3/9/15 We’re Not Who We Were

You are not the person I know from my childhood. In the last 9 years the cells in your body have been replaced and you are, physically, a different person. But there is more to it than that. When we were young I was not near, I was off, I was confused and having fun and didn’t know what the important things were. I don’t know how we came to find the important things important. The reasons why our muscles burn and hearts beat and why we’ve been graced and cursed with such a capacity for love and feeling and hurt and all the things we may possibly make each other feel. Though I believe in no creator and know you don’t either, it would be an extremely cruel one to give us all these things for so short of time within our lives, only to be taken it away.

Some people are interested in the same things now as they were then. 8 years in this small town and some friends are still are still going to the bars and drinking every weekend and working at the same brewery and wishing they had something they don’t have now–but it won’t be found when they go to those places and do those things. Unlike you, they haven’t moved, they haven’t gone on to ask the question of what if? What if I just do this thing to it’s fullest extent?

As someone who thinks, or acts, I hope, as an artist. Who is dedicated to my writing–though am still learning how these things work–these things we call essays, short stories, and novels–I constantly question who will ever read my work. This isn’t unique. Jennifer Egan even posits the idea that there are now more writers in the world than readers. This isn’t to mean that there are more people writing books than readers, but that everyone, with twitter, facebook, blogs–all those mediums, are now writers and have something to say.

So when you tell me I will accomplish great things, I cannot know for certain. I do not believe credit is do until it is accomplished. My slim lists of publications isn’t something to brag about, yet it is a source of pride and I enjoy the fact that someone out there has decided my work has some merit. I know you do.

But back then I had none of this to say. I knew I wanted to write, but not what I wanted to write, and I did even less writing. Now I know where my body of work lies and I’m getting close. But you–you have connections and interests people really care about. Things like expression through fashion, while I only have my own thoughts–and who wants to listen to those? Thus far very few.

I need to focus on my pieces of potential but I also need to focus on the things I prize and cherish. I can’t neglect that fact that you are here and fascinating and want to be with me and that our lives were brought together in some strange way I’m still trying to understand.

 

3/7/15

But then Sam has been working on what I’d call an unhealthy cocaine habit, so compared to that I suppose going to bed after drinking some coffee is easy.

“What’s up?” I ask.

“Ohhh,” crews Sam’s best friend Eddie, sliding into the room on large feet that trail behind a larger man. “If vampires were real, wouldn’t dracula be running the streets?” he asks in his black comedian voice. It’s a running joke that this will be his iconic theme when he’s performing stand up at the Apollo.

“Eddie, nice to see you,” I say, shaking his hand. Eddie’s head is shaved, but that is recent and he has a beard that starts near both ears and meets on his chin then travels down his neck a little. His face is a little fat, but not as fat as the rest of his body which he constantly makes fun of, because a couple years ago he was really skinny. Then he started drinking again.

“You just being an old man up there?” he asks.

“I have a message for you,” says Sam.

“Yeah. I can’t hang. I need to do work tomorrow.”

Eddie makes a farting sound. “Dude, we got the next Hemingway over here,” he says to Sam.

Sam sips his coffee. “You won’t believe this.”

“Hemingway was a drunk,” I say.

“Exactly,” says Eddie. “He partied and wrote some dope-ass stories.”

“I don’t want to be like Hemingway,” I say.

“So do you remember Danni Brook?” asks Sam.

“Uh, yeah. I haven’t thought about her for a while. Why?” I ask.

“Sam boned her,” says Eddie.

“Cool story,” I say, coldly.

“That was a couple years ago and we were wasted,” says Sam. “I mean, we had fun, but the next day she was like–well, it wasn’t ever going to happen again.”

I wonder how Sam treats women and how many regret being drunk and in his presence, as he doesn’t have any qualms about acting on mutual sudden impulses. I don’t think this is completely wrong, but I do think it breeds shallow relationships.

“Can’t keep a woman around for longer than a night, is the sitch,” says Eddie.

“I gotta get to bed,” I say, about to climb back up the stairs.

“Well, Danni facebooked me today and asked me to pass along her number to you,” Sam says.

“What?”

“Oh, you going to be eskimo brothers with Sam?” asks Eddie.

“Huh, I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with her,” I say.

“She’s a nice girl, and she wants to hang out with you–and maybe Derek. She asked me to pass her number to him as well.”

“Oh.” Derek is my best friend and he is much more attractive and successful with the ladies in recent times than I.

“Yeah,” says Sam. “Sounds like she just wants people to hang out with. Nothing, you know,” he smirks a little as though I’m not really in the same league as him when it comes to charming the ladies. I’d like to respond that anyone who is told directly after a one night stand that it will never happen again, isn’t a charmer. No. At that point you are a mistake.

3/4/15 Strange Meetings

One week ago I met you in a bar. But that wasn’t where we met. We met in High School. This was just a reunion. It was also, potentially, just as awkward as a reunion. I had never spoken to you–not for real, not in any meaningful way. Oh, I knew who you were, to be sure. Always in the side of my vision–thinking you were cool and hip and out of my league.

We drank some beers and talked about existentialism and Henry David Thoreau and then drank more beers. After the bar called for the last round we ducked out into a cold night full of ice crystals and a dogged moon just scooting across the sky. You didn’t want to drive home, I didn’t want you to either, so I invited you over to hang out longer. I was afraid all my roommates would be in their beds sleeping away, but on the contrary, nobody was asleep. We drank a couple more beers and a little bit of rum. We chatted about whatever with my roommate. I couldn’t help be look at you and smile. I couldn’t help noticing small things–like the ways in which your eyes crinkled when you smiled.

When it became too late to stay awake he made some coy remark about sleeping in your car. There was no need.

I asked you questions in the dark and you asked me yours and there might have been some secrets whispered then, with that sluggish moon shining through my window, making the night seem long and drawn like our limbs as they mingled then broke apart then did so again. No mistakes were made.

In the morning there was no awkward silence. Instead slight smiles and nods and a mutual respect that felt like home had come to us both. Down at the restaurant your drank your coffee black, which told me something because, oftentimes, That’s how I like my coffee. I want, like you want, that bitter bite and he smoothness after. But then I tried something new and added a little milk and just a pinch of sugar, and that was all I needed.

The conversations we’d had the night before were slow in my recollection. They clung to some dark place in my brain and I dragged them out into the light of day in order to recall what I knew about you. Not everything was intact–little was, really.

Later that day, but not much later we took the winding road to a trailhead beat our feet upon the earth and breathed out any worry we might have had in reference to each other–because when we stood, on top of a rock we climbed, right in the sun and looking over the sun I asked you to come close to me. I kissed you–just briefly, but still a kiss. I needed to do that while not drinking. I need you to know it hadn’t been wrong or shallow or a fleeting thing. No. It was something exciting. Something I wanted to continue. Something I didn’t want to let go.