First Mad Love
Just another bus ride, but this time, everything is different. Exactly the same, but my eyes are indigo. Light attracts like, and I see it all clean. Clear rush through the highway spin, and not even the border stops me.
Observation sometimes puts me in strange positions. Caught in some barbed wire balancing act between distance and consumption.
I said good-bye today. Maybe not good-bye, but farewell, and the future turns uncertain. Caroline was leaving, but I was leaving first. Maybe it was easier that way, maybe it wasn’t, maybe it was just the timing and the time on the ticket. I couldn’t stay to see her go, though I wanted to. I had a life to find and a job to get back to.
Now something new hits. This freeway epiphany, this destination wind.
I’m so in love with her, but it’s not like the last time I felt like I was in love. That time, I was hanging on tight. Like living in the fucking entropy zone. Funny thing was — if you find that sort of thing funny — her name was Maxine. Funny if you know what I’m talking about — “The Entropy Zone is the punchline we forgot when something incidental made a racket we thought we had missed.”
Sliding towards an uncertain future is better than not sliding at all. In the past, it had always seemed like that. That not moving, that hanging on, that desperate plea of “Do you love me? I love you — do you love me?” Love that emotional bullshit. Highway eyes now, highway eyes.
Back then it was — well, it was October. Living alone and not wanting to. Just moved in to a studio, and after sleeping on the hardwood floor through lack of a bed, heading to work stiff and aching. I didn’t have time for anything. Anything other than too many tears. Damn. It hurt so much. Feeling so torn and twisted, and all I wanted was to be with Maxine.
Do I fall in love with people who are leaving or live far away because it makes it easier to be by myself? Or is it because I’m too scared to open myself up to anyone who is also physically close to me? So many relationships tied to distance, and now the bus moves me farther from love — again.
The phone brings us closer, but as I learned with Maxine, the phone also pushes us farther apart. When something is wrong, it makes it apparent that we aren’t close enough. No visual clues to go on, just the voice over the line. We were both so wound up over that distance. Breaks in the intensity, like cracks in some windshield of passion. The slightest break from smooth dream into fear of future would cause these explosions that neither of us wanted, and for my part, I couldn’t stop.
I thought I knew what I wanted — now I think I know again — but will I ever know what I want? Or will I just keep wanting something else? I wanted to be with her. I wanted it to work. I hated that I couldn’t touch her. I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to see the existence of an outside world, I just wanted to lie on my hardwood floor and cry. So badly just wanted to hold her, reassure her, whisper against her skin that everything was going to be all right.
Everything is waiting. Every touch is aching. Need need need. That’s what it all was. A long distance phone call, and an argument, and she hangs up on me. Fuck. That hurt, and there’s really not much that’s more frustrating. Now we don’t use the phone. We write to each other, sometimes, but it’s different this time. Caroline loves me, I love her, but we don’t need each other. We have our own lives, and we trust that perhaps our lives will come together again. It’s hard to adjust.
I remember when Maxine hung up on me. She was in San Diego, I was in Seattle, and I was crying. I haven’t done that for awhile. Cried. I did it at my parent’s house once, thinking about loss. It crept over me. I feel like I should apologize, but I have no one to apologize to.
I remember when Maxine hung up on me. Wanted to call her name, crawl into her arms. Needing her with me, needing to be with her.
Needing another cigarette, but the bus moves on. There’s absolutely nothing better than that first cigarette after the border crossing. When you get through, and have about eight minutes until everyone else is cleared. The one girl you’ve glanced at a couple of times on the bus walks towards you. She’s wearing her hair up, long and black and up in a bun. European features and outdoor styling casual clothes. Green shorts, hiking boots, white T-shirt. There’s just something about a woman in a white T-shirt — where did that come from? Trying to recapture lost innocence? Don’t know.
“Excuse me, do you have a light?”
Cigarette between two fingers, eyes, dark, raised questioningly towards me.
She walks away, we’ll get back on the bus, I’ll never see her again, and something there was beautiful. I think about that beauty and then back to my cigarette. It feels like freedom.
So where am I? Where was I? I was scared — scared of losing her, scared of her giving up on me and my overemotional behavior, scared I was going to fuck it all up and fall into some quick lustful affair with someone closer — which, of course, I did.
So it was all a lie. All that pain, all those words. It was something I was wanting, but wasn’t getting, so I made myself believe that I was in love. I had found my soulmate, I had found my better half. I had found everything I had ever been looking for in this one woman, and we hadn’t even really met. That’s not love, that’s the desire to be in love, that’s greed, that’s selfishness — that’s me, the vampire.
I can’t ever do that again. I found something this week, I found something that is tied between humanity and trust, between love and lust, between heart and mind. My soul is alive, and I have faith in the ability to live without lies. Something comes at me from a book I read, “that must be why people get married or make art. So they’ll be able to really know something and not go insane.” So I got married — that didn’t work out like it should have, but I’m sure I’ll try it again someday. In the meantime, it looks like I’m stuck with making art. Is that why I write? Is that why I play music? Or is that why I always get hit with these overwhelming heartache crushes with people I’m never gonna talk to?
Then I start thinking about Isabelle. I think about her more than I should, probably, but she has been in my life, and out of my life, and in my life, for quite awhile. I love her, but whenever we get together, we fall apart.
The best song I ever wrote was for her.
I was in a long relationship with Isabelle for awhile, we even managed to live together. Before, and after, Maxine — that was actually with someone living in the same city as me, and overflowing with this spiral of up and down and up and down. A month ago it ended, for real, for good — I think. She phoned me a week later.
“It’s me. I just wanted to tell you that I hate you.”
“That’s why you called?”
“Yeah. I’ve been thinking about it, and that’s what I decided. I hate you.”
“Ummm… OK, I don’t hate you, but I know there’s nothing I can do now, so OK.”
How do you respond to a call like that?
One week after that, with no communication at all, the phone rings:
“Are you a vampire?”
I pause slightly — it’s Isabelle.
Last Mad Love
Saw the end of 1999, and I’m 29. Time and numbers do their number on me, but I’m loving the music, I quit my band, now I’m free.
Saw the end of 1999, and I’m 29. Time and numbers do their number on me, but I’m loving the music, my girlfriend broke up with me — after I spend 6 hours at the dentist, now I’m free. Not happy, not relieved, not feeling good about anything in my life at all, and maybe I’ll never care about anything again, but at least I’m free. Is that a good thing?
Spring creeps up quietly after a non-existent winter, and I’m already feeling like fall. Feeling like screaming, but the phone has taken too much of that already. Is it me? The question I ask after every single argument we have. I try to stand up for myself, remain true to who I am, faults and all, thinking that some of my imperfections should be accepted, and I always end up being the loser.
So this is me? Is it really all my fault? Am I really this bad? Am I ever going to be able to care about someone knowing that this is who I am? Or am I going to find happiness in the giving of love poems to beautiful women who I will never speak to again?
Forget love. It’s all about distant desire. I’m going to die alone.