Monday, September 19, 2005

Screw you guys, I'm goin' home...

(music to set the mood of the period: Peter Gabriel - Come Talk to Me):

After about 2 weeks of living in the house with Joe & Jeff, I had still not seen or heard from Kara, nor had I seen her with Joe. I did notice Joe seemed to be gone a lot, and he & I hadn't been talking as much lately, and I knew deep down something was probably going on, but as long as the whole thing was out of my sight and, most importantly, out of my house, I was able to almost convince myself it was out of my mind. And to make sure it stayed that way, I was pretty much trying to screw every girl I laid eyes on then.


Heidi & I never did it again after that one time, even though I did try to crawl into bed with her one night when she was sleeping over about a week later. She tossed me out of the bed, tho...and I should probably be glad she did. Even so, I did somehow manage to coax a couple of unwitting girls over to my dead friends' parent's swinging batchelor pad, and I know I was doing it more to make a big show of "look at me, sure..the woman I love is probably poking my best friend (again), but dammit..I'm ok!", which I most certainly was not.

In fact, I only now remember that I actually spoke to Gloria one last time during this short period; I don't remember who called who, but I'm sure she must have called me because I couldn't imagine any reason I would have called her then, but all I remember about the conversation was me asking her if the abortion had gone alright and then us getting into a huge argument about...something or the other, which ended with her telling me that she had, in fact, fooled around with another guy while she was in Florida (a guy named C.C., I remember it 'cus it was so ridiculous...who the hell is gonna call themselves C.C.?), and me spitefully telling her back that I had been cheating on her with Kara for the last month that we had been together, and didn't she feel foolish about worrying about Roxanne this whole time (whom I still thought of as an angel sent express from heaven, but that's beside the point). That's all I recall, but I remember that conversation didn't help my mental state any. Even so, that was small potatoes compared to the next week.

It all happened on a Saturday night; I remember because Springsteen had been on SNL that night after Lucky Town had just come out, and I had stayed home especially to watch it. Jeff had brought Alison over that night, and afterwards, we three went to Waffle House to grab some food after midnight, and got back sometime after 2 or so. We came in & went back to Jeff's room (which was on the opposite side of the house from mine, right next to Joe's) to roll a joint. I remember we sat there talking about how crazy it was that we were now sitting in Eric's parent's bedroom smoking dope and listening to Black Sabbath, and at some point, I got up to use the bathroom.

Now, I had a whole bathroom to myself on my side of the house, nd I can't ever even remember using Joe & Jeff's bathroom any other time I lived there besides that night, so of course, that night was when I found the note. It was taped to the mirror and written in Joe's handwriting, which I knew right away 'cus it was the only writing sloppier than mine. It said:

Jeff,
Tell Alison to be sure and give Kara a ride home when she leaves...if we're asleep, wake us up.
-Joe

I remember just staring at that note on the mirror for what seemed like an hour. They were right there. Right in the next room. Right on the other side of the fucking wall from me. Right under the same roof I was living under. I almost got sick right there, but instead I just tore the note off the mirror, crumpled it up & threw it at Joe's bedroom door. Then I went to my room & put my boots back on, grabbed my jacket & took off. I drove the opposite way I usully go; back farther into the suburb rather than toward town, and about a block away I saw Kara's car parked on the side of the road, shook my head at how stupid I was, and just drove around aimlessly for I don't know how long. I remember I wanted to just talk to somebody, and without even knowing if she was home (I don't think I'd even talked to her in months) , I drove out to Roxanne's house.

I got there at sometime after 2 in the morning, and I went over to her window & threw a rock at it, like I had done dozens of times a couple of summers before. Her light never came on. I went around the other side of the house and tried the same thing at her brother Jerry's window, but I knew even if he was there that I'd never wake him up if he was asleep. So, I went back to my car & sat on the hood and just thought.

I probably smoked about half a pack while I sat there thinking about all of it; I had pretty much known it all along, but seeing that note had slammed it home like driving a stake thru my heart, and it was like everything I had tried to suppress and all the false bravado I had been walking around with and all the fears I had harbored about losing another girl to another friend all came crashing down at once, and I just sat there and smoked & looked up at the sky and tried not to cry to no avail.

After about an hour, I saw a light go on in the house where I imagined the bathroom was, and not even considering for a second that it might be their mother, I ran around to the back of the house to see if one of the lights was on. Roxanne's room was still dark, so I went around the other side & saw the light on in Jerry's room. So, I picked up a handful of rocks and when I saw the sillhouette of him coming back into the room, I tossed a handful at his window. He got the message & looked out and saw me. I signaled him to come around front & went back around to my car.

Jerry came outside and I told him what had happened. Jerry hadn't had a lot of experience with girls back then, and so his first response to most things like this was to just say 'Fuck her, she's a bitch!", which may or may not have been true, but it still wasn't what I wanted to hear. Still, he sat there and listened to me and made me feel somewhat better, anyway; for all his abrasiveness, Jerry has always been there when I've needed him; he used to worry that I was only his friend because he was Roxanne's brother, but I've always loved the guy. He was getting ready to move to Connecticut right outside of NYC to live with one of his childhood friends & try to make it with his music in New York. He & I talked for a long time about how much he hated this town & how great it was going to be to get out, and I started to think about how it would feel if I were to just take off somewhere like he was doing & just leave it all behind; Kara, Joe, Gloria, all of it...just escape from it all. I wasn't in any shape to make any life-altering decisions right then, but I did decide one thing: I was never going to sleep under that roof again...I had to get out of that house. I asked Jerry if I could crash on the couch that night & we went inside.

The next morning I woke up with that blissful feeling that you only have for the first 30-40 seconds after you wake up; right before all the memories of the night before come rushing back to you like a tidal wave and make you feel sick to your stomach and want to crawl right back into bed & never get out. Then, after it all hit me, I saw & remembered where I was, and hopped out of bed to look for Roxanne. She wasn't home; she had spent the night at a friends house the night before. I remember being disappointed, and even sticking my head in her room when I went upstairs to the bathroom and getting even more depressed thinking about how close we used to be and how we used to talk all the time. But she was in high school now and had her own life, and I had been too busy with my head up Kara's ass to notice anyway. I really wished I could have seen her that day, though...I remember being sure that if I could just hug her, I'd at least feel alright for a few minutes.

I went back downstairs and Jerry's mom had made eggs for us, and I ate breakfast with them and then took off. I drove over to my mom's house to tell her that Joe & I had had a fight and I was going to move out of the house, and could I stay with her for a little while. She said ok, and I grabbed some cardboard boxes from the basement and drove over to Eric's house to start packing up my things.

Jeff and Joe were both there, and I don't remember what I said to them, but I told them I was leaving, and I remember Joe hung his head down, and I could tell he felt bad, but they both said that they wouldn't stop me if that's what I wanted to do. I'm sure Jeff had told Joe about me finding the note the night before, and Joe had probably know it was just a matter of time anyway, but still it wasn't something any of us wanted to happen. I remember thinking that here I was, completely uprooting my life over a girl once again, and I knew it was weak and I felt about 2 feet tall because of it, but I couldn't help it; I couldn't stand to be in that house one more night. Luckily I had only begun unpacking from the move a few weeks ago anyway, so I filled up my car with my essentials, told them I'd be back for the rest, and drove over to my moms place.

At the time, she only had a 2-bedroom apartment, and my little brother had the other bedroom, which put me on the couch. I didn't mind; as long as nobody in that house was sleeping with Kara, I would have crashed in the sink. The first few days I spent there were kind of a blur, as all I really did was sit around, smoke dope, and obsess about Kara & Joe. I knew I had to do something to snap myself out of this funk, but I didn't have a clue where to start, and I was too depressed to even leave the house most of the time. I remember just wanting to hide from the whole world.

A few days later, I got a call at my mom's house; it was a collect call for me, and I knew my mom would kick my ass for taking it, but I had no idea who could be calling me collect & feared it might be an emergency, so I took it. It turned out to be anything but an emergency; it was my friend Tyson, who had moved out to Colorado to live with his dad a couple of months after Eric's death. Tyson was one of our friends from the Joe & Jeff gang that we had only known for a couple of years. He was a cool guy most of the time, but he could also be the most annoying person on the planet. Still, he had weed a lot of the time & we liked to smoke it, so we hung out with him more often than not. I had only heard from him once since he moved; he had sent a postcard to Eric's house from a liquor store there named Beaver Liquors (hardee, har). He told me all about how cool it was living up in the mountains, and how hot the chicks were & how good the weed was, and as he talked, I started to wonder. What the hell was keeping me here, anyway?

I mean, my family was here, and I loved them, but I figured I could love them from 2500 miles away, too. I didn't have a job, I didn't have a place to live, I certainly didn't have a girl. All my friends were here, but since they kept sleeping with my girlfriends, I didn't really put that in the 'pro' column. Tyson was living in the garage of a house with 2 other guys, and I asked if he might have some extra room on his couch out there, and he said he'd fluff the pillows & make it nice and comfy. He had to get off the phone for some reason, but I got the number of a pay phone down the street from his house I could call him at, and I hung up, sat there and thought about just kissing this whole town goodbye. It took me about 24 hours to make up my mind.

In fact, I remember my friend Pete's grandmother had died a few days before, and he had managed to score a whole bottle of an extremely potent pharmaceutical painkiller from her medicine cabinet (weren't we classy?). He came over that night and he, Alan, Mark and I took a couple each and just got really loopy out in my backyard. I remember lying down in the grass there, talking to Pete, looking up at the stars and making my decision; I was gonna do it. I was going to go to Colorado. Joe can have Kara and the rest of you folks can keep this town. I remember feeling as determined as I had ever felt before; I was going to do it.

The next day, I called Tyson up and told him to expect me in about a month; I was going to get a crappy job, save up some cash, and head out. I told my mom and she was wary about it at first, but after a while, she became supportive. I think she knew that I wasn't happy, and she just didn't want to see me like that anymore. My grandmother was a little more upset than my mom, but she ultimately gave me her blessing, too..as long as I promised to call her every day. I told my friends and some of them thought it was a great idea, and some tried to talk me out of it. I remember that my friend Alan said "Man, don't let a girl run you out of your own town."...and he was probably right, but I didn't listen; I had to get out. There was just too much for me to deal with, and I wasn't equipped for it. I knew deep down that I was running away, but I didn't care, as long as it meant I might not feel so bad anymore.

My family was very helpful to me the weeks before I was to leave. My uncle gave me a check for $500 to help me out, and my grandfather drafted me a nice, official-looking letter of recommendation to help me get a job & a place to live. I went and got my car checked out & it passed the inspection with flying colors. I didn't end up getting a job, but I did have a little bit of money tucked away in an old unused college fund left to me by one of my dad's family members that I'd never met...Part of which I had used to buy my first car (priorities, you know), but my grandmother had kept part of the fund hidden from me in case I needed it, and now I did. It was only a couple grand, but it would be enough for me to get started.

I remember I didn't talk to my friends very much during the weeks before I was set to leave; I hate goodbyes and I didn't want to make it a big deal...I just wanted to slip away from there as quietly as I could. Still, there were a few guys that I did want to talk to before I left; my old grade-school buddies Ted & Chris. I had barely spoken to them since Andi & I had broken up & I left school, but now I felt like they were the only group of friends I had left that were...untainted, I guess was the word. I remember all the times we had growing up, and how I had allowed us to drift apart over my relationship with Andi, and I missed them. I wanted to make things right before I left.

So, I called them up, and it was like a day hadn't passed. They were happy to hear from me and we got along just like it was old times. Chris was in college a few town away by then, but Ted & I began to hang out a lot in the weeks before I left. He listened to me go on & on about Kara, and I caught up with what he had been up to, and it was really great; I felt like we had all reconnected again, and I felt bad we had lost those years because I was such an idiot. I remember hanging out at Ted' s place one night, watching the original Ben Stiller Show on TV and laughing our asses off, and it was just like old times. That night I almost forgot all the bullshit about everything and felt normal again.

I remember about one week before I was set to leave, I was at home packing again & had everything just about ready. I had gone to AAA and gotten maps of my route and I had the trip all planned out. I was going to make it to St. Louis the first night and stay the night with my friend Will who lives there, make it to Kansas the next day and stay the night in Kansas City, then make it into Colorado the next day. I had all my music set to go, an ounce of weed for the trip, and about $2500 to take with me. My mom had bought me some sweaters for the Colorado cold at the thrift store, and I was marvelling at how ugly they all were when the phone rang. My little brother answered it, and yelled that it was for me. I picked up the line and there was silence for a second after I said 'hello'. My heart started to sink into my chest, as I knew that there was only one person who had any reason to be hesitant, then I heard her voice. It was Kara. She was crying...and she wanted to see me....

10 Comments:

Blogger ambrus recalled...

omigosh!! you are killing me with the cliff-hangers!!!!

I can really relate to this post. I have always gotten the flee instinct when things get too complicated. That’s how I ended up in the Arctic! Why fix it if you can just get a new one???

I just wanted to thank you again for writing this, I know you are doing it to work out some of your own demons but I appreciate being able to tag along for the ride. I have seen so much of myself and the people in my life in your posts. It is good to see it from another perspective.

Monday, September 19, 2005 8:24:00 AM  
Blogger Manda recalled...

grrrrrr...... this girl is really starting to piss me off!

but it's good because maybe i've pissed people off sometimes too, and it's good to be able to step back and say, "was i like that to somebody?"

you should have gone to Colorado! it's awesome out there. :-)

Monday, September 19, 2005 8:48:00 AM  
Blogger Rain recalled...

This is killing me. What does she want? Everyone else might say, forget her man, but I say, make it work. You and your cliffhangers.

Monday, September 19, 2005 9:09:00 AM  
Blogger Matt_c recalled...

Why is it that the plans we make can be not only fucked up but completely turned on their head by one person?
Great writing, great storytelling, great honesty. Keep going.

Monday, September 19, 2005 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger PAINKEY recalled...

YOU ARE KILLIN ME!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2005 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Charlotte recalled...

dam nyou and your damn cliffhangers! you're killin me smalls

Monday, September 19, 2005 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger MandyGirl recalled...

Didn't you say you didn't have many cliffhangers?

I'm getting pissed off at this girl too. Can't wait for the next installment. ;)

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ana recalled...

Great timing wasnt it? I think the saying "you don't knw what you've got till its gone" hit home with her that day.I think i can predict how that conevrsation goes but lets wait and see. You've got a good heart and i hope that in the end you find the answers you seek. There is a big difference between a guy who is misguided and a guy who is merciless.You are one that just lost your way. Keep going you may not know it but you are not the only person these posts help.
i support you all the way.

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jhena recalled...

I just have to visit this frequently. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from your posts! keep blogging coz I'm reading!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 6:28:00 AM  
Blogger Brooklyn recalled...

SHE HAD THE NERVE TO CALL RIGHT BEFORE YOU WERE LEAVING??????

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 1:48:00 PM  

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