Take Another Look

{February 14, 2010}   Valentines Day, Second Chances

When we first spoke, I would sit there just listening to the sound quality of Downey’s voice. There was something about it that caught my attention, like a portrait you can’t stop staring at. I could multitask easily, so I would continue to follow what he was saying along when listening to the timbres. It wasn’t like he had this unforgettable stardom voice, it was just a nice voice. I liked how it was sharp, focused, quick and smooth but not too smooth. But later there were no more phone conversations. I remember how sometimes when he laughed he would snort. I remembered it because I used to talk to this guy I really liked from college, his first name was Tom, and one time I laughed so hard that I snorted. He was a bit of a snob, but we will get to that. Tom seems like a very common name, but I’d never known a Tom before. Tom was a writer and our conversations were as incredible as our kissing had been one night in the forest of Wisconsin. I remember really liking this guy mooning after him but forgetting him because he had a girlfriend. I remember that dramatic things weren’t so dramatic back then. I remember that I just wrote some music about it and forgot about him until we emailed back and forth and he visited Seattle, but only for a day, and he had a girlfriend back home, and back then I had some kind of broken heart syndrome, or I was pining for Burdough, and I was involved in my engagement party with Oxycontin, the only thing that took migraines away from me, the only thing that pierced through pain and held it at bay so that I was floating above it, as if immune to normal injury. He visited, and he tried to have sex with me, but I was too tight, and he couldn’t fit, and he didn’t want to hurt me, and we both fell asleep. I don’t know what we felt because I wasn’t feeling at the time.  Maybe there was relief. I can’t believe I didn’t care about a girl, a girl who had a boyfriend, but I was free in those days in a way that left me immune because I didn’t know any better. I was a child trying things for the first time but I had the body of an adult. Now I do know better and I don’t just write music about moral fatalities, I relive them in my mind over and over, feeling I should be battering myself for them. But mostly I remember having these multi-faceted conversations with him, and this is where it leads me back to Downey.  When I was talking to Tom, I laughed so hard I snorted but I didn’t realize it until he pointed it out. I was so embarrassed I turned as red as a tomato, a thing I did a lot those days- blush. “Did you just snort?” he asked, putting an emphasis on the word snort as if it was this unforgivable thing, this horrible social mistake that nobody could ever recover from. In his snotty mind, snorting was worse than homicide. “Yeah?” I think I said, or maybe I made something up, I don’t know. All I remember is that Downey did it a few times, and I remember thinking, so that is what it sounds like. But the idea of mentioning it, of drawing attention to somebody’s flaws, seemed so philosophically incompatible to me. The last time I saw him, he kept drawing attention to things like my mismatched socks, or the fact that I hadn’t packed a belt because when I originally got on the boat to visit him the dress I was wearing was down to my knees, and the jeans tight enough to cover my hips. But the next morning, carrying two or three bags, as I bent to get out of his car, he could see the back of my underwear, so he had to mention it, like it was a crime. It reminded me of Tom again. But why am I so careful to refrain from doing what others do? Will I someday join the snob club? I hope that Downey meant it as a joke, that his jokes were not malicious, but then again, I felt the hurt of it, and if I was still capable of turning beet red, I would have. But he doesn’t know that. He doesn’t know how many things embarrass the hell out of me that he saw. Maybe it’s the only saving grace to the whole thing. I felt so safe around him that I thought I wasn’t embarrassed by anything. But was that real? I thought it was. I felt comfortable and desperately, fatally attracted to somebody all at once. That combination had never suited me at all. I was either completely comfortable around somebody but felt they were utterly unattractive, or I was attracted but too shy to do anything about it. But something else changed that. I wish I had something guiding me saying which changes were for the better or the worse. I remember Brenden pointing at a picture of him as a teenager and saying that there was something in our eyes as teenagers that had gone and left and there were a million terms for it- like  hope and naïveté. I wonder what it is that changes. But the thought of giving up those phone conversations gets to me, it does. I’m tired of the losses stacking up like body bags. They don’t feel like losses so much as missed opportunities, which is worse, because I can’t find rest in the idea of how if I had only jostled a bit to the right, the whole thing would have gone differently. If I had just given Downey more space, if I had just never broken up with him, if I had just said, I will do anything for you. “It doesn’t work that say,” he told me. I think he is wrong. I think it does work that way. If he, who calls himself his closest friend to me, cannot adjust things to make it work, then who can? If your closest friend never talks to you, what does it say about you? That you don’t need people, or that you need people so much you are willing to endure silence for months if only to hear the sound of a voice that caught you. It caught you somewhere, anywhere, spun you around, and placed you in a world where anything was fun, anything was beautiful, anything was possible. Let me go back there, if only to find you there. Tomorrow is Monday. If I care enough, will I go? Or does caring mean not showing up so that he has the space he says he wants. Or do I know what he wants? I don’t know. I lost myself there in his forest, I lost my voice in his voice, and I’d rather he not see me looking for it, because I can handle anything,just not more embarrassment. Throw me against a wall, do something that is S&M, take control all you want, just don’t make it seem like I am somehow undesirable. It’s not something I’ve ever cared to prove to anybody. If anything, I’ve tried to be less desirable. When I was 15, it meant shaving my head. Now, I don’t know what it means, just that I need the freedom to be myself, and be accepted, and if somebody can give me that, I can do anything.

I wish upon a star.

I have a memory.

I was reading Jessa a book.

She had one she liked over and over.

I have a story I like over and over too.


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