Every now and then I have flashes of Sarah. Sarah naked in the kitchen, in the bathroom doing her hair, fucking me, dancing, sleeping, high as a kite. Sarah was my first lover. She was 7 years my elder. I was only 16 years old when we first met, but it only took two weeks for us to try acid and fuck in the front passenger seat of her car. It may sound obscene, but those were the best 3 or 4 months of my life. We met through our parents. She had then, recently graduated college and was working as an intern for some firm. Her mother suggested that it would be wise for me to absorb every little bit I could from her daughter. Her intention was to provide me with someone to go to if I had any questions regarding college, faith, and so forth. You see, Sarah’s family was holier than Jesus. They did no wrong. I guess she thought Sarah was a saint. But all Sarah did was facilitate drug use and make a sex fiend out of me. It all began on Sundays at church. From there it branched out to Saturdays, then weekdays. She unofficially became my girl. Strangely, no one had a clue. No one. It was love at its most unadulterated. That may be the reason to why my brain reanimates these moments that have haunted me for years. The thing is, they mostly come back to me when I’m sober. Sometimes when I’m high, I sit and wonder about these things. Things I should have discarded long ago. Things like how young I was and what would’ve happened with our affair if it wouldn’t have ended so abruptly. Either way, I was too young and inexperienced to know that it would, like all good things, have to come to an end. Yes, love dries up. It dries up and leaves nothing but useless remnants of what once was. Dusty, questionable approximations that you think you experienced. Now I am speaking for myself. I don’t know how much of what I remember holds truth. I don’t know if we ever walked on the beach. Or if we ever watched the sun rise or set. I don’t know. But I think we did. To be frank, drugs have made me incapable of discerning fact and non-fact. I have lost the ability to measure truth in my mind, in my heart, and in every breath that eludes me. But there is one thing that I can confirm, a fact. It was on a Sunday; we had skipped church. It was 2 or 3 weeks before my birthday. It was a warm sunny afternoon. We decided to try some stuff that she bought from some guy a friend recommended. Her dealer got busted a few days before, so she (we) had no supplier. Point is, we were already drunk and we still decided to take whatever the hell it was this guy gave her. She fucken flipped. She started breaking shit. Screaming. I didn’t know what to do. I was a kid. Next thing you know she’s out the window head first. I’m watching her descend 7 stories to her death and all I could hear as I’m running out of the apartment is a bone-crushing thud. I ran down an eternity of stairs, then slowed down and tiredly made it past the lobby desk, and out a side door that led to the pool area. Mind you, I’m drunk and high. I was seeing and hearing all kinds of shit. When I get there, there are 10 to 15 people standing around. They all looked upset. I think their facial expressions were probably worse than I thought, then. The fact that I was “cross-faded” made everything a lighter shade. I walked past and in between them to find her naked body laying there, lifeless. But it didn’t register. I was emotionally absent. I just stood there and looked on. There was a pool of blood where she laid. Some of it tainted the pool. I also saw some teeth and chunks of face here and there. I decided then to walk home. No one ever found out about us or even bothered to ask me anything. Everyone thought she was alone during her last hours.
A few aluminum blinds were slightly bent, allowing slits of light to come in. Those golden rays were enough for me to scan the room and piece together what took place the night before. But I was able to see very little at first. My head was pounding and my eyes hadn’t adjusted yet. I slowly sat up and allowed myself a minute to compose. I then opened my eyes and came to realize that I was surrounded by nude bodies. They were everywhere. Men and women. I didn’t recognize any one of them. The longer I sat there, the more the room became clearer and unbearable. The room felt mucky and the air was stagnant. It felt as if the air had been breathed thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times. The toxic smells of sex and alcohol were making me noxious. I decided to go. I stealthily made my way over an attractive 30 something year old woman and stepped around the bodies that rested beside the bed. Walking over and around the unconscious brought to mind the awkwardness that surrounds these sorts of situations. Waking up naked to compete strangers, not to mention naked strangers, is a hell-of-a-way to start your day. I wouldn’t have minded if I didn’t have things to do. I built an immunity to this kind of stuff long ago.
“Hey! Yo! Wake up man! Yo!”
Those were the first words that filled my ears as I was being slapped and firmly shaken back to life by my roommate. Everything around me was distorted for a short while, but the surrounding world continued to play its ugly song of people, birds, cars, barking dogs, rustling leaves, and hundreds of other sounds that I could care less about. This had to have been the worst hangover-like feeling I ever experienced.
My roommate had just gotten off his shift to find me laid out in vomit and piss. He works the graveyard at a food distribution center. “Did you take these?” he asked, holding an empty pill jar to my bloodshot eyes. “Yeah. I did. I’ll get you some more, man. Sorry about that.” I answered. “Are you retarded? You could be dead right now. And look! You threw up all over the carpet dude! Ahhhh!! You know this is gonna come out of the deposit, right? I mean…your life is more important than the deposit, but…and I don’t know how I’m going to sleep either. I need those pills! But seriously, how long are you planning to pull crap like this. I always have to be cleaning up after you. Grow the fuck up.” “Look, I said I’m sorry alright.” I unwittingly answered as I tried to shake off the nausea.
“Sorry? Sorry?!” he said mockingly as he slowly paced back and forth. ”That’s the best you can do? I don’t know what to do anymore. You’ve got me up the fucken wall with this shit! You’re a grown ass man! Don’t you get it?? No whore is worth killing yourself over! I mean really…do you think she gives two shits about you? Especially in the state you’re in right now? A woman needs a strong man. A man with balls. Not a pussy. Yet, here you are…moaning and bitching about some bitch that’s probably getting fucked in the ass this very instant!” “You don’t know that. Don’t say that. You don’t know…” I replied nodding my head, reeling as I unsuccessfully attempted to push myself up. “Well I’ll tell you what I do know. I’m gonna call your brother and tell him exactly what you’re doing. I have no other choice.” He paused, took a deep breath and shrugged his shoulders at me. He then walked over to his room and shut the door behind him. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I dragged my ass backward to the wall and wrapped my legs against my chest. I sat there wishing my body had not rejected those pills.
Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man
I took a trip to New York a year ago today. My intention was to photograph and capture the essence of the City from the perspective of someone in his or her 20s. At the time, a friend and I (who recently moved to New York) had began a project that was to fuse the chaos of uncertainty, the prodigal desires and the party stamina that only a 20 something year old can encompass and blend it all together as a quick read. It was appropriately titled, “The Roaring 20s: A 20-Something Year Old’s Guide to Debauchery in the City”. It was a clever name in my opinion, straight to the point. The purpose of our project was to give the young visitor the meat and potatoes of New York City and its nightlife, both for the flashy and the thrifty. After all, one’s 20s are the time to indulge we thought. All work aside, my time away from Los Angeles doubly served as an escape from the stagnating routine I was experiencing after college. It seemed like the more I tried to conform to post-college life, the more I became defiant. It was a tough time to say the least.
I was starving once I got to my hotel in New York City. As I unpacked, I decided that I’d only eat at hole-in-the-wall places. That said, I had no idea how difficult it would be to settle on one place. Once I was out on the street, somewhere between snaps and stores I came across a tiny place that had the hustle and bustle I was familiar with in L.A. I slipped into the crammed bakery and immediately froze up. This girl stood out. She was behind the counter helping customers and never looked my way. I sat for a bit and watched her work. Something compelled me to her. It could have been her pretty brown eyes. Maybe the way she tucked back unruly strands of hair behind her right ear. It could have been anything. I figured that if I hung around long enough, she would have to attend to me. So I decided to wait for her by the register, resisting every cashier’s attempt to assist me until I had my chance. Well, her shift was over before she could. She vanished into a backroom. She then reappeared, pacing and quickly packing something into her bag. As she rushed around the crowd, I lost sight off her. I instinctively sped towards the exit. I swung open the door, startling her as she attempted to reenter. For that second, we were face-to-face. I can’t describe what I felt exactly, but I had to get out of her way. I flattened my body against the door to allow her entry. She moved hastily and with purpose. I lit a cigarette and waited outside until she stepped back out again. When she did, I approached her. “Hey, I’m Eli. You might have seen me inside. No? Anyway, what’s your name?” anxiously asking while reaching for her hand. She greeted me indifferently, “I have to go.” Before she shot me down, I glimpsed down at her name tag. It read STELLA. What a wonderful name. She then swung her bag over her shoulder and walked off. My eyes followed her as she crossed the street, fading in and out behind people and cars. She glanced back once and went about her business. I’m not sure what she was thinking when she looked back, but what mattered was that I had finally gotten her attention. I could have felt disappointment. I could have felt discouraged. I simply didn’t. As I waited for a taxi, it came to me; she’s the one.
I’m back in L.A. Still…no call. No text. Nothing. She must have thrown the paper away. What a bitch! She could have just rejected me there and then rather than have kept me in anticipation. It’s unfair. It’s inhumane. I don’t care anymore. I will continue on with my life as if I had never met her. And so I did. Until I received a text message from an unknown number. I didn’t recognize the zip either. I quickly googled the zip code on my phone. “Hallelujah! It’s from New York!”, I exclaimed. I then remembered it had been two weeks since my last encounter with Stella. Far too long in my opinion. Perhaps she had found my number or simply couldn’t spend another second without me. “Hey” it read. My heart began to palpitate. I seldom receive any anonymous text messages. I responded once. No reply. I tried again. No answer. I began to fret. I began to sweat. I was half mad running my fingers through my hair, even tugging on it. My curiosity and anxiety found no relief. Could I have been accidentally texted? A wrong number perhaps? Who knows.
The truth has sunken in. I now know nothing will come of Stella. So here I am, out of that dreamy state and back to reality. Its okay. It isn’t so bad. I’m hanging out here at Ryan’s. His place is an absolute dump. You can’t help but get distracted by his innumerable collection of books, the African masks on the walls, the enormous spinning disco ball dangling by a single thread and his pride and joy, a collection of empty beer bottles. But tonight it all works. He’s celebrating his 28th birthday as he always does, with loud music, tons of people he’s never met and alcohol for days. Ryan swears that this party is for us both. Between him and I and a few others, we are calling the party ‘GEL’. The acronym stands for ‘Getting Eli Laid’. Ryan decided to tell our friends that I haven’t slept with anyone in months. Sadly, he was right. So then I decided to go with it. They made a pot and each dumped a few hundred dollars in it. This was the deal: Each person knew who they invited to the party. So whatever girl I decide to sleep with that night, belongs to a group that is claimed by one of the guys betting. And voila, a winner is crowned. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with your best friends betting on who can get you laid first, right?
The party was on. The mixing was god sent, the ladies were hardly conservative and I was utterly trashed. I watched them all dance from the kitchen. Everyone in living room pulsated in unison to the beat of the music. After spectating for a minute or two, I became blown away by the girl-guy ratio. There were at least three girls to every guy. I had my eye on one. She would occasionally glance over and smile at me. In one of those instances, Joey grabbed me from behind and began yelling in my ear. “Hey! Jump in there, man. What are you doing, here? By the way, you see that girl in the red shirt? She thinks you’re cute.” I patted him on the shoulder and shouted back, “By any chance, is she one of your girls?” “You know it! Now go on in there and do a brotha some justice.” Him and I continued on and decided to take it towards the back patio. I slid open the glass door and was stunned to find someone I hadn’t seen in ages. An old friend from college, who also happens to be my ex-girlfriend. “What a pleasant surprise! I haven’t seen you in a minute. How are you, Jen?” “Oh my god! I knew I’d see you eventually. I’m great! I actually just got promoted, so I wanted to be out. And what better place to be than here! I didn’t know it was Ryan’s birthday. Its so packed! Does Ryan know all these people?” “I really doubt it to be honest. Anywho, how did you hear about the party?” “I didn’t. I came to see what Ryan was up to and this is what I got!” “Well welcome! Down for a drink?” “Of course!”
One drink led to another…and to another. And I ended up on top of Jen, which I didn’t mind. She’s a great gal. But lying here in Ryan’s guestroom makes me think of the late nights when I stayed up thinking of Stella. Its now 3a.m. and I can’t seem to stop thinking of her. It doesn’t help that I’m drunk. For I’m an emotional drunk. Everyone knows that. I continued my contemplation sitting up and gazing out towards the window when Jen rolled over and laid her hand on mine. “What’s wrong? You okay, hun?” “Yeah, I’m okay. Actually no. I’m not okay.” “What’s wrong?” “I’m in love with someone. Her name is Stella.” “Oh. Wait…does this mean you have a girlfriend?” “Well, technically no. She doesn’t know me. At least not yet.” “I’m not following. You mean to say that you’re in love with someone who doesn’t know you exist? How does that even work?” “Uhhhh, yeah. As crazy as it sounds.” “Well good luck, I guess. I’m going back to sleep. Hope all that works out for you. Goodnight.” “Are you mad?” “I’m not mad, but I don’t have to know about your love life.” “Love life? I don’t have one. If this is about Stella, you said it yourself, she doesn’t know I exist.” “Well you could have told me before I slept with you, jerk.” “What?! What is there to tell?” “You know what, I’m leaving. This was a waste of my time.” “Jennifer, I haven’t seen you in a long time. You shouldn’t be tripping. Especially about something like this.” “Whatever. I don’t need this. I’ll get a ride home.” “Fine. Do as you please.” She clothed herself as fast as she could, rushed out and slammed the door shut. This is the deal with Jennifer; She is unquestionably lovable, but she is also the most bullheaded person you will ever meet. I don’t bother anymore. That’s the reason we split. She was unable to compromise.
I woke up the next morning alone, but accompanied by a massive hangover. I got up, clothed myself as best as I could and staggered out of the room only to find dozens of bodies laid out on the carpet. I carefully stepped over them and headed for the kitchen. And there stood Joey and Jose, chuckling. “So, who’d you drill? I’m ready to cash in.” “I’m sorry to inform you both that you’re out of luck. I slept with my Jen last night.” “WHAT?!” both exclaiming in complete disbelief. “That’s right. She was here. I got laid. No one wins, but no one loses. You all get your money back.” “But you were suppose to choose someone else. Someone we invited. Not your ex-girlfriend. That wasn’t part of the deal!” “Save it man. I was never part of the deal. I was the guinea pig. The victim! So, where’s the birthday boy?” “We don’t know. I think he left in the wee hours of the morning. Where’s Jen?” “She left like at 3 something in the morning. She was steaming about Stella.” “Why Stella? What did you tell her?” asked Joey. “That I was in love…with Stella of course. And she totally blew it. I mean, she went ballistic.” “Dude, that girl was madly in love with you and you shitted on her.” “Whatever. I’m over it.” “You know, she might still be in love with you Eli. Did you think about that?” asked Jose. “Why, you don’t say. Who cares. Can you guys not advocate for her, please. Anyway, we should help clean up, even if he’s not here.” “Agreed.” As we proceeded, the scattered bodies began to come to life. We spent the majority of the morning picking up cans and bottles and finally disbanded around 1. We called Ryan a few times, but he must have had his hands full. When I drove off, I noticed that Jen’s car was parked around the corner. I found that a little odd.
That night, my cell phone rang at 1:45am. It startled me half to death. Joey was calling. I answered, “Hey. It’s kinda late bro. What’s going on?” “I have some bad news man,…” His voice was low and shaky. This wasn’t like Jo. “…Jennifer’s dead. I’m really sorry brotha. And I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you.” “What? Oh my god. Are you sure? What happened?” “Seems like she was really pissed last night and made Ryan take her home. He was really drunk man. You saw him. But she insisted. So they took off. They think he fell asleep on the wheel.” “Fuck. What happened to Ryan?” “He’s in bad shape, but at least he’s alive. His legs are shattered. And he has other broken bones. They’re more than likely going to press charges. Manslaughter or something. That’s what his sister said. I don’t know man. I’m really worried for our boy.” “Chill. We’ll figure something out.” “What is there to figure out. Ryan was plastered.” Joey was right. Ryan drove drunk. Jennifer died in his car. There wasn’t much left to the story. “This is all my fault. I shouldn’t had let her go. What the fuck was I thinking?” “No. It wasn’t your fault. Calm down man. Lets meet up at my place in the morning. Only if you can make it.” “For sure. Call you soon. Don’t worry.” I was livid. Absolutely enraged. I felt my eyes swell and my chest tighten. I screamed out loud for a few seconds and continuously slammed my fists on the bed. How could I fix this? For the moment, all I could do is cry and take responsibility. Then I remembered that it was Stella all along. She did it. Poor Jennifer. Poor Ryan. Shame on me.
Tom Waits - I Want You
Stella inched toward Eli to put her head on his shoulder. Eli rested, oblivious to Stella’s anxiety. She had to ask Eli something. “Eli…” “Yea?” “…how do you know you’re really in love with me?” “Because I know.” “What makes you so sure? How do you know this isn’t going to pass six months from now? A year from now? I mean, it’s cool if you just wanna have fun. I’d totally understand.” “Look. I just do. I think I’m capable of distinguishing a fling from something real, like this. Why do you keep questioning me?” “Because…” “I know this is hard for you…to open up. I took the plunge. I’m immersed in you, Stella. It would be selfish of me to ask the same from you. All I could do is ask you to ease your way in. Ease yourself into me. And when you’re ready, I want all of you.” “Okay. I can do that.”
Simon & Garfunkel
Belle and Sebastian
April come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain;
May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again
June, she´ll change her tune,
In restless walks she´ll prowl the night;
July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight.
August, die she must,
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold;
September I´ll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.
The burden became too heavy for me to carry alone. I reconciled with my family, then my friends. I reintegrated myself back into the spheres of my former self and found that indeed, support does facilitate the healing process. I began to live again. That’s when I received an unexpected call. “Stella?”, I answered. “Yeah, how’d you know?” “I received a text message from this number a while ago and figured it’d be you.” “Oh. I was creeped out for a second.” “Don’t worry, I’m harmless. What happened?” “Um. You must be busy. I’ll let you…” “No! I’m sorry. That was really rude. May we start over, please?” “Sure.” “Hi Stella. How are you?” “I’m good. How about you?” Our conversation lasted several hours. We ended up having much more in common than I previously would have thought. We talked about our upbringings, art, music, anything and everything. At one point she mentioned how much she had enjoyed doing ballet. She then revealed to me her obsession, Edgar Degas. From then on all I could see was Stella gracefully gliding across a big empty stage with the spotlight lighting her way. As for Degas, it wasn’t his brush that swept across the canvases, it was Stella. With her technique, jumps and twirls, she brought his pieces to life. How I yearned for my Stella, my love. My passion was rekindled and there was no way I was going to let her go this time…
-“As a kid, I wondered if I would ever be fast enough to catch the sun. And if I drove, would it be possible to drive fast enough to never see the sun set again. Of course I wasn’t of age to drive, but I made up tons of scenarios to entertain that question.”
-“You know, if it were possible to have eternal sunshine. You may think it’s silly, but this was some serious inquiry here. I would sit on my street corner for hours waiting and hoping that the sun would stop its descent for good.”
"Why were you so infatuated with the sun?"
"I wasn’t infatuated with the sun. I was infatuated with keeping darkness at bay."
Determined to head back to NY to finish what I started. Stella.