Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Crying is hard

I go for a long time without feeling and it's not like forgetting to take a shower where the requirement to look after oneself becomes overwhelming, we get to escape ourselves endlessly.

I hide.

Everything is a waste of time, something to validate your living experience falling down the shute to death. Some of us get it sooner, some of us seem to never die but go on without getting tired while our bodies secretly store the loss in places we can't see.

The linoleum floor was emaculately polished and shiny reflecting the soulless flourescents overhead hidden in their plastic recesses replaced once every eight hundred deaths. I stared at my shoes and shifted in the seat, a seat made for short term occupation sometimes forced to endure longer compression as people moulded to the hospital timeframe in best ways they know or unthinkingly don't know how.

The coke machine provided the only color in the waiting room, the deep red softening into a pinkish hue reflected from the sterilized floor. The rest of the room was a poor grain black and white film, three other strangers, some of them together, I don't care shared their own individual relationships with plastic chairs identical yet somehow never meant to comfort.

I usually didn't feel.

Her laughter was still echoing in the back room of my short term memory, the feeling still struggling to hold onto the trappings of before with her posture perfect and her hands and ten and two on the wheel, her hair in a pony tail, her concentration breaking from the road to me and our blended moments. I never left the scene in the car somewhere in my conciousness, I'm still there looking at her.

Thump thump thump, Estella really made it work where everything else failed.

Euphoria was her product and she gave it to me, starting from the first time she interrupted me on the beach in Mexico until, until the last joke that seems to have frozen my feelings for a lot of my waking hours. Feelings frozen don't return the same from the investment but meerly grant to elusive promise of another rendition of her adding to me just exactly the way that I can't do myself.

My days working gave me a superficial buzz of progression. Sometimes those days had peaks, like one moment when a take finished and as he was walking off I got a side glance and the look from Dennis Hopper that was probably just an acid flashback or maybe hopefully a telepathic "you got it kid" emanation. Those moments end, a burnt offering to time and faded, yet that last joke with Estella just will never go away.

Crying is good for the soul, but I don't do it anymore.

It was the dead of night and my three strangers held individual pensiveness and an unsteady desperation to get the bad news over with so we could at least know. I had been in the room for three hours, I don't remember pacing but I know I did.

I see the contours of her cheekbones derived from cooking different European genetics and the gypsy, or maybe spirit from a new place. I confuse the memory with her dancing in the shadows around a ten foot bonfire on a distant beach where it doesn't matter to anyone but me that I know the exact pattern of the wrap she wore over her little blue biknini and the way her hair flowed around her trapping my pathetic heart before she really even wanted to try.

The bruise on my forehead and the cut on my chin were swelled but I could have been back there on the beach wearing almost nothing perfectly healthy and intact wondering what she'd say next in her accented fascination.

She always had the cutting revelation, even the repeats made new sense.

I felt better that I didn't get the job in Toronto, better because she made me accept responsiblity for my success and failures. Estella opened the door on my limitations and proved to me that I was in control of my motion through life. We laced our love and companionship with laughter and extreme emotions and role play and fantasy.

"You know I could tell your brother's cat was Mexican", my comment was pointed to get her attention from whatever it was she was thinking, explaining, or mimicking on the car radio.

She looked over and pursed her lips, her left eye was slightly bigger than her right but I didn't care.

"How does a silly little man from Indiana get this birth information from the world of cats?"

I loved her insulting me.

"Trial and error"

She changed up gears, the muscles in her thighs clearly flexed and defined as her skinny legs activated the clutch.

"You tested Joey's cat?"

"Test, torture, same thing"


I broke her gaze and let her return to concentrating on driving.

"I did a series of freefall experiments, every time I dropped him he always landed on his head"

At that moment her laugh filled the car, and that permanent record in my memory. That's the first thing I remember about that time. The second is the sound of metal tearing and glass shattering or cracking, and then a blunt trauma as the airbag knocked me out.

I felt heat from the pink reflection of the Coke machine, which was impossible. As the glass door opened three other people held their breath. They all looked up and then quickly sighed and returned to their silent anticipation. The man in green, a doctor I recognized from the urgent end of a hazy ambulance ride. He had a look of anguish on his face and dead but moist eyes, I knew from his slumped body language that he was tired and had bad news.

That last laughter was the strongest connection to Estella that I would ever have again. She did not come back from being wheeled into the emergency room, into surgery, did not come back from her trail of blood, I was less than I was before I'd been interrupted by her on the beach and taken prisoner.

I didn't sit, but as the doctor's hand fell from my shoulder I stood staring at the television in the other room through a glass partition. The television like my muffled tortured grief stricken soul was silent in the moment, the sound heard elsewhere, somewhere, anywhere but here.

The glass door slid open again, and my three companions repeated their urgent seeking with their faces as they looked up. It was not a doctor, it was dark and tall figure unusually dressed shabbily quite out of place in his own clothes, Estella's father. He entered the room and looked up at me, her eyes were alive in him and for a moment I was terrified of him.

The terror passed as I saw the fear come back at me in spades. His tear struck eyes pleaded with me in the passing seconds to reassure him but for what I know all he got back in return were my own imparting of emotion breaking it down in no uncertain terms that today was our day of loss and nothing was going to be easy.

He cross the room and wrapped me in his arms and with his head pressed firmly against my neck I could feel the heat of his body transfer to me. He squeezed me tight and my shoulder became wet with his tears. The memory of the sound of Estella's laughter and the rending of metal was replaced by the deep howling of a parent's pain.

The old man never reached out to me, never made me feel good enough until that last moment. With him crying in my arms and me holding him up, and wrapped in the torturous persistant last memory of my last good time with Estella, I finally felt accepted and acceptable to the world.

I was finally able to cry.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Back of my mind

How do I define my success?

It changes yearly, it's whimsical branch after branch of choice and failure and some success mixed in with help from people and a vacant mind.

I bring it without needing to think about it and each day that drives past leaves me with wonderment about how it was an how it could have been if only this or that had happened. I don't mix regrets with my daily life, but some time way back I used to mix it with chemical compensation and swim in the melancholy and euphoria all too often.

Estella eyed me from across the table.

It was a nice restaurant, new d├ęcor, new food, new chef, hotter staff than it really needed to have. Even the boys were pretty, pretty and gay, but I was not out of place and neither was she.

A full glass of scotch was already on it's way to yesterdays replay in the urinary tract, Estella's long fingers found some ice in her water. She stirred the water, she was toying with the cubes but never really concentrating on it, rather she was eyeing me because I'd just explained questionable content, intentions, reactions, and how I was given the short stick again.

"An actor has a range"

She pursed her lips and blew out some air, the blonde at the next
table was distracted.

"An actor has a range" Estella mimicked me. "Listen to you" She looked over to the blonde and rolled her eyes like they had an in joke about me.

I brought my thoughts into line, put my best defensive pattern in order. I stopped for a second and looked across at her almond eyed stare and puckered mouth and thought about how wrong I have been for every part I have ever auditioned for, how my grandfather voted for President Taft and other side branches that stick in my mind when I am not thinking about sex or money.

The conclusion I came to was that I was a crappy actor and nobody liked me when I wasn't smiling or hitting on them, and then I allowed myself to remember how often I hit on women and how often I smiled at networked people. I lifted the scotch and sealed the booze's fate in one gulp, I am a sloppy wasteful drunk, but at least I can restrain myself from blowing chunks when I need to.

It took me a swallow and a good minute to recognize that Estella's last comment was an invitation to speak, my move in this game where she was always four or five thousand thoughts ahead of me. I should have changed my tact, but she was so mesmerizing most of the time that I left most of my thinking in the laundry hamper and just never bothered to pick it up..

"Wendy asked me go, she said I was a shoe-in", and I detected desperation in my voice. I so hoped she believed what I wanted to believe. Wendy was a cool French Canadian version of me, manger-la-marde grimace just like me, as fake as me, and also as quick to swap attention to the next task at hand and not get bogged down in details once a decision was made.

Wendy was the perfect casting drone.

Cocking her head to the side Estella moistened her lips and blinked.


I wasn't really on a roll, you see I never believed for a second that Wendy's exuberant invitation to read for the part was just her way of motivating me to audition for an obscure venture twenty five hundred miles away in place where I know nobody and where I know it gets colder than Indiana.

Because I didn't believe that I was a sure thing for the part, really, I knew Estella didn't believe it. Between you and me, she could read minds and bend time and space to suit her oliverian hide in just the way she liked it.

"I didn't get it, I had Adrian asking for me but" I was shrugging while I was explaining in a way that normal people would have taken an eight year lease on, you know that bit where I made friends with someone important during the audition process and perhaps that meant something in this cloak and dagger industry.

I paused just a little too long and Estella's hidden Jaguar genetic augmentations sprung to life and she kicked me right in the balls.

"Why do you think that Sarah didn't like you?" Of course Estella was right on the money, like the knife in Mexico City, sharp and surgical, her wit was a swab of hydrogen peroxide ready to clean the wound, or in the last century, a handful of maggots.

"You knew I was going there didn't you?"

She smiled, I smiled involuntarily, she'd come back from disdain.

"Of course I did, you're a sleazy old man" She lifted her long finger from the ice in her little sea of Peligrino and flicked the water on the tip at me. This was where she wanted me to go to, that place where I was not whining about how unsuccessful I am, but in that space where I am taking full responsibility for my actions and where nobody is sabotaging my life but my own unguided sense of right and wrong.


"ooh, sleazy old man, I said it correct right? I just want you to admit that you undid all the work Wendy and Adrian did by hitting on her, if you ever really had a shot." She had heard my story, she had probed my mind with her powers, and as quick as she was she didn't need more explanation, she had me down.

"Yeah, you're right".

I leaned back and laughed.

"So you find blowing six figures and five months work funny?" She got her serious face back on and returned to her stare tactics until I'd come down from the laugh.

"Yes, it's fucking hilarious you all-knowing witch, I don't know how you know me so well, but then again, just think, if I got the part I'd be in Toronto right now and you'd be having dinner with some other old sleazebag."

"That's true, but you know I would be fucking him later tonight."