I'm having a really rough time. Perpetual temporary housing; daily reminder of disintegrated family; work (just look at the word; it's ugly); uncertainty.
Nothing happens for a reason and I hate assurances otherwise. Everything does have a cause and effect, however. I've spent plenty time going over the causes, bitching to people about them, writing the occasional play or really bad lyric about them.
Now for the hoped-for effects: I move out. I learn how to handle the paperwork. That deserves repeating: I learn how to handle the paperwork. I excel in the program. I start a life in which daily action is not dependent on whatever dumb shit happened to me as a child. I make art; fuck, that's what all this is for, fuck.... I make art. I start a new home. Maybe make someone happy, make someone feel less despair in being a person.
I know the breakdowns get worse as I get older, and they'll continue to get worse throughout what's listed above. But the commitment gets stronger; the ability to say something that may matter at some point grows.
And for now, that's all I can tell myself to get through this current miserable state of being.
Freud was simplifying shit a bit in saying all we need is work and love. Leaves out qualifiers.
"In the novel Comment C'Est (1961) Beckett reached a new level of austerity - a mythical universe peopled by lonely creatures crawling through the mud on their bellies, occasionally encountering another, similar individual for a brief interval of grotesque attempts at communication, then crawling on, endlessly."
But, but, but...
"On the one hand it is tragic that Winnie should be so cheerful in her terrible and hopeless predicament, on the other it is funny; in one sense her cheerfulness is sheer folly and the author seems to make a deeply pessimistic comment on human life; in another sense, however, Winnie's cheerfulness in the face of death and nothingness is an expression of man's courage and nobility, and thus the play provides a kind of catharsis. Winnie's life does consist of happy days, because she refuses to be dismayed."
As most things are.
An attempt to explain away this summer on this electronic space of expression / gossip forum / venting network / goat-themed writing tool would be far too complicated of a task for my mind to handle, not to mention I have to devote today's time to scribbling on, chopping up, and pasting together oak-tag, because apparently no-budget productions puts one back in third grade.
So, to put it as a text-book would, because, fuck, why not: This section will high-light some of the more memorable moments and emotions experienced over the summer and will conclude with selections of writing that have been come to be as accounts of the events and expressions of the emotions. Word.
Dominican Republic. Trust me when I say that this is a positive comment: I have no clue what's going on in the world. Yes, I read about it in news articles and in class, and my professors throw the learning of their careers and scholarly pursuits at me, and I feel this overwhelming guilt because I know I have it better than I should, but I just couldn't FEEL it until I got on a plane and landed somewhere else. I couldn't feel poverty until I walked through a city of shacks and hollowed out cement blocks that actually make up one of the "nicest" urban cites in the country; seeing, as I walked teary-eyed and silent, babies playing in garbage bags and being bathed in contaminated water from forgotten sewage dumps, and starving horses wearing thin rags for skin over visibly bloody ribs wandering around the streets looking for garbage to keep them alive. I also didn't feel the beauty of the human spirit in its entirety (I say entirety because some things I went through in high-school and some things I witness loved ones go through on a daily basis have definitely taught me a thing or two) until I played with a bunch of children who had no garuntee of the next meal yet who smiled and laughed whole-heartily when they received kindness, and until I sat in the modest home of a poor woman who invited a group of strangers into her home in order to save them from the heat and actually apologized for not having more to offer, and told us, sincerely, "My home is yours." My outlook has not necessarily changed, but it has improved. I'm looking into Drama Therapy for grad school as a direct result of this trip. And I'm planning on going back next summer to volunteer at an elementary school, and plan on taking advantage of any opportunity I have to travel. I just feel like even though I don't know what's going out there, I have the urge to find out, and maybe, hopefully, I can help others when it is within my means.
Oh, and yea, we partied pretty hard while we were down there. For instance, I spent my birthday in a dance club in an actual underground cave. And there was a bar and a club right across the street from the hotel. And my roommate could chug straight rum. Aaaaaannnnnnd lots of other stuff that you can observe in my facebook pictures.
That kind of trip has been a hard act to follow; the rest of the summer has dragged out and rolled on, and, in retrospect, it escaped all to quickly.
I "taught" a bunch of little brats how to "act" at the Oceanside Library. Only a handful of the twenty kids had any raw talent that could serve as a foundation to begin acting lessons, and most weren't interested in learning in the first place, which is equally as essential as raw talent. One group prepared a scene that consisted of running back and forth on stage while a Britney Spears song played over the speakers, and I would spend 10 minutes directing another group to move around the stage as they acted and then when I stepped back and asked them to do the scene, they stood frozen in one spot. What's funny is when I asked "So... Uh... What happened to the movement?", they gave me these bewildered looks and said things like "Oh, yea, we know." One girl exploded every time someone called her something other than her name, which may be understandable outside the realms of an acting workshop in which improv is used to strengthen one's stage work, but it was quite annoying to remind her that acting involves pretending and taking on the names of characters. What else, what else... Meh. It's always the case that the good kids get overlooked when the bad kids make you want to line them up and shoot them with hollow-tips. One little guy was one of the most polite people I've ever met, and was so eager to offer ideas (good ideas, at that) that it's obvious to me that he should go into directing. Three of the girls have a lot to offer the stage, and I hope they keep at it because they really seem to enjoy it. Aaaaand I got paid. So that's kool.
I'm directing another one of my shows, though this one pales in comparison to the last production (in my mind at least). I say that only because I rushed the script to completion instead of letting it take a natural course, and it pains me to observe the simplicity of its plot and the sometimes obvious holes in the characters. But, as always, my friends have come to the rescue, adding colors and dimensions to the characters and scenes that I didn't even expect to be there. Every project is a lesson in and of itself, and besides the creative lessons I've learned from directing this show, I also learned that anything less than thorough and painstaking preparation for a production is unacceptable, and I hope not to repeat some of the mistakes I have made in this process. But, uh, yea, come see it Thursday at the B-town Library, 7:30, $5.00 at the door so that my niece doesn't starve.
Speaking of my niece, she's wonderful. Just absolutely wonderful. At her birthday party, a little kid was crying every two minutes, stealing toys from her, and trying to open her birthday presents in secret as well as in plain sight of everyone. When she got her toy stroller and started to walk it around, he tried to snatch it from her, and would proceed to throw a screaming/crying fit when he was told he could not have the stroller. After one of his numerous attempts, I saw my niece roll the stroller into the house and toward her room. I thought she was upset and I followed her inside to talk to her. When I got to her room, I saw her pulling another stroller out of the closet, and she said "This one's for him." She then went back outside and gave the other stroller to the little boy. I don't think many adults would have that kind of level-headedness and generosity. Love her. So tiny.
Umm what else.
Splish-Splash is quite an experience in race relations. I mean, its basically shoving 14,000 people of just about every different background into way too small of a space, and watching them hate each other. Me, Lou, and James couldn't help but wonder why everyone wasn't just rejoicing in the fact that we were in a land of waterslides, skipping from place to place and singing along to the happy music coming from the loudspeaker system.
Oo Pittsburgh was fun. The drive was therapeutic, both ways, and Mr. Healy knows how to party with the best of them. And knows how to use a grill to its full potential. I can't wait to visit again.
I guess I'll just include some of the random blurbs I've jotted down and get going with the oak-tag.
I got into my first fender-bender the other day. My car was a little dented up but there wasn't a visible detriment to this man's silver bumper. He got out of his car and nonchalantly walked around to examine it.
"I'm really sorry. I'm really really sorry," I said.
He wore a frown but it was only his lips. For the most part, his face looked like he was dealing with a silly little situation brought on by a silly little boy. It was below him, it was in his way, it was something he could deal with in thirty seconds and then walk away from it. And that's what he did. He never said a word to me. He never so much as moved his eyes in my direction. All he did was flick his thumb across the edge of the bumper. He then rubbed his thumb into his index finger as he walked back around the car. He got in and drove away.
It was like I was never there.
This is exactly how the girls that I like most deal with me.
Eventually, I'm just going to get behind the wheel and slam into everything at full speed and hope they want to talk about it then.
Her affection is that of a cat. This is not to say that her breath is vaporized fish and it is not to say that her eyes are black slits in green ovals and it is not to say that she has a tail. Instead, it is to say that for the better part of knowing her, you feel that you are of no consequence. She glides by you, and you gesture for her to come to you, displaying the hands that you are sure will give her pleasure. But she keeps going, finding pleasure in the objects around her and, mysteriously and admirably, in her self.
But then one day, after your fair share of lonely nights, pushing your self away from the the thought of her only to drift into dreams of her, she takes her delicate and deliberate steps directly toward you. At first touch, she seems almost absent-minded, as if the contact of your two bodies is just an activity to get the blood pumping faster to her brain so that she can ponder more significant things. And this makes you try harder, searching for the ways to make her body react. Eventually she invests her self in the activity, letting out some signs of satisfaction from her throat. But all the while, her eyes stare out into the images of her thoughts, or they stay closed as to keep external images away, or they stay focused on the body parts involved in the activity. Never are they on you, with you meaning your own eyes.
When it's over, she slides away from you, or stays quite close but there's no question that she's done with you for the time being. You wonder whether or not you've really done anything for her, but you have some slight confidence that at least now she will remember you as an object from which pleasure can be derived.
And from time to time, you try a little too hard and push yourself at her. She responds with what you call "love-bites."
I wanted to refer to you in ways that would make the brightness that I see around you in memories translate into words. But all that came out were excuses and fony rationalizations, built with just enough intellect to rule out the heart as their origin. All these tiny testaments to a generalized and vague love, in short fragments spoken through a thin and pale voice. Not enough to crack me open down the middle and show you these emotions that seemed to be a bonfire in my ribs.
And you kept dropping bombs all over the kitchen; though, being as you can get literal about things, I should refer to the bombs as hints. They landed on the pots and pans that you washed and dried and stowed away until the next time they were thought about and then subsequently messed. They also landed on the boxes of all sorts of bread crumbs and oatmeal and dog food and pasta that hadn't been thought about in months and probably wouldn't be thought about for months to come, occupying their new spaces. And they exploded and sent waves of suggestiveness into my ears. They suggested that maybe you wanted me to make you feel good enough. Funny how it works, the meaning of just the words is that you're not worth much, and the meaning of the moment is that it is my duty to make you feel like you are.
For instance. When I stand where the waves die out into thin sheets of water and dig my toes into the ocean's kind of soft muddy earth, I sometimes disturb some tiny crab's home. And, in this crab's world, it's nothing major, just keep digging downward until you're home again. But now it's on my foot. So it starts using all of its tiny little legs to go home. But all it's doing is running its legs down the insides of the caverns and highways lining my skin, which is much stronger than anything it has evolved to handle. And it feels good. It isn't supposed to, because its from some foreign land of muddy life that you can't even imagine, which makes it gross, and it shouldn't be touching you like that. In the abstract it feels good. In the circumstance, it's unacceptable and you shake it off your foot and take a couple of paces away.
You feel like that all over my body. That sensation of a thousand little legs paying attention to very minute amounts of skin on every inch of me. You make me feel like that when you say something great or when do something great with your body. And, in the abstract, that's amazing. But in our circumstance I wish I could shake it out of my life and take a couple paces away.
For instance, the way the waves just knock me around. They take my body and throw it and tumble it, and for days after an encounter my muscles and bones scream at my nerves to spite me. And just for a few moments of thrill, I run right into a formidable wave. That's what you feel like. I keep running right into it just for those few moments.
I drive home-- blazed out of my mind-- yet again.
I park perfectly. Sober-- I'm not much better than my grandmother who wound up parking her car on the front lawn instead of in the driveway. But with a few good bong hits of Amsterdam weed and the wine still a very fresh memory for my blood-- I park like I'm a fucking pro at it. Like, my park made other people's decent park jobs look all crooked and accidental.
I stand in the kitchen, eating low mein out of the cold container. The more writerly of my thoughts are convincing me that there are poetic undertones to my every action. I'm pacing the kitchen-- adding real heavy significance to my nonexplosive, stable, suburban conflicts. By the time the box is empty-- I've thought myself into a symbol of the Greek tragedies. Bizarre.
I always feel silly after a night of sprawling out on Ariel's floor, crying into the familiar bends and curves between her face and her shoulder. And she lays there, holding me, looking tearful herself for a minute.
Truly Your Main Man,
I've never been sad about leaving Ithaca before. So imagine my surprise as I got choked up pulling away from campus this past Saturday.
I was sitting in Cori's room, eating some beef lo mein, when it really hit me. She had packed all of her things into her car already. The room was empty except for some chinese food containers, a lap-top, the sound of Alanis Morisette provided by said lap top, and two theatre majors of varying heights. She was telling me about the Chismaydias, the family who lived next door as she grew up. My mind was a bit distant, though I didn't feel completely guilty being that I had listened well during other accounts of the Chiz's and because of the source of my distance. I was taking a few moments to appreciate it. There we were. No t.v., no alcohol, no computer games, no one else, no furniture, no posters on the wall. Just me and her. And it felt good. It felt worthwhile. It's really hard to say goodbye to a friend like that. Granted, I have amazing friends at home that I'm dying to see, but I haven't made a friend like that in a while. I tried to hug her hard enough and find the words to translate this, but all that came out was "You mean a lot to me" a few minutes before I left.
Obviously, I went to Lou's and got smashed afterward, though I took many mental trips to the thoughts of goodbyes while we partied.
The next morning, I got up excruciatingly early so that we could leave on time. I headed back up to my room, observed the mess of random boxes and bags, and felt a little hopeless. Then my phone rang, and I picked up, and Gabbie-- with characteristic enthusiasm-- announced her presence in the terraces. I went down and met her, loving the fact that she was wearing rain gear, a bicycling helmet, and a smile. She then whipped my shit into shape, consolidating and packing and organizing at mutant (like, the awesome mutants from X-Men kind of mutant) speeds. Maybe it's the ROTC in her. After we had shoved all of my stuff into my car-- which, if you have seen my car recently, you know is an amazing feat-- we said goodbye. Again, I wanted to say something profound and meaningful, but she giggled and said "Thank you for keeping me sane this semester." I echoed the same sentiment as I hugged her, thinking back to the first day of Story Narratives when I could tell that she was going the be a good friend.
Then I drove away.
It's nothing too deep... I don't think. But it's worth making note of. With Jay and Molly returning next semester, I have four great things to look forward to instead of dreading the return to Ithaca. This is my thanks to them.
So. I've been staying at my Godparents' place in Oceanside. It's so goddam awkward. Because they're so goddam nice. I feel like the long lost drunken godson that stays for the summer and goes through a life-altering lifetime movie event. Blegh.
Random quotes from some fun nights of the past week:
"You stole my tomigatchi... what the fuck are you saying?"
"This shit is cherry, yo!"
::insert LouCal being Winnie the Pooh here:::
:::insert Nick explaining to Alana that he is the mast of a ship, but she's thinking aliens here:::
:::insert Nick as Charlton Heston and James as Gollum having a conversation about patriotism here:::
Sigh. As always. A generally good sigh, with the usual hints of haventspokentomybrotherinfourmonths mixed in there.
Truly Your Main Half-Done With College Man,
It's amazing what an honest conversation over some ice cream can do for one's outlook.
Ambiguity is the enemy, my friends. Being straight forward solves many problems.
And makes Nicky G a happy camper.
Truly Your Main Man,
Wow. Guys. I just wrote pages of stuff then deleted it all. Then I wrote pages more, high-lighted it all, and jabbed the shit out of the delete button. (I even included that exact sentence in the last re-do). I'm trying hard to figure something out about myself. But it's like being walked to a rock that's double your size, being handed three toothpicks, and being told to get rid of the rock. I know it's there. If I were limited to one out of five senses I could figure out that the fricking rock is there, and I have all five plus I see dead Bruce Willis.
The rock: I only become infatuated with people who mistreat me and themselves.
So here I am. Giant masochistic rock embedded in my subconscious. Three toothpicks in my self analysis' hand. Not a clue where to start.
Let me elaborate some. I love people who don't meet the above mentioned criteria. I love people who treat me and/or themselves well. I admire them, I build relationships with them, I'm privileged to know them. However, that's not infatuation, ya know? I don't get stuck on these people. I don't wonder why they're not calling and I don't obsess over whether or not I'm impressing them. Once trust is established, worry is minimized. And I'm disturbingly addicted to worrying. So, the good people get the love, the bad people get the obsession. It's fucked.
It's easy enough to say "I'll just stop calling." There's so much simplicity in making a declaration; there's mind-boggling complexity in following through with what the declaration stipulates.
It's not even about the other person. If the other person were all that great, the situation wouldn't exist. In fact, as defined earlier, the other person is inherently and cripplingly flawed. It's about not getting confirmation that I'm good enough. I think that's the best way to sum it up. I get stuck because I'm always looking for that clear and solid confirmation of my worth, and all I get are ambiguous, half-assed gestures that leave me wondering.
Blah. I can't even explain this the way I want to.
It's not entirely my fault and it's not entirely the other person's fault. It's just a mess that summer will fix for me. If you're looking to get me something for my birthday, I'd appreciate will power and self esteem with nice little ribbons on top.
"But it's dangerous work
Trying to get to you, too
And I think, if I didn't have to kill, kill, kill, kill
Kill myself doing it
Maybe I wouldn't think so much of you."- Fiona Apple
There ya go. That's what I meant to say.
"Interpersonal relationships are usually unstable and intense, and may be characterized by alternation of the extremes of overidealization and devaluation. These people have difficulty tolerating being alone, and will make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment."
God I gotta get out of Ithaca.
Truly Your Main Man,
Update on the personal essay situation I mentioned in the last entry...
Well. I won't narrate. I'll let my peers speak for themselves through some excerpts of the written comments I recieved:
"Nick- Thanks for sharing this intensely personal story with me. It takes a lot of courage."
""Nick, Your piece absolutely amazed me. ...This is a really heavy topic that you deal with in an incredible manner."
"I'm glad to know that there are people out there like you who are able to look past those kind of things and value and respect the things that matter."
"This piece is about living life to its fullest extent no matter what has happened. You have to learn to move on and hold your head high. Once again congratulations on tackling such a tough topic."
I'm not posting these comments to pat myself on the back. You know me; I generally consider my writing to be mediocre. I'm sharing them because I just can't get over the way in which people restore my faith in the world every now and then. I'm cynical. I'm grumpy. I'm paranoid and insecure and I don't have a positive attitude about a lot of the little details that build up into a life. But then someone comes up to me after class and says "Thank you for that essay," or I read 20 responses like the ones I mentioned, and... I dunno. People are good, aren't they? It just feels so good to connect with someone, to say something sincere and have something sincere be said in response. When I can share something so life-alteringly personal and deep-rooted with strangers, and feel better off for the exchange, and I trust them with this knowledge about me and they learn something from it.... Wow. It just doesn't seem like such a bad little ball of continents and oceans after all.
Should I audition for the playwright showcase at the Kitchen? Yes or no? TELL ME!
Truly your main man,
I had a paradigm shift last week. It's better than sex, drugs, and beautiful cinematography all at once. Or like, beautiful cinematography about sex and drugs. But I don't do drugs so I guess I wouldn't know. Sex is good though.
Right. So. Back to the point. I've been blaming a lot of my troubles on the Nice Guy Conspiracy Theory for a while. It's pretty much my dominant philosophy on life whenever I'm single and not wanting to be single. You've heard it. "Girls don't like nice guys! Whine whine! Girls like assholes and they just want to be friends with nice guys! Bitch bitch! Nice guys never get the girl! WEEEEP!" Ya know? And, last week, I walked around campus being all emo with Dashboard lyrics ringing in my head, moaning to my friends about my situation, and coming up with every insecure fantasy that a guy with low self-esteem can come up with. But then I started watching a lot of movies. They included Eternal Sunshine, Vanilla Sky, Closer, and Eyes Wide Shut. I watched all of these at least twice last week. Now, my situation(s) is/are not on those levels, except maybe in sentiment. However, those kind of movies (and a bag of that sticky icky) get one thinking. And, I got some phone calls from the very insightful and brutally honest type, and... You're losing interest aren't you? The point. Yes, the point is this. I'm not a Nice Guy. No guy that claims he's a Nice Guy is actually a Nice Guy by his definition of Nice Guy. We may be polite and compassionate, but there isn't some big conspiracy or genetic disorder or evil warlock that is keeping girls from liking us. We just don't know how to handle situations. We invest too much emotion too quickly, while the "assholes" are confident enough in themselves to let the situation play out as it may. So, I've taken a step back, reevaluated a lot of shit, and feel a lot better. And the situation has played itself back into an area I'm comfortable with. And Tom Cruise has a messed up nose, man, what the hell? You watch two of his movies and you're ready to donate your life savings to some rhinoplasty for the bastard. Whatever, he thinks he has aliens in his body. Pssh.
Ummmmm okay I wrote a personal essay for Personal Essay and this essay is really personal. Like. It's that kind of stuff that you don't tell people. It makes people extremely uncomfortable. It's the dirty laundry of your life. Nah, worse than that. It's the shit stain on your soul that you try to hide with febreeze and bright decorations as distractions. It's the kind of shit that makes you uncomfortable to be you, because you're kind of a victim in the situation and there's no forgiveness and absolutely no, NO, closure. So yea. I wrote five pages about that shit. And, for some reason, I handed it in as my essay to be critiqued by the entire class. She handed it out to everyone Tuesday, and the class is going to discuss it tomorrow. I've already walked by some kids from class on campus, and they shoot their eyes away immediately. I'm gonna vomitt just thinking about this. I'm terrified. Why the hell did I do that? Ah. My biggest fear: the professor is going to go, "Okay, so what did you guys think?" and there's just going to be absolute silence. I'm regretting it already. Blah.
What else, what else.
Oh, I don't know.
I'm ready to get out of Ithaca for a while. This has been the best semester of my college career so far, in aspects of emotion, productivity, and general forward life progress. But I'm just done for now. Just want to do something other than the school thing for a little bit.
Anyone wanna make some movies? I do.
Okay I'm gonna projectile vomitt thinking about tomorrow.
Truly your main man,
The show is done. I'm sure I could say more about it but I'd prefer not to.
Some other things are done as well, though all parties involved may not be aware of it just yet. I don't want it to end... God, it seemed like it had so much more to go. But I can't be just one out of many. It just doesn't work.
Anyway. Here's an excerpt from a personal essay... I don't really know why I put this stuff up here, I don't think anyone's reading. Oh well.
I cut out the first few pages as to protect the innocent and guilty, so apologies if anything is unclear.
Right now, I'm sitting in the Coach Diner- or, according to me and my friends, The Roach- on Grand Avenue. I asked the waitress for a pen, and after a funny look, she pulled one from her pocket and let it go over my table.
I wouldn't bull shit you. None of what you're reading is some epiphany; some elevated thought I've had about my life. I'm sitting here with too many cups of coffee and an undercooked bacon, egg, and ham and I'm making a conscious effort to figure this out. I'm trying to figure out how I ended up halfway through my spring break with no place to sleep at night. I guess, on the surface, not many of my close friends have the same break as me. Until Friday, no one's home but Lou and his house is now off-limits.
But it's deeper than that. There's lots of subtext here.
I throw down a few dollars for the tip, steal this pen, and leave the diner.
With "seriously... no place to go," I drive for a while. I'm a displaced mass with no destination. I'm directionless and I'm becoming more and more soluble in the air with each passing second.
An image of my town's Harbor flashes in my mind and I point my car south. With a dozen possible routes to the harbor, I drive down the street of my old apartment. I pass it. I see my brother's car and before I can have any solid thought about it, I'm four houses away. And the only thought that I can process is "This hurts."
I keep pushing south. At the intersection of Milburn and Atlantic I wonder what it would be like to say fuck it and run the red light and get smashed by a truck. I wonder if my brother would show up in my hospital room and if we would be reunited by our common experience.
But the light turns green and I remind myself it wouldn't be so common. His reasons for having so little regard for life and repeatedly driving drunk are different than what would be my cry for attention. His reasons for getting behind the wheel one night when he could barely walk, swerving out of control, smashing into another car, crashing into a house and ripping it's foundation out, and landing himself in the hospital with glass tearing through his retina and a metal rod in his leg are different than what would be my act of desperation.
I'm driving down Eastern Blvd, about a half of a mile north of the water, when I realize that the subtext of my homelessness is not my own.
It was me whose world froze- I remember it clearly, in front of the Exhibition Cooking center of the Terraces dining hall- when my mother said, over the phone "Your brother got into an accident." It was me who observed how motion stopped, how my heart stopped, how life stopped as I expected the next words to be "He's dead." But it was me who collapsed in my room that day and cried tears of relief. It was me who sat down at the computer when there were no more tears and started writing a play. I wrote a play about two brothers. I wrote a play about one brother dying in a car accident in the end, and the other brother saying "I wish I could have done something to make you make a better decision." I wrote a play about how much I loved my brother, and how much the possibility of losing him had torn me apart.
But that's not subtext.
It was my brother who sat down behind me the night of the first performance. It was he who moved restlessly in his seat as soon as the character that seemed like him came on stage. It was he who got up and left after the first scene, slamming the auditorium doors behind him. He didn't see the love at the end of the play. He called our roommate and told him to deliver to me the message "tell him to get his shit out of the apartment and never came back." He left the note that I didn't bother to read, as I knew his words were worse than poison if they came from an angry place. It was he who felt humiliated and attacked. It was he who didn't call me for the months to follow while I was at school, up until spring break.
It's deeper, still...
I'm driving around the harbor area but I can't seem to find an opening to the water. The streets wind and circle around each other and I damn each individual who helped pave them. As I'm taking the curve around Bertha Drive, I see pass a cul de sac on my left and see the sun reflecting off of water. I slam on the breaks, put the car in reverse, and make my way to the end of the circular street.
There's a gate that keeps me from getting all the way to the water. I hate every aspect of it; its rusted spots, its see-through diamonds, its constancy.
As I sit and look through the gate, the story that truly got me to this point seems to emerge from the bay water and float into my mind. I close my eyes, place my head against the steering wheel, and imagine a man named Tony with my brother's features.
I don't know many details. I know he insulted my mother's wedding dress on the day of their wedding. I know he abandoned my mother and my brother, who was an infant at the time, long before my conception. I know my grandfather talks about his burning desire to break the man's kneecaps every time he comes up in conversation. I know he's the reason my brother is so much taller than I'll ever be and has such a different nose than mine. He drove a truck. He was Sicilian. With my head pressing harder and harder into the steering wheel, I wonder if Tony knows anything about me and my brother.
I wonder if he knows that the son he abandoned turned into my hero. Is he out there, maybe smoking a cigarette, flicking it right now, somehow knowing that his son was the coolest kid in town and that I wanted to be just like him? Maybe he's kissing his new wife goodnight with the guilty knowledge that his abandoned son turned to drinking, smoking, and selling drugs, because he never got over the fact that the basis of his life was rejection. Maybe he's dead. I hope so. Maybe he's dead and his rotting body holds the memory of the time he called my brother when he was seventeen and said he wanted to make amends. Maybe his forgotten body holds the unknown reason as to why, as my brother did the hardest thing he's ever had to do and went to the place that they had agreed to meet in New York City, he didn't show up.
Or maybe he's driving his truck down a highway. Maybe he's directionless, displaced, and soluble. Maybe he knows that I exist. Maybe he knows that what he did to my brother made him incapable of sitting through the entire play that night. I like that image, and I hold on to it. He's making a right turn and a tear rolls down his cheek as he realizes that he's the underlying demon that makes my brother scared to see himself. He pulls over to the side of the road, gets out of the truck, and falls to the ground weeping. He knows.
I lift my head from the steering wheel and continue writing this. The words get sloppier as I go.
I'm watching the water. It's twenty feet away from me. I can hear it move. I can smell its salt. I can see it play with the wind. But I can't get to it. It's polluted enough to remind me that the world isn't beautiful anymore but pretty enough to let me pretend that it still is.
I want to write you a happy ending. I want to use up the ink in this pen explaining how I drive to my old apartment and knock on the door. I want you to see my brother open the door and stare at me for a tense moment. I want you to hear him say "I'm sorry" as he pulls me toward him. And I want you to hear me say "I'm sorry, too." And, above all, I want you to know that the subtext that Tony laid out twenty-six years ago couldn't get in the way of the love at the end of this play I'm living through day by day.
But, the truth is, I'm probably going to sleep in my car tonight. I'll wear two sweatshirts and two pairs of pants and I'll still shake from the cold. And I'll dream. I'll dream of everyone who has ever hurt me and everyone who I've ever hurt. And as the sun rises and cuts through the windshield and on to my eyelids, I'll forgive them. And I'll wake up- if only for the hope that I myself will eventually be forgiven.
I think I had an anxiety attack in the shower. It was either because Gordon Webb is trying to kill me or because Herbal Essences has finally gone too far.
My plan was to go to sleep around twelve, wake up at 4am, and start studying for this huge Media Prod exam. What ended up happening was I laid in bed for four hours with a static thought: WHY AM I NOT SLEEPING. At four, I decide to give it another hour because twenty minutes of sleep now is probably an extra few seconds of living around the end of me. But, it doesn't work. I got out of bed and tried to study............ Crazy thing is, I was having violent physical reactions to the textbook. Like, I looked at something about aspect ratios in film and television and I convulsed. I am seriously sick of this course. Like physically sick of it. It's now 6:49 and I feel no more prepared for the exam than I did when I was in third grade. But (and I haven't felt like this about anything academic since maybe junior year) fuck it. I really, really, sincerely do not care about Intro to Fucking Media Fucking Production as taught by Gordo Fucking Webb. And I pray to the god I don't believe in that if anyone ever googles his name, this journal entry comes up in the first 10 results.
BETTER/LESS SCARY STUFF THAN THE ABOVE RAMBLE
I got cast in the second NoBucks of the semester. Jim Utz (coordinator of the BA Drama Program, playwright, kinda awkward but we love the shit out of him around here) is directing it. The show is actually 17 short plays crammed into an hour. They're all from the Italian futurist movement... which is pretty bugged out. I mean, theatre of the absurd is strict realism when put next to futurism. So yea. I'm "2" (collectively with Angelica) in Lights, "Pupil" in Education, "Man" in Negative Act, "C" (collectively with Eliza) in Feet, and "Third Character" (collectively with a bunch of people) in Vowel Refrains. I feel truly priveleged to be a part of such a talented ensemble and to be under the direction of Jutz. This semester has been great like that... Had I not even been cast in Far Away, I would have walked away from the mere audition having learned something and same goes for this show. It's wonderful to do theatre and remember why I love/need it instead of just studying it.
No, seriously, I don't want to study.
Sincerely your main convulsion,
could always just sleep in my car.