Goodbye, Basket Case

Here I am in this predicament for the eleven millionth time, and with every passing instance, the universe keeps on slapping me in the face that much harder. This time, she brought out her favorite hickory paddle and laid it on me like his psychotic episode about his father’s stint in the navy. Each holler was a bullet, every word was a bomb, the death stare a kamikaze. I loved him though, maybe I was too naïve to see his lack of self-love and awareness as a poison that was ready to contaminate a soul’s lake water. I didn’t care at the time though; I was too busy caught up in my own delusions to even fathom stepping out into the real world. It’s a pity considering that I was living in one of the country’s most iconic cities with a rent basically paid for. To me, he was the reason I was there, or I even considered staying there as long as I did anyway. I was willing to begrudgingly tolerate the bitter carcass mourning his lost love in the decaying living room. I was willing to silently daydream, silently see the cloudiness of alcohol and loss, and silently stare out at a scenic wasteland—all for just a dose of his affection.

The last day we were together highlighted our connection, our hatred, and ultimately, our love for each other. We decided to take a stroll along Ocean Beach, and if you know anything about that little mecca, never go looking for a parking spot on the weekend. After 25 minutes of patiently rolling down each street, I gave up, and as usual, his stubborn—or as he likes to call it—optimistic dogma began, “you give up too easily!” With practicality being my forte so to speak, I counteracted his response, “Why don’t we just go to Sunset Cliffs instead? It’s nicer anyway.” “No I want to go to the fair, I hate when you do this, Gus!” “Fine then, I guess I’ll leave.” After a few more phrases exchanged and a quick verbal brawl, he hurled the car door and walked out. Heh, idiot forgot his phone, but as he ran towards me, I decided to get my payback and I drove away with the reflection of him running in my rear view mirror. “That’s what he gets for being a dick,” I satisfyingly said to myself. But almost a millisecond later, my heart had a change of plans, and I waited for him at the next block. “Don’t ever do that to me again!’ he yelled as he plopped back into my miniature passenger seat. “I mean, you’re the one who left,” I clarified. “That’s true.” We continued to look together, until finally, we found a sole parking spot on one of the back streets.

The day, although cloudy, was a mere afterthought as we toured through the eclectic farmer’s market. He was back there talking to some guy about some stupid product as I got lost in the food samples and local art pieces. It’s beautiful how much raw talent and resources the community had to share with the world; I guess it’s what draws people there in the first place. As we left the festival, we bumped into two trash heaps that lived in our neighborhood. After some fake hugs and half empty goodbyes, he was insistent on swimming despite the subpar water conditions and 60 degree weather. “Have fun! If you want, go swim with the surfers!” I playfully yelled at him as he reluctantly went by himself to test the limits of how comfortable swimming in California beaches are. Two minutes later, he was sitting beside me.

By this time, the sun was setting, and we decided to take a walk towards the pier. I couldn’t help but to realize how much of a tourist trap this place was, especially with the dilapidated tenement facing me like a hospice patient after medicine time. The pier is beautiful at this time of day though, especially with the mix of tourists, meth heads, and happy families looking out into the dark blue vastness and crumb hungry seagulls. “You know it starts getting sketchy at this time of night, but I have a surprise for you first, remember?” I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of fun seeing him squirm like a child, especially since he’s been asking me about his surprise as soon as he found out about it, thinking about his goofy facial expressions still crack me up honestly. Earlier that week, I was on a delivery when I found the most scenic point in the area, and as I gave him that final gift, I couldn’t have been filled with more light, despite my efforts to contain my true feelings.

We were lying around in his room watching stupid videos at 3am when it all happened. That insane fantasy that I stirred up for months all panned out in a matter of three seconds, and for a minute, I thought I won. And maybe I did. All that tension that bottled up for so long, the intense fights about me living in my car for the third time in a year, the euphoric energy I felt when he was down the street. We kissed, we cuddled, our bare bodies melting with one another. “You shouldn’t go for selfish guys like me,” he said. I knew he was lying, I knew he was scared. Love’s that kind of feeling that you want to run away from as if it were Ebola. And for him, it wasn’t just love, it was the idea of acceptance. He loved another man, and there was nothing he could do to repress the doorway I just opened. Nonetheless, he thought masking tape was the solution, and burning our souls alive in a fire pit would douse his heart, but he missed one vital caveat—the soul is fire.

We took one last drive to that train station we walked out of together a couple months before when he blew up his jalopy on the freeway. “Don’t you want to stay for just 10 more minutes?” I pleaded. “Nope. You knew what was going to happen and I’m not going to apologize,” He ran off into the barren platform, and I drove off into the darkness giving him one last East Coast flick off. “He’s gone,” I thought. I sat in the empty parking lot outside the tenement we called home. I was listless. Too reluctant to go back into the place we just made love in and fall asleep knowing that he wasn’t coming back. By the morning, I knew I had to leave that ant lair, and better yet, I needed to continue onward despite the yearning pull to wait for him to come back. Fuck you, you piece of shit basket case. I loved love you.

I sometimes get so caught up in life striving for the next goal, the next journey, the next everything. But for a minute, he was there and everything seemed like the best acid trip you’ve ever had. I had no reason to fly. I was perfectly satisfied in my little world with him right there, but also, my complacency and love was my downfall. He made me conscious of that, and for that reason, he came into my life. What we felt wasn’t an illusion. The energy I gave and received was alive and organic no matter what the outcome was. But here is where I draw the line and drift on, baggage and all. Goodbye, you gorgeous soul, go find that happiness—I know I’ll find mine.

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