i'm finally back on my feet. almost a year later. and this is something i've been working on to exorcise the last of the demons...just a little something...
She was drunk (again) on vodka and Dr. Pepper (because it was handy). She was alternating between throwing whatever came into her hands around the 420 square feet of apartment (a palace of her own, every princess’ dream) and dissolving hysterically into tears on the couch. The Sex and the City movie watched over it all. It had been watching her fall apart for the past week, since “it” had happened, and since she had shoved the DVD into the player and left in on repeat as she flailed around the “junior one bedroom” apartment. The dress she had been wearing when it happened remained a distressed damsel in the corner of the closet, and the groceries she had shopped for before the chasm opened cried silently in the fridge, forgotten and with only each other to mourn.
In between bouts of weeping and throwing clothes, books, toiletries (all his, and all crying in protest that they had done nothing to deserve such shoddy treatment) in the general direction of a shopping bag, the team of cigarettes that had not left her side or her lips stood at attention and offered their dark and whispering comfort. She thought briefly that she might want to keep her hysterics to a minimum, but doubted her neighbors would notice. Los Angeles is great like that --- the person perched next to you is as insignificant as the bench your ass rests on, when compared to your own internal demons.
When the clothes had all been tossed, and the sobbing had wracked her lungs, she found her way to the couch, where she finally passed into the kind of sleep alcoholics and drug addicts are so familiar with --- troubled, fitful, and haunted by half-real dreams that felt like déjà-vu --- and the quiet that descended upon that small room was interrupted only by the muted hum of that old TV, that glaring sentinel, keeping watch alongside the sweating and half-empty glass of vodka.
He was at the bar, with the guys. It was a familiar scene, for it was the place they often retreated to. He pushed a beer bottle around, gently peeled the label from the neck, laughed at the jokes, observed the talent as it walked into the room. Everyone knew him, he was safe there. The thoughts came unbidden, and he felt the guilt, and the occasional doubt, but it was easy enough to push them aside, telling himself “it’s for the best.”
That’s another thing Los Angeles is great for --- the opportunity to relieve yourself of responsibility…Los Angeles is a city of Peter Pans, male and female, who never have to grow up. Why would they want to? The city is a buffet of sex, booze, bodies, sweat, and youth. If you look good enough and have enough money, that same buffet is “all you can eat.” It’s not a new thought, but it becomes more deeply ingrained with every new generation, and with every new arrival to the City of Angels, looking to make dreams come true.
She was in Vegas when she had the thought that she was ready. Her body, the traitor, had told her she was. For a month, which was certainly a long time in her world to be without the touch of another human, her body had been begging for it, at first quietly, but now raging with the intensity of lust tinged with loneliness. It was this potent concoction that guided her to put on the short black dress, the black heels, the red lipstick. It was that bad influence that, like the older girls at school that give you your first cigarette, poured the margaritas down her throat. It was this heady combination that swirled around her on the dance floor and attracted the young man to her. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, he is there, and he is cute enough to awaken the lust and allow it to chase the reason from the party. Those margaritas took up the charge and laughed at common sense’s back as it high-tailed it out of that dance club, to take up residence deep in the covers of the luxurious bed of the hotel room, waiting for her to come back to him.
And, of course, she did come back to him. Mid-coitus, common sense joined forces with the loneliness and they made their move, wrapping themselves around the base of her throat and creeping their way up to her eyes, where they pushed the tears out. They claimed their victory as she rushed the boy from the room and folded into herself on the floor of the shower.
So now we know what Las Vegas is great for --- blissful forgetfulness and crushing reality.
It didn’t really matter who he went home with, or even if he went home with anyone. Even if the night ended sans female company, he was never alone. The voices of Failure and Disappointment, Doubt, Insecurity, Ineptitude, Expectation, and Fear were always in his presence. Sometimes they were separate voices that whispered one by one into his ear, draping themselves around his shoulders like a friend who has had too many sake bombs and feels the need to confess. Occasionally they were seductive, and united, and ran their fingers through his hair, down his cheek, across his throat, and lingered just long enough on his chest to make him shudder and believe that they loved him.
They had left him, for a time, when she had let him love her, when he had let her love him. But that was the key, that word, “love.” Love reached her beautiful and deadly hand into the equation and strangled the ease from their lives, brought along her friend Expectations to the party, uninvited. Love never comes stag, even to an invite-only event. Once she shows up, it is only a matter of time before even the most dignified of fetes spirals into a shit show of epic proportions.
When Love popped into his party this time, she brought Fear and Failure. The trifecta. As they hunkered down and helped themselves to someone else’s hummus dip and Corona Lights, they reached their talons into his chest and pulled out every last ounce of that wispy waif, Faith, discarding her behind the bed, and then went to work on his head. Goodbye, Trust! Adios, Peace! Nice seein’ ya, Comfort! Love, Fear, and Failure put on their best clothes and danced in a circle in his head.
It was only a matter of time at that point.
No one comes unencumbered. No one travels with just a carry-on.