”The light, the heat. I am complete, I see the doorway of a thousand churches. The resolution, of all my fruitless searches.” >- Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes
Have you ever known anyone so completely, that even after years of separation, you just know what every blink and expression on their face means?Can you recognize their voice on a phone months or years after not seeing or talking to one another? Do you know what every inch of their body looks like, tastes like? Maybe I am getting ahead of myself.
I met him when I was seventeen. Brilliant, bouncy, about to take off for college, I was a rubber ball of energy with no concept of what love was, much less devotion. I knew art and I wanted adventure. Not to say it didn’t take me a while after that to figure out where these feelings fit and how they work….but running straight into them was a damn good start.
He turned 22 a few weeks after we got together, (even though I thought he was a year younger, and he never let on until I turned 18. “So, you’re a rabbit?” “No, I was born in the year of the tiger….1974.”)… 50% of what we were doing soon after we met, would have landed his ass easily in jail in the state of Florida. That was the only lie he has ever told me, and it was more of an omission than a bald faced lie. Beat that honesty with a stick. I DARE YOU.
I did not have time for a boyfriend, looking back, I have no idea how we squeezed in so much damn time and space for one another….or why honestly we just came together so quickly. We melded, literally.
I lived in a dorm, I had classes and RA’s hounding my ass left and right. I had to prepare for graduation, I had to fulfill dreams, I had…I had….I had to crawl into bed with him almost every night of the week, before anyone would miss me back at school.
Blonde, 6’3”, very Scottish and Indian, with blue eyes like cathedral rose windows. (I don’t even like blue eyes, much less blondes) The first thing I noticed that day we met in the train yard, besides those incredible eyes? His wrists. Hey, don’t ask me. I still stare at them trying to figure it out. And the REALLY fat lips. Purrrr.
Well, May 3rd was rolling around, the full moon that year, and as usual, ‘Digo ran with a rather witchy crew. Beltaine. He wanted to know everything about my beliefs, to get closer to what it was that made me tick. So I mentioned fertility, goddesses, handfastings…….whoa. Go back. “What’s a handfast?”
Eileen handfasted us on the full moon, just blocks away from where she herself got married a week and a half ago. He wore a kilt, I still wear the scar on my forearm, we both jumped the broom. Ha. Gotta love irony, dontcha?
My parents loved him, (still do, it seems) his family and I were tight, particuliarily his younger sister Jana, the most badass Cancer I have ever met to this day.
My parents knew what was up; the smoking…..the sex, but we were partners in crime. We hid the tattoos….yes, we both bought each other our first ones, Celtic designs, and held each other’s hands while our eyes fluttered.
He taught me how to roll a blunt, pick up a snake, drink copious amounts of anything, babysat and made love to me the first time I ever tripped. He held me when I cried, cooked me grandiose meals, ate mine and complimented me no matter how bad they were. Ball and Chain? That was his best friend from Maryland’s favorite song, so he’s the one who taught me the words. Cheered me on in drama and art shows, celebrated my accomplishments. Took me to every punk and ska show under the Florida moon. Brought me flowers, zippos, drove hours with me anywhere, attempted to teach me stick, even though I was a big chicken. I spent an entire winter collecting Star Wars figurines, trying to keep up with him on a skateboard, spent summer mornings waking up ON the beach. He was at all of my family reunions, played with my nieces and nephews. He knew my grandmother on a first name basis, cooked her oatmeal and sat with her Sunday mornings while I was at work. I painted his toenails a different color every weekend, he’d steal my underwear. He’d spend hours in a bubble bath with me, me leaning back on him while he made huge bubbles by blowing on the soap between my hand, forearm and shoulder. Would hit the snooze button eighty-million times for me, and he was Agie’s buddy. “Why are you kids comin’ in my nice clean kitchen, all chinky-eyed, digging for food?”. Would argue politics with my father….or just discuss football. Got all teary-eyed when my mom held his hand across the table at that fancy-schmancy Italian restaurant, and told him she loved him. Would click his teeth when he got turned on, take pictures of me in that corset he picked up for me…..tie me up, and spank me ‘til that big white Irish ass of mine blossomed pink. Yup. The only guy EVER allowed to do that….yeah, even meek little ‘Digo’s got a little dirty past. (That stuff never felt the same without him. )He brought me Medea, our kitten, we had all our kids’ names picked out….the only person my age I could have a lengthy and decent discussion about spirituality or fantasize with about being IRA agents. We were inseperable, we could tell each other stories over 100 miles without picking up a phone, we were two halves of a whole. And I let go of him why?….
The drinking was more than just pasttime. And being a landscaper really wasn’t a motivated job, and forget his finishing college anytime soon. I wrote his papers for him anyway. And after my planning on Maryland because he’d lived there for quite some time, he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want me to go either. He couldn’t be convinced to do anything but laze around, smoke pot, drink beer, deplete my savings account and fuck my brains out. Ugh. No, we never really did argue ever, except after I didn’t come home that one night.( I had never cheated before in my life) The whole thing got shot to hell after that. Yup. I never threw a fit when Kelly (you know what they say about girls whose names end in a long ‘E’ sound?) started calling him. I just trusted him, no matter what. That was my fault. Two years, two handfasts, and a whole lot of dreams right down the tubes. I threw him out, started dating Rob to keep my mind off of him, planned on going to MICA anyway, and both of us basically started on a downward spiral. All of these excuses for really two kids being too damn young to know what to do with one another.
We spoke a few times over the next couple of years, I’d hear a Beck song on the radio, and know he would call or write within a day or two. He called me one time when Kash and I were in North Carolina. He had just gotten out of jail for possesion of the ganje, but communication was pretty thin. He always was in the back of my head, though, acting kind of like a conscience, if I ever did have one of those.
I was an idiot, in limbo between Rob and Frank…..God help Rob, he never had a chance sammiched like that between those two….I was ‘staying’ with Rob, trying to figure out how I felt about knarph, when Agie died.
She had gotten a cold, nothing more than a mild flu bug, and took some of MY prescription Codeine cough syrup. She had a violent reaction, couldn’t breathe, but managed to call 911 herself. Frank picked me up from work and took me to my parents house that night. He sat with my dad and me until my mom came back a wreck from the hospital. So see? He ain’t all that bad….never really was. He’s just not real good these days, either. That night though, I leaned on him. It was okay for me to lean on him…..and really, that was the last time.
The next day, Rob took me to the hospital. Her family and mine were there, and they decided to take her off all of the machines. I couldn’t believe it. I was standing with my mom and Rob, but damn it! The woman who was always ‘MOM’ come hell or high water, was in there, leaving me! Yeah, I was selfish……she was mine. How could they take her? What right did anyone have to tell me how to feel or what to do after that? And goddamnit, sure I could lean on Rob like I had Frank the night before…..but these two don’t really get what the fuck is going on. Neither of them has EVER lost someone so fuckin’ close, like a parent. Not even ‘like’ a parent, but a PARENT. I needed someone who would actually feel what was lost as well. They didn’t REALLY know me.
A few weeks later, hiding in Rob’s apartment, I dialed an old crusty phone number……my heart pounding, the tears literally making my face sticky.
“Yeah…um…I know it’s been a while…but I just wanted to see how you were doing..?”
“Fine.” (I knew SHE was sitting right there.)
“Some stuff has happened and I felt like I should really call you…”
“Hey, Kir. I’m getting married soon. Kelly and I are engaged.” What!?!?!
“Um…congratulations…..Is this a bad time for me to call?”
“Okay, well take care and good luck and stuff…”
“Hmm. Bye.” CLICK
So no, I never did tell him Agie passed on. I didn’t tell him I was moving back to Maryland to run away. Shit. I didn’t tell Rob until two days before Kash and I left. I threw myself into a place I had no chance of ever succeeding, but convinced myself, “this is what fate has planned for you, girlie, so suck it up.” I called Rob twice after I moved in with the Iacovinos….to let him know I was safe and would be fine. And to tell him to get on with HIS life.
I played every card, every game, every trick over the next two and a half years…..and still ended up empty handed after two more moves between Florida and Maryland, and one very faulty half-assed, half-hearted marriage. I mean, what did it matter after all that? I was free to make as many goddamn mistakes as I pleased. Agie was gone, Scott was married….everything was shit except for the few bright spots of friendship and freedom I found between Baltimore and Clearwater. Nothing could kill me, nothing could slough me off the face of the earth as long as I had time to myself, dreams of Arizona, and a bag of rotting chocolate chip cookies in the corner of my room. I put the stained green shirt away for good, and picked out the Skinny Puppy one to sleep in. I didn’t really think I’d see it’s owner again though.
When I got back to Florida, promises sounded emptier and emptier. Ah well, Too little too late on both sides, I say, and let’s leave it at that.
After having that crazy ass dream about Scott, I wrote him a letter and sent it to his parents. I got his phonecall the next day. Commence phone tag. We finally connected, and I drove up to near Jacksonville that Monday.
I sat with the OTHER Scott, waiting for my old flame to get home form work. (Funny, I hadn’t realized how much my ex resembled Brandall before). From his job. His business. His own friggin’ business. The boy who couldn’t change a toilet paper roll to save his life four years ago, now has his own business? What craziness is this you speak? And Kelly? The med-student he married just last year? The prissy little Gemini who rang his phone off the hook while we were together, but who wouldn’t let me have a heart-to-heart with one of my oldest and best friends? Yeah, her? Their divorce was final July 19th. Huh? From what I understand, he was too serene for her taste…she is only 21, for crissakes. He was ready to settle, or at least start building something meaningful, she flipped and couldn’t commit. She almost took his business from him. Jeez, that’s cold.“I don’t really believe in marriage, you know?”, she had said. Brandall gave me all the dirt before my Scott came trudging home.
“Hey, kiddo. Long time no see.”
Hug. “I gotta take a shower. I’ll be out in a minute, then we’ll go do something.”
Brandall: “Dude, you look like you just saw a ghost.”
“Yeah, and I’m looking at her right now.”
Nothing had changed. He was amazing. He looked just like he did almost 6 years ago when he first walked up to my parent’s house. I had a swatch of the plaid shirt he wore that day in the back pocket of my bellbottoms. We decided to go to his and Brandall’s favorite bar, I met all of his new friends, and ran into some of the old ones. Yeah…the same fookers who taught me how to play Three Man all those years ago. Monard, Billy, Ray….
I told him about my family, he told me about his. And they wanted to see me. Wow, and this time Jana didn’t actually want to kick my ass. The drinks started flowing. So did the truth.
I meant it when I said I had NEVER forgotten him. So I started telling him all the insanity of the last 4 years. He reciprocated. Before we could go much further, we went ahead and hit the hard stuff.
“So, what was your wedding like?”
“Wedding? I wasn’t aware I had one of those. All I remember is a birthday party, an ex-girlfriend, some pot brownies, a coupla people wishing us well as they grimaced and a bunch of people playing with fire in the backyard. You? “
“It was nice. It was on the beach, and it was really Celtic. A real pain in the ass too, though. We had a horrible fight that night….we always fought though.”
“Eek. I’m sorry honey.”
“It’s okay, really. I’m pretty relieved actually. You and I never fought.”
“No, we didn’t really ever. We kind of just breathed.”
“Why did you marry her, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“I loved her, she’s not a bad kid. We kind of were pressured, if I was gonna live in Gainesville with her while she went to school. Little screwed up now….and you’re gonna think this is weird…but she was Irish. That was important. Ha. You? Why did you marry him?”
“Um. I don’t know. I know I loved him, but things were way screwed up before we got married even. I guess I just felt like I had nothing to lose. I knew you were married, or getting married. Actually I thought you were married way before you were. And….he was NOTHING like you. Or Rob, come to think of it.”
“Ugh. Don’t say that name.”
Pondered that for a while.
“Are you staying at my place tonight?”
“Go ahead. Stay. You can drink more then.”
After laughing, crying, snorting, heehawing etc. through the night, I’m sure you could hear some snatches of the conversations.
“You spent how much on her rings? 4 Grand? Are you insane?”
“Shut up, brat, you didn’t even get one!”
“Yeah, well, you didn’t get yours back either! At least I married a cat-lover! She’d only let you have a fish!”
“She didn’t like cat hair.”
“Oh please. She was as anal as they come, and you know it.”
“Well, he sounds like a nasty lying asshole…” (wolfish grin)
“Only on his GOOD days…Hee! And she sounded like a boring slut.”
“Easy, killer. Ugh, and you cut your hair for HIM”
“No, I cut it for ME. But I think it’s time for a cut anyway. You were always daring me to shave it.”
“I wanted to see what you’d look like with both heads bald..”
“That’s horrible!” PAUSE
“You know, Kir, you shoulda married me.”
“Oh yeah? Well, you dear, shoulda asked.”
“I thought I had……”
I could go on forever about that first night. We played platonic up to a point, until I couldn’t take it anymore….I kissed him very lightly on the lips, almost like I had that day by the pond so many years ago.
“I NEVER stopped loving you, I never forgot you.”
“You set the goddamn standard….and no one has ever been able to breach that. I’ve been running from you for so long. I never thought I’d see you again, never thought I could. I have …”
“…missed you so badly.”
And that night, Windigo slept like she hadn’t IN YEARS. I didn’t have to stay awake wondering what was going on his head, whether he’d be gone in the morning. I didn’t have to sleep lightly because I felt like I had to keep watch, be the protector, deal with some flippant attitude in the morning. I didn’t have to walk on eggshells for fear of a blow up, or baby someone. I got babied. And I WANTED to walk naked around the room. I had NO fear, like I should cover up my body…hide it. I felt beautiful, after being ugly for years.His eyes blinked open, bright piercing blue, and warmed as soon as he saw me, reaching out a paw to drag me back in.
The past few weeks have been more than weird. The morning I left Scott’s house, I had to drive back to Daytona considering everything that was happening, or violently changing, in my life. I had the radio blasting, and that’s how I found out about the attacks on the World Trade Center. I was shocked, frantic, so many mixed emotions……I was stuck between fear for a loved one, more than that really…..and the elation from what had transpired. I cried all the way down 95. Too much feeling, and no way to really get it out at once.
Scott got put a little on the back burner, just because so much was happening. I got the balls to finally instigate my divorce, I was frantically trying to touch base with everyone in Maryland, New York, and Arizona. I felt something change in me...kind of like an intolerance for my behavior over the last few years, the strength to reach out to people I care about and the resolve to cut out dead weight. Off came the hair. I piped up, reached out, got angry. And I started taking responsibility for who I am, who’s important to me, what’s important to me. Hey, we can all laugh, saying, the world will still be there tomorrow when we wake up. Are you so goddamn sure?
I needed some time to remove some guilt and remorse from myself. I needed some ‘fix Kir up time’…..and over the phone, Scott was saying, “It’ll get easier, girl. I swear.” “Yeah, but you just got through your divorce, you don’t need to deal with mine too.” A coupla weeks and NO word. I needed that, because I was able to state exactly what was going on in my heart and my head, and there was NO turning back this time. I’m safer than I have ever felt or been before…..I’m also in the most danger. ‘Cause if I follow through this time…..I am ultimately the person responsible for abandonement, I know that now….but if I follow through, which I am SO hungry to do, then that’s it. That’s forever….and I am so afraid. We both know what it means.
“I don’t want you to think I’m running to you from something. I’m seeking you out because I want only you. But you are not going to trust anyone for a while….me almost more than anyone….but I will wait. I’m not leaving until you come with me this time. I believe you. I believe in you. You’ve never given me any reason to doubt you. And I love you.”
“I am never letting you go again. I’m coming with you.”
“Then I guess that settles it, huh?”
We’ve planned a trip to New Orleans in November, where we’re going to stop to meet some of his family. While I was out those four years….he found his biological father….and let’s say it’s fitting. Yeah, Mike Cicelli Bramer is “Dad” because he was always there( quiet, stoic Italian man…..would wait until everyone in the house was asleep, even Scott, before he and I would sit out on the front porch, chain smoke, and shoot the shit.)…..but Ray Hudson’s important too. Anyone who spawned Scott can’t be that bad of a guy. And he’s flying to Arizona with me in January to have a look around….and meet some new additions out there too. I’ve asked if June was too soon….because my welding classes let out in May….”We’ll see, Crazy, we’ll see.”
We’re going where Agie’s ashes were spread Sunday, because neither one of us really had a chance to say goodbye. I want her to know that life has a real good chance of working itself out again.
There are moments when I can’t believe he’s here. I can’t believe that after ALL THAT BULLSHIT…..there he is, sitting right next to me, slyly looking out of the corner of his eyes, his hand on the nape of my neck drawing patterns, maybe thinking the same thing I am. The face I swear I looked for around every corner for four years, is right in front of me. The boy who I loved before Kash and I had even met, the reason why I chose Baltimore to go to school, the one person who can go to one of my family reunions, knows everyone’s name, and in what order they come, whose front porch I painted the giant bee, who grinned really big when I showed him I had learned to drive stick shift ‘proud of you’….the only guy my mother will ever say, “He’s always been such a sweetheart.” Yeah, but don’t get him angry….it rarely happens…but it is none too pretty, lemme tell you. And if he comes jumping out of a closet wearing my bra and panties again!……I’ll beat him. Ah hell…he likes that shit, though.
I don’t know what to do with myself hardly. I’m estatic, even if this is a real bizarro time for this to come about. And to think, lightning does strike twice. I have MY proof. I’m scared…I don’t ever want to fuck this up again…..but I don’t think I will. It’s just so amazing to breathe again. I hear a train down the road from me, and I think how that same train will probably pass his house in 45 mins…will it wake him up too? And what time is he showing up Friday? And he’s calling me at eight tomorrow, and we’re having dinner with his parents the day before Halloween…and, and, and…..remember when I said I wonder who would be standing with me at the end of the world……I think I have a pretty damn good idea who it is now.