Underthecurrent


home and away
November 8, 2017, 7:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“You looked happy when you got off the plane,” he said, “you didn’t look happy to see me.”

“I was happy to see you.”

A month plus away woke everything up.  That dormant energy that felt like it would be gone forever crackled again.  The strangest part was starting to feel feelings again, good and bad.  Even the bad ones feel good compared to an absence, alive.

In the first two weeks, at a party.  A man came over and grabbed my hands, moving them, dancing for me.  “Now you’re having fun,” he smiled and wandered away.

The last big night out things were completely different.  Everything came easy again.

Midway through, a shift.  There was a conversation and then separate ways, a connection that suddenly ended, on a dark street well past the middle of the night.  It was as though the taps of the last few years turned on with this last little push, this insignificant thing.  I laid down in the dark and the sense of loss was physical and hot, choking the warm morning air.

The last day, a complicated bus to a beach, half conversations in Spanish at the terminal.  Talking to strangers through the day, conversations as easy as the slow tides, I order a bowl of sangria at an expensive beach bar and as he brings it the waiter tells me it has been paid for by someone a few tables away.  Plans to take a boat ride fall through, back to the bus stop.  On the return trip, listening to a soundtrack added to and played on repeat, everything starts to wash over.  This whole year coming clean against a sunset in a strange land.

Advertisements


apple juice in the hall
May 8, 2017, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The call three days ago.

A few days before that, he clicks on a picture.  A few months before, he writes “I love you, I miss you” but he never calls the number in the last message. The last conversation, probably five years ago, no recall of those last words or days.

It’s impossible not to run over the path.

We’re twelve or thirteen and he’s somehow drunk, stupid drunk.  It’s dawn, outside the sun rises and the dew is cold and settled down.  Things are not good, this was out of control.  Sleep gets lost, wrapped in a blanket, waiting for the bad night to end.

Fifteen or so – this one is just a flash.  We’re in a car dropping off bags of fake money.  At the time, it’s not obvious this is what is going on, but later he tells the truth.  He’s getting in deeper.  For fun, for extra cash, it’s not even clear.

Sixteen or so.  A wedding where we steal drinks.  It’s miserable for him, that day.  That’s the story behind those beautiful pictures.  He whispers that he’s taken a pill, the kind that makes you happy and warm when all you want is to drop down, down, down.  He looks happy in the pictures.

Maybe we’re out of our teens now, it’s not clear, this one’s just a flash too.  His parents are gone, maybe they trust I’m around.  The good one.  He’s mad about blood in the sink at this low key gathering of friends, someone’s sneaking off for lines of coke.  At some point, a pill is passed around, little halves of oxy.  It will be years before what this is and how bad this is fully clicks.

Another flash.  It’s a bar and for two minutes, away waiting for the bathroom, then there’s a fight.  He’s thrown out, the police come by.  We go to the hospital for stitches, at some point he cries like a child, when he’s falling asleep or passing out.  Waiting, waiting in the hallway, hearing him cry for his mother, she’s nowhere near in any way.

We’re definitely older now, twenties.  He lies that he’s working at a club, that’s how he’s paying for the apartment, well he’s lying to the rest of the family but the hockey bags going in and out make it obvious.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.  We spend a bunch of time together.  This is the last time he’s at all in control, the last time we feel close, listening to music, watching movies.

It’s two years later.  We meet for breakfast in a strange city, he has a beer.  Things are not okay.  He’s rude somehow, lost to time, the friend with me recognizes it.  This is how my family sometimes is.  We leave the city, leave him behind.

*

The last few days snap all of this in a line, points.  The worst is that he never really made it to this age, this look-back-on-it age where you grant yourself amnesty for the decade before and everyone can be a little more real.  All lined up, the anxiety and sadness is more obvious.  He distracted from it all the time, when he was younger with overconfidence and charm, when he got older with anger.

He wasn’t treated well.  As an adult, looking back, it’s horrible to think about how other adults behaved towards someone who had limited control over the situation he was in.  He was just a kid.  Right to the end, decisions that must be, should be, in retrospect, painful to the people that made them.

This is not to say he should not have been responsible.  So many times there was a right track and a wrong track and he purposefully turned into the wrong road, and sped up.



April 7, 2017, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Write, erase, write, erase.

 



Taking Shape/The Rest
March 23, 2017, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

From bed, today was not happening.  Everything is tired and sore.  A few years ago, there would have been too much to rearrange – power through!  Now: send a few emails, half nap, book a massage on the weekend (the kind at a place with some kind of herbal steam room and fruit snacks).  Tomorrow could be productive, everything that needs to happen can happen then.

We talk about how much longer in this town.  Five months?  It seems like a long time.

Five months makes the most sense.  Just long enough to wrap everything up, pack everything up.  Before it hints at being cold, right around shoulder season.

Mental notes.  To avoid buying more random groceries, condiments, variations of oats.  That the pants that made their way out of my life yesterday don’t need to be replaced because at this time there is No Need for More Pants.

It’s kind of funny – for the longest continuous residence of this adult life, leaving this one feels the least sad.  There are friends, ties, familiarity, but not the sense of leaving something that might be worth staying for.  Though the city is familiar it doesn’t have that nostalgic pull.  It was not the time of our lives.



lowered blood pressure
October 24, 2016, 4:54 am
Filed under: hypochondria, Uncategorized

Yesterday I fainted.  On a sidewalk, a gross one.

Luckily, not alone. Not smashing the old face, or doing discernible damage.  Not in the rain.



Gawker is Dead
August 23, 2016, 5:13 am
Filed under: nostalgia, Uncategorized

It’s 2005.

Returning from the USA, I finally join Facebook, maybe to see the pictures my friends are posting.  In a school of about 20,000 there are less than 100 in my university network.  You need a North American university email to join at this point, I think.  Imagine.

I tell my roommate about this thing, Facebook.

“That sounds dumb,” he says.

A significant amount of time not studying, so pretty much all the time, is spent reading blogs.  It’s 2005 and I’m reading posts on Gawker about The Misshapes and whatever else they want to write about.  I think they directed me to Tracie Egan’s then anon One D at a Time.  It’s a strange land, with sprinklings of celebrity before the Kardashians.  I read a lot of Gawker at this point, so much that I become convinced everyone is reading it, and that eventually I will need to go to New York.

“You know, like Gawker” I say to a classmate.

“What’s Gawker?” he says.

I explain, sort of.  Something.

“Why would anyone care about that?” he says.

It’s 2016 and today is the day that one of those things indirectly destroys the other.



vote
August 4, 2016, 1:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sick, some kind of summer flu, watching election results roll in.  Refreshing live results, compulsively, between soup and tea.

Has it been five years?