Forget it, don’t look back. close the floodgates. I promised myself immediate damage control.
I searched every contact on my phone, but what drunk man would have remembered the simple rule of saving a goddamn number before taking a complete stranger to bed. At least find out if she had a working telephone number as some sort of background check. Did I not even think of the countless diseases that filled these streets? Syphilis? Gonorrhea? The flu for crying out loud. This was basic textbook knowledge, and the mode of transmission: sex.
After a few minutes of trying to find any possible excuse to be mad at the situation and making myself a victim, I couldn’t deny her. I couldn’t deny her access to completely consume my thoughts. Strangely I felt a homesickness for a girl I barely knew, but all my senses desired her. I was on the side of some highway bridge wondering how I got here. Like my touch would never feel it’s ultimate capacity until it was her skin I were touching. My brain had never released this toxin called euphoria until it was her voice in my head. And words I have read or said before were nothing in preparation for her speech.
Any chance to nip it in the bud had expired the moment my lips swelled upon initial contact. When my glands went into overdrive and my mouth watered for her taste. There was the release and I wanted another dose, a hit to suffice.
I couldn’t hide my face, my son of a gun pathetic face of an emancipated man. Should I hide in the bathroom? What did I have to hide from? But the lunch room felt too exposed, who knows who I would see, Laura in research? Steve from downstairs? The florescent lights and coffee stains only made me feel more claustrophobic. The recycled air only strangled me more.
Her response: On what kind of terms?
He response reached my lungs with crisp air and vulnerability- her name was Lila.
“I have to get this,” which is what I’m pretty sure she said. The club hardly provided any acoustic for talking. I nodded as she walked off the floor. Must be one of her clients. The MDMA wasn’t supposed to hit for fifteen more minutes. I usually calculated all my hits, dosages and highs- timing a perfectly orchestrated phenomenon.
The last time I was rolling on stimulants, I threw up behind a warehouse on the North Shore. It felt nauseating, throwing up blasphemy at someone’s workplace. The cold shriveled up my spine, and the winter breeze hit my throbbing body. It was the furthest feeling from security, feeling so vulnerable out in the open. It killed my high instantly. I so badly wanted to wipe away the acid, but it only stained my clothes and followed me home until the next morning.
When she returned, it was everything I needed on a night like that. Warmth, embrace, comfort, stability in her veins and finally a pulse of euphoria. Pure pure joy. Simple dumb happiness. I scanned her down, from glossy eyes to powerful lips, and I started smiling- just like that.
You’re already my favorite place to be.
She broke me down, every enzyme churning and dancing starting with her lips, masticating in forms of small unknowns, till there was no discernible sight of myself. Just a molecule of what once was me. Food moved down to the stomach through the esophagus via a process called peristalsis. Her peristalsis were rhythmic waves of squeezing and pushing food through the gastrointestinal tract, where her gastric acids lure me and fool me into my death and demise. Take me as your man, and slice and dice up my pieces, and I will serve myself onto you. This was pure unadulterated fun.
Drug rose, music ascended, desire induced. I was high. I could feel it injected in my nervous system. My heart beat pulsating through my fingertips. An atomic bomb dropped and released the soothing calm within the corners of my skin. As if all the leaves off the tree were falling into place. Thoughts sequestered into a single harmony, and internal butterflies guided me. Rocking my head, back and forth, my body just felt hypersensitive yet detached. My nerves were dancing, my bones were weightless. I pulled her, pressing her backside into my frontside, feeling her body stimulate all of mine. Every fabric of her dress, sleeves, strand of hair overrode my senses. Into her eyes I gazed, her face turned scarlet red, her moody hazel eyes turned into fire. She was singing to me. Words started to hit vibrations, but the melody rose high and in the lyrics I heard her sing:
Warm, warm is I
Who am I, to call her mine
and sky, sky above
rain and cloud, she is blind
hold, hold me close
warm is blood to her pulse
and god, tell me why
she is fine, oh so fine
I desired her. And I wasn’t afraid of losing something I wanted so much. And this freeness, liberation stretched out my limbs and muscles so far that I could cover her entire being under my body.
I was so happy, I could die. If you happened to find my exposed carcass littered along, left by the wayside of other millennial inhabitants that didn’t make it past their prime, please lift up my entrails and whatever is left of my skin, hair, and pass it up for the gods. Maybe this goddess could take pleasure in this fool’s untimely death by happiness.
Out my mouth came the words I love you. The words lifted chains.
Commonwealth Ave was still alive, undergraduates lined the streets, the girls in their all-black ensembles, trying to get into one Allston frat house or another. Wearing thick coats in the dead of winter, just to hide some skimpy number underneath. Those girls used to please my every need in college. I would act so nonchalant around them, yet my every action served to please them. Secretly hoping that one of them would give me the time of day, laugh at my quick witted remarks, and not choke if I went in for a slight flirtatious peck. They were all victim to my immature game of please feed my desire for attention.
I felt young again being once again surrounded by my youth- and yet more aged and refine with Lila grasping my arm as we waltzed down the side streets. We laughed and cried, sharing stories of our fathers as young children. Her father forgetting her at Disneyland, and my abandonment at school for hours. Once quite pitiful memories just bursting at the seams- everything was amusing. I didn’t have the consciousness to worry about the neighborhood, who laid inside trying to sleep when these two, too old adults, crackling and crowing like schoolchildren.
A Wellesley girl like herself had never been subjected to Boston . The wild random nights meeting strangers at midnight, then the slight eeriness of 2 am, when the city went quiet. She talked about her college days, her thirst for expression in Catholic high school, translated to the strong community of feminism on her all girl’s school campus. Sexuality was constantly prowling the campus dorms and classrooms. I asked her if the rumors were true, ignorantly not knowing better. But she answered mildly, not offended, “Everyone isn’t gay, but a lot were bisexual, or at least exploring it. But most of them were classic overachievers, very Mona Lisa Smile, and slightly brash in conversation due to being socially stunted.” Then came a couple misogynist run-ins with elitist Harvard boys. She explained the money and ego flooded these young men’s minds, and having a Ivy League title didn’t hide the fact they were still just 18 year old kids on their own for the first time.
At this rate we could’ve walked all the way to Chestnut Hill via Brighton. But she insisted we talk the night bus back to her place in Cambridge. Which I admit was the better plan, my apartment was infested with roommates and unknown nightly visitors. At her’s we could stay up all night, undisturbed in her one bedroom walk up.
“Have you ever had an innocent sleepover with a classmate that turned into something else?” I asked. Her tongue played with her lips, as if to tease me, making me hard for her answer. Young Lila finding her own body and identity amidst the sea of young foolish Wellesley girls, made me feel a new tingle of desire, for her and for the 18 year old Lila.
I had a sudden drop in my stomach, I would never know that Lila, a girlish brevity that followed her teenage years. I pulled her in with both arms, taking a whole inhale of her hair, the nape of her neck- never allowing myself to let go of this. I had Lila the woman, the accomplished young mental health therapist, the forgiving and beautiful starlet of New England. An entrepreneurial young spirit, working as an independent counselor, securing herself a steady life. Her success made me a bit envious.
5. I’m not OK
There’s a point in one’s life, after long exhausting periods of “discover” and search for meaning, one comes to realize that there are no answers. There is no meaning.
Then a sudden and dreadful silence fills you up. You are your most alone and vulnerable. The hole sinks deeper, darker, and colder. The hold becomes permanent for those who cannot see the light, “What’s the point?” No one is going to give it to you. No god, human, children or creature. No one will give you anything. In this chaotic, codependent, society of barbaric individualism, people neglect the broken, the weak and homeless and look with distain. Religion can comfort some temporary relief, because then you are surrounded by the same reality, the truths you adhere by. And suddenly life becomes a little more bearable. Morals, values, ethics all necessary in companion to match yours, a tiny bit closer to your “reality.”
Depression became my obsession. Sure it is an illness, in the same way a deficiency or a blood clot can lead to death. But I’ll tell you something, then everyone is sickly ill, because it is in our nature to be prone to mental illness. Some have it better than others, a web of their class. Some who are naturally less prone to feeling the disease thanks to their genetic makeup. Others who have been blessed with great nurture. And then there is me, one not born of privilege, exposed to the disease.
Researchers like myself are either too optimistic or pessimistic about one’s own life. We accept the fact that our decay will return to soil, so that some nutrient can soak up our nitrogen and help reproduce new life. The optimistic ones relish the idea, while those such as myself don’t care when our timely demise may occur- because our bits and pieces of us will just return. Biogenesis will take care of any afterlife I may want for myself .
Jennifer was my gateway drug, dragging me into the scene of depression. The wound wouldn’t have been so deep if I hadn’t allowed her to cut me. I ignorantly consumed her words and the subsequent lies, unknowingly setting myself up for immense pain. I believed it, every lie she built up. She quietly slit a small cut on my peripheral, and to my unawareness it only grew deeper, until one day the truth spilled out like hot acid down its trenches leaving third degree burns on my consciousness. A whole blanket of numbness engulfed me. My body went into auto-drive and my person pulled back from my skin. For days, months, my mind took a backseat and I let my body run automatically. Not even realizing my own breathing, hunger or pain. I couldn’t even describe it to my friends or family without choking. I was more in disbelief than angry. Soon I just became angry at myself as if I knew it all along, that I wasn’t good enough for a monogamous promise. I was cheated on. Cheated on an idea I didn’t deserve.
Jen. Jennifer. Did I have the right to call her Jen at this point? Or was I sentenced to a forever of Jennifer. She was still saved on my phone as Jen. Easy, simple, Jen. My college sweetheart, four years attacking university together. The beauty of having her with me, having a partner to awkwardly fumble around with, discovering and pleasing my first woman. She made me a man, she made me decent, she made me desirable. We were the class favorite, a crowd pleaser. Known on the dorm floor as “that couple” and it was a known fact that she slept in my room every night during junior year. My marriage proposal was some sort of last attempt to keep her. I needed her, because I couldn’t bare be with anyone else. When she accepted the offer in Duluth, I proposed. I could’ve handled Framingham or even Providence, but to go north was too far for my infant heart to sustain.
Maybe it was the lack of warm ocean current in her new city that made her reach for synthetic warmth in a kind stranger. Any excuse would’ve been better than her blaming me for emotionally stunting her, and holding her back from dating other men. To have married me, and be stuck to me for an unforeseeable amount of time made her claustrophobic and scared. When living a life without her made me most fearful.