Sunday, November 27, 2011
So Long, and So Long Ago
Good evening world, and mi dispiace for the inexcusable absence these last four months. At long last, I've written again. And before anyone asks, this is fiction...with a dash of truth, for flavor.
It was something like one-thirty in the morning on a Sunday in the infant days of May. I had just stepped out of my girlfriend’s car and into the parking lot of the local American E-Z Shop, the kind that almost always ends up being run by a Muslim with a bad attitude and worse English. The whole day up to that point had been spent in the car and on foot - I and two others - traversing the environs of beautiful Belmont, Ohio. The first of these was my girlfriend, Colette, who was the best and last woman I felt I would ever end up with. But a girl who would steal your love when your love was all you had, well…she wasn’t much of a woman, was she?
The third passenger in the tiny little bubble of dope smoke careening across the cityscape was my close friend, Jean Passerson. Jean was special in the way that some defective toasters are special. She was a broken item, but one whose imperfections ended up granting her the bulk of her grace and character. I loved her like I loved myself, which was such a different love than that which I had for Colette. It was a brutal, aching thing that defied sexuality or borders. She was a reminder of my addictions, and from that resemblance came the bittersweet care I had for her. It could not be defined, and as I spent that day with the two of them, the juxtaposition of where exactly my heart’s efforts spilled into was at once both perplexing and choleric.
By the time I had gotten out of the car and bid both Colette and Jean safe and happy trails, I could barely form a coherent thought. I had four dollars in quarters held tightly in my right hand, and a ninety-nine cent burrito from the local taco dive in my left. As my feet took me slowly through the automatic doors of the convenient store, I had the strangest sensation of only vaguely knowing which hands’ contents would pay for the impending pack of menthol cigarettes.
The lights inside the place hummed with an intensity that you can only hear on drugs, and I was immediately aware that every eye was on me. Following an earlier meal of a hundred milligrams of molly and several glasses of high-concentrate orange juice, Colette had persuaded me to take a couple of hits of homemade acid. Candy flipping wasn’t unusual for me in those days, considering the circles which I would frequent, but something about this situation was all wrong. I was in public, mentally naked in front of these gawking suburban lemmings as they went about their lives. Belmont was always the perfect town for a user, as long as you never stayed fucked up in one place for long.
I went to the counter as slowly as I had entered, breathing even slower and thinking even slower than that. I was blitzed, and by the look in the clerk’s eyes and the upward curl of his eyebrows as I approached, all shaking hands and sweat, I could see that he knew it. There was room here for improvisation if things went south, and a part of my brain that wasn’t in the process of frying to a delicious golden crisp was aware of this. Mark the exits, look for cameras and off-duty cops, don’t start fucking laughing at absolutely nothing. There were rules when you went into a gas station at almost 2 A.M. with a head full of psychedelics. You had to keep the back burner on at all times, so when push came to shove you didn’t wind up sitting in the back of a police car, looking at an F1 and a stint in the local shithouse while you contemplated the risks of leaving the house with a ton of gear in your pocket and just as much in your veins.
It's a work in progress, but at least it's something. I was worried I'd forgotten how to write. Until next time, world...enjoy.