Tag Archives: storybookland

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.

la bound

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.

Disneyland (4)Disneyland (3) Disneyland (5)

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.”

al-pacino-20 al-pacino-20-1

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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My Birthday Princess Weekend: Pt. 1 . . . Playing Hearts

My birthday weekend was big. I needed a week to process everything that happened, just because I find myself falling down wormholes of thought about it all. The men, the girl, the game.

Thursday, Dora, Mitch and I all went to Disneyland. I have a friend who works there that gave us entrance for free.

We had the day off, I needed to treat Mitch for taking care of my dogs.

When I told Dora we were going to Disneyland, she screamed and covered her face like she just won something fantastic from a contest she didn’t know she entered. Her dog was so happy, she danced for us. If you ever want to make a 22 year-old girl happy, take her to Disneyland.

We got there, Dora and I both in tiaras, and my friend got us in and gave me a pin that said it was my birthday.

Throughout the day, I was addressed as “Princess” and told Happy Birthday by everyone.

I said to the wenches of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, “Its not technically my birthday until tomorrow. But what the heck.”

Wench #1, “Make a whole weekend of it. Why does your birthday have to be one day?”

Ok, I realize this must sound incredibly dorky of a 34 year-old, prancing around Disneyland in a tiara, (with face paint) (yeah . . . seriously) and being moved and inspired by these little token comments meant for children.

I was going to make a weekend of it. I had a few days off in a row. I was going to do whatever I wanted to do for 4 whole days.

Someone at the end of Pinocchio’s Daring Journey said, “May all your dreams come true.”

I said, “Why can’t people say that to each other in the real world? That is such a wonderful thing to wish someone.”

My one requirement is that everyone go through Storybookland with me.

We had those adult kind of conversations while waiting in line, sometimes oblivious of the 4 year-old staring back at us:

Winnie the Poo

Mitch, “I always identified with piglet. Small, timid. And he has a huge cock. That’s what I hear.”

Tomorrowland

Dora, “I always had sexual fantasies about Darth Vader. Something about him . . .”

Alice and Wonderland

Me, “Do you know Lewis Carroll was an opium abusing pedophile?”

(*footnote, new findings suggest Carroll used laudanum, a legal opiate used to treat his migraines)

It’s a Small World

Mitch, “You know, Walt Disney was a huge anti-Semite and that’s why Israel isn’t represented?”

Mitch took us all out to lunch at the restaurant on The Pirates of the Caribbean. You know, that restaurant in the dark, where you see people at tables from the ride and always wonder how they got there? Its called the Blue Bayou, you enter through New Orleans Square and its about $30 for the vegan  entree.

Yeah. Yikes.

The waiter was a large, black man named Michael. When he took over our table, I reviewed my menu and then said to Dora and Mitch, “I want a black man for my birthday. I am a princess and that’s my wish.”

Dora, “Oh Jesus.”

Me, “I like the blacks because . . . they’ve suffered.”

Our waiter returned, “So no whip cream on that chocolate mousse?”

I nodded, “Its free with my birthday?”

He smiled and nodded.

Dora said, “You can’t have that! Its not vegan.”

I said, “Fuck it. I am a princess and in a land of suspended reality. I am gonna do it.”

When I finished the entree, Michael the waiter snuck up behind me and said, “Are you ready for that mousse?”

And in a low growl, I groaned, “MMMMMM HMMMMMMM!”

He brought me my mousse, I made a wish and then made love to my mouth for three heavenly spoonfuls. The rest went to Mitch.

At the end of lunch, the waiter said, “Can I give you a hug? You are such a good sport.”

I laughed, and we hugged . . . twice.

When Michael left our table, I said, “He’s gay.”

Dora nodded in agreement.

***

After Disneyland, we were all going to meet with Rochelle, another Doggie Daycare veteran/employee, at a dive in Los Feliz called the Drawing Room. Her birthday was ending and mine just beginning.

We invited everyone from Doggie Daycare, and I posted a little something on Facebook. No one showed but Mitch, Dora and Rochelle.

I didn’t really care at first. I never have birthday parties because people never showed up in high school, much less elementary school. I just don’t want to have anything to do with facilitating a meeting by popularity.

As the night waned, and I could see the disappointment on Rochelle’s face, my stomach turned at the thought of all the Doggie Daycare parties I forced myself to go to, tired and filthy from work. Some of the people who pushed for me to be entertainment at their parties, didn’t even bother to write a Happy Birthday on my Facebook wall. I tried pushing it to the back of my mind, but that nagging feeling . . . of being the clown and not a friend . . . that got under my skin.

The juke box had “Father Figure” playing, I had a Fat Tire in my hand and I wasn’t going to let anything drag me down . . . except maybe when all your friends go outside to smoke for 20 minutes at a time . . . leaving you alone at the bar.

So, there I sat alone. No text or call from Abe. That got under my skin even more.

It was past midnight now, I was officially 34. There was no kiss. There was no family baked cake. There was no revelation. There was only some old school hip hop playing, a few mildly good-looking strangers flirting with me and another drink in front of me.

So, I got annoyed.

The men who kept approaching me from all ends of the bar, were ignored, cut short or offered some cold conversation to pass my time. I realized I was being slightly bitchy to them. I just don’t need more MEN in my life!

While we are on the subject, there was a guy there.  He was slightly bloated, pale, had a beard and was wearing some hip, vintage, army such and such. He had on a military hat the lesbian bartender stole for the evening. He seemed intelligent, with a splash of sarcasm.

I politely answered his questions, but didn’t really dive into who this guy was.

However, Dora came in and got his attention. He quipped to me, “Oh, now you can acknowledge me … ok, I get it.” I didn’t believe I was intentionally neglecting HIM . . . but I just didn’t want to make that night about picking up guys.

I actually had the thought that I would go on a date with this guy, and how he had no idea how interesting and funny I was yet. We were still in that early phase where men underestimate me, which usually gives me some kind of advantage. But Dora got him. She was interested, she made him feel attractive and she got his number.

I was a little bitter about it, even though really there was no reason for those two not to hit it off- other than the fact that he is 15 years older than her, far more educated and experienced and they really won’t have anything in common, not even a radio station. None of that matters to a man in his mid-thirties with a beer belly, all that matters is, how did he put it, “Look at those eyes.”

The feminine guy, who was hanging out in the corner playing all the late 80s hip hop, came up and some how got to spanking me. I really don’t know how it started, but I was determined to get 34 spankings that night. I thought they would come from Dora. Instead, I got about 12 from a drunk stranger before I asked him to stop.

He made a pass at me.

I said, “I thought you were gay.”

He said, “I will show you how gay I am” and then he kissed me.

I said, “Yeah, I still think you are gay.”

He said, “Anytime you want to come over, I will show you how not gay I am.”

I said, “Alright, um, it doesn’t really matter. So you aren’t gay. Doesn’t really make a difference to me.”

He got frustrated and turned away from me.

I left.

I was in a shitty mood.

I walked outside and bummed a cigarette off of the Military Hat, 30 something making a move on my roommate. He, of course, smoked the exact same cigarettes as me. At the time, I took this to be a sign that we were perfect for each other. Didn’t he know I can never go on a date with him NOW after hitting on my roommate?

They were “involved” I guess you could put it.

Me, “Excuse me while I find someone a little closer to my age.” And I walked over to the white haired gentleman smoking a pipe on the other side of the entrance. They giggled at my punch line.

I told him it was my birthday.

The Older Gentleman, “What is your birth date? The year?”

I told him, then said, “Are you an astrologist?”

He shook his head and said, “Numerologist. I need your name, first and last.”

I gave it to him and said, “Its 7 and 7.”

Older Gent, “Ah yes, you are an original spirit. You don’t even now how original you are, but that’s your journey. You infect the men in your life. You infect them. You show them a world of emotion and life, and they don’t know what to do with it, so they try to dominate you.”

Me, “I thought I was just attracted to dominating men.”

Older Gent, “No, they don’t know what to do with you, so they try to control you. That’s all they do.”

At this point, two Southern Americans came up to me asking to bum a light. I offered my lit cigarette instead. One of the dirty South Americans pressed his fingers on either side of my butt as he held it up to his fresh tobacco and inhaled.

Me, “Did you wash your hands recently, because your fingers are on my filter.”

He simply walked away.

Me, “You’re welcome.”

Older Gent, “The male ego is delicate. Show some compassion.”

Me, “I have lots of compassion. I rescue animals.”

Older Gent, “Having compassion for animals is easy. Having compassion for other human beings is difficult.”

Dirty South American from a distance, “Thank you for the smoke.”

Me, “You’re welcome. I am trying to develop more compassion for the male ego.”

Dora jumped in my car and off we went back to Sylmar. I was quiet. I could tell my sour mood made her uncomfortable.

She kept going on about Pot Belly, “He seems really smart, doesn’t he? I got his number. And he has a job, which is good, right?”

I nodded. What a schmuck that guy was. Its not Dora’s fault. We had a good day otherwise.

At the bar, I texted Abe a frowny face.

He wrote back: “I am not having a good week. Call you tomorrow.”

I asked to swing by on my way to San Diego.

He asked why.

I wrote: “Because its my birthday.”

Silence.

Then I wrote: “FUCK YOU”

He wrote: “Happy Birthday.”

I do adore our little exchanges.

So I got home, packed up and took off around 3am, tipsy from 3 beers and a free birthday shot.

Kids, do not drive drunk.

Adults, have you ever been alone and freaking out on your birthday and all you can think is, “I got to get the hell out of here!”?

I drove and drove and drove, and it felt great. Driving in the middle of the night, wide awake from the sugar in my alcohol and the sting of being alone on my birthday.

Abe texted: “Did you drive down?”

Me: “Yeah, but who cares.”

Abe: “Why aren’t you sleeping?”

Me: “Cause no one loves me.” Hearts.


(footnote* “Hearts” is a highly sarcastic remark the women at Doggie Daycare make towards each other when punctuating an acidic remark, asking one to do their job or simply passing in the break room. Created by: Sasha)

Me: “Happy Birthday to me.”

Abe: “Ill make u birthday breakfast. I have to go to sleep. There is a visitor spot in front of the leasing office.”

I pulled in to the spot and realized I forgot Brad’s leash. The other two dogs were at home with Mitch, the best dog sitter ever. Brad came with me but I left my vegan cookies and his leash at home, along with my toothbrush and socks.

Brad sticks so close to my feet, he would be fine until I found rope or twine to use in its place.

We trudged into Abe’s bedroom around 4am. Brad crawled into bed with us, sand spilled off my socks onto the bed sheet, left over from the same shoes I wore the weekend before and I fell asleep with the grimy sweat you only find on bar stools, smoke in my hair, beer on my breath and my bra still on.

We woke up at 10am and made love.

I had to ask him to make love to me, since he was still in the mindset that I wanted to cut it off, from the whole Hailey situation.

We had sex in the late morning, took a shower and had more sex.

With the daylight burning off my midnight buzz, a headache started climbing up the steps to my temples and forehead. I could feel the heavy foot falls. Shit, I was going to be hung over for my birthday, which is exactly what I didn’t want.

Abe, “I don’t have any money to take you out for your birthday, but I can make you something.”

Me, “That’s ok. I will buy us a birthday brunch.”

Abe, “What are your plans for today?”

Me, “Birthday Brunch with you, then going down to Alan’s, see the Wild Animal Park and hang out in OB.”

Abe closed his eyes. The crease between his eyes grew deep and his hand squeezed tighter around me.

Abe, “You are going to see Alan.”

Me, “Yeah. Just staying there.”

Abe’s face grew even deeper creases and his hand grew even tighter.

Me, “You don’t have to strangle me, its ok.”

I rubbed the crease between his eyes.

He chuckled. Then he briefly looked up at me from my shoulder. That boy’s blue eyes could burn through skin if he wanted them to. It was a knowing look. He knew I was up to no good.

He got up to get dressed and said, “So what’s the next step with our relationship?”

Me, “We don’t have a relationship.”

Abe rose his voice in mid-frustrated-laugh, “Then what is this!?”

Me, “I wanted to have sex with someone I loved on my birthday.”

He laughed again, in outrage and disbelief.

I said, “Disneyland said I was a Princess and all my wishes could come true on my birthday. Its my birthday and I wish to have sex with you and eat some food.”

He said, “This isn’t Disneyland.”

I said, “But its my birthday!”

I took him to Native Foods Cafe.

The restaurant was in a very small strip mall with a kind of modern Ewok feel to it. Speakers buried in gravel along the pathways echoed the ambient sound of frogs and crickets. There was also a doggie boutique and Valet parking.

We got seats outside in the courtyard, shared by a handful of cafes and restaurants. There were heavy, large wooden picnic tables and tall, wood tables with raised chairs along the basic infrastructure of glass walls and wood frames. This was a little spot that wanted to be hip. They called it the Anti-Mall. Hard to believe an ANTI-mall would have an Urban Outfitters not to mention the American Apparel across the street.

I ordered the Vegan Cheeseburger Pizza which was ridiculous. I was fantasizing about it today. Who ever invented the Cheeseburger Pizza needs to shake my hand.

Also, I ordered Vegan Nachos, I got Abe a Vegan Bacon Burger (even though he suggested I only order for myself) and a chocolate pie for dessert. I don’t mind paying for things on my birthday. I bought Dora a Little Mermaid Scarf she liked at Disneyland. Now I am buying Abe a burger. It feels good to me, I had a little money, and I wanted everyone around me to have something from me.

We are all poor. Who cares?

While waiting in line to order, a small cluster of OC housewives moved towards my spot in line, looked me up and down and smirked, “Are you in line . . . or . . .” Their eyes crawled up my high tops, skinny jeans and Hollywood Chic sweater.

Me, “Yeah.” I mean . . . obviously.

They rolled their eyes over me again, just so I got the point.

Damn, my headache was getting worse.

The food came out to us and I said, “Can I reenact a moment that summarizes why I hate Orange County?”

Abe nodded at first, until I stood up for my performance. Then he said, “Can I ask you to not ridicule people who may be dining around us at the same time?”

I said, “Oh.” And sat back down.

It was hard to avoid the subject of Hailey. I didn’t want to talk about it on my birthday, but Abe was eager to fight it, take it down and move on as quickly as possible.

I couldn’t keep Hailey off that nice oak table.

Abe, “Don’t let it bother you. Its nothing. Just a habit.”

Me, “How can I not let it bother me? You are looking for someone to replace me? Someone you think is better than me?”

Abe, “Is that what you think? That’s not the case, alright. Its an addiction I have with someone who I think is fucking with me on those CL forums.”

Me, “Have you been on since?”

Abe answered immediately, “No.”

Me, “Not even to write me something?”

Abe, “No, why, did you read something you thought I wrote?”

I nodded.

Abe, “That site is evil. It confuses people.”

Me, “Whatever. I don’t want to talk about this on my birthday.”

Abe, “Its not even sexual its . . . a mystery I am trying to solve from a long time ago.”

Me, “Why would you use the word ‘infatuation’ in your ad? How is that not sexual?”

Abe, “I was using someone else’s words from another message that was posted. That’s all it is, recycling each other’s messages and leaving clues. (silence) Maybe I can start taking percocet.”

Me, “You need to see a therapist.”

Abe, “I just need to fill that part of my brain where the obsession is.”

Me, “Why can’t I fill that part of your brain?”

He closed his head and nodded. I am not part of whatever is going on in there. I believe him that it isn’t sexual. He is decoding something in his imagination, but no one can tell me it isn’t romantic when it has the face of his high school crush over it.

Abe asked to buy me coffee after lunch, since that was something he could afford.

He was clearly depressed. His face was hanging over. He kept repeating that he needed to get a job. He needed to do something with his life.

Something I haven’t mentioned before is . . . Abe believes he may share the same spiritual elements of Moses and/or Thoth (an Egyption god). Yes, he may be slightly insane, but I think we all have fantasies that we are apart of something more grandiose than this life alone.

Months ago, when we drove Dora home, I would say something like, “Abe thinks he is Moses.”

Dora would say, “Oh Jesus.”

Abe would say, “Now I have to explain.”

Dora would say, “No, you really don’t.” And Abe would launch into a big explanation about what he knew about Moses, his staff, his personality and how it somehow clicked with him in the present.

Dora and I joked after that car ride home, that my new nickname is Zipporah, Moses’ Ethiopian wife.

Back to my Birthday:

Me, “Now I know why you were talking about Moses’ multiple wives. You are hoping Me, (his best friend before me) Amber and Hailey will all become sister wives. I only hope that I am high enough on the list to be a vessel for your offspring and not just the one you keep around.”

Abe, “I don’t think about anything that far ahead. (beat) I am just a waste of life.”

Me, “We really have to work on bringing up your self esteem.”

Abe, “I don’t have low self esteem. I smoke pot.”

We pulled into a Starbuck’s.

I said, “Did you know there is no Israel in ‘Its a Small World’?”

Abe put out his cigarette and said, “I guess its a Big World, after all.”

We got coffee and then he took me to this hidden garden close to a park. I don’t know where we were, I think somewhere in Newport Beach.

I followed him down a trail filled with Birds of Paradise and tall walls of green bush.

He kept apologizing, “I thought this was a bigger park. Sorry you had to buy yourself lunch on your birthday and now I am taking you to this little park.”

I said, “Its perfect. I wanted to spend my birthday with you.”

Despite the fact that he betrayed me and broke my heart, it really doesn’t make the love go away. I wish it did, but then maybe we all wouldn’t marvel at the wonder of love. Love is supposed to conquer all, and here it was conquering me. I didn’t mind. In fact, I still don’t.

We went back to his apartment, and he kept delaying my leave to Alan’s.

Alan was cooking me dinner.

I kept telling Alan I was going to come out in the day, but I put it off. I was hung over. I had a head ache and I was cherishing these tender moments with Abe. Blowing off Alan was a bonus.

After sunset, I knew I had to get going.

Abe said, “Traffic is bad right now, you should wait.”

Since I was a Princess, I decided to put on “An Affair to Remember” and eat my chocolate pie.

Abe and his roommate were forced to watch it with me, since it was in their living room. They patiently sat there and watched my Cary Grant movie, one with a dinner of oreos and the other with a 2 foot bong.

Abe, “Did people really talk like that?”

Me, “Sure.”

Abe’s Roommate, “What’s so special about her? She seems . . . boring.”

Me, “She’s actually very smart and funny. She challenges him.”

Cary Grant, “There must be something between us, even if it’s only an ocean.”

I watched the whole damn thing, and ate that vegan chocolate pie.

Deborah Kerr, [voice shaking, ready to cry] “If you can paint I can walk- anything can happen, right?”

I had a few wonderful tears on my face, and wiped them off my face as I stretched and smiled.

Me, “THE End!”

Both guys looked up at me and smiled.

Abe’s Roommate, got up and with an exaggerated East Coast accent, exalted, “DARLING!”

Me, “Oh, its 8:30pm already, I gotta go.”

Abe, “No you don’t. Why don’t you just stay here tonight.”

Me, “I can’t do that, he’s cooking dinner.”

Abe, “Oh, he’s cooking dinner . . . well.  Let me make you some tea for the road.”

He made some tea with lemon, and I sat and watched him. I enjoyed making him jealous.

He walked me to my car, and before handing me a large jar of warm, honey colored tea, he said, “I really hope you get to go to the Wild Animal Park.”

We smiled at each other as he closed my car door for me.

I drove to Alan’s.

To be continued . . .

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