table in the hallway. It was a great first night. He enjoyed a California omelet. I inhaled fresh fruit and oatmeal. “I can understand now how someone like Lindsay Lohan can blow all her money in a hotel.” When we were done, the sun was rising and we decided it was no better time to unleash ourselves into the park. We were allotted early entrance as Disney residents.

It was a special day, we walked into baby ducks marching towards us with trust and confidence. “Is this real?” Michael asked.

I always hit Storybookland first. Mr. Toad and his Wild Ride. Sleeping Beauty. Snow White. Pinocchio. And Peter Pan. Jesus, those rides are like flipping through old library pages in the early 80s. In the 2010s, themes of crystals and the occult are evident. On acid, it is a lift to the curtain. Instead of the characters coming alive, I was more aware of the squeaky wheels under the ride. The flimsy cardboard as each sun-bleached character clumsily stumbled towards us before spinning away. The paint on the wall was of someone with talent but not allowed artistry. On acid, in Disneyland, you would like to believe everything comes alive. It doesn’t. Everything is revealed as it truly is: a farce.It was easier to surrender my imagination sober. Under the influence of psychedelics, all I could see was man instead of imagination.

It wasn’t as if this ruined my time however. We bought cotton candy.

“My parents never let me have cotton candy,” I said, feeling pink sugar dissolve on my tongue and teeth. “This is the best thing man ever invented.”

“Whenever you tell me about your childhood, I just feel sad,” Michael said.

Disneyland (2) Disneyland (1)

My mother worked at a dentistry school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was never allowed to eat a cookie without a glass of milk. To this day, the association of sugar without a cleaning entity leaves me feeling dirty. Cotton candy, sugar cereal and cookies were among the many offenders of bad teeth.

We rode the Merry-Go-Round. We happened across a horse drawn cart. I saw the horse and felt an immediate kinship. “I want to touch that horse.”

“I don’t think you can, baby,” Michael said, holding on to my wrist as if holding down a helium balloon.

“I think it wants me to pet it.”

The horse driver slowly stepped towards us, smiling but cautious. “I don’t think you can, baby.”

I sighed. “I love you,” I called to the horse. It bucked it’s head and vanilla mane towards me like it understood. I stomped away on the cobblestone path to Buffalo Bill’s Wild, Wild West. The Petting Zoo was closed.

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We hit the Pirates of the Caribbean and I watched as the pirate chasing women was now changed to pirates chasing each other while holding a stolen treasure. The “Buy A Wife” still remains, with one woman in a brazen, red dress eager for purchase. A child cried. “It’s ok,” I said, “It just called sex slavery.”

The lecherous pirate chasing a teenage girl (hiding in a barrel) chanting “”It’s sore I be to hoist me colors upon the likes of that shy little wench” was changed to “I be looking for a fine pork loin, I be” and (now) a cat peeking its head out of the barrel.

We hit the Haunted Mansion, which was the one time I was not able to carry myself. It was completely dark and the pathway started moving. I asked Michael to hold on to me so I wouldn’t fall. “Are you freaking out?” he asked.

“No, I am just disoriented. Hold on to me, please.”

Afterward, Michael had to smoke, so all the smokers huddled in a corner by Autotopia to suck on cancer sticks. I wasn’t interested. “Are you not feeling it?” I said.

“No. But I have already come to peace with the fact that I can just enjoy you feeling it,” Michael said.

“Well, let’s take the Ecstasy.”

“Now?” he asked.

I gave him his pill 20 minutes before giving in on mine. I was still on the tail coats of acid but there was no denying it was a weak dose. The ecstasy hit him on The Matterhorn. I was sitting behind him in a bumpy bobsled.  A white, hairy creature would sometimes coast out on rickety rails and clinking wheels with his hands raised in claws and his eyes burning red. As we whipped around snow-capped mountains, I watched Michael raise both hands as they gracefully lowered to either side of him, middle fingertip pressed to thumb in some kind of meditation pose. I will never forget that. I knew the ecstasy hit him as soon as he reached zen on the Matterhorn. I chuckled even though he couldn’t hear me on the rattling ride as we swept through, under and over mountains modeled poorly after the Swiss Alps.

When we got off, I turned to him and said, “So, what? Are the people of Switzerland terrorized by a large, white, snow bound monster?”

“I think it is modeled after the Abominable Snowman,” he said with lazy eyes.

We went to Indiana Jones, which is still one of the best rides at Disneyland. We still ducked when feeling the air from blow darts. The rock rolling towards us still felt believable in the second before the ride drops below it.

We took Mark Twain’s Riverboat to Tom Sawyer’s Island. We got over there and all we could do was sit in the sunshine and kiss. “Ewwww” a little girl screamed, pointing. We both turned to her and laughed. It was just a lovely afternoon. Ecstasy gives you a bigger lift than Molly (MDMA). You feel like you could fly with laughter, like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.

Back on the Mainland (Disneyland), there wasn’t much left to do. We made an appearance at Tomorrowland, though Space Mountain was more than I could admittedly deal with. Alice in Wonderland was a much needed stop. It’s a Small World. The Ecstasy had triggered strong maternal feelings and I was kissing the air within a few feet of stranger’s children. I am not sure I want children, but I can tell you they are amazing human beings.

They wore their pajamas. They ate their lollipops without inhibition, often leaving hard candy raindrops on their face and pants. They smiled when I smiled at them and cried only to their parents. All of them were carted in strollers, which was a bizarre sight. Children, all the way up to 10 years of age, were being carted around in rented strollers … not for fatigue but for speed and efficiency in the parents’ best interest. Stumbling on stroller parking was still one of the most bizarre sights I have seen. It seems we are rapidly approaching the life and times of Wall-E.

Stroller parking

Could children not walk anymore? Or could parents not be bothered with their short stride?

It was mid-afternoon when we took the tram back to our hotel room for lovemaking. Of course, the drugs had stripped me of all disguise and left me much like a little girl abandoned in a grocery store. I cried in the middle of lovemaking, walked to the other side of the suite and returned to Michael. This happened about four or five times in succession. Michael was patient.

“Work it out, baby,” he said, laying on the bed naked. His head pressed against the headboard with his thick, black hair brushed up and over his head like an Outsider from the 50s. His Italian eyes I once thought looked sad. Now, they looked heavy with seduction.

When I told my sister I was dating a full-blooded American-Italian she typed, “Yuck. Latin lovers are the worst.”

Those eyes brought me back, though. His arm was hung around the back of his head, stretching his biceps, almost forlornly watching. He didn’t try to wrangle me or cajole me back to the bed. He just watched me, feeling bad when I cried and satisfied when I returned. Recently, I watched “Scarface” and realized Michael had AL Pacino’s eyes. He knew I would be back and gave me the space to mourn my loss. When I wept, I don’t know what he thought I was thinking of or feeling. I can tell you the recurring memory was my parents kicking me out. If my parents can abandon me, anyone can. I had to cry it out, pathetically, naked, alone, next to the ice box and empty champagne bottle. I needed to work it out.

“Work it out, baby.”

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To start my new family, I needed to mourn the old one. I cried and I came back to him.

We made love. We watched the Princess Story Time on the Resident Only Disney Channel. “Why is she using that voice? Doesn’t she know kids don’t like being condescended to? I can’t bear this.”

I took an MDMA pill. My serotonin was already depleted from the Ecstasy. However, I was launched into a world of floating pillows and white bed sheets like Jasmine the Agrabah princess. I couldn’t raise my physical senses any higher, but napped and levitated until the sun set.

a dreama dream 2

***

A lover of 5 years confessed to making out with his 1st cousin as a child and described walking into his father’s hospital room, while he was dying of lung cancer, then leaving immediately without saying a word. His father died before he could find the courage to speak.

Another lover of several months once described a moment where his birth mother accused him of being a “faggot” before abandoning him as an adolescent.

Love for a women is immediate. She opens her body to pregnancy and disease on the word of a man. She sacrifices her pulse and movement to a man, as he enters her. Men don’t experience this, though themselves are made of flesh, blood and bone. Words, you see, amount to nothing.

vag

It was much later in our relationship, in June, when I was having a nervous breakdown about residency, about love, life and rejection, that Michael invited me into the bathroom. “Do you want to watch me poop? Would that make you feel better?”

“Yeah,” I whimpered. It would. And it did.

I pulled a chair into our tiny bathroom and sat there holding his hand when I heard the first plop. I was crying all night and suddenly smiled. He could reveal as much of himself as I needed to … in order to love again.

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“Cheating? Me? Really? I bought you peanut butter and jelly yesterday.”

Christmas came and went. It was nice. Christmas Eve Dora’s mother invited us over for dinner after work. When Dora got the text she said, “Wow, we haven’t had dinner together for years, like 3-4 years.”

I said, “Really?” I know Dora struggled throughout high school. There was the divorce and her family splintered. Dora got the shite end of the deal, losing years of her innocence to very hard drugs. Now the spirit of the family was discovering itself again, without the male entities. The father still remains out of the picture and the brother lives in the Pacific Northwest.

I brought a cheap bottle of champagne and she made me a Tofurkey. Few things bring tears to the eye, but I can tell you, I really didn’t think I would have a Tofurkey this year. And there it was, cooked perfectly.

Dora’s sister arrived to with her husband, and I could tell Dora’s mom was ecstatic. She wasn’t so thrilled that she would exalt in Mid-Western Game Show Glory- you could just see it . . . her bustling around to cook and serve food while her words got light and fast. She got tipsy and giggled.

It was nice. Mitch even came, too.

I sipped the champagne and whispered, “Mmmmm, liquid gold.”

Dora, “You manage that Tofurkey.”

Me, “Oh, I’ll manage it.” I ate almost the entire thing.

Abe surprised me Christmas morning. I was annoyed he chose to spend every day of the holiday with his parents until they left town on Christmas Day. He offered to come out after they left, but my shift started at 2pm so what was the point  . . .

He showed up with gifts at 10am. We took the dogs to a park and then I fed them yummy food with large bones to follow. Maggie loved her bone so much, she refused to sit down to chew it. She consumed the whole 12 inch bone standing up. That dog is a tank.

By the time New Year’s came around, I had tickets for us to see The Chromatics and Glass Candy at Los Globos. I planned on getting 2 Mollys for us (MDMA) and dropping with Trent and Kent, who would meet us there.

Abe said, “Go to a gay club and do ecstasy? That’s not something I would normally do . . .  but what the heck, its New Years. Time for new things, right?”

I smiled.

Abe got a hotel room and a pink top hat with ‘Happy New Year’ printed across it. I got a tiara and wore my pink striped sequin dress. It was the moment when my life was going to change for the better.

I got off work at 8pm and Abe got lost on the way to the motel, so we didn’t get in the club until a little after 10pm and dropped together. Happy New Year.

Trent said, “I always worry it won’t be enough for me. That the dose will be too mild.”

I said, “I worry about the opposite. That its not enough.”

I wanted to dance, but the crowd was generally unpleasant.

Something called “Hipster” best defined by two separate and brief conversations I have had:

#1 Abe, “Why does everyone look like a socially retarded zombie in this part of town?”
Me, “Its called Hipster, babe. Its ‘in’ now.”

#2 (sitting in a car with Dora we watch three people cross the street)
Dora, “I kinda love the Hipster thing. Do whatever you want. Dress how ever you want.”
Me, “Black tights, with a plaid skirt, a military jacket and ballet slippers . . .”
Dora, “Not that . . . that is just . . . not even funny.”

Here we were, at a very cool club listening to very cool music, and nobody would smile.

I walked in smiling, and initially thought that my tiara gave the wrong impression- but I mean COME ON, the woman next to me had bird feathers glued to her face.

So we got up and started swaying to the music.  The flannel was a-plenty and everyone was pastey white with hanging faces. How tragic to be white, young and in Los Angeles.

This was the night when I was going to break off everything poisonous and heavy- so I let the music and drug take me away.

Abe, “Its kind of hot in here. Whooo!”

Abe doesn’t dance. He walks in the corner where he can stare at the sound system or he shifts weight from one foot to the other in the hopes it will match the music.

Abe shook the collar of his shirt, “Its really hot in here.”

I said, “That’s the drug baby. Enjoy it.”

One of the few times I feel warm in general is when I am on ecstasy.

He said, “Is there a giant hole behind me? It feels like people won’t stand behind me. What’s going on back there, can you look?”

I looked and said, “There is no one behind you but I don’t think its about you. Don’t let your low self-esteem wear on you.”

Abe said, “That would be hard considering I have no self esteem.”

I turned back to the music.

Trent and Kent were waving to the music like sea urchins. I turned back to Abe.

He said, “I love you, baby.”

I laughed, “I love you, too.”

I grabbed his arms and let him move with my body. The sequins felt coarse against my skin so I tried keeping my arms off my dress and rubbed against Abe.

He backed away suddenly and said, “Baby, you are giving me a (low voice) hard on. (normal voice) You can’t do that.”

I said, “Its called dirty dancing. No one is looking at us. Just look at me.”

He gave a breathy chuckle.

It was a mild dose of MDMA, which was fine since it left me in control.

We went back to Kent’s empty apartment.

Abe, “Trent says he has a big cock.”

Trent, “I do.”

Me, “Yes, I have heard stories about how big it is but have never had the pleasure.”

Abe, “You people talk about strange stuff.”

Me, “Its called just being open. Say whatever you think.”

Abe, “Um … once she (me) gave me a blowjob with champagne in her mouth and let some slide into my urethra and at first it was like, ‘whoa- that’s weird’ but then I thought, ‘that was kinda hot.”

Me (rubbing his back), “See? The truth will set you free.”

After an hour there, we went back to the hotel room to bathe and make love til 6:30 in the morning. It was one of the most erotic nights of my life.

I trusted him.

In the bathtub, I curled up against his chest and felt like I was kept warm inside the palm of his hand.

Everything was beautiful and intense.

When I woke up at 10am, he had breakfast set up for me on the vanity. He made coffee.

We made love again. Its kind of hard to orgasm on esctasy. It hard to explain. A large part of you is holding back because of the fear that the pleasure will be unmanageable. Unmanageable is such a clinical term . . . everything is already overwhelming to process; the thoughts, the touch, the time. With the orgasm, you completely surrender and I couldn’t give that to Abe yet.

Around 10:50am, I allowed one orgasm out. 11am was check-out.

We walked over to a Thai restaurant. He looked at me and said, “I am feeling really emotionally attached to you right now.”

I said, “Good, so this would be the right time to talk about moving in?”

I still thought building a love nest with Abe would be my salvation; from poverty and a self destructive lifestyle. I still see a beautiful little cottage with a yard, hot tea, music and animals. Jesus, doesn’t that sound nice?

Abe asked, “How can you work after last night?”

I said, “Are you kidding me? I work at a Doggie Daycare, coming down from ecstasy while cuddling with dogs sounds awesome.” And it was.

I showed up to work 15 minutes late with my hair down and a huge smile on my face.

HR said, “Your hair looks nicer today.”

I said, “That’s because I bathed.”

Audience, you can see how I got wrapped up in him again, right?

The Christmas morning surprise. The New Year’s Eve love making. The inch by inch discussion we had on moving in.

After making love one morning he said, “Why don’t you just give up the dogs and move in with me?”

I pulled away and said, “They are my kids. I need them. If you don’t understand that then we have no future. We aren’t compatible. I come with animals, period.”

He rolled closer to me and whispered in warm, morning breath that he understood.

A few days later, we spoke about how I wouldn’t take his last name if we married. He didn’t like that. I liked that he didn’t like that, but said, “I was born (my name) and I will die (my name). That’s who I am and that will never change.”

He said things like, “I see other couples walking around and they don’t truly love each other. I can appreciate real love and what we have. I am not blind” or “You don’t find a girl who wants to have your baby everyday, that means everything.”

We discussed what city we might live in, the compromises we would make.

I am a fool. Let me admit this right now. I AM A FOOL! But, if I don’t let my heart lead me some of the time, how can I live my dreams?

The last day I saw him, I kept drilling to understand why he was resisting moving in. I asked, “What are the problems, tell me and we will resolve them.”

Abe said, “You like LA more than Orange County.”

I said, “Thats true. Well, all my work is in LA and most of your work is in LA so its just practical. LA has personality and Orange County is one long strip mall. But, if we live close to the beach, I can move to Orange County. Not some beach where kids go for Spring Break. I don’t want to deal with girls degrading themselves.”

Abe said, “What are you talking about?”

Me, “That spring break bullshit I see. I don’t want to live by that.”

Abe, “OK, NO MORE DOGS! You can’t get anymore dogs.”

Me, “Agreed. I can’t take on anymore dogs. This is it, my final three. I would like to get back into fostering though, but we can talk about that later.”

Abe said, “Ok, with the dogs you won’t compromise. They have to have all access to the entire house and they destroy everything. That means they will destroy all my things, take up MY time and add more stress to MY life.”

I said, “What if we give them the garage and a yard? I can put my computer in the garage and write and watch movies with them. They can have their beds in there, and they will be totally removed from all the nice things.” (except for Brad)

Silence.

Me, “Does that sound reasonable?”

Abe, “ . . . Yes, that sounds reasonable.”

Me, “Good. I found this place, a 2-bedroom with a yard in Huntington Beach for $1400/month.”

Abe, “We need a place with a garage though-”

Me, “It does have a garage. Look.”

He looked.

Abe said, “Well that does look kind of a nice.  (reading) A couple blocks from the beach. (to me) What am I gonna do, go surfing every morning while you walk the dogs?”

I smiled with big eyes and said, “I have always wanted to take surfing lessons.”

I could see the wheels in his head turning. He smiled back at me, but there was something more.

***

About a week from New Year’s Day, I came home and saw my internet browser open to his email account, another account other than the one I email him through. Now, I don’t look through people’s phones or really investigate too much inside someone’s private devices except on occasion and guess what? This was one of those occasions.

I briefly rolled my eyes over the first page and saw Craigslist Ad “Missed Connections” under two postings. One titled “Hey Jerk” and the other “Then Maybe.”

I knew what this was about.

I clicked on “Then Maybe”:


“we can express our infatuation with eachother some day, in a setting that you feel is worthy of recognition.

Say you like me, so I can say I hate you for it. How does that sound?? Thats what you did to me here!!!

You must have a pair of ice cold feet lady. You’d be warm if you were standing next to me.”

Then, I clicked on “Hey Jerk”:


“Not everybody is fully capable of guiding their own self.
Maybe that’s why you make peoples heads explode?

I dont feel cruel or insensitive, but I guess I am now, thats what happens when you go mad about your feelings for someone.

I saw an add for My strange addiction. Thought about it. I don’t want to anger you. I did think about it because I have a very strange addiction.

God. Goths. Gwaudo!!! seriously, help me stop”

.
.
.

I scrolled through to see he had placed about 5-7 ads since December 30th.

I consider myself a fairly liberal person, and I want to understand. I do. But we had just gone through what I consider to be one of the best parts of our relationship, one of the most intimate weeks I have had with any man, and AT OUR BEST . . . he was still going to try to find her. If we were years into a relationship, maybe I could understand . . . but we were just starting out.

Who is she?

Yes, I know who Abe is looking for. When we met, I had listened as he described an obsession he had for a girl in Band during high school. Yes, a girl in BAND from HIGH SCHOOL. Her name was, let’s say . . . Hailey.

Hailey used to live down the street from Abe and they had some brief conversations, but never dated, never kissed, never really had a full conversation. She thought he was a creep- if not then even more so now.

He spent years looking for her, thinking he saw her at restaurants or in parking lots.

Abe posted these ads in Craigslist “Missing Connections” and would get caught up in conversations with anonymous people who led him to believe she was communicating with him in code.

He acknowledges this is insane, but he found a pattern  the date and time that messages were sent, songs that were send, character names that were used, and in his twisted, brilliant mind, he concocted a pattern.

Also, he acknowledged that it probably wasn’t Hailey sending him these messages, confusing him and fueling that addiction.

When we dated in 2010, I would occasionally check his email and found no ads posted after the date we started seeing each other. Ads posted prior to our first date were saved in an unmarked folder. I read through them while he took one of those 15 minute long dumps.

I understand obsession. I was obsessed with my first boyfriend, with a guitarist in Undergrad and The Prophet. It happens.

Even now, I will occasionally check on The Prophet’s name under google or his Facebook activity which is sparse. I will even check on Alan’s profile every once in a while out of curiosity. Never, though, have I EVER contacted them with the intention to satisfy an infatuation.

So, with dirty bed sheets and his scent still rubbed all over my body, I saw the words
we can express our infatuation with eachother some day” and it burned, it still burns. If I sit quietly enough, I can feel my heart stop.

So, I answered those two ads.

The first titled “Re: Hey Jerk”:

Me: “I’ve got a strange addiction too, its called falling for COMPLETE ASSHOLES!

Then the second titled “Re: Then Maybe”:

Me: “Say you like me, so I can say I hate you for it. How does that sound??

Oh yeah . . . I have a girlfriend. Oh never mind, she doesn’t matter. I just use her for sex and weed. I think I can put her off for another year while I ejaculate on her stomach until we get a chance to meet.

***

That night I ate half of a pot cookie because I knew I could never sleep. Even medicated, all I could do was lie there like someone took my entire brain and heart and turned it upside down so it could fall in pieces on the floor.

I dreamt about him with another woman.

Around 5:30am, I woke up.

That . . . fucking . . . ASSHOLE!

ME!? Sloppy seconds!?!? ME, Starfire, the one who turns down men at any public venue or who carries the heart of ex-lovers from childhood or OkCupid dates from the turn of the century . . . yeah, ME . . . I am the one he is settling for. This dork that had never had a girlfriend before in his life. Who had sex with three women in 30 years. This NERD who I thought was uniquely sexy and brilliant, HE THINKS HE CAN DO BETTER THAN WHAT WE HAVE . . . through his wealth of experience and keen observation skills.

HA!

Now, look, I am reasonable. I know if he met her now, he would be disappointed. He knows he will never meet her. And I will never put myself in the position of being the one he settles for, even while carrying an imaginary affair with someone who is probably not his soulmate- but who he would still rather share a bed with over me.

FUCK! IT CRUSHES ME!!!!! You know!? CRUSH! The word. C R U S H.

Verb: Press or squeeze (someone or something) with force or violence, typically causing serious damage or injury.

Synonyms:
verb.  smash – squash – squeeze – press – grind – pound
noun.  jam – squash – crowd – squeeze – throng

This fucking flattened my ego, my perception of him and our relationship, of everything I understood up to that point. It leveled it all and destroyed me.

I texted him little excerpts of the ads too, just in case he didn’t check email first.

Me: “We can express our infatuation with each other someday, in a setting you feel worthy of recognition. Say you like me, so I can say I hate you for it.”

First, I got the email back:

Abe: “Hey Ive told you before that I have a problem.

It makes me insane.  nobody is talking to me, but I cant stop looking at it and thinking someone is.

I’m sorry.

I want to stop looking at it.  I’ve been doing a good job.

thanks for looking through my stuff.”

Then the novel of texts he sent:

Abe: “Nobody is ever going to meet me from CL. Someone was messing with my head and it bugs me still like I’ll figure it out one day. I give up on the mystery.”

Abe: “It can be solved. Dont be mad. Its just me being mad at myself. Has nothing to do with U. Its just something insane I have to stop looking at.”

Abe, “Hey. R u going to respond or r u busy bashing me on facebook? Unnecessary.”

Abe, “Its strange, I knew this would happen. U r approaching something that I have seen happen. And U r on ur internet world all the time. Sometimes I am in mine writing to someone, whoever reposts. Look through the mail, nobody is ever writing back to me, nobody I’ve met, known or even had a real email. I know I am insane but its me writing to myself. I’ve been trying to understand why I do it when I know its BS, but sometimes I just do. I think I understand that its a flow of info that I need to understand and or remember and I’ll tell you why, ITS TO GET MY SHIT BACK, ITS DESTINY IN PLAY. Ull have documented it in the future, long time from now. U love me, right? U know I wouldn’t go meet a person from missed connections. Dangerous enough just reading in there. I love U and I wouldn’t hurt you like that. From the last 2 years all Ive wrote on CL is mean shit anyways. So don’t get mad. Forgive baby.”

Abe: (this was blank)

Abe: “U make me feel good.”

Abe: “Ive gone mad. I made myself nuts. Im crazy baby. Too much imagination.”

Me: “I never want to see your face again”

Abe, “Figures. U cant decipher what the writings mean, dont try. Men write to U all the time. U STILL TALK TO YR high school bf who is crazy! And U left your husband for an alcoholic. Now your hurt because I wrote someone who is not there? Ha!”

Abe: “Ok run away.”

Abe: “Ur so quick to run from my problems. Ur not a fair person. Thats why I give U resistance often, but U persist.”

Me: “I would have rather you fucked a girl who meant nothing than you obsess over another woman. I wouldn’t do that to you but perhaps you just never cared for me the same way I care for you.”

Me: “And thank you for pointing out my flaws after I discover you have been betraying me.”

Abe: “I have things to learn to.”

***

I spoke to my therapist about it. Thank FUCKING God my appointment was that very next morning.

She made two great points:

A) Its odd that Abe fell back on this obsession over a period of time where we got serious with our conversations on commitment. Abe was taking our relationship seriously and this triggered a fall back on old habits of obsessing over Hailey. My therapists suggest because maybe things got more serious than he was comfortable with or knew how to cope with.

B) With a meaningful relationship, its better to have a conversation with the person, for the sake of your future relationships. Cutting it off and toughening up isn’t going to benefit me with the next relationship.

That got me.

Of all the people to, albeit mentally, fuck around on me . . . Abe was the last person I suspected.  I don’t want him to change me into one of those paranoid, possessive, middle-aged women who has to roll her scent over everything and everyone so we know she is present. Here! Check.

He was so nice, so sweet. He pulled a stool up at the bar for me while he ordered my drink.

He took my jacket and pulled it over his arm to get out the creases before hanging it.

He told me I looked pretty and asked me to wait while he opened doors for me. I am just not used to it, so I have been working on waiting for the man to open the door,

He was a gentleman. And now, my gentleman had shattered the illusion that decency could ever exist in a modern relationship.

I had asked Abe, “Do you masturbate to Natalie Portman?”

Abe said, “No, I only ever masturbate to you.”

I said, “OK, what about before me?”

Abe paused, “Faceless Vaginas.”

He doesn’t look at porn (I know, I checked his computer and can tell from how he touches my body. When a man watches porn, he touches you like a coked out 20-yr old with no feeling below the neck). He doesn’t gawk at women. He doesn’t make me feel insignificant in a pool of pussy, like other men try to do. He made me feel special, but that was an illusion, wasn’t it?

He liked having a long distance girlfriend, especially one good in bed. I was never a soul mate.

Sure, maybe he would have moved in with me eventually, maybe even married me .  . . and I would be lying in bed wondering why he was up so late on the computer and why he was clearing his browser history so diligently.

Because even the love of my life believes there is still something better out there.

***

We decided to meet on my lunch break to discuss in person.

He never showed.

Abe: “I am not betraying you. I wanted to solve a mystery from a strange experience I had in ‘08. But there isn’t anymore info to see. I’ve solved it Abe style. Well not totally, but I see the correspondence so to make sense out of it all. Its actually really interesting. It brought U to me. We manifested each other into our lives. And, yo, Hailey is gay! She is gay, baby! She eats vagina and dresses like a boy! And is a born again bible thumper. And she has my magic crown since 1997 and won’t give it back willingly. Thought she could dodge me with the mystery and keep it wasting its power with her foolishness and selfishness. But U r going to intercept it for us. U r a special gal baby! How can I have feelings for a gay woman that I don’t know personally? According to CL I can’t. I don’t. I HATE HER FOR BEING SO BLIND? The crown had us both confused for over a decade. But I get it now. I can see it now.”

Abe: “I know that it exists and where it is and what I do with it- thats from not giving up for 3 years, though it hurt my mind repeatedly, and sounds nuts. I HAD TO UNDERSTAND THESE FACTS. AND IT WAS HARD BABY! Really damn hard! Nobody else can do what I have done. They don’t stand a chance at understanding this. But you can. If you can keep your mind on the light while U float through the dark. Read it again. Think about it.“

Ok, at this point I am assuming that you can see Abe is insane. He is crazy . . . but I like my men a little crazy, a little spiritual, a little spun out on the magic of the universe that seemed to die in everyone I knew after the 6th grade.

Abe: “I am infatuated with my missing spirit tools.  And I want it back. I want U to have it because U can really love me. U CAN HAVE IT ALL BABY!”

Me: “No, Abe, I can’t . You posted from late December-Jan 7th. Two days ago. And read responses on MY computer while I slept. Don’t ever say love with regards to us again.”

Me: “And I signed out of your hotmail. Reading them sickens me.”

Abe: “Ok . . . Oh Abe wrote to his imagination, lets explode in anger about it. Ur reluctant to change ur ways as well. Way to blow it up.”

Abe: “Stay mad. I dont care. If not one thing then the next. U have been mad every 3 days since . . .”

Abe: “I don’t bring even a quarter of conflicts to the table that you do . . . So whatever. I dont feel bad for writing to thin air. I dont . . .”

Abe: “I’ll just give all my magic away till I die forgotten. Sound good?”

Abe, “WE HAVE A RELATIONSHIP PROBLEM AND IM UPSET WITH YOU ABOUT IT! EVEN THOUGH IM MAKING THE PROBLEM. How fair of me.”

Abe: “I just finished work. I have to go home. I feel bad about hurting your feelings with my crazy imagination and odd past. Sorry, ok?”

Me: “Of all the men I thought would cheat on me, you were the absolute last person I expected. I don’t know how I will ever trust another man again.”

Abe, “Cheating? Me? Really? I bought you peanut butter and jelly yesterday.”

That is my favorite response so far. I want that engraved in a plaque somewhere. Eh, I will settle for a coffee mug. Hint* My birthday is a week away . . .

Me: “You were looking to cheat with Hailey. You posting a personal ad in a relationship is cheating. It doesn’t matter what condiments you brought to the table (I was proud of that) You were unfaithful to me. I am sure you will spin it differently for your friends and family. She had too many problems. She always argued. But deep down, no matter what you say to yourself or others, you know its because you were looking for another woman. And the fact that I wasn’t enough rips me apart but I am just glad I found out. Instead of fooling myself that you were some great guy. My guy. I am such an idiot!!”

Abe: “I am bad now. That sucks.”

Abe: “She is gay.”

Abe: I have an imaginary gay friend.”

Me: “It just doesn’t matter. I don’t trust you anymore.”

***

So, I worked. I smoked through a pack of cigarettes in 2 days. I found myself sporadically sobbing when I was alone.

This is supposed to be my year.

I refuse to picture his face in my mind anymore. When I think of him, I remove his face, the sound of his voice, his smell and every single thing about him. I just picture black.

I don’t want to remember his nose, or his laugh or his deodorant or the ridge of his circumcision inside of me. I barely want to remember his name.

The year just turned. My birthday was coming up and I had to go to San Diego to see Alan and get my things.

Fuck it.

Fuck him.

Fuck his peanut butter and jelly-

And fuck his imaginary gay friend.

This is still going to be my year.

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Hookers, Housewives and Sex with a Sociopath: Finding my Place in Hollywood

Dear Readers,

I am sorry for the delay, but this last month has been incredibly difficult. I am still trying to get my mind together. And though it physically burns to recall the last couple weeks, I am going to try and make it mean something.

A month and change ago was my first night in the Boonies, Frank and I went on a hunt for wine. We wanted to break in this bitch the right way.

It was midnight, and we went down to a small bar off the road called “The Hideaway.” It was closed. So we went to the 711 down the hill.

I had wet hair from a fresh shower and was wearing a red sun dress with my B cup bosom jiggling in place. The Middle-Eastern man with a turban muttered that there is no alcohol sold after 10 pm. Frank was alarmed by this and rose his New York voice, “ANYWHERE?”

711 Man said, “Another 711 down Foothill does, off of (broken English)” I asked him to repeat the cross street three times and I didn’t understand it any of those three times.

We drove down to the next 711, several miles down the main street. I walked in and saw the magazine cover saying, “Think of the Children of 9/11.”

I said, “I do not want to think about the children of 9/11. That is the last thing I want to think about.” I turned to another Middle Eastern guy, “Alcohol?” He shook his head and repeated another cross street in broken English I didn’t understand.

We hopped in Frank’s car and drove to the Taco Bell. As we pulled up to the lit menu, we waited. I said, “Hello!?!?”

The lit menu went dark.

Frank, “Oh that’s great. (into speaker) GOODNIGHT TO YOU TOO, MAN, THANKS!”

We drove several more miles down the road and found a  711 with cars in the parking lot.

Frank said, “Everyone is here, this must be the place.”

We walked in and I turned to the new Middle Eastern guy in a turban and said, “Alcohol?” He slowly nodded, then rang up two girls buying a pint of Bud Light Chelada beer each. (That is a Bud that’s clam and tomato juices)..

Voted on of the worst beers of 2010 . . . Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/drinking/worst-beer-051710#ixzz1bdsTsYEO

We grabbed a bottle of vino and headed back to the pad. I was still doing coke and xanax. My body was acclimating to the point where I was able to sleep and eat on it. This week I was going to stop, after my first night in the new pad . . . I was going to get clean.

Now that I was home, I could relax.
***

The weekend after I moved into the new place, Alan planned on stopping by after a dinner celebration of some kind affiliated with his school.

I was nervous. Since I worked so hard to get him back, with my texts of love, support, puppies and rainbows, I was having doubts. I thought about the words he used to criticize me. They weren’t just cold judgements and insensitive criticisms . . . they were meant to hurt me.

Around 3am, Alan arrived with Pepsi, candy and Wilson. We coldly hugged, but didn’t kiss. I didn’t want to think he could get away with it, but I wanted him back. Seems human enough.

We watched The Soup, giggled and fell asleep side by side, like we were laid in graves next to each other.

The next morning, he put my hand on his morning wood. Now, I don’t know about you, but the last thing I wanted to do after moving all my shit alone is give HIM a hand job.

I said, “The things you said did a lot of damage.”

He said, “I know. So were some of the things you said.”

Hm. Yeah. Right.

I said, “We have to talk.”

Silence.

We got up, and walked the dogs. We barely spoke. The tension between us was getting heavier.

I said, “Did you really mean the things you said?”

He said, “Yeah, I did.”

I said, “How can you say things like that?” You were so disrespectful.”

He said, “Every time I checked my phone, it was wah wah wah, whining about something happening in your life. And I got sick of it.”

I stopped and turned around, “ . . . fuck you.”

We went back to my place, more silence.

I mentioned something about not getting roles and he said, “I think it’s because you give off an air of being poor.”

This kid grew up with Southern white trash. I said, “You don’t put the napkin on your lap when you eat out, that is an indication that you are low-class.”

I turned on my toe, nose in the air and walked out to smoke a cigarette. WHAT AN ASSHOLE!

I was 2 days sober, and decided this was the wrong day to quit coke. So I started doing lines and cracked open another bottle of wine.

Angry, yes. Frustrated, yes. Horny . . . um, yeah.

So we had sex.  Our fetishes, once again, were taken to another level.  He was dark and sexy.

He said, “You have been frowning this whole time, that makes me want to do even worse things to you.”

I said, “Good. Do them.”

He did.

The wine was making me dizzy and the coke wouldn’t let me pass out. He suggested I take a xanax so I wouldn’t get sick.

I took half of one and slipped into inviting darkness.

Waking up in a daze, just for a moment, I felt him moving my head off his shoulder by my hair. He pulled my hair during sex, but I remember thinking it was oddly objectifying. He took my head by the top of my hair, lifted it off his shoulder and dropped me back down on a pillow. Jesus, SOCIOPATH MUCH?

Then back into darkness.

I woke up the next morning, and he said he was going to walk the small dogs. I said I would join him, but he was out the door before both my shoes were on.

Stepping outside, I looked both ways, he was nowhere to be found. So I took the girls up a mountain trail further than we have gone before.

When I came back, he said, “Your walk was a lot longer than mine.”

I said, “I told you to wait for me.”

He said, “No ,you didn’t.”

I said, “Yeah … I did.”

We quietly went to breakfast at a local cafe. I had an 11am meeting at Doggie Daycare, and he had to head back for some other law school event.

It was the anniversary of 9/11, so the television had relatives taking turns at the podium, reading names of those that died.

The wall had images of Princess Diana, Lucille Ball, and Mother Theresa painted on the walls. It’s a very confused motif.

Silence.

Names of the Dead.

I said, “9/11 was an inside job. By the way, I can’t give myself an orgasm since we broke up, so thanks for that.”

Alan, “That is the most bizarre segue I have ever heard.”

I said, “We have to talk about the GChat conversation.”

He said, “No we don’t. Just let it go.”

I said, “Um, we have to make sure that never happens again. We have to talk it out.”

He said, “We don’t have to talk it out, you just have to stop putting yourself in the position of being a victim all the time.”

Me, “And you need to stop expecting your girlfriend to fulfill the role of your mother.”

Christ, after his finals I SPOON FED HIM CANNED PEARS and massaged him all night long. After moving my shit in financial distress, I can’t even get a neck rub.

Silence.

He studied what was left on his plate. Then his head slowly nodded.

He said, “Let’s get out of here.”

As we drove up a steep canyon road, I pressed further.

Me, “If you just want a debutant type girl, who is agreeable and doesn’t really talk very much than I am sure you can find that.”

Alan broke out shouting, “That’s not what I want. You used to make me feel good. When I got text messages from you, or called you, you made me feel confident and happy. Now you just make me feel bad. You complain about all the bad things happening and you make me feel bad. I am afraid to say anything around you because you might shut down. Its like walking on egg shells around you. FUCK!”

For some reason, listening to him shout it made me feel better. His calm, leveled, robotic tone of voice changed. He was human and he cared.

I said very calmly, “Well you do have a point. I can be overly sensitive. I will try to work on that. Obviously, I have developed a pattern for people close to me unleashing lots of criticism. Its you, its Em it was my old roommate. It means something. It has to do with me and something I am doing.”

Alan, “And I have a pattern of driving people close to me away by being too honest. I just won’t do that anymore.”

I said, “You can be honest.”

He shook his head.

Alan and I came together and walked up to my place, put the leftovers in the fridge. I had to go.

We kissed. He was soft again.

He said, “See, now its moments like this when it’s hard to say goodbye. When I don’t want to leave.”

I kissed him again and mumbled an “I love you” I am not sure he heard.

As I pulled away, he walked up to my window and kissed me again. He said, “I love you too much not to work it out.”

I flickered a smile. He was saying what he thinks he should say.

The week following was one of the worst in my life.

My dog, Maggie (who I call “The Tank” because she is 80 lbs of pit bull lovin’), broke out of her collar and charged towards two unfriendly dogs, instigating a dog fight. I fell to the ground and broke it up.

Her ear bled quite a bit and my knees and hands ached from falling on concrete. That was the wrong day to quit cocaine.

Two days later, I found out one of my new neighbors complained that my dogs were “intimidating” and the landlord called and said I had to get rid of my dogs or clear the residence.

I indicated I had two dogs on the application. The landlord claimed he never got my application, and Dora claimed she sent it. It was a mess.

I cried and muttered to Dora and her boyfriend, Danny, “I should just kill myself.”

Dora said, “No, we will work this out.”

I spent my last dollar and drop of energy moving into this place, and now I had to move again? It was like someone ripped out my rib cage and told me to keep breathing.

I got on the phone with the landlord and begged to stay. He wouldn’t budge. He said I could stay until I had enough money to move but there were too many dogs between me and Dora. He said, “I mean, there are more animals than people on the property.”

We hadn’t even told him about my cat or Brad.

I posted my misery on Facebook because I just don’t know what else to do with it but recycle it on the internet. Frank came with me to the bank and Taco Hell.

Alan called, but I declined the call. We just went through how my never-ending storm of bad luck was dragging him down. I couldn’t rely on him for support right now.

Trent texted me, and I responded promptly with a “I am gonna kill myself.” Trent was trying to talk me down, as I had done for him when he and Kent broke up.

In my mind, I started orchestrating plans to relocate all the animals. Brad could go to my sister. Maggie with Frank. I found a place to order 700 mg of secobarbital tablets on-line. It was just Esther . . . no one wants a hyper-active, deaf pit-bull. What was I going to do with Esther?

I went to work, tear-stained, heart-broken and as I entered the large dog playground, the dogs got restless. They could smell the darkness on me.

A few dogs started howling and barking. Then more.

I waited for everyone to calm down, went back to the front of the playground to put down my keys when Sawyer, my Irish Setter Doggie Rapist, mounted me for our ritualistic “hello.” Another dog came up and snagged him by the back side.

I thought I broke it up and separated the two but the aggressive dog came in again and pulled us both to the ground again. I held on to Sawyer with my life, even though all the wounds on my knees and hands broke open again hitting the concrete.

I could hear Sawyer screaming in pain as I tried to drag him to one of the “runs” (a gated entry into an enclosed space between the playground and the walkway).

A manager appeared through a run and we tried carrying him through but I heard Trent’s voice say, “Stop pulling him! He’s locked on. GET THE STICK! GET THE STICK!”

There is a stake kept on the playground that we can use to pry open a dog’s jaw. Trent said he has only used it twice in 5 yrs.

I waited patiently as Sawyer writhed in pain. There was a release and he was lifted, as if he had wings, into safety. The other dog was taken into another run.

The manager in the run said, “Is your face ok?”

I said, “Yeah.”

She said, “He was chomping away right next to your face, I thought he bit you.” Sawyer would never bite me.

I looked down and saw blood trickle down her wrist and hand. I was lucky.

Another manager said, “Are you ok?” Tears filled my eyes and I was told to take a break.

I went into the bathroom to urinate, and on the toilet I felt my whole body erupt. My legs and arms shook and I broke down crying for approximately 10 seconds. I got up and washed my face.

I went back out there and finished my shift. Also, the wrong day for quitting cocaine.

Trent asked me some questions and kept promising we would get through it. At Doggie Daycare, we all help each other get through hard times. Everyone uses the royal “we” when we talk through each other’s problems. That place is better than any church or community I have ever belonged to.

Trent’s voice guided me through the violent dog fight with Sawyer, and now the violence of my own mind. He is my twin flame. He identifies with my dark side, and takes the role in the light when I fall low. It is a unique balance with him, and is slowly becoming one of the most precious friendships of my life.

On my 3pm break, I sat in my car and smoked a cigarette. Doggie Daycare is in a very industrial area, so the exhaust from the cars and buildings scorched my nose and throat, over the rash of smoke and cocaine.

I felt like a 19th century London Chimney Sweep.

I turned on the radio, Bob Dylan’s voice came on:

“Oh, the ragman draws circles
Up and down the block
I’d ask him what the matter was
But I know that he don’t talk.”

I smiled.

“But deep inside my heart
I know I can’t escape
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.”

I thought, is this the end? Office job or death, I will choose death.

A friend once suggested I take a desk job at a construction company or something, and I told him, “You know what writers actually wrote with a full-time job? Kaftka. And he was miserable. (beat) AND all of his novels were unfinished. THANK YOU, NO!”

Kaftka’s insurance job paid the bills but robbed me of closure when finishing Amerika. Think of all the other novels he could have written if he didn’t handle personal injury insurance . . .

Jerry, my friend, said, “AND he was insane.”

Then I remembered something Alan mentioned. He was trying to encourage me to go back to school and suggested writing from reading a couple of my blogs. He said loans could float me for a couple of years while I do what I love. Maybe he was right, I could write on loan until the economy improved.

Then I could worry about getting a job later down the road, without giving up in my thirties.

Obviously, I would have to give up on acting, since Alan did point out I don’t have the resources for it. My catch phrase these days is “Acting is for Hookers and Housewives.” Paying your way on someone else’s dime. I don’t have a sponsor, so it’s not possible for me right now.

Writing, though . . . the greatest writer’s in the world ate bread and wine in the cheapest of clothes and the smallest of rooms. That could be me.

“Well Shakespeare he’s in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells
Speaking to some French girl
Who says she knows me well”

I got out of my car, high on nicotine, and came back to the playground with my head high. I told Trent about my revelation, and he smiled. We sang the “Memphis Blues” together.

The rest of the week lacked drama. I made in appointment to go to an information session for one of the top 5 writing programs in the country. I fell in love, and called Alan on the phone driving back. I was still high on coke and chattering a million miles a second.

He told me to rest, and I could tell he was being laboriously patient with my self-induced hyper-mania. I was happy. I thought I could make it work.

It became apparent in the days following that Alan did not want to make plans to see me again right away. Sure he was busy, but I was sold on this idea that we needed to re-bond.

His snappy criticisms were still pinned into my heels and I wanted to start over and fall in love again.

He blew off the first few offers I made to drive down, and I blew off Frank’s suggestion that Alan was seeing someone else. Men love to try to bury seeds of doubt in my mind. Base manipulation.

Either way, I was feeling rejected and as I started collecting his words for previous blogs, I grew aggravated with the things he said again.

If we lived in the same city, I am sure we would have had a more civilized parting, but email makes it too easy to destroy. Just as we found each other on the internet again, we would lose each other just as easily.

I wrote: “I have identified two times you mentioned I look poor or like “a bag lady”. Um . . . you should know that I am not EVER going to be like Jaq. I don’t give a shit about clothes, and though I know how to look presentable and have been cast in roughly 60% of the roles I have auditioned for, not to mention receiving offers after an estimated 70% of job interviews in a professional place of business, I do not hold value in that system.

The Armani Folders can shove it up their ass. If that’s what you want to be, I can’t be there with you. You can’t change that part of me.

That said, take a look in the mirror, Sport. Don’t expect me to be “better” than you because I am a girl; morally, physically, or otherwise.

I am not mad, just agitated. And we hardly ever talk anymore so I am just sending an email with my feelings in it.”

I can see how out of the blue this might annoy my boyfriend.

Alan: “This habit of continuing to look through every conversation to find
ways I hurt your feelings and then pointing them out to me is pretty
much the reason we barely talk anymore.  Then I have to waste any time
we talk figuring out what is actually wrong with you and then
explaining the context of my words so that a five-year old can
understand.  Or not talking at all so you don’t have ammo to fuck with
me later.  My choice with you is either have a shitty conversation
like this one or not talk to you.

Why would I want to have this conversation?  Why do you think that
it’s important for me to feel worse about myself in the middle of a
Thursday?  You can’t resist can you?

Between these passive aggressive insulting emails (“look in a mirror”)
and the bullshit you post about me on Facebook, I’m so sick of your
words.  I am not here to be shit on by you and I’m tired of forgiving
it.  I don’t want an explanation or more excuses.  I just want it to
stop.

Other people have feelings too.  Get over yourself or leave me alone, Sport.
-A”

I wrote back: “Absolutely nothing passive aggressive about that email. Its straight forward.

As for dealing with my thoughts and feelings alone without sharing them with you, that makes me feel like a victim. I would like to stand up for myself without you feeling attacked.

It also makes me feel single.

Communication is important, in fact, imperative, to any relationship. If you are open to making things work, you have to talk and listen to me.

And treat me like an equal, not a 5-year-old. (that was rude, Alan).”

I guess I should mention here that I was sucking back a martini and quitting cocaine and cigarettes that day. It was a little rough.

Alan: “We are single.  And you don’t get to say whatever you want to me
for a while.  It’s unfair since the door doesn’t go both ways.  When
*I* say what I am thinking, I get emails weeks later telling me how
wrong I was.  Now, I’m too stressed out to deal with this bullshit
this week.  I’ll just talk to you after the thing on Saturday.”

Me: “Thank you for correcting me, I don’t have to worry about working on a relationship. Sweet relief.

The door of criticism has blown one way. Have I ever said anything negative about you, your character, your life, your looks? No, Because I fucking love you.

I am simply defending myself because I don’t like feeling cut down by someone I let inside.

My hope was to diminish the negative by airing it out and talking about it, as opposed to building up resentment and bitterness with silence.

I thought it was important we rebond but you don’t seem to share that concern.

You want to harness power and tell me when I can speak to you again? No.

Equal or nothing.”

Alan: “If you insist on a choice, fine.  I choose nothing.

Building a relationship will take a lot more time now.  I live a
different life than I did over the summer.  I had time this summer to
bond with you.  I tried.  I warned you over and over what I was going
to go through this Fall.  You wasted all of that effort when you broke
up with me because you can’t handle me speaking.  Well now I’m not
speaking.  Go figure.  I don’t have time to rebuild that bond now.
I’m working two jobs AND in law school.  I do not have enough time as
it is to do what I need to do. I won’t for months, and nagging me
about it is just making me resent you.

Don’t wait for me.  Go have a life.”

Me: “I have a life, I was just including you in it.

I feel no regret. I tried. Bye.”

And just like that, Alan disappeared. A few taps on a phone and a keystroke on computer can burn down a relationship in a little under three hours.

I was upset sure, but I lit my wings on fire and was spinning around in circles. The silence and distance, and stress and chemicals were putting me in a whirlwind.

After all was said and done, I went home and took the Molly I saved for a night with Alan. I got in bed and cuddled with my dogs. Joy and warmth bubbled all over my skin, and I felt ok for the night. The morning would hurt, but the nights are mine.

I texted Abe (my ex-boyfriend): “I do hope you are happy. Loved u.”

He wrote back, “Nah, not so much. Thought about U during my lunch today.”

Frank tried crawling in bed and asked for a little “affection.” I drowned myself in dog fur and said, “Not now, I am in a delicate state.”

He left.

I needed to collect myself. First, one more devastating tragedy was about to occur and completely level my world.

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