This is my second post today. No it’s not Christmas, just craziness. I owed you a post from Wednesday, which was the one I posted earlier today. This one is our usual Alphabet Soup.
G is for guest so I asked the author of The Lemming Transcript, and my best friend, to write a guest post because I love her and so should you. For serial. If I were lost in a deserted island and could only bring one thing, it’d be her. As I’ve said before, one of the hardest things about this trip has been the fact that I couldn’t bring her with me. Instead, I’ve had her write up something for us and, a bit selfishly, for myself because I thoroughly enjoy reading her. I hope you do too.
September 15: Of idle hands and playthings.
This is what happens when your best friend leaves; you lose the little sanity you have left.
It’s a reggae band. Reggae. I promised the bass player I would show up tomorrow. Decision-making skills aside, this has been an eventful night.
I don’t usually do this so blatantly, but here is a rundown:
Thursday, you know what that means, free film (and parking) in the Architecture department. Today they played Barbarella, now I can rate it and cross it off my Netflix queue, five stars. Jane Fonda was a babe. Today is different. I am going alone with no plans of drinking or partying afterwards, no sneaky hookups or kind-of-close buddies to divvy my time with. I told my mother I was coming home early, not to worry. And then I got there.
The last guy I dated is waiting in front of the door to the amphitheater, high. Confused, I say hello, and give him a kiss on the cheek as is custom. He tries to hug me as I peel away, and now we’re caught in this uncomfortable half-hug/half-what-the-fuck-is-this embrace. Just no.
Movie plays. While it develops, he asks me very loudly what the song on the soundtrack is every time a new song comes on. I don’t know any of them. He gets comfortable and decides to lean on my shoulder while he snoozes. On my shoulder. Mine. I don’t cuddle. What even is life?
Movie ends. We leave, he’s hungry and people have texted me to stay and drink. Fine, I eat with him and hang out for a little bit. Things have calmed down, now we talk about films and TV shows and music, and I feel oddly comfortable, almost like I used to before we smoked apples together.
Basket shows up, a buddy/friend/loverperson. He walks me to my car to leave my jacket, we change bars on the way back. We run into Val, we talk until she’s too high to talk anymore. She gives me an in at her volunteer job and she leaves. Basket gets me beer.
Denise tells me she is on her way to Rio, to wait for her. I do and she shows and she gets me a beer, and we split from Basket and we go to a reggae show in Taller. We walk in with beers from another spot. There are roughly six people in the crowd, none of them dancing. We’re dangerously close to a very attractive bearded guy with glasses, my kind, older with flecks of gray coming in at the temples. Denise goes to the bathroom and Drunk Guy stumbles his way to my personal space. I don’t want a drunk-guy-beer, so I smiled and said thank you and moved. He proceeded to kick me out of the place I was standing so he could talk to Hot Bearded Guy. Hot Bearded Guy asked me where I got my glasses; we talked about prescriptions for a good 20 minutes. I didn’t realize he was hitting on me. He left when I turned around.
Denise and I moved bars back to El Bori. The reggae band shows up, they tell us they’re playing in my hometown tomorrow. I’m more excited at the sound of my city’s name coming out of this gorgeous but dreadlocked creature than I am of the gig itself. Reggae all sounds the same to me, so I say yeah, and then I hear the conversation again in my head. I agreed to show up at their show, and knowing myself, I will show up. Shit.
Two guys from California and I talk about cellos. One guy not from California thanks Marx, for never doing hard drugs. I ask him why Marx and he says because he’s no god.
On the way to the car, two gay guys ask me when the train starts back up again, it’s 5am. I ask them which train station they’re getting off in, they say Sagrado. I offer to drop them off there. I walk back to my car with two strangers, and run over an entire sidewalk because they have closed the parking I am in. I drop them off, and then drive home. My mother has waited up.
This is what happens when your best friend leaves.
There’s something about aging that makes departures seemingly definite. Even if there are all too severe return dates and you’ve memorized them, it’s this subconscious recognition that the arrival will prove you different. There’s dust on their shoulder, their shirt is no longer crisp the way you remember it. Has your nose always been crooked? It’s been four years of this.
What do you do when all that you lurve jumps on a plane in the opposite direction? I never knew such flagrant codependence. Conversations seem pointless if I have nobody to make a face to to express my true feelings about it. Why, no, I do not think multiple choice exams with both an option for all above are correct and another for none are correct should be legal.
Why, yes, you make a good case out of your incompetence.
What do you do? There is no disconnect, this is the 21st century and we are millennials, what do you do when there’s only absence? When it’s not just her frame that is missing within all this, when it’s a balance that is being messed with? In the face of it all, it can only do to occupy your fingers with trivialities. The act of creation isn’t much without the cycle of sharing, but it can sometimes benefit from a lack of distraction. Destitute manufacture patching up the unraveling fabric of your time, no longer engaged in the tragic retellings of our past travels in a desperate attempt to relive them together. It would’ve been so much better with you there. My hands take to the needle to weave new stories of ephemeral love and everlasting loss, new levels of understanding abound, another quilt to cover ourselves up with in the cold when you come back. We’ll drink toasted marshmallow hot chocolates. The effervescence of our early 20’s quickly fizzling away, little truth bubbles sticking to the side of the glass when it doesn’t feel like you’ve gone yet, but you know better. The unspoken promises we’ve made with the other every time we felt found shaking in their boots with anticipation.
Will you be the same then? Will I?
No, this is what happens when your best friend leaves.
Everything keeps going the way it would, some say the way it should. Nothing stops. Things feel slightly different, like moving everything in your room two inches to the right, it all looks identical, but you will miss every time you drop your keys on your nightstand.
And, this is what you do. You write, affix lips to wound and hope you’re strong enough to gouge the other dry. You write new endings, different ones, to the things you’ve always done in the same way, you empty yourself out on stacks of paper to anchor down the other side, the one she used to fill, and you hope you both still read the same way, left to right, when you’re back.
This is how you mind the gap, making bridges out of worries of the breaks, crossing them to seal the spaces in between. You go to reggae shows to drown your sorrows, and you ignore the fact that maybe the reason you’re crying is not your impending loneliness, it’s the fact that all these people have dreadlocks, it smells like coconut oil in here, and I swear this band has been playing the same song for hours.
No, this is what you do, this is how you mind the gap: you tell her to have a nice trip and you mean it.
This is a journal, to help me through.