…ja das ist ein haufenmist….
It is easy on days such as this to see it all that way – a giant shit pile. That’s pretty much been my entire life that I can grasp so far. It’s been a day of true cleaning, sorting out layers upon layers of shit that has accumulated over the years which either needs to go with me, or go somewhere else; maybe as a donation to goodwill or Salvation Army or simply find its new home in the landfill or some comingled recylcling bin, the contents of which will be shipped off to someplace like China where some laborer might look at what I’ve discarded and wonder, ‘what the fuck’?
I always knew this day would come – at least for as long as I’ve been writing this blog. I started this whole endeavor because I was in a black hole of existence, living mostly on beer and cigarettes and feeling pretty much disgusted with most every facet of my life except cooking. I had my first panic attack in november of 2009, and it struck me one morning a few minutes after my wife (at the time) left for work. I remember sitting in a chair, listening to her slam the door on the way out, and watching her drive off… Suddenly finding myself unable to breathe at all. I thought I was having a heart attack and so of course, I ran out the door to the furthest edge of my lawn… I eventually caught my breath and went about my day, though not without some freakish cloud over me wondering what the fuck I’d just experienced. When she came home that night I told her I thought I almost died/had a heart attack – she looked at me with cold black eyes and said exactly this; “huh….” shrugged her shoulders and dished up the dinner I’d cooked for her and retreated to the room with the television.
Sometimes in life, you are rescued. A few weeks after that, with a few more panic attacks under my belt, I began to realize they weren’t necessarily fatal; just a sign that I’d pretty much reached my limit. I was sitting out on the back deck, drinking beer, smoking one cigarette after another, still wearing my apron from dinner when my phone buzzed with an email…
It was from Donna.
I suppose, if I was ever going to go off on some tangent, now would be the time. I met Donna in my sophomore year of high school. Something about her was immediately attractive, charming, darling – beyond any good words to describe that sort of first real, what-you-are-convinced-is-love, attraction. She was petite – yet curvy with brown hair, soft eyes and a remarkable Italian statue sort of nose. Roman, perhaps, but I didn’t really know at the time, her bottom lip protruded every so slightly. Something about her caught something deep in me, that clings to this day. Such a beautiful face – one I’ve tired of dreaming of.
We had a biology class together, and were studying and looking at paramecium swimming under microscopes when I eventually introduced myself to her in the most awkward of ways; I remember it well, shamefully so, and fortunately laugh now because time has separated me from who I was at that time. I looked her in the eye and with all seriousness, I said, “hellooooo, Lucious…..”. It was, and is still something heartfelt and sincere I’d say to her again if I ever cross paths with her…
In spite of all that awkwardness and her being sort of (quite, actually) put off by my intoduction; we became friends. We shared a lot of things that most people that age don’t; losing a mother being the biggest thing, along with all the cursory yet not inconsequentials that come along with it; trying to be normal when you, your life, clearly isn’t anything like the ones your friends all have. She experienced far more, far earlier and with greater aplomb than I ever did. As the years in high school went on, me wishing we were boyfriend/girlfriend, I found I wasn’t just attracted to her smile, her eyes, her personaity; I loved her strength, her intelligence, her passion, and the bullet proof walls she had built around her soul.
I’m not sure where we drifted apart – it was sometime in our Senior year when I realized it was never going to happen. I found and dated another girl and she met someone and by the time we graduated we spoke very little. It always stung. I always wished and wondered… We lost touch. I went off to college and she did too, I later found out, in Colorado.
I lived in a fraternity and parties there were always a fairly crazy affair; I believe that night we went through something around 24 kegs of beer. Easily a thousand people wandered through the door that night. Being a pledge, meant cleaning up after – so I paced myself and waited until the last keg was tapped and the majority of remaining beer was in ‘spill buckets’ beneath the taps to collect any runnoff. The party was winding down and I was feeling a slight tinge of disappointment; usually there was someone to eventually dance with, kiss and carress a little bit, but not that night. I stood near the keg and chatted with a few of my pledge mates. I felt someone bump into me from behind and turned to look and amazingly, it was Donna. I’d not seen her in at least a year, and suddenly we were face to face, eyes locked, immediatley hugging each other.
If one of the best moments of my life can consist of sitting indian style on a beer soaked tile floor with people tripping over me for warm beer, it can only be because of Donna. We sat there, talking, entranced… We kissed for the first time ever. I don’t know if meant anything to her, but it was and still is, the most divine kiss I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t imagine falling more deeply in love, feeling as if all those years in high school I’d waited and wondered and hoped and wished, that somehow it didn’t all make sense at that moment… She then proceeded to tell me she’d met someone. That she was engaged… sigh….
I saw her next at her wedding as she walked down the aisle with some handsome man decked out in a Navy uniform. I sat in the back row and left early… Happy for her, wondering if life really is like that, or if fairy tales exist only as solace for people who need to believe in them.
We met again at our ten year high school reunion; me with my fiance and almost wife, her married, pregnant, but stunning as can be. We spoke for all of 5 minutes as our jealous spouses jabbed darting eyes at us and at each other…
She never showed up at the 20 year reunion, and I learned that she was divorcing her husband, and sort of having a rough time. She was the only reason I went and when I knew she wasn’t coming I left, figuring I may very well never see her again.
I went about my life, and learned to have panic attacks and drown my sorrows in beer in and cigarettes and still cook and design houses in the interim.
And one lonely shit-fuck desolate night, sitting on the back deck she emailed me out of the blue…
We emailed and conversed about almost everything conceivable and because of her, I started this journey. Writing this blog was the first step along the way, and I wrote it to her, for her, even if she doesn’t read it. I suppose I still do – something about her will always be the first real love of my life, even if it is never more than a simple kiss that’s never been equaled.
Looking at my life in somewhat organized piles now, I can see it two ways; sad and melancholy that it is rather easily sorted and amassed into piles of things which will disappear in the next few days. It’s like dying and burying yourself, letting go of all the things you once were, clung to, needed to be and have. Realizing it was so fragile and won’t be missed by anyone, especially yourself. On the other hand, it’s glorious – like shaving off a long grown scraggly ass beard, like seeing a clean shaven face in the mirror and realizing you are younger and more enthusiatic about life again than you ever really remembered. Maybe it’s a little of both. I don’t know what is around the corner anymore, who will bump into me from behind, or whether I will ever experience anything quite as lovely that kiss.
I do know there are certain things in life I will never discard or be able to let go of. They may be seldom and infrequent visitors in life, they may be nothing more than a wish or a hope a mere kiss in the most improbable of circumstances. But I genuinely believe that that is exactly what makes life worth living for.