Tag Archives: romance

The Boy I Never Kissed

I was a make-out whore for a good portion of my life.  When I was younger, I had it in my head that if you wanted to kiss someone, then you should.  That simple.  It didn’t matter if they had a girlfriend or if it would complicate our friendship or if it was pointless because it was just some random person and I knew that it wouldn’t amount to anything.  Those factors didn’t matter to me back then because I was very much living in the moment and kind of a free spirit (as fucking lame as that sounds, good lord).  If right then, it felt right, then it was right.  Due to this naive thought process, I’ve kissed a lot of boys in my past, but unfortunately, Frankie is not one of them.  I’ve calmed down on my love affair with the world since those days by the way.

Before I get to my main point, I’d like to note that one of my favorite things about being an adult is that I no longer want other peoples boyfriends and have also found that it is completely possible to have good guy friends who are just friends.  That was hard during high school and college when I didn’t give a shit if the boy I had a crush on had a girlfriend, and didn’t give a shit if kissing him now would lead to complications tomorrow.  I would still pursue him.  That’s called being an asshole.  Now, if I know that a guy is in a relationship, I don’t even a little bit think of him as an option; I immediately lose romantic interest.  It feels great.  It basically eliminates most of my male peers, so I’ve got less to try to juggle and manage.

I have very few regrets in life.  My main regret is that I stopped dancing, and another one is that I never kissed Frankie.  I’m morbid and weird and don’t have as much sympathy for the dead as most people do.  So what I am about to say, I’m not saying because he is dead and we tend to over romanticize the dead, I am saying it because it is true…  Frankie felt innocent.

There is a brilliant one act play by Tennessee Williams called “Mister Paradise.”  A young, enthusiastic girl finds an old, washed up writer that no one ever cared about, and wants to show him to the world.  At the end, she is leaving after their first and last meeting and says, “Won’t you kiss me goodbye?”  Mister Paradise says no, and when she asks why he says, “For the same reason I wouldn’t touch a clean white table cloth with mud all over my fingers.”

It’s brilliant.  I think that’s why I never kissed Frankie.  There were times when I wanted to, but I refrained because he was the clean white table cloth and I was the one with mud all over my fingers.  I still really miss him and I wish that he was around so that we could make giant bowls of macaroni and cheese with hotdogs and then listen to punk rock music on the floor of my bedroom together.

There were so many completely forgettable guys that I wasted kisses on, and I wish that I could turn all of those in like the tickets at an arcade, and exchange them for just one kiss with Frankie.  Why is it that we often end up NOT kissing or sleeping with the people that actually matter, and instead, end up on top of Joe Shmoe?

I went to high school with Frankie.  He was a grade below me and died a couple of years after he had graduated high school.  I should remember the exact date, but I don’t.  It was sometime around Thanksgiving of what I am guessing was 2007, but I could be wrong.  Sometimes I feel like a jerk for not remembering the exact date, but then the cold wind blows and I remember that the date doesn’t matter.

Cody was the one who told me.  I was away at college and got a phone call from Cody just as I was about to walk into my Lighting and Field class in Savannah, Georgia; 400 miles away from him and Frankie.  Ironically, I’ll never forget when Cody said, “Do you remember Frankie?”  I kind of laughed and was insulted and said, “Frankie Bentley?  Yeah, of course I do.”  I drove him home from school everyday and he was my date to one of my senior high school dances and we got together almost every time that I was in town, so of course I know Frankie, you dick.  As I stood in the hallway, Cody went on to tell me that Frankie had been killed.  He was hit by a car while on his bicycle, riding to the beach.

That night, I had work.  I always rode my bike to work, and on this particular night, it was cold and I didn’t bring a jacket.  Being a Floridian, I had been a pussy about cold weather my whole life.  Frankie is what changed me.  I rode home that night, and I was freezing but I remember thinking something like, Frankie went through death, so you can at least get through the cold.  And I did.  That has always stuck with me.  I have worked a lot during winter tours up in Canada, so I know what it is like to be in REAL cold, not Florida cold.  Anytime I am about to think, shit, I am cold, I just think about Frankie.  It’s a weird association, I know.  But whatever fucked up psychological reason it is, it helps me.  It reminds me that being cold is nothing.  All it does is make you cold and other people are taking on a lot worse.  At least you’re alive to feel it.

I’m currently up North, and sitting outside right now and the cold wind is starting to penetrate my jacket.  The wind is what kills me.  But tonight, I’m embracing the wind.  It kind of feels like Frankie is in my bones.  I think if souls turned into elements, Frankie would be wind.

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Extinguishing a Wildfire

“Rory” came into my life like a wildfire. It was at a time when I was really craving someone who didn’t have walls, and that boy dropped in and not only was unbound, but even tore down some of my walls. Rory is a boy from home who I have had a crush on since I saw him break out into serious dance moves while snapping his fingers and singing a Jay Z song in the middle of a public restaurant. Tonight wasn’t like that though. Tonight he held my hand, looked me in the eye and bashfully shook his head, “yes.”

I knew what this meant. He prefaced it with, “I need to talk to you about something,” and with just that, there was enough clues to guess what he was about to tell me due to process of elimination.

I haven’t seen this boy in a few months because I have been on the road with work. We got pretty close pretty fast last time I was home, but it was one of those situations which I often discuss, where we had to take a deep breath, pretend to be okay, and accept the fact that this was only going to be temporary because I was leaving soon. I have gotten really good at doing that, but I’m not going to lie… it really sucked having to do that with Rory. He had somehow found his way into my bloodstream.

I am fascinated with the notion of finding a word for everyone. A single word that best sums up a person. When and if you can figure out someone’s word, everything about them kind of falls into place and makes more sense. The thing that I most admire about Rory, and what I think that his word may be, is that he is unafraid. I’m sure that he has his fears, but he is truly comfortable with himself, and I think that is very rare. In a generation that is utterly controlled by the fear of ourselves and or inability to come out from behind the curtain and fucking live, Rory is not one of those people. He is not scared of the world. Rory laughs and dances when he wants and makes a fool out of himself and admits when he farts and admits when he’s sad and admits when he doesn’t know the capital of Texas and fucking looks at you when he wants you and runs and sweats and bleeds and tries. He is one of the few people who I wish the whole world could know.

It wold be easier if I could call the night a date, but it wasn’t a date because that’s not really our style. So I guess the simplest way to put it is that Rory came over to hang out one night several months ago and it turned into one of the greatest “hang out’s” I’ve had as an adult. One that all others will forever be compared to.

We started playing music really loud. We were taking turns listening to each others selection, and I’m use to most people just taking over in those situations, and you end up only listening to their choices. Not with Rory. He was equally as enthusiastic about the music I was sharing as he was about his. By the way, he’s a musician. Of fucking course.

We went onto the porch and he opened up about his home life and his hopes and his shady past and it turned into the type of conversation I had been craving for a long time.  It was completely unguarded. The boys in my life at that point seemed to all be the type that purposely don’t talk about anything real. They had walls.  For example, one guy I had been seeing sort of off and on for a year and a half, I would say that we were just as close after a year and a half as we were in the first month of meeting. We never progressed. I’m all for discussing existentialism and politics and watching documentaries and going to comedy shows, but sometimes you have to throw in some true grit for a relationship of any type to progress. In a way, I felt closer to Rory in one week than I did the guy I had been seeing for over a year because Rory’s not scared, and told me things that were real.

We then made up a secret handshake, played a card game and threw jellybeans into each others mouth. After that, it was really late, but I wanted to show him something, so I said, “Are you tired or….?” and he looked at me and said, “I’m down to do anything with you.”

We were having such a perfect time so neither of us wanted it to end. I was barefoot, and we walked to the pier, collecting rocks along the way. We were like two little kids, trying to find the best rock. It was the time of year when you can see the bioluminescence in the water if you create a wake and I wanted to show him. I figured he would appreciate it but that’s an understatement, you should have seen his face when we threw the first rock in. He got so excited, that raw enthusiasm that you only see in children. There’s that line from Knocked Up, when Paul Rudd is looking at his kids playing with the bubbles and he says, “I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.” Well, I wish that I got as excited about anything the way that Rory got excited about those damn bioluminescence. It was so refreshing to see.

Of course, just to add the perfection, it was a big, orange, low hanging moon that night. So Rory and I threw rocks into the sparkling water under the glow of the moonlight until there were no more rocks to throw. On the walk back, I was a few paces in front of him, and he grabbed my hand and pulled me into him. At first I thought he was going to kiss me, but that’s too predictable for Rory. Instead, he started dancing with me in the middle of the road.

Now back at the house and blasting my test song. I call it my test song because it’s the song that I use to test speakers with. I know exactly what “Comfortable Liar” by Chevelle should sound like, and it has fairly dynamic tones and this kind of hidden thunderous quality  making it good for sound checking. It also makes it perfect for laying on the floor in the middle of the music room with a beautiful boy next to you and pounding your fists onto the hard wood floor to the beat of the song. Rory and I just wailed our fists onto the ground for the entire song.  It may not sound like much, but if you try to imagine laying on your stomach, next to a person you have a crush on, and allowing the music to fully take you over while you bang on the floor with all of your might to the beat… you really do need to be unafraid to be able to do that.  Rory brings out the spark in everyone.

We had another really great night a few days after that, which included dive bar pool, Budweiser, Eminem on the jukebox and a big black woman named Sweet Melissa.  Then I left town. It has been about five months since then, and I have done three tours in that time, putting me on the road for almost all of those five months. And so it goes. Now I’m sitting at the corner of a bar as Rory tells me that he needs to talk to me about something. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew that he was about to tell me that he got a girl pregnant. He grabbed my hand, and I could see that he was having a hard time saying it, so I just smiled and told him that I was pretty sure that I knew what he was going to say, to which he just looked me in the eye, smiled back and bashfully shook his head yes.  And now I guess it’s time to put out this wildfire.

So here we are, and here’s to change, and here is a playlist for the boy who is unafraid.

http://8tracks.com/goldenlullaby/for-the-boy-who-is-not-afraid

 

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Confessions of a Heedless Sinner – Valentine Edition 1 of 2

As much as I don’t participate in Valentine’s Day, something in relation to my love life always seems to transpire on this day of the year. Due to my love life just being so absurd that I sometimes literally laugh out loud at it, the circumstances that now seem to be a pattern in my Valentine chronicles are generally unfortunate.

Last year was, Confessions Vol. 13, and of course, I saw that boy the day before Valentine’s day this year. How disgustingly full circle. I was so caught off guard by seeing him (it was a very unsuspecting place that we ran into each other) that I accidentally said out loud like a total asshole, “Of course you’d be here,” with a sigh. I immediately felt a little bit bad for my utter disregard for politeness, but continued to be very unsmooth and made the situation even more awkward. Whatever, I don’t think I’m his favorite person anyway, so I’m sure he wasn’t expecting anything less.  He did look really cute though… but from there, things continued to go down hill. Little did I know, the following day I would break up with a boy that I had only known for an hour, get an unwarranted dick in my hand and have to call 911.

I was at a music festival, but a cool one. Not a filthy sweaty music festival that takes place in some nondescript field with twenty-year-olds who are half-naked, tripping balls and playing hacky sack. I have a problem with American music festivals because they have turned into being way more about getting fucked up than about the music. A show is just about the only time you’ll catch me not drinking. Well, I’ll have a couple of drinks but I am definitely not going to be drunk if it’s a show that I sought out and actually care about seeing. I want to “be there” wholly and let the music take me over rather than alcohol. Excuse the rant… back to the chronicles of what took place.

I walked into one of the venues that was hosting the festival, and there should have been someone playing, as the schedule read that a “Johnny C” started playing at 6:00 and it was 6:15 but there was no one on stage. Then, this kid drops his guitar stand in front of me. Instinctively, because I’m part of the crew when I’m on the road, I helped him pick up his gear. Of course, the part that fell in front of me was the tiniest part, that he clearly could have retrieved without my help, so I started laughing and said, “this is all I can contribute.” I hadn’t even looked at him yet, so then when I did, it was a bonus that he was cute.

I then put it together that he was walking around with a guitar stand, so duh, he must be one of the performers. “Who are you?” I asked, because I’m so polite.
“I’m Johnny C.” He was the guy who was supposed to be playing.
“So you’re late.”
“I’m not late! They’re late getting off stage,” he said and pointed to the idiots who were still packing up their gear.
“You guys are messing up my schedule, I have to go watch Polyenso who start in twenty-five minutes.”
“I’ll make it worth it if you stay.”
“Okay, but you better be good. I’m going to get a drink. Would you like one? I feel bad that I insulted you immediately upon meeting you.”
“I like your sarcasm.”
“So would you like a drink?”
“Not yet, let me prove myself to you first, and then you can buy me a drink later if you think I’m worthy.”
“Deal.”

That’s literally all that was said between us, but it was instant chemistry and I get my drink and go to the back and wait as he takes my whole life to set up. I was missing Polyenso, but I figured I had to stick around because by flirting with this guy, I partially committed to watching his set. Right before he began, he spotted me and smiled. I smiled back and threw him a peace sign which made him smile even bigger and then point at me. It was a very cute moment. I then remembered that it was Valentine’s Day, and how beautifully suitable it was that this random romance between me and an unsuspecting stranger just manifested.

He began, and he was good. I wasn’t in love with the type of music that he was playing, but he could definitely play guitar and I was enjoying it just fine. There was a problem though, he was drinking Bud Light. After a few songs, I really did have to dip out because my friend’s band was playing on another stage, and I had already missed 15 minutes of that, so I really did need to leave. I bought a shot of Jack Daniels, wrote a little note on a cocktail napkin which read, “Stop drinking Bud Light and have a shot of whiskey.” I put the shot with the note in front of Johnny when he was in the middle of a song and walked out.

I came back about an hour later, and he was smoking a cigarette outside with his friend. We started chatting and the conversation flowed really well. We were laughing a lot and obviously smitten by one another. It was like a scene from a movie. Further into our conversation, he said, “You’re really beautif…..” and trailed out and put his mouth on the fucking Bud Light bottle.

“What was that?” I asked, semi laughing. I knew exactly what he said but I thought it was funny that he was having issues with saying it out loud. He started laughing a little also and said, “I know, I just made that so awkward. After I started saying it I realized that there was no way for me to say it without sounding weird.” I thought that was cute.

He went on stage to do another set, and we had another adorable moment where he looked down at me during one of the songs and smiled. A real, genuine smile. That doesn’t sound like anything, but a musician making eye contact with you while he is on stage is actually a pretty rare occurrence. If you notice, they usually either keep their eyes closed or looking down. Mark my words, you will very rarely see a musician look upon an audience member and blatantly acknowledge them like that. Right then, after he smiled so sweetly at me, I knew that meant that I should go. If I stayed, what would end up happening? We’d exchange numbers, maybe we’d see each other again… maybe we’d have another good time, maybe we’d kiss, and maybe I’d like it, but at the end of it all, there would be an end, so why go through all of the bullshit when what we just experienced was perfect. We had already peaked. I know, it sounds nuts.  I can hear the boy with the white hair in my mind telling me now, “You are fucking crazy.”

So while Johnny was in the middle of a song, I bought him another shot of Jack Daniels, wrote another note on a cocktail napkin and left it on stage for him and walked out. The note read, “Let’s never see each other again because it will never be as perfect. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Maybe I should have stuck around because after that, the night took an unfortunate turn. The festival is a lot of local acts, so I knew a few of the musicians. One of them, who I will call Hunter, I would only describe as an acquaintance. I had only had one real conversation with him before and it was at a hippie wedding that we both had attended. We vibed really well that day, but we didn’t try to keep in touch or anything. I like his music though, so I catch his set every now and again when I’m in town and I’ll just wave from afar because I don’t usually try to talk to musicians when they’ve played because they’re typically caught in a social whirlwind that I don’t want to add to. However, right before I was about to leave, I saw Hunter talking with other musicians, not fans, so I figured now would be a good time to quickly say hey and have a quick vibe session with him.

He was sucking on a heart-shaped lollipop, so I walked up, and because we know how much I hate small talk, I just took the lollipop from him and started eating it myself. We quickly took the conversation to an inappropriate level that you only get when speaking with musicians… and I speak their language. To my not surprise, we were having a lot of fun just standing around for ten minutes laughing, chatting and drawing pictures of dicks on the cover of his album in sharpie. The headliner band then came on stage so he said, “Let’s go into the middle and get weird.”  How would you take that?

To be continued…
Edition 2 of 2

 

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Never Date a Musician

Never date a musician.  He’ll write songs about you and songs that are dedicated to you, and songs that make you to forget that all they are, are some vowels that sound pretty when strung together, and some ‘a’ minor chords that make anyone’s heart break no matter what order they’re put in.  He’ll sing you to sleep and he’ll kiss your eyelids when you cry, and he’ll even figure out the chords to “Puff the Magic Dragon,” because you told him one time that it was your childhood lullaby.  He’ll be able to feel your pain from a mile away because he is so intuitive that it is almost like having a sixth sense.  While he’s cradling your face with his beautifully calloused finger tips, and kissing your forehead, using his manufactured words to make you believe that everything will be okay, he’ll never forgive you for your feelings, because he is so terrified of his own.

Never date a musician because he’ll inspire you.  He’ll bring out the artist within you and you’ll become an addict of passion.  The athlete you’ll date later on will be gorgeous, and he may even impress you with his wisdom and knowledge of current world affairs, but he won’t remind you of what it feels like to feel, and you won’t become addicted to him because he doesn’t make you want to explore the attic of that haunted venue in Milwaukee with him, and he doesn’t give you ideas for the new screenplay that you’ve been writing.  The tattoo artist that you thought you could fall in love with will be the perfect balance of passion, stability and kindness, but while you’re making love in his squeaky bed, he won’t do that thing where he stops for a moment, smiling, and tells you that you look beautiful under the pale moonlight that is shining through the open window.  The boy with the blond hair will make you laugh.  He’ll make you laugh so hard that he’ll wash away all of your doubts with his sweet smile and the way he can keep you up all night, entertained simply by watching bad television together and eating jellybeans.  But they’ll come back.  The doubts will come back when the blond boy can’t find the perfect lyrical analogy, or he can’t silently grab your attention from the other side of a crowded room, and they’ll come back when he doesn’t cause you to bite your bottom lip in lust, because only a musician can do that.

Never date a musician because that is not his heart on his sleeve.  When he’s on stage, setting your soul aflame with his Alvarez that hypnotizes you, his eyes that shyly stay looking down and his vulnerable voice that makes the audience fall in love with him because they believe that they can see what he his feeling.  They can’t.  That is not his heart on his sleeve you silly little victim, it’s just his ego on display.

Never date a musician because he’ll always try to recreate that one night when everything was perfect.  The night that the two of you went to the bridge and splashed rocks into the water so that you could see the bioluminescence.  Then you ran through a park, in the dark, and played tag together and climbed up a tree until you both made it home and sat on the kitchen floor listening to Cat Power and eating left over beans and rice that you cooked together the night before.  You’ll wake up with rashes on your knees from making out all night on the scratchy rug that the two of you keep meaning to replace, but you both hate IKEA so the rug remained.  He’ll always try to recreate that night, never accepting the evolution of relationships because he’s a musician, and they never have to grow up.  When he can’t recreate that night, he’ll hate himself and resent you, and then just write a song about it instead.

Never date a musician because he’ll lie.  He’ll lie about everything.  He’ll lie about his father being an alcoholic, just because it sounds dramatic and captivating.  He’ll lie about the origin of his name and the time that he saved this little girl from drowning.  He’ll even lie about a tragic drug problem he supposedly had just because he wants to pretend that he can relate to Neil Young’s, “A Needle and the Damage Done.”  He’ll lie about these things because they sound romantic.  He has learned from the best… Jim James singing about death and bigotry and Jeff Mangum writing about the only girl he ever loved who got buried alive one day in 1945.  These lyrics will make him believe that he needs to experience the worst of the worst, and somehow that means that he has lived large and with integrity, but it doesn’t.  You’ll realize later that the song you used to play by Carisa’s Wierd that says, “saying sad things that don’t make sense, can just make you look like a liar” didn’t make him squirm because an ex-boyfriend of yours introduced the song to you.  Now you know he hates that song because it hit too close to home.

Never fall in love with a musician because he’ll make you feel like you’re crazy.  When you wake up crying for what you think is no reason, in hindsight you’ll realize that it was because deep down you knew that he was on the other side of town waking up with Adelina, or Calico or Berlin… or some other girl with an exotic name.  She probably has multi-colored hair, and her lips are probably fuller than yours, and she’ll pretend to know all about Wilco just to impress him.  You’ll plead with him on the corner of 3rd and 5th, as strangers are walking by and tears are spilling onto your blue shirt that you’ll never wear again, to tell you the truth about the girl with the Kurt Vonnegut tattoo, but he won’t.  He won’t because telling the truth would mark the end, and all musicians are terrified of a conclusion that cannot be depicted with a few “la-la-la-la’s” and a gentle fade-out.

There will be a tombstone marked “Muse” where you will lie dead.  The day will come when he’ll bring that Alvarez, and sit on top of this grave, and sing to you sweet lullabies, trying to resurrect a time, a place and a you that has long since passed.  Do not fall for this though my friend, because he’ll never love you completely, because completion would mean The End.

Also see, Never Date a Writer.

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Michael – Moments 2 of 3

…to be continued from Moments 1

I don’t remember how V found out, but it wasn’t through Michael.  I should remember, it wasn’t all that long ago, but fuck the details.  Not two days after the innocent kiss between Michael and I, you would have thought that Armageddon was happening, that’s how NOT okay V and his girlfriend/Michael’s roommate took the news.  I have no idea why the roommate/girlfriend gave a shit.  You’d think that she’d be stoked, but that’s irrelevant. I felt awful, and not because of the means texts, false rumors started or the social exile I was experiencing, but because I felt guilty about what Michael had to endure.  It was his best friend, and here I was, being a Yoko and coming between their friendship.  For a while I kept my distance, and I would have never made contact with Michael again if that’s what he would have wanted, but it wasn’t. It was too late, we were connected.

Michael felt uncomfortable in his own home because V was always there but giving him the silent treatment.  Michael tried talking to him a few times but to no avail.  He even offered to let V punch him if that would make things better.  This war without words went on for weeks, if not months.  Their space though, just brought Michael and I closer. We were bonded by our exile and a secret Michael/Caitlin world was temporarily built.

He would get up before sunrise to go to work, so we actually had mornings together which is something I don’t think I have ever experienced with any other boy. My body is such an asshole because it won’t allow me to sleep more than 4 hours, so I am often awake at 5:30am, and have had an entire day by the time anyone I associate with has even contemplated waking up. I’d sometimes rise with Michael, and we’d have coffee and listen to a good, morning song before he’d put those steel-toed boots on that I loved so much, kiss me good and leave for the day. Sometimes I would see him after work, sometimes I wouldn’t. Sometimes we’d see each other a few days in a row, sometimes we wouldn’t see each other at all for a few days. I would occasionally pop in and bring him an Iced White Chocolate Mocha thing from Starbucks. He liked six shots of espresso in these drinks, but I only got him the normal amount when I was buying because if he had a heart attack I didn’t want to feel responsible.

When he stayed over, we’d wake up in the middle of the night and mold into one another.  He’d keep his eyes closed and pull me into him, mold me to him, without saying anything and fall back asleep.  A couple of times he woke up in the middle of the night, pulled me into him, and without uttering a word, made love to me.  That was one of the sexiest and most romantic things that I have ever experienced because it was so honest and true.  Sometimes he would have nightmares, and I would gently rub his face and chest and whisper in his ear, to try to gently wake him up.  Between my attacks, him talking to himself and both of our nightmares… what a dysfunctional duo disaster we were. I worked a lot during this time, about 55 hours a week, so most of our interaction happened late at night, after I was off of work. It’s strange to think about, but I still have no idea what his bedroom even looks like. Due to our circumstances I was never able to go to his place. So the nights that he didn’t stay over, we would often meet up for a quick hello and a goodnight kiss at the bridge or the pier or the wall by the water or at this fancy nearby hotel that has a piano inside that we would sneak to, and hope that we could get a song in before someone discovered us. He played beautifully.

What made our relationship so different and so special, was that we acted like a 70-year-old couple. We NEVER texted each other.  Not once while we were together. We vowed that we never would, so it was all phone calls or random drop by’s.  There was something so romantic about him unexpectedly knocking on my front door.  What a rarity in this day and age.  We sometimes went on “drive’s,” the way that people did in the ’50s, and we drew pictures together, going back and forth with a sharpie, taking turns building a full page design.

michaeldrawing

We would listen to the radio together and leave each other notes on our car windshields or front door step. The morning that I ran away (which is another whole tale that includes me hosteling through Florida and living out of LA Fitness’s), I left him a note at the nearby bar that he sometimes worked at, simply stating not to worry and that I’d come back. I felt like I was in the Wild West, leaving a note with a gold coin for the barmaid with instructions to give it to the “fellow who will soon be passing through.” A few days later, when I decided to turn my phone back on and deal with all of the frantic voice messages I was sure to have from family and friends who basically thought I went missing, the one I got from Michael just said something like, “I think I know what you’re doing and I didn’t tell anyone, but they’re worried. I hope you’re okay and I miss you.”

Our secret world was even more isolated due to the fact that at the time, I was living without cable, wi-fi or any type of “smart” device. At one point, I went for a few days without electricity just to see what it would be like. Good God, I really was going insane. Anyway, I think that environment enhanced our little secret life because when he was over there were no distractions. We only had each other for entertainment.

This all sounds cute and innocent, and it partly was, but we also enabled each other.  We had some beautiful moments, but it wasn’t exactly a healthy relationship.  We both drank way too much.  I was trying to escape my demons and he was trying to drown his, so a lot of the time we were just drinking together, avoiding all of the dark feelings that we could sense in one another but chose to ignore.  When you are a lost soul, you can sense a fellow walking dead, and Michael and I were among the uncomfortably numb, using alcohol to try to feel something.  We both knew it, but never said it out loud.  I was constantly on the move, and didn’t know if I was running to something or away from something, and Michael seemed to always be having an inner civil war.

I secretly called him, The Boy Whose Heart Sets in the West.  He is from Northern California, and just didn’t seem to belong in Florida.  His heart is real, but it seems to function independently from his head.  An inner civil war.  I may be being presumptuous, because I really don’t know much about his past, but I think he was used to being the crazy one in a relationship.  When I came around however, he totally stepped up to the plate and became the one taking care of the crazy one.  I was out of my fucking mind at the time, and he was there for me. He dodged his demons so that he could deal with mine instead.  For that, I will be eternally grateful.  And embarrassed.  Thinking back, my behavior was so embarrassing, and I have no idea why he didn’t flee at the first sign of one of my crazy spells.

To be continued…

 

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Michael – Moments 1 of 3

Michael was my lifeline at a time in my life when I would have otherwise drowned, and this is the only gift that I can give him. Just some words on a page. I don’t know if he will ever read this, and I know that he probably already knows all of it because he could feel me, but sometimes it’s good to write it down anyway.

Michael came at the worst time.  Who knows why I’m choosing now to write about him, but it is time.  Maybe it’s because I’m moving again; he’s all over this house.  Moving is always stressful, especially for me because I’m just so goddamn sick of it.  Since I graduated high school in 2005, I have lived in 14 different houses.  This is not including the multiple tour buses that I have spent many months in.  I think moving takes an emotional toll because you are forced to go through old sentimental shit that we all, for some reason, keep.  Items like ex-boyfriend gifts, old photographs of family members that have passed, letters from best friends whom you barely speak to anymore are revealed and it all takes a psychological toll as you’re throwing them into the back of a truck that you had to borrow from the guy down the street who hopefully won’t expect a date out of the favor.

Last year, upon moving in, there was a lot to be done and I felt completely overwhelmed.  Michael helped ease the pain. He helped me paint the inside, he brought me tools I needed and shelves and faucet aerators and PBR for us to drink while we listened to music and sat on the cold hard floor while we waited for the walls to finish drying.  I was painting my bed frame, but taking my sweet time, so my mattress was in the middle of my kitchen for what I think was weeks before I actually started sleeping in a bedroom.  Waking up in the morning with him, in the middle of the kitchen on an uncovered mattress with the gentle hum of the refrigerator, may be the only times that being in that house really felt like home.  Now that I’m sitting here, really trying to cultivate memories of Michael and I, I’m realizing that the stages of that house are the perfect metaphor for our relationship.  When the house was relatively empty, before furniture purchases and boxes of old artwork and comic books arrived, Michael and I felt light.  Light, simple and untainted.  We would sit outside in the dark for hours, just drinking and talking.  He had such beautiful eyes. They were guarded, but sometimes, and only sometimes, he would falter, and the guards came down and those eyes would look at me in a way that consumed my every sense.  For just those single, fleeting seconds, it’s like he owned my entire sensory system and I was hooked to him as if he was somehow connected to me intravenously.  As time progressed, and the state of the house progressed, Michael and I began to feel heavy.  With the arrival of more clutter, came the arrival of more mental clutter.  Those unguarded looks became fewer and more fleeting and eventually led to times when I think we felt lost and confused in each other’s eyes instead of safe and light.

He worked (or works, I’m not really sure what he’s doing nowadays) at a retirement community as what I would describe, a handy-man.  I thought that was so sexy.  I love boys who get off of work and have paint splattered on their calloused hands, smell like fresh sweat and have grease stains on their jeans.  Michael had all of these. He would bring me a bunch of knickknacks from rooms of people who had just passed.  It became an inside joke that whenever he would bring me something new for my house I would ask, “Did this come from a dead person’s room?”  Thank you to the little old lady who once owned the nightlight I now have.  That’s my favorite.  This move was taking place during my dark days.

I refer to my period of living in Los Angeles as “my dark days,” but there was also a time, about six months after leaving LA, that I lost myself to yet another episode of dark days.  Of all my life obstacles chronicled by adolescent angst, teen heart ache, college stress, quarter life crises and career let downs, I would say that last year for several months, I was at my absolute worst, and this is when Michael came into my life.  Here I am, moving again, out of this place that parts of him are scattered throughout, so maybe that’s why I’m choosing now to write about him.  The days are no longer dark though, and I think he is partly responsible for that.

Michael and I were forced into what I call, “serious mode” because we breached the best friend line.  I knew Michael’s best friend before I knew him.  We will refer to him as V.  V and I VERY mildly were seeing each other for a second before Michael came into the picture.  We never slept together or did anything except for kiss for that matter.  He is a gem, but about two weeks in, in true Caitlin style, I knew there was no way it was going to progress.  We had that uncomfortable chat, and decided to continue as just friends… but maybe I hadn’t had made that as clear as I thought I had. I suck at that type of confrontation, and this whole calamity solidifies that notion.

V had already begun hooking up with his ex girlfriend again, so I was thinking, sweet! I’m off the hook. Apparently not.  An inappropriately short amount of time later, Michael and I kissed. We both did not think it was a big deal. Whatever, we got drunk and made-out, it happens. Michael was going to tell V and all would be well since V was back with his ex who just happens to be Michael’s roommate… of course!  There is the cherry on top just to make this situation even more appropriate for the mess that is my life.

Under normal circumstances, Michael and I probably would have just hooked up a few more times and lightly seen each other until it would inevitably fizzle out, like it always does.  However, because we unwittingly catapulted ourselves into a war zone, also known as a love triangle, we were now brothers in arms; bonded.  The curse of the best friend. That curse has always plagued me.  I can’t regret this mistake though, because it means that I had Michael, and we had our two-week romance.

I describe a “two week romance” as any romance that is viciously passionate, and ends as quickly as it begins with little or no communication before or after the affair.  It doesn’t have to be two weeks, but I’ve noticed that this is a common amount of time for these fleeting yet fervent romances to last, and “two week romance” has a certain ring to it.  I think Michael and I lasted about two or three months.  Just like I said though, the way we were thrusted together overnight, we ended just as abruptly.  Even though we were short-lived, I had someone who I could feel, during a time in my life when I couldn’t feel anything else except for crippling anxiety. It was literally crippling because it harshly effected my day-to-day life.  I had immense trouble leaving the house, I refused to see any friends and I was having frequent panic attacks.  Dark days.  I don’t think that there is anyone else but Michael who could have seen me through that time.  We had a deep, almost psychic connection that I have a hard time understanding, so I’m not going to cheapen it with an inadequate wordy explanation.  Let’s just say that we were very close, but a closeness that we could feel but not really see.  Michael had gotten into my bloodstream…

To be continued.

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I Love a Dead Kid Whom I’ve Never Met

I have been going through a quarter life crisis since I turned 20, almost eight years ago.  Unfortunately, my quarter life crisis has not included cool cars, hot 18 year olds with six packs or new hair-cuts.  My crisis has been a whirlwind of self-doubt, an anesthetized heart, and an overall identity crisis.  In other words, middle class white girl problems.  So, what did I do instead of the hot 18-year-old?  I signed up to volunteer and I got a tattoo to commemorate a dead kid I’ve never met.  When I got the tattoo, it was during a time that I was having very high anxiety.  I don’t think that anything we do is truly altruistic.  Even the acts we label as “selfless,” we still do as a way to make ourselves feel good about ourselves.  It’s a bonus that someone or something else is also benefiting.  Volunteering is a perfect example.  My distracted point is however, that I suppose one could say that I’m exploiting the boy whose name is now tattooed on my leg, but I’m perfectly comfortable with that accusation because I don’t feel that I am.

Years after Nick’s first deployment, the boy I speak about in Aristotle and a Story of Love, a book was written about his unit titled, “They Fought for Each Other: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq” written by Kelly Kennedy.  It is an excellent book.  I fancied myself some sort of anti-war advocate back then.  I thought that because I KNEW that this war was wrong, and that I could back up my statement with fancy political terminology and passionate rhetoric on foreign policy, that that meant something.  God was I naive.  This book provides unexpected perspective, and gives a face to what the war truly is to the troops; just a bunch of kids fighting for one another.  Without a cause, these soldiers only have one another to fight for and they can’t abandon that.  That’s their true call of duty.  Each other.  I better stop myself now, before I go on a rant about this imperialist war that was created through ignorance.

I had no idea that Nick’s unit was the hardest hit until he told me about this book and suggested that I read it.  Of course I did, and it was a strange experience because as I was reading these accounts of woeful events, I could remember hearing about them when they actually occurred.  Nick didn’t talk too much about the war, but when he was able to call from Iraq, and when he felt like sharing, there were a few stories that stuck out in my mind.  For example, one I remember him telling me happened when he was out on patrol.  One of the sergeants just got out of the Humvee saying, “fuck this,” walked a few yards away, and shot himself.  It made me sick to my stomach when he told me.  That awful event was recounted in the book, so it was a strange thing reading about these accounts that I actually remembered happening.

One of the guys that was often brought up in the book was Sgt. Ryan Wood.  Obviously, a lot of soldiers were discussed, but whenever the author wrote about Ryan Wood, I couldn’t help but think, I really like this guy.  As I kept reading, this feeling grew.  He wanted to go to art school after he was done with the Army, and they described him as being the one who, “often served as the conscience of the second platoon.”   He kept his morals intact, at a time when I can only imagine it would be far easier to let go of moral principles.  He was quoted as saying, “we can’t be like them,” during times when most other soldiers were revenge thirsty and simply wanted to murder every Iraqi because their best friend was just killed by some stupid fucking IED buried under some trash on the side of the road.  I can’t say that I blame them.  Hating is easy.  It helps to make sense of things that don’t make sense… like war.  But Ryan Wood saw the “enemies” as humans when no one else could.  When you’re fighting for your life everyday, to save your mind from yourself, I’d imagine that you’d have to create an enemy  monster in order to attempt to keep yourself at least mildly sane.  But Ryan Wood was strong.  Throughout the book, I developed a crush on this kid.  He seemed funny and smart and just someone who I would get along with and should be friends with.

As I was in the process of reading the book, I found myself wondering what he was doing now.  Was he at art school?  Did he have PTSD?  Is he married now?  Is he happy?  It was strange that I felt close to a guy that I didn’t know.  At the end of the book, you find out that Ryan Wood died in Iraq.  I literally cried.  Cried for a boy that I will never know.

It’s been years since I completed the book, but I still find myself thinking about Ryan Wood from time to time.  Not a lot, but every couple of months or so, he’ll just pop into my mind.  I never told anyone this because it seemed like a deranged fixation, but I began to embrace the idea.  I love the idea of remembering people you will never knew.  People whom most of the world will never know.  We remember grand heroes and legends, but people who you see in antique photographs, and people whose handwriting you find on vintage postcards, and people who are buried at the pretty cemeteries I visit, all with small gravestones from 1879 who no one in this living world probably remembers anymore…  I like remembering those people.  And I like remembering Sgt. Ryan Wood.  The boy whom I love, but will never know.

I would like to conclude this with a very profound statement: Fuck war.

 

Not a very clear picture, but it's a day of the dead skeleton holding a medic symbol with, "R. Wood" inscribed in it.

Not a very clear picture, but it’s a day of the dead skeleton holding a medic symbol with, “R. Wood” inscribed in it.

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Part 2 of 2: Confessions of a Heedless Sinner – Vol. 12

…to be continued…

So I drive the child home and I was not planning on exiting my vehicle, but somehow this gem must have convinced me. I don’t remember the details. He tried to get me to go up to his apartment, but that was not happening. So we were walking around his apartment complex, which seemed like a good idea because it was giving me time to sober up before driving home. Of course this led to the kiss because why not?  I’m willing to exploit myself in the name of a good story. We were kissing for a couple of seconds when he stopped and said, “by the way, my name is….”

My first thought as he’s saying this sentence was, I don’t give a fuck what your name is! But then we get to the end of the sentence and he says, Fat Face. Obviously, that’s not a direct quote, but he has the same goddamn name as my Fat Face. The whole reason I was in this mess was because I was pissed at Fat Face, and now the child had the same name as him. I couldn’t do it anymore and I literally starting laughing in this poor kid’s face. He didn’t get it, so I just said, “Of course your name is______.” He still didn’t get it, so when in doubt, smile and nod. Which he did. Good boy.

Then he attempted for the third time to get me up to his apartment, which I will admit, I now considered because this whole situation was just becoming more and more entertaining, but I do have some level of self-respect. I ended it there, I think I gave him a friend pat on the shoulder and said goodbye.

Little did I know, Fat Face was on the other side of town, basically doing the same exact thing as I was.

The next day Fat Face called me, and I thought it was going to be to apologize. Of course not!  He was calling to ask if I knew any remedies to get rid of hickeys.  Fist of all, no.  I have never had a hickey in my life because I think they’re incredibly tacky and disrespectful and I don’t put up with that kind of behavior.  Second of all, I’m still mad at you!  Thirdly, who the fuck are you letting give you a hickey you schmuck?  She better be flippin’ hot! Fat Face doesn’t take things too seriously, so normally he wouldn’t give a shit about a couple of hickeys on his neck, but it was the day of his high school reunion. I took pleasure in this.

He begins to tell me of the events leading up to getting his neck mauled, and I find out that he too went out after our war of words, he too somehow got to talking to someone who he was not into and she too was a child. Just like my child, Fat Face’s child tried to seduce him, but was turned-down. To Fat Face’s honor, for a guy, he is capable of showing amazing restraint even when he’s intoxicated. I wasn’t planning on telling him about my previous night’s escapade, but when he told me about his, it was all too much of a coincidence and I had to let him in on it.

To top it all off, while my two boys have the same name, my name also came up in his night out too! In his half-assed attempt at stopping their make-out session, he tried the excuse, “I have a girlfriend.” She wasn’t buying it.

“No you don’t.”

“Yeah I do…”

“What’s her name?”

“Caitlin.”

Of course, my name was the first one that he thought of.  Not thirty seconds after claiming to have a girlfriend named Caitlin, he receives a text message from me which she sees. Brilliant. I couldn’t have planned the parallels of this night if I tried. My text came immediately after I left the child, and it was my drunk way of trying to be mysterious and take a stab at Fat Face. It just read, “I hope you’re entertained.” God I was being dramatic.  Fat Face probably just rolled his eyes at my text and then continued his make-out session.

He never thinks that the situations him and I consistently get ourselves into are as hilarious as I do, and this time was no different. He laughs, but then he’s just like, “Yeah, cool Cait.”

Later that night, to get even with him, I would crash his reunion. They were at the “after party” at some dive bar on the beach. Before I got pissed at him, I was encouraging and hoping that he’d “re-meet” someone. After his asshole statement from the night prior though, I was now prepared to sabotage. I love Fat Face no matter what, so had he sounded like he was actually having a good time and asked me not to come, I would have respected that regardless of my current disdain for him. When he called me however, I could tell that he needed his partner in crime to spice things up.

When I arrived, I immediately began Mission Embarrass Fat Face. I was yelling through the bar lies like Fat Face had herpes… he was recently incarcerated for having sex with a minor… that he had three nipples, anything that came to mind. I was also pointing out his hickeys to everyone. I was being so obnoxious.

Fat Face is always a good sport though, and he didn’t give a fuck, so he was just laughing and joining in. It basically turned into a Cait and Fat Face performance, and people just started staring awkwardly the way you do when you’re watching two apes fondle each other at the zoo. We were shouting obscenities and literally gleeking whiskey onto each other’s faces.

I went to the same high school and was the class just under him, so I knew a lot of the people there.  A few of them I of course have mild history with, so that made things even more interesting. When a couple of people asked if Fat Face and I were now dating, I told them that we did for a little while, but then shit got weird when we found out that my mom’s great uncle’s nephew is Fat Face’s dad, so it just didn’t work out. I couldn’t tell if these people actually believed me or not, I was just impressed with my improv skills.

Once it became clear that we had officially scared everyone away from us, we went down onto the dance floor that had ZERO people on it, a fucking ugly cheap disco light thing, god awful music playing and a random hoola hoop on the ground. Of course we went on to make utter fools of ourselves by white people dancing together and attempting to hoola hoop, then integrating the hoola hoop with our god awful dancing.

After sufficiently embarrassing ourselves enough to call it a night, we left and decided to walk on the beach for a while to sober up before driving home. In true Fat Face and Caitlin style, we stripped down to our underwear and jumped into the Gulf. I can’t believe we did this because it was dark, so we obviously couldn’t see into the water and that’s always terrifying, but he always brings out the adventurous side of me.

Once we both made it home, it must have been around 3:00am, and I texted him saying that he is now obligated to come to my reunion next year. He said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” I told him no, there’s no option, to which he responds with,

“Don’t care. Passing out.”

God I love him.

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Love, Drugs and Infidelity – Chapter 3 of 3

…to be continued…

I honestly don’t remember how or why the dealing got so out of hand. Had I known the extent of what was going on, I probably would have spoken up.  I sometimes wonder if things would have turned out differently had I said something to him.  Of course I know that the tragedy to follow, was not my fault, but I just wonder… would he had stopped dealing if I had asked nicely?  If I had genuinely intervened, and request that he stop, I think there is a small chance that he would have.  I never wanted to be a nagging girlfriend though, so for the most part I just kept my mouth shut and turned a blind eye.  I also felt it wasn’t my place, because I was the one declaring that I wasn’t a “girlfriend.”  And so it goes.  I kept my head turned and he kept dealing, but he never got me involved in the least.

I’m not sure if I appreciated this at the time, but in hindsight, he must have gone through at least some lengths to keep me out of that whole mess.  A lot of people got arrested on that one awful morning.  A lot of their girlfriends got arrested too, because maybe one time she drove them to a dealer’s house, or one time she passed over a bag to someone because her boyfriend was at El Cheapo buying a case of Red Bull for exams week.  I vaguely remember there being times when I easily could have done something simple like that.

My blind eye was also due to naivety (or maybe the other way around), so I know that there were times when I had no idea that going over to Bob’s house to hang out, drink Heineken and watch bad television, also meant doing a drug deal.  Or letting a friend borrow my cell phone, actually meant them making a call to arrange buying five “paintbrushes” (they had codes).  I would have never knowingly done anything criminal, but I never did unknowingly either because Chewonki never allowed this.  Despite how convenient my involvement would have been for him, it was just a non-option in his mind, which brings true romance to our unconventional love story.  It was almost as if his gift to me was maintaining my ignorance.

If I remember correctly, just before he was arrested, things were pretty shitty between us for a while and it slightly effected our friend circle because we couldn’t be in the same room together without making everyone else feel vastly uncomfortable.  So I think this is the point where Marie really stepped in and did that she thing does.  Marie is my great friend who always acted as a mediator/counselor to my fucked up personal life in college.  She was doing her part in trying to get us to become amiable again and  I guess it worked.  Civility led to friendliness which led to talking and laughing together again, which led to falling for him, all over again.

I had decided that I wasn’t going to act on this, however.  It would not have been fair to him.  He always knew what he wanted, I was the one who changed my mind every fourteen seconds, so I wanted to at least spare him of another episode of Penny Hell.  I wanted to save him from me.

It was now February of 2008.  On some normal night, we were doing some normal thing, and he was just being so damn cute.  I couldn’t stand it anymore.  He probably called me, “his little quarter minus twenty-four cents” again.  Like I said, I went by Penny then, so Chewonki would sometimes call me that, and I was such a sucker for it.  It was so ridiculous, but it made me laugh every time.  Anyway, after keeping it platonic for a while, I had to kiss him.  And I did.  And thank fucking God I did.  It was beautiful.  We spent that evening together, and I remember talking to myself, telling myself, you’re so happy right now.  You can do this with him.  Just stay in this.  And that was the last time I’d be with him.  Hours later, just as the sun was rising, the cops would bang on the door of his house.

There was an eight month investigation that had apparently been going on, and Chewonki (and others) got narced on.  There was a total of 25 SCAD students that got arrested.  Granted, a couple of the people arrested were relatively high up in the chain, but most of them were like Chewonki.  Not that I’m condoning his behavior, but he was just some pion.  And the worst drug dealer ever I might add, because they never had any money!

The saddest part may be that after their arrest, I found out that they were planning on quitting; getting out of the dealing.  From what I understand, they were in the process of doing this, which is why during the search of Chewonki’s bedroom, as he sat on his mattress handcuffed and hopeless, the cops found nothing.  No drugs.  Just mirrors and razors I believe.  They thought that they had just busted a huge drug ring.  They were expecting to find friggen bricks of cocaine in closets.  Really they just got some rich college kids who were selling $11 worth of shit blow out of their living rooms that had Grateful Dead posters on the walls and always smelled like Ramen Noodles, so that they could keep putting cocaine down their face without their parents inquiring about spending habits.  There was serious crime going on in all of the government projects in the area, and the Savannah PD just didn’t want to deal with it because shit, I wouldn’t either!  With their embarrassing salary, why go risk your lives in the projects, when you can hassle some artsy college kids?  Excuse the rant.  With that being said however, I don’t pardon what they did and maybe it was a blessing in disguise.  Who knows how out of hand his drug use could have become had he not been arrested.

When it all went down  I was obviously heartbroken.  That was a pretty traumatic time for all of us.  Marie had it the worst, but that’s a whole other tragic tale.  College would never be the same again.  Memories of college post-arrests, have a completely different tone and spirit than all of the ones pre-arrests because our whole group of friends was split up.  A lot were arrested… people had to drop out of school… do jail time, rehab, probation blah blah blah and Chewonki was in the thick of it.  That was the last time I saw him.

A few days after his arrest, while he was still in jail, unable to get bailed out yet, his mom called me to update me, and she said, “He wants me to tell you that he’s sorry and that he loves you.”  I cried my eyes out for weeks.

He was obviously expelled from school, and once he finally got bailed out, he had to move back up to New Jersey, and soon after, was forced to go to rehab in California.  We kept in touch over the phone fairly well during all of this, but then came the day when he had to do real jail time.  I forget how long he was in for.  Six months I think?  After that, it just became harder and harder to keep in touch.  I lived in either Georgia, Florida or California, and he lived in New Jersey and time just moves all things.  I’m sure both of us didn’t try as hard as we could have, but we had to move on.  I had moved on.  Until two weeks ago, I didn’t see Chewonki for six years.

Due to recent work, I have been traveling a lot, so I was able to see him.  We only had a short amount of time together, but it was like choreography.  There we were, Matt and Penny, talking and laughing, just like always.

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Love, Drugs and Infidelity – Chapter 2 of 3

…to be continued…

At our college we went by quarters, not semesters.  Each quarter was only ten weeks long.  Between quarters, there was a long break.  Winter break was a month and a half, summer was three months and spring, I believe, was three weeks.  As I have stated before, during this time of my life, I was very anti-relationships, and my behavior absolutely supported this declaration.  At least I was consistent!  We would all go home during breaks, and during my time at home, I might as well have lived in a burgundy robe, started a magazine and changed my last name to Hefner.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there were definitely boys, and the plural in that statement is certainly appropriate.  I blame it on my self-diagnosis (see chapter 1).  One of the symptoms of my asshole syndrome, was the “out of sight, out of mind” rule.

Each time I would leave Savannah, I would be so in love with Chewonki, but each time I would return, for some inexplicable reason, I would sketch out (I’m bringing back that phrase) and not be into him anymore.  God I sucked.  It was like that movie 50 First Dates, where the girl has amnesia every day, and so every day, the guy has to remind her that she loves him.  I imagine that that’s kind of what it was like for Chewonki dating me.  The first two weeks of our return, he’d spend putting up with my coldness and essentially trying to remind me that I liked him.  It always worked though.  I always came around and for the following eight weeks of the quarter I’d be infatuated with him again, but then the cycle would continue.  While we were together, I never once called him my boyfriend.  For two and a half years Chewonki put up with this.  I have no idea why.  It’s like I had his whole heart but he didn’t have mine.

I know I joke about my “asshole syndrome,” but during this whole phase of my life, I was immensely crippled with remorse.  All of the guys that I was involved with, I really did respect and care about so deeply, so I hated myself.  For years, I could barely look at myself in the mirror.  With that being said, during one of the breaks in between quarters, I was home and Chewonki called me, and this was the first time he said, “I love you.”

I think it’s strange that I cannot remember the first time anyone else said I love you to me.  Actually, that’s not true.  I remember the very first time.  But that’s because it was the first time and my first “serious” boyfriend, and it was while I was in the process of losing my virginity.  Aw, how perfectly suburban of me.  Anyway, I think I remember with Chewonki because it was equally as traumatic as it was romantic.  Ironically, it was over the phone and I generally hate that… but not this time because it was so real.

At this point I’d say we’d been seeing each other for the better part of a year, and I assumed that he was doing the same thing as me; going home and seeing other people.  Duh!  Because that seems so perfectly reasonable and healthy.  Well, this was the conversation when I found out I was completely wrong in my assumption.  This whole time, he was being exclusive to me and I was off being a make-out whore.  It was an emotional conversation… I was crying… he was crying… and I said to him, “do you still like me?”  and without hesitation he said, “Of course I still like you.  I love you, with all of my heart.”

Just take that in for a moment.

I mean, Jesus Christ.  I just informed this guy that I’ve been seeing other dudes this entire time, and he responds with that!  I didn’t deserve him.  And talk about a rush of emotions.  We must have hit every emotion on the human spectrum during that single conversation.  I was like physically exhausted by the time we hung up.

I have never been into drugs.  Like I stated in Adventures of a Touring with a Rock Band, I just suck at them.  I didn’t even smoke weed for the first time until college.  Chewonki, and our whole circle of friends were total stoners though.  My freshman/sophomore year of college was by far the most often I have ever smoked.  I probably smoked with them once every four days or so, which to me was a lot, but to them, I might as well have been Sober Sally.  Like most people who smoke as much as they did, they got into mild dealing.  Just a bit of weed here and there to support their own obsession with being high.  After his sophomore year, and once we had all moved out of the dorms, Chewonki and our other good friend got into coke.  They developed a habit.

I’m not sure how this happened.  This is where my memory really starts to fade.  I remember him sometimes doing coke on the weekends or something, but not because I saw him do it, but because I could taste that he had done it.  It’s weird, if someone is on coke, when you kiss them, their mouth has this very distinct smell and taste.  Even hours after someone doing a line, you can still taste it on them.  So I do remember, sophomore year, tasting it on him sometimes.  Anyway, I think coke is fucking sketchy, and he knew this, so he never did it in front of me.  Thinking back, that must have been hard for him.  I mean, over the years, he went on to develop a full on coke addiction, but I don’t ever remember seeing him actually snort a line.  I must have at least a few times, but it was scarce enough that I have no clear image of him doing it at all.  All my other friends at the time, yes, I have vivid memories of them snorting away their soul while sitting on a dilapidated couch, stealing rolls of my toilet paper [to blow their nose] and talking all over one another.  Time went on, and to support their habit, Chewonki and our other friend began dealing cocaine together.

Our rocky path continued, and right around the time of their arrest, it had been the longest Chewonki and I had ever gone without being together.  Until the night before he was arrested.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of this story.

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