Lauren on the knoll, hiding in the mountains, sliding down the basin. Lauren far from the airport and high in the trees, watching the aeroplanes, the vipers in the baby sky and so willing and able, so full to the brim with potential, Lauren standing before the pin prick lights in the night. Buzzing in her beehive. Lauren.

Through the long stare, on the dirt track, with the lights like icing on a cake, glistening an electrical happy birthday, Lauren reaches out to touch only the air. And down there are homes and in some of them people lighting candles on cakes, and blowing so breezily blowing away the last year. The slight smoke that lingers in the air, another Ash Wednesday prayed away, and may this never ever happen again, not on a day when someone is celebrating their birthday.

Lauren, drawn back out to the lights shivering in the cold, almost in anticipation to explode and in their hover joining to form crystallised snakes, swimming down freeways. Lauren surrounded by the quiet of God in the trees, where their rough bark was burnt and turned to what looked like tar. When Lauren was a child and watched the furious flames steal the mountains face. The fire, finally, saving grace in Laurens arms. From the glowing box of a wood heater to a flaming Venus, burning down the house she once humbly worked to warm.

Lauren on the knoll, hiding in the mountains, sliding down the basin from here can feel the moving of trains in the earths plates. And hear from here can Lauren, can listen to the transporting of bodies, entering and exiting the town. Closing her eyes against the cool breeze. Eyes expelling liquid, down her cheeks. Lauren far from the lighthouse and the sea, where the rock pools, once wandered across, now rest in waiting before the caves old mouth. Upside down and sleeping, bats in their holes stirring from their dreaming of Lauren wandering in and out of their home, with a sea shell in the shape of a girl and the last wave, paddling about her heels.

With the sun in the water uncovering the seahorses who, coy and fragile, blush against the glow. Water warming, turning salt into summer, recalling how that Jesus fellow turned water into wine and could he change the volcano within the deep, and seed it with grass in replace of lava? Thinks Lauren. So many birds eating fish. The whales and dolphins sending telegrams through kinetics. Telegrams of ways in which to heed the whalers and sharks. And what of Walsh, thinks Lauren, across the bay of lights in a rip of traffic and 24 hour supermarkets. Walsh in his cream room with cupboard spilling old news upon his shirts, crumpled and worn in, with the scent of his skin locked within. With scent of a new spring fading to old against the tree outside, nameless and growing fruits he can not eat. Fruits that, when touched, leave pungent scents of sap against his fingers.

Walsh searching in the dark for the light switch, so hopeful and smiling. Socks pulled up and fly undone. Recalling the day he fell in the street, the white denim suit his mother cut at the knees. And so cold against his pokey bones was the English air, so excited was Walsh to see a friend so special and now so long remembered and yet, forgotten. 'Who is that boy, now a man?' Asked Walsh to Lauren on a night that she, now, can barely trace her memory back to.

As their hands slid beneath the wire fence, so soft and warm, beneath feathers, where fleshy chickens slept. Wings in baskets before the universe, and ginger foxes, whose tails frisked bushes that whispered cries, in return, to warn off Walsh and Lauren. And as they prayed together that they could hold onto everything, hold onto everyone as if they were in the water, treading, preparing to drown. And giggling in the merry go-round of wine and private property, they listened so intently to the muttered clucks and sung, 'Where did all those everyones flee to?'

Now the morning rising from beneath that licorice strap of a horizon and, still alone and woken Lauren, full to the brim with spite for the sea who stole so much of what felt granted within her. Within the labyrinth of her chest bed, and smeared paint of her heart that Lauren, so careless and courageous, a raisin amongst the grain, threw her fish back before the sea could lure him away with her undulating, always coldly tactful embraces. And straying from tears but falling to long logged pauses, Lauren calls a final coo to the colours that, since a child, had forever been before her.

This node is about someone very special to me, although I haven't seen her in almost ten years, and only two years ago managed to resume contact with her. Lauren.

We met at City Club in 1998 though a somewhat circuitous route. I placed an ad in the personals section of the Metro Times, Detroit's free alternative newspaper, which read:

Goth boy looking for the right goth girl.
Can you make my mind and body burn with your spirit? Am I in your mind?

The ad referenced the lyrics to a couple of songs relevant to me. "Make my mind and body burn" comes from "Tomorrow's Tears" by Cranes and "Am I in your mind?" is from "In Mind" by Slowdive. I received one response to this ad, from a girl calling herself Gisele.

Gisele, as it turned out, was a City Club regular, as was her best friend, Lauren. Both of them had seen me at the club and had immediately guessed that it was I who had posted that ad. Both of them respected the other's wishes, and Lauren had put a "claim" on me with Gisele, whose real name turned out to be Marisa. I found this out one night at the club when we met, during which time I spent no time with Marisa, despite her answering my ad, due to her respect for Lauren's claim, and I spent the entire evening with Lauren, just talking (and smoking and drinking, but that's neither here nor there). Lauren was eighteen at the time, about three weeks shy of her nineteenth birthday. I was twenty-one.

Despite my age, I was still a virgin. I was, nevertheless, very popular at the club, and everyone assumed I was a complete slut, which was so far from the truth that if those spreading the rumours actually knew, they'd probably blush. Anyway, Lauren and I got on famously, and we immediately started dating. This was January 1998. Our first date was seeing C-Tec (a Front 242 side project) at the Magic Stick late that month. We dated for four months, mostly sitting in her 1996 Chrysler LeBaron convertible in the middle of the night, drinking forties, smoking clove cigarettes, and driving around the ghetto of downtown Detroit. It was pure bliss for me and as far as I could tell, for her too. Except for one thing.

As I previously mentioned, I was at that time still a virgin. I was a timid virgin; I had no idea where to begin, sexually. Lauren was eager to get me out of my shell, but the furthest we ever got was necking, leaving hickeys in obvious places, some breast play, being naked together but not having sex, and sleeping together without sex. She'd pierced her clitoral hood herself, and the jewelry she wore in it, a captive hoop with a little skully for the bead, was so cute.

My biggest regret in life is not making love to Lauren. Honestly, it's my biggest regret, despite all my failings (of which there are many). I can trace them all back to that. It's not that I didn't want her—quite the contrary—it's just that I didn't know where to start. And she wanted me. She continually told me so. I told her I loved her, and despite the people I've told that to since then, she's the only person I've told I loved and really meant it. I'm of the opinion that if we had actually had sex, our lives would be completely different now. I can't say if they'd be better or more interesting, but they'd definitely be different. But now, that's something neither of us can know.

You always were the one to show me how
Back then I couldn't do the things that I can do now
This thing is slowly taking me apart
Grey would be the color if I had a heart

My life has been a steady stream of ruin since the day she broke up with me, which she did because, despite all her efforts, I wouldn't put out. Not for lack of desire, you understand. I was just clueless. Totally clueless. We clicked completely except for that one thing—sex. But only because I didn't know what to do. I mean, I knew what sex was, I just didn't know how to initiate it, even with a partner who wanted it. And she was so perfect—beautiful, sweet, funny, possessed of a quick wit, excellent fashion sense (we were goths), and wonderful in every way I wanted.

I just wanted something I can never have.

In this place it seems like such a shame
Though it all looks different now
I know it's still the same
Everywhere I look you're all I see
Just a fading fucking reminder of who I used to be

I just want something I can never have

Despite the failure of my relationship with Lauren, the time I spent with her is by far my most prized possession. If I could go back in time, and redo my relationship with her, I know it'd turn out perfect. That time is the one bright spot in my life that's otherwise full of badness and tragedy.

I just want something I can never have

Lyrical interludes by Nine Inch Nails. CST Approved.

More on Lauren and me can be read in my City Club writeup.

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