Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Muddled Grey Matter

Right now I'd like to record a little dream I had while I took a nap yesterday morning. Why? Because when life hands you tiny nuggets of joy like this, you tend to not want to forget them.

And yes, before you go any further and scold me for not warning you beforehand, it is Calabrese-themed.
...Not like that will surprise anyone.

I was in a bar. It was one that I had never been to, and must of made up. There was colorful but dim lighting, with lots of seating and tables to the right, and the cramped stage by the window to the left. Really, it seemed like an afterthought in it's design. In between that, was the bar itself, weirdly tiki-esque and not nearly big enough to service the building. A guy looking much like a very thin, young Bruce Campbell was wiping out a lager glass, complete with a blue Tommy Bahama shirt and pearly grin. There was also seating in front of all this, random, sporadic chairs and things to sit on thrown about haphazardly. I had my prime seat here, in a gloriously lived-in, brown laz-y-boy recliner.

Calabrese was playing. For how long, I don't know. To me, it seemed like they had been on for a while, even though I had just heard them now. Bobby's sweat made his hair stick to his face, Jimmy was turned from the audience, and Davey was tearing it up. For some reason though, Davey's drumming seemed overly exaggerated. Like one of his legs was glued to the floor pedal. It all sounded perfect though.

I took a sip of the mysterious cocktail I suddenly had in my hands, its bright blue hue indicating it must of been something tropical. Other than cold, I couldn't taste it. I never questioned where it came from, either.

The show ended just as quickly as it had started. I felt a stitch of sadness then, hoping maybe an encore would kick in if I had just wished for it hard enough. But, regardless of how I felt and wanted, no such luck.

People behind me started laughing, mingling. A blonde girl with overly puffed, curly hair sat on a table, soaking in the attention the guys around her were dishing out. Neon signs flickered back to life on the wall. Puffs of smoke wafted from stranger's cigarettes.

I turn back around, and see the three of them packing up their gear. Maybe I can go say something to them? Maybe I could buy them a drink? Maybe--

My thought gets taken away by a busboy in front of me, his small arms spilling over with stacks of cups, glasses and plates, piled higher than his greasy, shaggy hair. I reach out and help him before he falls over, taking the majority of what he had before it had a chance to tumble onto the floor. He lets out a huff of exasperated air, and smiles, face cocked at me. His teeth were spaced and gummy. Looking at him now, he only looked 14. Was that even legal?

"Here..." he says, handing me a darkly colored backpack, "...that's theirs."

He flipped his head backwards, motioning to the stage as he re-collected the mess. I didn't have to look to know who he was talking about.

"Wanna help them to the car?"

I wordlessly take the bag in both hands and nod. Whatever was in there was that much more important to me now. But, just what was in there, anyway? It couldn't of weighed more than five pounds. My hand grabbed the other side and felt something like wires poke at my palm.

Glancing up, I see Jimmy breeze out the door. Nothing was left on the stage. I nearly chase after him.

I catch up to him as he puts the last of whatever in the van, that strangely looked like it belonged to a soccer mom, complete with a light, steel blue paint job. From the window, I can see Davey perched in the back, sitting stiffly next to a pile of equipment. He looked tired, and ready to crash.

"Ah, and our favourite fan..." Jimmy says, taking the bag, and gingerly putting it with everything else.

Wait...what did he just--?

I'm cut off by a pair of arms hugging me. For a second, all thought leaves my mind. I cautiously put my arms around him too, that fairy tale warm, fuzzy feeling glowing from inside my chest like a dull bulb. The leather on his jacket creaks, and I forget to breathe. Am I...? Did he..?

I lower my head, near his shoulder. Some of his hair product gets on my head. I don't care.

About five seconds go by, and he pulls away. I feel my face slowly fill with color.

"Do you want a ride?" Jimmy asks, motioning to the front seat.

I nod and make some sort of affirmative noise. In reality, he could of asked for all of my vital organs, and I would of gladly given them over, right then and there.

I hop in, and turn around. I finally get to see why Davey looked awkward all night. His left leg was broken, covered in a cast from his toes to the top of his thigh, sporadic sharpie graffiti decorating select spots. My mouth hangs wide to say something, but nothing comes. He waves back at me, sleepy but grinning.

Bobby was in the middle row of seats. For whatever reason, he looked moody and a little upset. His gaze was firmly stuck outside the window. I decide not to bother him.

Jimmy pulls away as I shift back in my seat. It's late enough in the night that even in the city...whatever city I was in, just then...roads were lacking in cars. A window was cracked. The air was spring-cool, and refreshing.

We pull up outside a run-down corner store. Bobby leaps out of the van and closes the door before I could utter a word.

"Cigarettes." Jimmy says, matter-of-factly. He drives off without looking or waiting. Somehow, it felt normal for him to do that. For a moment, I consider if Bobby was actually mad at me for taking the front seat, and not over the lack of nicotine in his system.

I glance in the rear view mirror and see Davey fast asleep. He looked so cheery, even with his eyes closed and his mouth partially open.

"So. You like the show tonight?" Jimmy asks, grabbing my attention.

"Y-yeah." I stutter. I bite my lips to keep from looking too silly between the smirks and whatever graceless motions I was making with my hands. "You guys were great!"

"Oh, really..." he says, enjoying the praise.

Blushing stupidly, I try making small talk with him. I can still smell the quality material of his jacket, and the clean scent from his skin, even though we're nearly 2 feet from each other. I bring up the weather. I bring up their tour. I even bring up the costume I wore years ago, when I went as Roy from Siegfried and Roy, complete with fake tiger bite and stuffed tiger. He actually seems like he's enjoying my company. I feel like I'm making a friend.

During this whole time, I never stop to question where we were going. We pass streets and highways, some of it familiar, most of it not. Should I tell him where I live? Will he know where to go? Honestly though...does it really matter?

Those questions answer themselves as we crawl back into the parking lot of the bar we had left from earlier. Suddenly, I understand what he meant by 'ride'. I sigh. I don't want to say my goodbyes yet. I don't want them to leave. I--

Am then woken up by Joe. It was 11:30 or so.

I lay in bed for some time afterward. I let the memory of the dream float back up to the surface of my conscious mind. I still feel hazy with sleep, but I remember. I remembered it all. And most importantly, my chest still buzzed with afterglow. It was such a small thing, such a dumb thing, but it had made me so happy.

I often wonder why my brain is able to latch on to so many details when I sleep. Most people I know, don't dream at all. Or, if they do, they cant recall anything once the morning light hits their eyes. Am I considered one of the lucky ones? Or am I secretly giving in to escapism?

Maybe both. Maybe none.

Years from now, I might consider posting dreams I have about people I like embarrassing. I'm also fairly sure reading one of these from the other end might not be as nice either. Will I delete this? Will I be asked to delete this? In the unlikely event I become famous somehow, will any of this be fodder for the American media frenzy?

Honestly though...does it really matter?

Update 2/1/2013: I can't spell...-.-()

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Aquarius

It's January. Again.

It's that time of year where most people go into preparations for spring, with the hopes and wishes of warm sunny weather on its way. Soon, there will be yard sales with things no one wants, 'gardens' with terrible ideas of what is beautiful or edible, and of course in my neighborhood, the ubiquitous Latino cowbell music blasting up and down the streets at 1 in the morning. I'll be forced to acknowledge the sunlight much earlier than I'd like, and inevitably, trips to beaches and water-and-sun themed places I'd really rather not go to. Happy new year! Depression starts early!

That's not really why I'm here though. As frustrating and nauseating as summer is to me, I can deal. I have been, for years now. Obviously.

But, January, in addition to being the herald of the upcoming year, is also kind of strange for me now. My brother's birthday is in a few days, and I'd like to go visit him. If I could only remember where he is. And go without baggage.

He's 10 years older than me, thereby making him always cooler than me and always one step ahead. When we were younger, he'd use this to his advantage in any way he could. 3 tennis balls for all of my Looney Tunes figurines? Sure! I'm only 8, what do I know? You lost at Street Fighter and it's my fault? I don't see how, but, will you please stop hitting my leg?! A new wrestling move? Cool! I....can't breathe though...

Yes, he was a jerk at times. Boys are very apt to be as such at certain times, and our family seemingly never mentally ages past a certain point. But, he was my friend. As strange and unusual as that is. I tended to look up to him in a way a daughter would to her father. Maybe one day I'll be good at karate. Maybe one day I'll wear all black and listen to metal. Maybe he might see me as an equal at some point and reciprocate the friendship.

After high school, he went to a community college in Bethlehem Pa. He had a dorm there, which meant I only got to see him on weekends when we would visit. It was dumb, but I actually looked forward to that. Even if I was generally ignored. He didn't last long, though. The party life became his major, and he dropped out after only a semester or two.

He went on from there, and actually moved out of the house when I was in my early teens. I cant remember the year exactly. I remember feeling lonely though. Like something was missing for weeks. True, I had my little sister to keep me company, but, it wasn't the same. I'm 6 years older than her, so she was just getting a grip on how, we, humans worked. Let alone want to pick up a Nintendo controller and mash out a few levels of Mario Bros. 3.

I'll say right here that I've never been a social butterfly of any kind. At any point in my life, I've only had a handful of friends. And half of them were either interested in whatever money my dad was dishing out or were just outright facetious. BFF forever! Until I find someone better. The trend, as you would imagine, hasn't gotten much better now that I'm older.

I say this not to gain votes of pity of any kind. Just merely highlighting how things work around me. I'm used to it, trust me.

Eventually, the apartment he had with his then-fiancee had fallen apart in many ways, so he came back home. I was happy, to be sure. But he was...different, though. His sharpness had dulled, and something had changed that made him not who he was when he left. I couldn't put my finger on what it was at the time. I think I was lost in the haze of memories I had and just didn't see past who I had remembered he was.

I was in high school at this point. My hair was greasy, my face was pocked, and I was awkward as hell. I had people I talked to, and people who I considered friends. One of the people I considered the latter was Jackie.

She was like me in many ways. We were both heavy, we both liked music class, and we both had an interest in the occult. Though, to be honest, my interest was more of an aesthetic at the time, and hers was more of a 'I have a pet dragon and talk to dead people and Satan is my dad' kind. I really could go on and on with that. Pages, in fact. I'm sure I still have her notes we used to pass around somewhere.

Jackie would do my homework sometimes. Because she was bored, she would say. And split the Jolly Rancher candy she would get from the vending machine, just because. On the surface, she seemed like a good person, once you got past the blatant, offensive 'witch' stereotype and the crazy, messed up things she would say in the name of 'being Pagan'.

And then, one day, another friend I had at the time came running up to me after class to tell me that Jackie and by brother were in front of the school. Kissing.

I can look back at that and shrug my shoulders now. It's disgusting, I know, but it's also years behind me. At the time though, I felt hurt and a little betrayed. Now I knew why she wanted to hang out all the time. Certainly, it wasn't for my company.

Thankfully, that didn't last long. I don't know who or what put the brakes on that whole thing, but they have my gratitude. Not just from the almost-pedophile relation, but for also showing me that I have to start being less than naive from now on.

He continued to change. The lights were dimming, and he started quoting TV. He would sit in his room for hours on end. Things he once cared about fell to the side, without so much as a second look. If it wasn't directly in front of him, or being handed to him, it didn't exist.

Dad would yell at him. I cant remember what was being screamed, but I remember it was angry. Angry enough that it would make me upset at times. Dad would on occasion get mad at me too, because I couldn't see what was doing it to him. Because I couldn't see what was going on. More than once, I'd shakily nod in agreement with whatever he said. Even if what he had told me lies, I'd parrot the information back at him, as if I understood.

I had never dealt with drug addiction before. At least, I thought I hadn't. As it turns out, he had been using a menagerie of things for years. With mom, too. They even had code names for their dealer so dad wouldn't find out. Jackie had connections, too.

I actually had known this whole time, and just never connected the dots. I remember visiting 'a friend' the two of them had, in the suburbs, in a fancy house for years. Never questioning, never thinking twice. Why did mom fall asleep driving? I guess she was just tired...

Dad made mom get help. Not so much with my brother. There were attempts later on, but it was useless at that point.

So, he never stopped.

And we all watched him decay, like a living corpse.

I guess I really don't have to tell you, he's six feet under now.

Happy 40th birthday, Timmy.