Tag Archives: rolling stones

Coachella Day 4: Sunday, The Religion

Sunday, April 14th

Alone in the desert, surrounded by a sea of people.  I was tired. I hadn’t slept a full night since I arrived to the festival. There was a calm to the restlessness though. The desert was still blowing off her heat before inhaling another dry, hot swallow.

I watched the birds fly over in a large check-mark. I heard a zip from a tent, a few cans tip over, a slam of a toilet door.

Trent woke up, disoriented and drunk. I watched his head whip around as his eyes opened in the cab of Benny’s truck. There was an exchange between the two muffled by rolled up windows and Trent tumbled out then climbed into the back seat of my car. I watched him sleep until the heat picked up, then rolled down the windows and wet clothes for his neck and hands.

Napping at the Do Lab

Kev was one of the first up that morning to join me on the lawn chairs propped in front of our cars. I hadn’t seen him very much inside the festival, but we were enjoying the morning together, quiet.

“You know, someone could really get used to life like this,” he said.

Kev was in the circle of “normal lifers”. He made an income, and instead of living each day the way he wanted, he worked on salary and paid vacation to live, really live, only for a cluster of days at a time. On the other hand, people like Trent and I struggled to live each day, working low paying jobs we,  just so we could live life the way we wanted.  We didn’t have new cars or trips to Europe, we worked when we were sick and haven’t slept in on Christmas morning in years. We lived with only what we had. That is enough, most days.

Sal and Fernando joined us on the lawn chairs, then Haute and D. I checked on Trent periodically but knew he needed the sleep.

“I can tell there is a lot of love there,” Kev said. “Just the way you two are.”

“I love him,” I said. “He can get nasty but it isn’t the real him. There is just a lot of pain.”

Trent

 

Blowing bubbles

“I saw the scars,” he said. Trent is covered in scars over his shoulders, arm and back. White large, permanent blisters spread over him like paint carelessly kicked over a canvas. I don’t notice them unless he is wearing a tank top. They look like burns and I believe they were cut into him as a child. I only asked him about it once: “I don’t want to ruin the night,” he said, giggling, shrugging off large, white spiders clutching tight to his body.

Trent tried to kill himself last year.  After trying to hang himself in his room, he was discovered, fled the house and arrested by police officers. Then he tried to hang himself in his cell by his pajama bottoms. His mother and I kept each other on speed dial. If Trent was missing for a night or spending the night in my living room, we texted.  I believe of everyone in Trent’s life, she suffers the most.

When he finally emerged from my car, bleary and worn from the night, he pulled out a little white packet of cocaine and cracked open another beer.  It wasn’t alarming for even in Coachella, on a Sunday morning, I spotted a maintenance employee snorting lines from one of the carts paroling the grounds.

Houston and Benny were close at hand and one offered an energy shot, the kind sold at counters in gas stations. “No thanks,” Trent refused, “I prefer cocaine.”

The morning was spent cat-calling all the boys walking back and forth to the latrines and showers.  All the pent up, homosexual frustration burst out from under Trent’s black, Sunday sun hat.  We bought that hat together at a Target the weekend we escaped to Joshua Tree National together. There was no fear of retaliation or alienation, it was the last day of the festival.

“Lookin’ good!” Trent would shout.

Some of the other boys in our company joined in, whistling, commenting, complimenting. The straight, bulky, sheltered boys had no idea how to respond. Most ignored. Some grinned and tossed their head around confused. A few seemed completely put out.

Pierre found me with his friend, asking if I would paint him. I, of course, obliged, tracing my fingers over his body with bright pink paint.  He allowed my friends to tease and ask questions, as long as I gave him some attention to ease any doubt about his sexuality. Everyone was in good spirits.

Mid Merge

Pierre

When we decided to go into the music festival as a group, Trent got ahead. I would stop to track the others but lose sight of either Trent or the group. Trent stomped off like a child. “Obviously you want to be with them!” He marched ahead and I followed him.

It is hard following someone through thousands of drunk strangers, under tents of people packed in shoulder to shoulder, each one, staring blankly at the stage. Were they moved or bored, I really couldn’t tell.

“If you want to be by yourself, that’s fine!” I said.

“You are carrying the drugs, so I am stuck with you.”

I allowed him to string me along for 30 more minutes, like a trout caught on the line, feeling my lip slowly rip from my mouth as a hand dragged it deeper into its own world. I found him sitting Indian style under a tent and handed him the drugs. “Here,” I said, “You obviously want to be alone and I don’t want to ruin the rest of my day. I can’t take it anymore. The silent treatment. The temper tantrums. I would rather be alone.”

After leaving him, it wasn’t long before I felt the gentle tug at my elbow. I misunderstood. He was sorry. It was a recited speech for loved ones who finally try to leave, as if it wasn’t hard enough turning your back on a little boy bound by scars.

We spent the rest of the day together, listening to melancholy music that meant something to him and absolutely nothing to me.  He watched himself, kept from being snappy and grouchy, though I could see the cauldron boiling, giving rise to the darkness in his eyes and the white splotches on his skin.

As the night came down, he insisted on buying drinks. A small, plastic cup of wine was $8 inside the festival. He bought himself two and double fisted as we sheltered ourselves from a growingly violent wind crossing the desert. I huddled down to keep warm, and let my hood cover the back of my head. A girl approached me, “Are you ok?”

“Yes,” I said, forcing a smile, “Just cold. Thank you, though, for caring.”

Sunday Ferris Wheel

We ate some mushrooms and decided to wait in line for the Coachella ferris wheel. A couple chatted with us and though we engaged them, both Trent and I were counting down the minutes to be alone together. Alone on top of the world.

“Are you feeling the shrooms?” he asked.

“No,” I answered, positioning a pair of sunglasses on my nose. I found them on the ground earlier in the festival. “Oh look, the ferris wheel is green. That’s an interesting choice.”

Trent released his signature cackle and we climbed into our own passenger car. As we climbed into the sky, Trent relieved himself into an empty water bottle. The wind pushed the wheel and car against the sunset, like rain drops pinning a leaf to a wet windshield.

“I am scared,” I said.

“Me too.”

We sat across from each other, looking out at the thousands of people, the lights and tents waving from the distance. I held on to the sides of the car as it rocked back and forth. We didn’t need to touch the stars, we just wanted to keep from falling.

After we got down, Wu-Tag Clan was playing on one of the larger stages. We listened a bit from the distance but everyone was drunk. Unlike the previous nights, when everyone was tripping or high, this time everyone was drunk and bumping into each other. Knocking over girls. Knocking into security guards. I am not sure it mattered. Giving psychedelics to just anyone for a high, someone without the capacity to really use them, sharpen their mind and learn more about themselves, is very much like reading Kafka from cue cards.  The real experience is lost on them before it ever started.

Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage, they were headlining the festival.  Trent and I decided to head back early.  It wasn’t our type of music. The wind had really picked up and it felt as though if we leaned forward on our tip-toes, the gusts would keep us upright.  Against the black of night and muffled under the warmth of shrooms, we barely were able to do much of anything.

“A little breezy,” Trent said, sarcastically, clutching his sun hat and scarf over his head.

“Just a bit.”

I laughed as dust flew into my eyes and mouth. We dragged ourselves back to the campsite until morning.

Just as we did on every camping trip, Trent and I woke up in a pool of spilled beer. It was early, but Rolling Stones tickets were going on sale 10am Pacific Standard Time. They were selling 200 tickets $85 a piece under what I referred to as the “Poor Man’s Lottery”. On the day of the concert, your seat would be determined at random. You could get a seat anywhere in the stadium, as long as you had official identification and the credit card used to purchase the ticket. Then, and only then, you would be escorted to your seat by a stadium employee.  Michael was back home with two computers cued up to buy tickets. They were expected to sell out in less than 5 minutes.

rolling-stones-50-and-counting

I woke up at 6am to pack up and woke up everyone at 7am for help. My car was dead, but Kev and D were going to jump start Black Betty then drive Sal and Fernando to the airport, for their return to Mexico City. Everyone got up with us, with sand in their eyes and under their fingernails, helping to make sure we were on the road in time. With the commute from Indio to Los Angeles and a few dollars in cash, we would make it back to my house in just enough time to hop on the computer and click our way into the concert lotto. As it turned out, by the time we arrived, I didn’t even have time to smoke a cigarette. Trent waited patiently on the couch, stroking my dogs as Michael and I furiously clicked on the fan site for tickets. That was the price I agreed to pay for the life I’ve chosen.

Coachella was not the psychedelic playground I expected. It wasn’t the visit to the ideals of the 1960s or a glimpse into hippie culture I was hoping for, nor was it much of a vacation.  I found the whole ordeal somewhat stressful.

But the memory I will take is a group of sleepy men, rolling out of their comfortable, warm tents on an early Monday morning to help me chase my music. Aside from the materialism, the drunks, the privilege, the fatigue, the selfishness, there was soul at Coachella after all.

“Good luck,” they shouted, waving at us as we slowly navigated over the grass and onto a dirt road. I smiled, wiping the sand off my side view mirror. They knew how important it was to follow the music.  It was our religion.

palm tree husk

 

 

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Beginnings.

It is hard to decide when someone you are calling on someone for sex or for company. Well, it is hard for me since I assume every man I am with prefers the former. After Abe, my boyfriend of two years, broke up with me a few days before his cousin’s wedding, and a few weeks after agreeing to move in with me, I had officially given up. Maybe it wasn’t official. There was still Huck, who I fell head over heels for at writing school for the week residency in June.

In between, I had several small love affairs with European men while in France. In Washington, I had a few one night stands, one that was a little more, mostly with younger men … less charming men. When you are a single woman and you really harness spontaneity, the short-lived spark of a moment and the sweet surrender of pleasure … you don’t go so hard for the hunt of a mate. I am sure when my body starts aging I will feel differently, but right now I feel as if I have unlocked the secret of being a man.

hollywood stones

The Hollywood Stones, the Rolling Stones cover band, I followed and adored through the outskirts of Los Angeles county, were playing in Orange County. Abe lived in Orange County and I thought it a good opportunity to see him again. We kissed goodbye in spring, before I left for France and spent the summer in Washington. Last thing I heard from him was a text: “I read your blog. I am so glad you had so much time to write all those things down!”

I wrote back, “Oh, you must have read about Huck.” He didn’t respond and I didn’t press. The man disappears when its convenient and only ever really reaches out on holidays or when he visits his grandfather’s grave.

My fear with reconnecting with him in person was that I would fall back in love with him and resume a love affair that would go absolutely nowhere. Old habits die hard.

Down to Orange County I went with my two roommates, Gary and Frank. We still were on a coke binge of some kind, there was plenty left or plenty more bought … I wasn’t sure. We did several lines and arrived to Harvey’s Steakhouse in Huntington Beach blitzed, riding in on the white pony. Frank wanted to order a steak and some nice liquor. That is part of who he is. Gary was just along for the ride, he couldn’t find a job, had no money and didn’t talk very much. There was a balance between Frank and Gary- they both enjoyed each other’s company while I was away at work but when it came to serious issues like finances and forgotten children, I was the one they spoke to.

At Harvey’s, it was my first time seeing the band since I was kicked out of an outdoor concert in Sherman Oaks for dancing too wildly and (supposedly) not wearing any underwear, which is total bullshit by the way. I made contact with the band via Facebook. They already recognized me from dancing on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, at the Brixton in Redondo Beach and definitely when I was asked to leave by police at the Earth Day concert in Sherman Oaks. The band promised me a t-shirt and gift bag the next time I saw them in concert, afterall,  they found my dancing to be “inspirational”. I should state here many people think I am on drugs when I dance, the truth is no one can really dance like I do drunk or on drugs. It would be physically impossible to dance that long and hard. From the first note to the last, I keep going.  When I dance, it is with every drop of heart and soul. Most people love it, some people hate it. That seems to be the case with most things though …

Halloween Hollywood Stones 2

I was nervous because I really wanted to this cover band to like me, we hadn’t ever spoken in person. Once, I spoke to the lead guitarist after their St. Patrick’s Day performance on the Queen Mary. “Are you in a relationship?” I asked.

“Of course. Aren’t you?”

“No, he couldn’t commit,” I said.

“Well, I have heard that one before,” he said.

“Midnight Rambler, please?” I always ask.

“We only had til midnight. Not this time,” he said.

bill wyman
Since that night in April, they have closed with Midnight Rambler to every show I have ever attended. Is it because of my request that night? I don’t really know. Once I hear the dripping, heavy harmonica, I scream. The women on the dance floor flop around as if Dick Swagger’s (that is the name of the lead singer) lips are blowing directly on the globular bud tucked away safe between their legs. Even the least attractive drunk finds the rhythm of sex during that song, and in the beat we share that rhythm together. Once in awhile I will look up and see all the women surrounding me in the dark, as the drum and guitar catch up to the clacking, bluesy voice steaming out of the harmonica. It is a beautiful sight.

Dick Swagger
This particular night, I did not invite Michael to join me. Michael was the boy I was sexually involved with. He was on my mind, but I didn’t want to be confused with him and Abe in the same place, at the same time. And I didn’t want to make it awkward for them. I will freely admit I keep the men I loved on a string partly because I don’t know how to give up on love and partly because it eases the ache of rejection. It always seems nicer to stay in touch- nicer and more confusing.

We arrived, our pupils large and black. I was in a red and black tutu Frank bought me with a Freddy Krueger hat Alia set on fire and stomped on to make more authentic. I also had the token Freddy glove. I was running out of money and had to stick with what I knew. Put on some glitter knee high socks, converse and a ripped ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ shirt and voila! StarFire failsafe. Girl Kreuger. (I love “Nightmare on Elm Street”)

Halloween Hollywood Stones 1

The band came on with the music before Abe arrived. Abe is always late. He is also always stoned. I dragged Frank to the floor and it only took a few seconds before other people stormed up to join us, like it was the beginning of a revolution. That is usually the case. It only takes one. The problem was the cocaine was making my heart palpitate. It was difficult dancing, because I when I go, I go hard. I thought if hard core bands like Led Zeppelin or the Stones can go on and perform shows high on coke, I should be able to dance for a couple hours.  After the first song, I could feel myself get dizzy and wondered if I would pass out. I kept going. No matter what my body is telling me, no matter how hard my feet and thighs are screaming “Stop!” or my lungs and heart burn, the music keeps me in motion.

Frank was mixing his cocaine with xanax, and after a few days that makes him funny. In this case, it started when I refused to dance with him to ‘Time is on My Side’. I shook him off. “I never dance with other people,” I said. He looked hurt, then offended, then indignant. The xanax was bringing out that aggression. He would dance close, or get close to the guitarist and nod his head heavily or block out some other schmuck trying to dance with me. The guitarist would look at him, then at me, trying to piece together what to do.

cocaine lover

“Ya’ll got … cocaine eyes …” I sang to him. I flicked my fingers over my eyes with the line. He doesn’t remember. That is the problem with doing too many drugs, they make you act like an asshole but rob you of the memory. You can’t learn, reflect or empathize. You let something else take over your body for a period of time. A monster maybe. A machine. Something that wasn’t Frank. He stopped every once in awhile on the dance floor to hold his head, shake and scream. Men pulled their girlfriends away. Xanax only ever makes me blackout, but that night it sucked my friend’s soul away.

coke clown
Abe arrived and once I saw him I felt my smile. I rushed over to him in between sets and greeted him.

“I know I am late,” he said.

“$8 cover charge,” the man at the front said.

“There is a cover?” he said, annoyed.

“Well, you should have come early and got in on our table. That is the price you pay for being tardy,” I said.

He stretched out his eyes just before stretching out his wallet and pulled out a $20 bill he never worked for. He got the change back and I asked him to dance with me. He wouldn’t. He still claims the band hates him … which makes no sense. “I haven’t been really doing anything, except discovering the secrets of the universe,” he said. Floating in a cloud of THC and family money can make you believe anything about yourself.

At Harvey’s, the band is afforded three sets and the third is always the best because they throw in all my favorites “Sympathy for the Devil”, “Miss You”, once “I’ve Got the Blues”, “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Monkey Man”, “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’”. It is the bluesier set. They also have a saxophonist. He is an older guy, we spoke outside during a break.

“We really appreciate seeing someone who shares the same level of enthusiasm in the music we have.”

I blushed. “To dance to a live saxophone on ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ is a dream come true. Thank you!”

A guy came out of the club and looked me up and down, “Whatever you do in life, dress like that every day.”

“Thanks,” I said flatly.

“You must have had a lot of drinks to dance like that,” he said.

“Not really. I am their groupie,” I said.

“Well, I am a groper,” he returned. I snarled my upper lip and turned away. Charmed.

The saxophonist smiled. He was cool, in his 50s, wearing down from the late nights and lungs full for brass. He leaned against a post outside the corner Orange County steakhouse and smiled away from me.

“Do you smoke?” I asked.

“Not cigarettes,” he said. I smiled and nodded. I was still shy with the band. It wasn’t because I wanted anything from them, certainly not sex. The majority of the band is over the age  of 45. I just wanted (and still want) them to like me.

Before the third set, one of the guitarists approached me with a gift bag. “We designed the shirt just for you,” he said. I blushed, though you couldn’t notice from how red my face was. The cocaine softened in my system, and I was drinking one goblet of water after another.

I pulled out a red tank top with a completely lace back. There was a card and a pin. I thanked him and loosely hugged him, worried my sweat might stick to his. “You should come and hang out with us in between sets,” he said.

“I don’t want to bother you. I know you are in the zone and everything.”

“Don’t feel that way, please. Feel free to stop by for a conversation and talk to us.”

Halloween Hollywood Stones
When the third set came around, Gary was hanging by the table or outside with Abe chatting. Abe would never come back on the dance floor. Frank did come back in, sipping something out of a small glass, “They are talking about probiotics and bananas out there,” he said. I laughed but kept far enough away to watch him, as he teetered against the wall in a black fog. He wouldn’t remember any of this in the morning.

I wouldn’t leave the music for Gary or Abe outside. I wouldn’t leave the music with the waves of nausea and exhaustion bursting from my overworked, pumping heart. The saxophonist was done for the night and blocked Frank from getting too close to me on the dance floor, first by the restrooms then closer to the bar with his single drink. I danced to the last note and the lead guitarist saw me after the show. “Get home safe tonight,” he said, glancing towards Frank. I nodded and smiled, brushing my hand against the vintage, velvet sleeve.

I said goodbye to Abe, who I barely saw that night and then tried to drive all three of us home. Frank passed out in the passenger side and I told Gary I was going to throw up. “Can you drive?” I asked.

“Sure, I just don’t know where I am going,” he said.

“Follow the navigation on my phone,” I said, cueing it up for him.

In the back seat, I fell down on a cloud of cocaine, and several glasses of water with no food in my stomach. I felt the car come to a start and heard Gary whine, “I don’t know where I am going.”

In my motherly voice, “Do you need me to take over?” I asked.

“Sorry, [StarFire]” he said.

I got in the driver’s seat and consulted the navigation to find out we were in Long Beach, that is the opposite direction of Glendale. Gary wasn’t too bright. “I am going to throw up so can you find a plastic bag back there?” I asked.

I heard him rustle and then give up after 20 seconds.

“No plastic bag?” I asked.

“No, sorry,” he said.

So I pulled over and vomited up about two liters of water. Frank woke up out of his deep snooze and rubbed my back, but I was in no mood. I shook him off and puked once inside the car just to make a statement. Yeah it was my car, so what kind of statement I don’t know. Then I drove us home. “Two grown men in the car and no one can help me get home …” I said. Gary apologized again, but Frank was back to snoring.

The next morning, I woke up Frank with two cups of tea and sat on the floor of his bedroom.

“Do you remember last night?” I asked.

“I um … remember some of it but most it is lost, I have to be honest,” he said.

“You have to stop taking the xanax,” I said. “It was bad last night. Really bad.”

“I could say some things about you but I am going to hold back,” he said. It hurt to have the talk so he threw that out once then twice. “There are some things I could say about you, but I am not going to right now.”

“Ok, this is about you and you were out of control last night. I was embarrassed. You need to stop,” I said, staring at him.

“I heard your peace,” he said, sipping his tea. “Should I expect tea every morning from you?” His smile crept up between blowing the steam off the top.

What resonated with Frank was my refusal to slow dance with him. “I have just never seen anyone go that ga–ga over a cover band. I mean, they aren’t the Stones, they are a cover band!”

My friend Jerry was over for this particular conversation and said, “When [StarFire] dances, she dances with the band.”

“You’re telling me,” Frank said, giggling over his disappointment. “You can go see them again, but I am done with that band. I don’t need to see that again.”

“Great,” I said, “No man ever wants to just dance with me to the Stones.”

“Honey, not like that,” he said, before taking a long, sip of coffee.

**

A few days later I recovered most of my things from a storage unit in Orange County. Abe helped me, and as he gathered my things out of his garage and packed up my car, I flirted with him. I stood close and tried to kiss him on the mouth. “What is wrong with you?” he asked.

“I am just so God damn attracted to you,” I said, grabbing his hips.

He was awkward about those kind of things. He laughed and pulled away, regrouped and verbally planned out how to pack up my car. I leaned against the hood of my car and propped my leg up. He laughed and walked away. He smelled of cigarettes and laundry detergent. He was exactly the same. Nothing had changed in him.

When we got to my storage unit, we packed up both our cars to drive back to Glendale (which was over an hour in rush hour traffic).  I thought about whether or not I wanted to have sex with him. I thought about what it would mean. Would I go back to mooning over him? False hope about a relationship? False comfort? I really didn’t want to go back. The hardest part of seeing him again was resisting the urge to fall back in love, and it took me like a stranglehold. He was nice, he was attractive, awkward, calm, all the things I loved about him though I knew he had nothing more to give me.  To this day, sitting here in my bedroom with another man’s smell on my pillows and blanket, it still makes me sad.

I thought about Michael. I knew I made love to him twice and he was inexperienced enough to be vulnerable about my other partners. If I had sex with Abe would I have to tell him? Was I capable of leaving him for Abe? God, how could I live with myself?.

Those pristine blue eyes under the shadows of his severe eyebrows brought me in again. “We cast a spell on each other,” he said once.

We got back to the apartment in Glendale and unloaded most of my stuff from storage. Abe smoked out Gary and the two seemed to get along well. They were both in a nonsense world with minimal responsibility. That said, they both helped me when they could. Gary would walk the dogs and do the dishes. Abe unpacked my things and set up an air mattress my boss loaned me.

Abe and Gary
When the lights went out and the house outside my bedroom door settled, I wondered if I would have sex with Abe again. I wanted to, but it felt like the wrong thing to do. “If we had sex, I am afraid you would lose your mind again,” he said. I laughed. “Me too.”

It is hard loving someone partly with your soul, but completely with your body. I laid down and he played some music on my computer. I asked him to rub my back and I fell asleep with his warm hands on my back and legs. In the middle of the night, I woke up to him climbing out of bed with me, still fully clothed. “I have to go home now,” he whispered.

“Stay,” I groaned, grasping at the air.

“I can’t,” he said. And that was the last I saw of him.

***

It wasn’t long before I was back in Frank’s closet, snorting a few more lines. As long as it was there, the three of us, Gary, Frank and me, kept going, playing music, sweating, roaming, circling in and out like a merry-go-round.

cocaine-crazy-disney-drugs-Favim.com-517720
Somewhere earlier in the day, another ping rung out from my phone. It was from Huck again: “Miss you.. im comi gng to lax in december. I cant waieoq.” I screamed and dropped my phone again. I looked down at my black phone on the floor frozen. Then I screamed again.

“What …?” Frank asked. I read him the message. It was unlike Huck to misspell words, so I assumed he was drunk. Later I found out it was written by his girlfriend at the time. After reading the words aloud, Frank leaned back, “Tell him Super Shuttle is $13.”

I laughed and picked up my phone. “What … the .. fuck?”

“Seriously, if you bring him back here during residency, I will knock his block off. And I am serious,” he said.

“I would never … ever … TOUCH him again!” I said.

“Ok,” he said sing-song. “Just don’t bring him back here.”

*

I hadn’t heard much from Michael, he was still at a cool distance. I texted him: “What are you doing tonight?”

“Hanging out with my best friend [StarFire]” he wrote.

A few lines of fairy dust were swept into a small baggie with a make-shift straw I kept sticking out of the top. Instead of laying down lines on a mirror or surface, I would just snort directly out of the bag. There wasn’t much, not to justify what a junkie I can be. It is just a moment. A dance in time. It would be over soon enough and I would be back to work.

“Should I ask where you are going?” Frank asked.

“No,” I said finishing up the line he cut for me before rushing out the door. “Dogs are walked and fed. See you in the morning.”

*

I showed up to Michael’s house in Pasadena. He was the only tenant on the bottom floor. His room had a bed, a massage chair, a computer and a dresser, all in black or white decor. He greeted me as I walked in, “So I have champagne, chocolate soy ice cream, mango soy ice cream, wine and vegan almond squares.”

“Oh my, you have been reading my blog,” I said, delighted. I sat down eyeing the champagne first.

“But first I would like to take you out to dinner. Anywhere you would like to go,” he said, smiling.

“That’s ok, you don’t have to do that,” I said, popping open the champagne myself.

He slowly nodded, trying to understand what that meant. “I am not very hungry,” I continued, opening my little baggie and taking a whiff of dust. I felt his hands on my shoulder, he was short but I loved the way he touched me. The weight of his hands fell around my shoulders, and I felt his breath on the back of my neck as I snorted. Snorting cocaine excites men, which I never understood since it seems like such dirty business.

cocaine street art

When I was done, I felt the heat of his body pull away from behind. “You wanna go smoke a cigarette?” he asked. I smiled and nodded. Outside, there was a fire pit of sorts, surrounded by old, rotten couches and a stand alone fridge, stocked with beer. Plenty of young men occupied the house, but I rarely saw them. It was dark and cold, but the fire was going and the hot tobacco warmed me up.

“So I got a message from Huck, remember Huck from my blog? He wrote me ‘Miss you. I am coming to LAX in December. Can’t wait to see you.’ I mean, what the fuck? Who does this? Who breaks someone’s heart and then pulls strings afterward? I wouldn’t do that. If I hurt someone as much as he hurt me, I wouldn’t go near them again just for sex or whatever he wants. Its not fair.”

“You know what you sound like? Someone who had their heart broken,” Michael said.

I blew out some steam and then allowed him to light a second cigarette. “You know there aren’t other girls like you?” he said. “You know that, right?” I hung my head heavily to the side. It is a beautiful thing to say but I didn’t know how to respond without sounding arrogant or self-deprecating.

“You are a beautiful woman, you are a great writer, I love those blogs. I don’t read very much but it is easy for me to read your writing. That says a lot. It keeps me interested. You have a, you know, good head on your shoulders. And you are great in bed. What more do you need?” he said.

“I would like to be funny,” I said, smiling through the burn and the darkness. “You are,” he said.

I knew the kid was holding me up high. The blog is a monster because I refine my life and bring out my best and worst moments to be a character. There is a human under the witty banter, the drugs, the adventures and the sex. The human is always less appealing than the character. He would find out who I was, eventually, but for that moment in time I wanted to be his fantasy. Those are always the best parts of my relationships. The beginnings.

We spent the entire night making love. Sex would last a few minutes; the groaning, the sweat, the sloppy ecstasy before a quick end. Then it would start back up all over again. In between sessions, we would talk. I was out of coke but forgot about it. There was no come down, there was no aggravation, no rustle for the last few drops of white powder.  He made me laugh and my withdrawal vanished.

“Here, let me play some music for you,” he said, pulling up his Pandora.

“The Diva channel? Really, Michael. I don’t know what straight guy has Celine Dion and Cher as a channel,” I said.

“Why not?” he squeaked. We played some music and talked about more music. He knew more about 80s music and culture than I did, which still baffles me since he was born in 1989. He must have spent a lot of time alone as a child.

“You are cold as ice, willing to sacrifice our love …” he sang.

“You know who sings that?” I asked.

“Yeah, Foreigner.”

“No, really.”

“Look it up.”

I got on his computer at the desk parallel to his bed and pulled up ‘Cold as Ice’ by the Chipmunks. “See? It wasn’t Foreigner, it was the Chipmunks.” I pressed play and made him listen to Alvin, Simon and Theodore harmonize. He laughed with his whole body. I watched him lay in bed with a perfect upper torso, black hair trailing down his stomach to his plump cock, and the laughter tighten around the muscles in his abdomen. He had a high pitched laugh, but it wasn’t feminine. It sounded like the squealing of tires and made me feel brilliant every time I cracked a joke. It also created that bubbling sensation in my sternum, the possibility of love or what I know of love.

“Suggested videos from the Chipmunks is ‘West Side Story’” I said, clicking over to a medley of songs. “Maria”, “When You’re a Jet”, “America”, “Cool” all played, and I sang them almost word for word.

Westside-Story-classic-movies-6446879-2560-2010

“How do you know all the words?” he asked.

“I am a fan,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

“You want to see my impression of ‘West Side Story’? Eh, my name is Tony and Chino killed me. Oh…” he said in fast, low thug voice. I cackled. He does quick and silly impressions of people and movies. It is one of my favorite things about him.

“Uh oh, looks like someone is drunk Facebooking,” I said, rolling over his computer. “‘I wish people wouldn’t tell me how to raise my kid, go to hell!’ is her status update. Let’s review the events of the night and see what brought her there. Two hours ago ‘What a beautiful night, I am blessed!’ Uh oh, only two hours ago? What happened? One hour ago “Why does my life have to be so difficult? Because of the men I choose to share it with. When will I learn?’ Ok, so in the last two hours she had a bad conversation with the father of her child, I guess, and chased it with a bottle of wine. I love it. I am a pro at drinking and Facebooking.”

“And we love you for it,” he said. His soft brown eyes always looked glazed over. All the years I had known Michael it never occurred to me we would have a chemistry. You would think there would be a tingle, a moment of recognition, a hint of some kind that this person could make you fly with a kiss.

“I will get a dog. A dog with three legs is like … cool. A dog with two legs is like, ooooh, I really love that dog. A dog with no legs and just wheels is heaven!” he said. “That’s my goal, to get a dog with no legs,” he said smiling. Sometimes he would sit up on his bed and face me, as I nursed the bottle of champagne and then the bottle of red from his desk. Other times he laid back. We had made love four times, but were both wide awake.

dog with legs 0.jpg

“Tell me your deepest, darkest secret,” he said.

“Why?”

“Just to do it, why not?” he asked.

“Because I am having a good time. I don’t want to change the tone. Do you have a secret you want to share?” I asked.

“Not really,” he said. I crawled on the bed to fit in the nook of his arm. When we laid side by side, I could feel encased by him. I could look up to him and feel smaller, pocketed, loved the way I was used to. Standing up, I felt like the Jolly Green Giant.

“Did I tell you about the time I tried to kill myself?” he asked.

“No,” I said, softly.

“I feel like I did. How they had to pump my stomach with charcoal,” he continued.

“I feel like I would have remembered that. What led up to that decision?”

“I was 15 and my Mom had this snowglobe. My grandmother gave it to her and she just died. I accidentally broke it. When she found out she screamed ‘I hate you!’”

WinterSnowGlobe
“That’s terrible … but is that all?” I said. “Not to take anything away from you but … was that all that happened?”

“Yeah. That was it,” he said. I realized then how fragile he was. “My childhood wasn’t great. Kids were mean to me. I let them be mean to me but it still sucked. One time I let them set me on fire.”

“Oh my God,” I said again. “Did you get badly burned?”

“Yeah, that was horrible. I had to pull my sweatshirt over my head,” he said. I realized why he was attracted to me, why he loved the blog so much. He thought we connected because we suffered in the same way, but we all suffer, and all in different ways.

“How were your parents?” I asked.

“Well, my father died. Did I tell you that? I thought I did,” he said.

“No, stop saying that you told me these things because it makes me feel like I am not paying attention. I would remember stuff like suicide and dead father.”

“Yeah, he died when I was 19,” he said.

“I am sorry.”

“No big deal, he was barely around at that point,” he said, lightly. The eyes made sense now; the loss, the burning desire to rescue paraplegic dogs and fuck me. I put my arm over his chest. “My grandfather died, his funeral is next weekend so I will be out of town.”

“Oh, I am sorry about that, too,” I said.

“We weren’t close. No big deal.”

“It might be good to go back and settle business before you move back to Milwaukee,” I said.

“Maybe I won’t move back,” he said.

“Oh,” I said. In fact, I can’t remember what I said but I felt my heart stop and a chill freeze my blood. He was going to stay because of me. “It sounds like you have a pretty solid plan though.”

“Not really. I just thought I could go back there for a change, but I can do all the things I was going to do over there here.”

“What about school? You were going to be a vet tech?”

“Field animal observation. I can do that anywhere. I was looking at Glendale Community College. I can get free tuition in California,” he said.

“Well, you know my feelings on Milwaukee so, I think that would be a better life for you to stay. Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons,” I said.

“I will,” he sighed, holding me closer, blowing into my rustled head of hair.

It was around this time I crawled down and gave him a blow job- not because I was in love but because I knew it would impress him. I also knew it wouldn’t take too long. Afterward, with the moaning and praise, he said, “I never knew it could be this way. That was the best head I’ve ever had.”

“Well, you are only 23,” I said.

“No, sex with you is on some other level. I can’t explain it. I never have had sex like this before,” he said.

“Well, I am probably more experienced than the other girls you have been with. That’s all.”

“When you touch me, there is an electricity,” he said, covering his face with his forearm. His skin was so milky white in contrast to his black hair. He almost looked like a sculpture of a Roman soldier I admired in the courtyards of Paris- with the prominent nose, the robust physique, the marble-like complexion. I wiped my mouth and crawled back into the crevice of his arm singing ‘I Feel Pretty’. We agreed to turn on “West Side Story” and fell asleep to it. I woke up to Maria crying over Tony and muttered in a morning voice, “She was so good in this movie …”

“Yeah” he sighed, holding me up for a morning kiss. We made love a few more times before agreeing to go to breakfast.

The only place I could think to go was the vegan place in Los Feliz  Abe and I used to regularly go called Green Leaves. It is all vegan, vegan pancakes with vegan chicken and vegan eggs. We came in together and the usual waiter recognized me, looked at Michael and smiled. I shamelessly sat down with a head of hair that was tossed in a hundred different directions during a hundred different positions.

“I am not going to push you, but I want you to know at some point I am going to ask to be in a relationship with you. I want you to be my girlfriend. It doesn’t have to be now, but I want to talk to you about it later,” he said.

I nodded, “Ok.”

“I am not sure how you are feeling but I have feelings for you,” he said.

“I am having feelings too, but I am not looking for a relationship right now. Things have been going really well with this whole casual approach thing I am doing. It is hard to be in a relationship with someone like me,” I said. “Let’s just leave it at ‘We can do whatever we want.’”

“Well, I would like to try. Like I said, let that sit. We can talk about it later,” he said, casually picking up a menu. And just like that, my heart was dragged back under by a 23-year-old from Milwaukee. His mother was going to kill me.

Michael at green Leaves

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An Arm to Lie On

On Day 2 of classes, we were all assigned Buddies from another group of writers that had seniority, someone to answer questions and help us on the peer level.

My Buddy was late, and when she showed up, she was irritable. I immediately thought she was pretty, with severe bangs, heavy eyeliner and a very, very petite figure. My questions were fairly limited, but after the Buddy lunch and a lecture or two, we all collected out in the courtyard, now full of smokers and non-smokers, open notebooks with blank pages blowing in the wind and students spinning around each other, finding old friends and making new ones. Most of the students looked to be around my age, which was a relief. I didn’t want to be swimming in young people after working alongside them the last few years.

A few guys in my class stood around me, one asked, “So, what are you doing now?” I shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”

My Buddy came up and said, “We are going for drinks, do you want to come?”

I said, “Yeah”, I turned to him,  “I guess that’s what I am doing now.”

She introduced me to a few other students, two men and a girl around my age, maybe a little younger. The girl was incredibly warm and friendly, but the men kept a distance.

To one she said, “This is David, David be nice.”

He was shorter than me and made some polite conversation, but I was weary. I wanted them to like me and more importantly, I didn’t want to be classified as a film person, but a literary person.


We all crammed into a small car and drove to a dive somewhere I have never been. We walked in and were the only white people in the place. The tables by the windows were set up for a party of some kind, a single musician was practicing in the corner, and a long mirror stretched behind the middle-aged bartender, with dramatic eyebrows and sagging breasts.

Sweeping through the front doors with my purse slipping off my shoulder, I said, “This is my kind of place.”

The others weren’t certain and hung back. The Bartender said, “Don’t be scared. Come on in.”

We sat in the middle of the empty bar, balloons and bows on one side, and blues on the other. I got comfortable, making the legs scream on my chair as I kicked it under a few, adjoined, small tables, awkward but set up so we could face each other.


David and I easily slipped into a conversation about France, he had gone with his fiance. He mentioned Toulouse and I said, “I have a lover in Toulouse!” His small smile kept surfacing and hiding throughout conversation. The others took turns chain-smoking outside, and after a martini or two, we went to a liquor store and picked up more alcohol.

David was staying at a hotel near the school and invited us back to his room. As the sun set, we hung out in his room, each with our own bottle of choice, laughing and scrubbing the world out through a fuzzier window. I sipped off a bottle of cheap champagne, and set up my mini-laptop on his bed. David and I took turns playing music for the girls.


In a vodka-champagne-sugar haze, we stumbled to a bar called the Tattle Tale Room. The only bars near the school were a half a mile away, two dives almost right next to each other, one called The Scarlet Lady and the other called The Tattle Tale Room.  Both bars share clientele, mostly mechanics and laborers done with work at the end of the day, a few white kids in their twenties who were looking to hook up with anyone. They were shitty, but they were open, serving reasonably priced drinks and had a great classic rock selection on karaoke.


The evening was a fog, I remember singing “Emotional Rescue”. God I love that song. As usual, I incorporated the Jagger moves from the original music video, not that I expect anyone to appreciate that.

David was a Doors fan, and took his turns on Doors music. I am sure you loyal readers can understand what that means to me, though I alternate Stones favorites, my true love, my life blood is and always will be The Doors.

I sat in the booth, on the circular bench facing the girls, and men would alternate next to me in conversation. First it was David, then Miguel appeared because I was able enough to communicate via Facebook, I guess.

Around this time, I sang, “Back Door Man” from the Doors. I kept it as loyal to the original as I could, with the growling and howling, though Miguel claims people were covering their ears in horror. Later, I played him the original so he could appreciate how faithful of an adaptation it was.

You men eat your dinner

Eat your pork and beans

I eat more chicken

Than any man ever seen, yeah, yeah

I’m a back door man, wha

The men don’t know

But the little girl understand

I may have thrown in a little Morrison leap at the end, and as I made my way back to the booth about four truckers high-fived me. Miguel’s argument is they just wanted to “fuck me”, well . . . golly, I thought I killed it.

Miguel left shortly thereafter, and I was a little bummed. I can never read if I scare them off or if they are just being responsible. I also noticed that David was avoiding me now. The classic rock, sugar and alcohol had me high, and I am not sure anyone knew what to do with me.

I turned to my left, and there was someone new in the seat next to me. I call him Huck, for “Huckleberry Finn” because of his cut off, denim shorts. If he wore his jeans, he rolled up the bottoms as if wading in a creek with a stick and fishing line.


I didn’t need to cling to him in conversation, but I did. He stared at me seriously, while mechanically sipping his drink. I can’t recall if we wasted time on introductions, but the couple on my other side told me his name, and said he had a drinking problem.

The first thing I remember saying to him was, “Your drinking problem is making me fall in love with you.”

In his face, I could see he was younger than I was. His skin was soft, his blonde hair was cut as if his mother took him to the local barber the day before class and his color caught what little light there was in the bar. He had all the makings of an innocent. The giveaway was his eyes, there was a darkness in them.

I asked him if he was straight, he said he was. Then he said, “But I gave a blowjob once.”

My eyes widened, and I smiled, pushing for details. He smiled for the first time, but tightened up his mouth, and looked down shaking his head, “No, I like girls.”

He was tall, taller than me. The bar was loud enough that I had to lean in to hear the answers to my questions. I could feel the warmth of his arm over the back of our seat. The more we spoke, the heavier it fell over my shoulder.

I asked where he was from. He said Milwaukee. I huffed a cloud of revulsion, then said, “I hate Milwaukee.”

He stood up suddenly to step outside for a smoke. I asked to bum a cigarette off of him.

He said, “No” and I asked, “Why?”

He leaned down and twisted his smile again, “Because you told me you quit.”

I said, “I did?” That’s true.

He walked out. I was left alone, and excited by him. He was paying closer attention to what I was saying than I was. He also had a fearless honesty about him, not the kind people use to disarm you in conversation, the kind that challenges you to meet them on the level.

When he returned, I asked him for a ride home. The conversation is murky here. What I remember most was his arm, the arm I was leaning against, almost draping around me. There are the strange arms you accidentally brush up against or bump into, those you immediately pull away from, apologize and turn away. There are the arms you warm up to, as you are pressed against someone new in a forced moment and try to ignore the fabric touching your skin or the weight of their body against yours, and you reluctantly surrender that half inch of air that was once yours. Then there are the arms that feel familiar for no reason, they are warm and seductive, drawing you closer in to the stranger’s body, you don’t know why him but a circle forms around you that feels safe- it almost feels like home.


It made me nervous and titillated, so I turned to my Buddy, inquiring about Huck. She said, “I have a love-hate relationship with Huck.”

I quipped, “Me too.”

Turning back into his arm, he said he was going to leave. He read the disappointment on my face and said, “Another night.”

Whether he was responding to a proposition I made about breaking off from the party or he just picked up my cue, I am not sure. I remember mention of cheap vodka back in his room, but he was staying within the double yellow lines with me for now. He left, and for the rest of the night I kept repeating, “Another night.”

The alcohol and boys made me silly, but I could sense that my Buddy and the two men in her group no longer liked me very much.

When David sang the Doors, I was encouraged to go flirt with him, and dutifully I ran up to the microphone and acted like a rabid fan on the Ed Sullivan show. David refused to look at me and I realized I was making him uncomfortable.

The other girl from that group was always nice to me, but somehow I had set myself apart. It didn’t matter much, as long as I could find that arm to lie on.

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Flat Champagne and Cliche Goodbyes

In the middle of the night, with the slight sugar of champagne fading on the back of my throat, Abe and I drove separately down to Costa Mesa.

We got to his apartment and fell asleep.

Me, “I did everything I could to save us, didn’t I?”

Abe, “You did good.”

We woke up late, and on a last day together you want to fit in everything. I had less than 12 hours before I had to head back up to Los Angeles.

I pulled out my magic pills.

Abe, “You want to take them now?”

Me, “Well, might as well. I have to be sober by tonight.”

Abe, “This takes an hour to hit and then you won’t be able to drive back at 5.”

Me, “Just don’t worry about it. It’s now or never. I can’t take these with me.”

I had thought about taking them to Paris with me, but it seems like an extraordinarily bad idea to take a hybrid narcotic overseas and then hallucinate alone in a foreign city.

So we measured out what was left between the two pills and swallowed them with our orange juice and coffee.

I wanted to see “Cabin in the Woods”.

Abe was nervous, “We have to see an early showing or we won’t have any time in the afternoon for ourselves. We missed the 10:15am showing. That’s it. The next one isn’t til 1pm and we won’t have time.”

I pushed him aside, “Let me work my wizardry.” I typed in Moviefone and found a showing across from Disneyland at 11am.

We drove over there and I could feel myself start to levitate over the passenger seat. The ground was especially rough on his Honda tires and my head high was hitting sooner than expected.

Abe pulled into a driveway that said “Disneyland: Character Entrance Only”

I said, “What are you doing?”

Abe, “This was the only place I saw we could park on Google Maps.”

Abe pulled out and tried to turn around in the driveway when an old man with white hair and a beard in what looked like a Southern Confederate uniform waved at us to stop.

Me, “Shit. Just stop. Don’t move.”

The man slowly walked over to my side of the vehicle, bent down and said, “What are you doing?”

I said cooly, “Sorry, we were just trying to park for the movie theater across the street.”

The man, “There is movie theater parking across the street.”

Me, “That makes sense. Can we just . . .?”

Man, “Yeah, just turn around, carefully.”

I rolled up my window and said to Abe, “Pull yourself together, man.”

We pulled around and I ran into the movie theater. Abe took his time, visiting the bathroom and the drinking fountain first. I waited at the door and we walked into a completely empty movie theater.

Now, I don’t know how many people have seen ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and I don’t really want to recommend you seeing it since it’s a comedy horror movie that is not really that funny nor that scary. I have never seen a horror movie with little to no suspense in the action sequences before. The film is popular because there is a twist.

What made the film special for us (Abe specifically) was the human sacrifice element- which I haven’t seen in modern horror. And why that element is a funny twist to see in Abe’s company is his genuine belief that the Illuminati facilitate human sacrifices, and, he would it take it one step further, the Illuminati made this movie to get the main population used to the idea that some of us must be sacrificed.

*The Illuminati  (as defined by Wikipedia) is a name given to several groups, both real (historical) and fictitious. Historically the name refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. In more modern contexts the name refers to a purported conspiratorial organization which is alleged to mastermind events and control world affairs through governments and corporations to establish a New World Order. In this context the Illuminati are usually represented as a modern version or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati.

So when the first image of someone’s blood pouring through a sacrificial tablet appeared, I laughed.

Abe said, “Ah, I see. Illuminati.”

When a red phone rang in the control center of the human sacrifice, Abe leaned back  and said, dryly, “Oh, the Illuminati aren’t happy.”

In Abe’s universe of paranoia and conspiracy, a movie theater experience, especially on hallucinogenics, becomes a hand delivered message from a cult that operates on an international scale.

I said, “Have you seen the carpet recently?”

The floor lights over the theater carpet brought to life reds and greens, blinking in various directions like neon lights spinning through broken arrows. I felt like we were in the middle of a large, untouched Pac-Man game, my seat at the center of an Atari maze ablaze with blinking power pellets.

We left the movie and walked out into an overcast afternoon.

Abe said, “I have never been here before.”

The little mall across from Disneyland had several restaurants that were closed, and between them were various murals. I wanted to admire them, but Abe kept tugging on my sleeve.

Abe, “We are running out of time.”

I said, “Look, time won’t stop. The day is escaping us. (I looked at him and shrugged) The day is escaping us. There is nothing we can do about it. Let’s just try our best not to avoid the time and enjoy this moment together.”

He sighed and pulled out two cigarettes.

We took pictures by the murals and giggled.



Then we swung by his place to pick up Brad and took him to the beach.
Abe and I walked to a place not too far in the sand where we could bring a dog without being reprimanded, turned on some old 60s Rolling Stones and laid out in the sun.

Old 60s Rolling Stones is a lot like boppy, Beach Boys music.

http://youtu.be/TgwT0794kHg

I said, “Where’s Gidget?”

He laughed though I am not sure he got the reference.

We laid there next to each other and I studied the baggy outline of his pants as it fell short over his brown socks and shoes. He seems so much like an overgrown boy.

The sand dunes moved like an old cardboard cut-out of waves someone would use in an old theater production. The clouds were magnificent and billowed in rhythm with the sand like they were on the same circuit as my blinking Christmas tree lights.

When you hallucinate on small doses, you know what you are seeing is not real. You are not confused and nothing seems terribly unpredictable about the shapes that unfold. You are in control of what you see.

I told Abe, “You can’t keep approaching problems from the same angle. That’s when people get trapped. You have to acquire the ability to approach the problem from different directions. That’s why I like hallucinagenics, it helps your mind learn how to look at things from a radically different angle. You get used to that. It becomes a skill.”

Brad was panting by my side.

I said, “Do you think he is ok?”

Sand lined his gold hair and his eyes were closed in a meditative pant.

Abe, “He is happy, baby.”

I cuddled up to Abe. I would miss him. And when I got back, I knew I would be a totally different woman.

The Doors came on his ipod, the psychedelic chimes rising in audible steam out of the cheap plastic bag by his feet.

“The End” came on.

♪ ♫ “No safety or surprise, the end.” ♪ ♫

Then we left.

His brother called when we were at his apartment. His apartment is always cold.

Abe, on the phone, “No, tonight’s not a good night. Its (her) last night in Los Angeles, so it’s really not a good night. I can’t come over. (silence) I will see you guys tomorrow.”

It was good to hear him choose a night with me over his family. I love how loyal he is to his family, but now it’s become part of a greater dependence to his life as a child. He has no interest in forging his own path, his own Friday night or his own family. He seems totally apathetic towards becoming a father, a husband or a man of his own, and forever content remaining the oldest son of someone else.

We made love at least twice in his cold bedroom, as the sun died behind grey, ocean clouds.

Writing about this now, a month later, I can’t recall anything special about the lovemaking other than it being the last time I felt close to someone. The last time I didn’t have to worry about my words being misinterpreted or about my body odor working through my deodorant or fumbling to find when I should end a moment.

I miss that.

We showered and he said, “I am going to be good.”

Me, “Huh?”

Abe, “I am going to be good . . . while you’re gone.”

Me, “You’re always good.”

I mean, lets face it, he doesn’t exactly have a mob of girls knocking at his door.

Abe, “I am going to be good. Are you going to be good?”

I looked at him, naked, washing the shampoo out of his hair and didn’t know what to say.

I wasn’t going to be “good”, I intended on enjoying other men, maybe falling in love with someone else. He broke my heart only a few weeks ago and didn’t deserve any false promise in return. But I just made love to this man, naked in front of me and he was looking for a little corner of polyester and nylon threaded comfort before I left his bedroom.

I muttered, “I will be good.”

Then, Abe took 45 minutes to repack my car. I was so late. It was after 9pm now, and I promised Frank  that we would have quality time before I left LA.

He texted to see if I was ok.

I texted back, “Yes, he is dragging this out and reorganizing my car. We will stay up late tonight.”

Frank texted back, “I thought that might be it. I am looking fwd to it whenever you get here.”

We kissed goodbye, and I can say I don’t remember the kiss. I remember he drove in my passenger side until I got to the end of his block and we puttered through a lot of cliches.

“I love you”

“Be safe”

“I will miss you”

“Ok goodnight”

And I called him “sweetie” which felt awkward out of my mouth. I never call anyone sweetie, but smelling of man’s soap and semen, I said, “Take care, sweetie.”

Who jumped in my body and said that?

And then I patted his back shoulder as he jumped out of my car.

This man who I was having one of the most intense on-again, off-again love affairs of my life, just sprang out of my car door and my life, and all I could offer him was a pat on the shoulder and a “Take care, sweetie.”

Driving away, I felt tears that never came.

I didn’t want to let him go, and I still don’t really want to let him go. But thank God something happened in my life to break the spin cycle our relationship was on. I needed something to jam the spoke before we went through another ride together.

***

I showed up to Frank’s, all my dogs were reunited.

Frank, “Do you just want to get Thai Food? Does it make me old that I just want to grab a bite to eat it in a quiet restaurant on a Saturday night?”

Me, “If that makes you old, then I am old. (stretch) It’s going to rain tomorrow. I feel it in my knees.”

We ate half of a dinner in Hollywood, then came back and had a glass and a half of champagne. I was exhausted.

Frank made a half joke/pass at me- going in for a kiss or something.

I said, “Please don’t. I just had a lot of sex and can’t deal with that right now.”

He laughed and said, “I figured.”

The next day when he sent me off, we mashed together in clumsy affection and kissed each other goodbye. It wasn’t laced with champagne and romance, but felt like a weird victorious punctuation mark. Friendship. Gratitude. Time.

It all ended on a wet kiss on Frank’s mouth at 9am on a Saturday.

And from there, with my three dogs jammed in the back seat, we headed north to Washington.

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