Monday, November 22, 2010

When It Falls Into the Sea

I met Andy in Wyoming.

He wasn't from Wyoming or anything but he happened to be there for awhile. That's where I met him. How I met him is a long ass story I don't feel like telling tonight.

Politely, he was from the Inland Empire. I'd expect a few of you...Diva, Lux Obscura, to understand what that means without explanation. For the rest of you, the Inland Empire is pretty much the armpit of Southern California - and that's SAYING something. More specifically, he was from San Bernardino. Which is REALLY saying something. And what it's saying is absolutely nothing good.

Not long after I met him (read started fucking him regularly), he abruptly left Wyoming and headed back to the streets of California. It was a messed up situation all around. I don't take his side. I don't take any side. Even now...perhaps especially now...I don't take sides. It was what it was. Totally messed up. Regardless, it sent him away.

I was just getting ready to turn 21. I loved him. I was terrified. As...uhm...interesting as my life had been up to that point, I had absolutely no clue what was about to be in store for him...or for me.

He literally had nowhere to go.

I knew he was on the streets. Even though he played that down for me when we would talk - on the rare occasion we would talk as it was collect calls all the way then and he was extraordinarily sensitive about calling and causing financial distress for me, poor college student  - I had some idea of what that meant.

When I saw Where the Day Takes You not long after he left, I cried. A lot. Through the entire movie. While it's been several years since I saw that movie, I suspect I'd still cry...a lot.

So, it should be no surprise for you to discover that, during that first spring break I had after he was gone (he left in December...Christmas Eve actually) I headed straight for California.

That first day I saw him...and I'm not even going to go into what I found in him - I'm ashamed of both of us and no, it had nothing to do with prostitution - we met up at the AM/PM in Redlands right off...uhm...hmmm...I-10? I could take you there if I was there. I don't remember the street names...surprisingly.


Anyway, so that first day I saw him, we met up and were joined in very short order by several of his new friends...Lumpy (dead now), Mickey (out of prison now on a 2nd degree murder bid), G-Man. And I, in my young, naive, Wyoming girl way - because I loved him...and them, bought them 40 oz. to freedom with what little cash I had.

Somehow, probably because I was the only one of age, they sent me to the liquor store alone. And this is how naive I was...Andy told me to buy them quarts. I didn't actually understand what that meant. I bought them 40's. When I brought the bottles of Budweiser back, he thought I was being generous. No, Andy. I was just...stupid. The only things I understood up until that point when it came to liquor was fifths and pints of tequila or whiskey and 2-liters of Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers.

And when I say I brought them back? I mean, I brought them back to an open portion of the Redlands sewer system where they were lounging. No. I'm not kidding.

After they'd drunk some, the decision was made - and not by me, please understand - to go walking through the sewer tunnels...the enclosed portions.

And I was scared pun intended.

But I did it. Holding his hand the entire way. As terrifying as it was - rats running past and the fear of someone somewhere pressing a button and releasing a shitload (again, no pun intended) of water to run through at any moment - I did it...because I loved him and this is what he wanted to do.

The entire way through the tunnel, he and G-Man - another one with an incredible singing voice - sang. Mostly what I remember is that they sang Youth Brigade Sink with California. And I was stunned by how beautiful their voices were. They harmonized with one another, blended together into one voice so easily. Jesus. G-Man was just 14 then. I wonder what ever happened to him?

Looking back on it, I certainly felt alive. Looking back on it, I think his intention was to scare me away...far away...back to Wyoming where I wouldn't get hurt. Ha. Don't make it a challenge, Love. I didn't balk at that. I didn't balk at scaling the fence into the reservoir where I tore my pants, my shirt...possibly my soul. I didn't balk in the back seat. I most certainly didn't balk when you were storming down the streets of downtown Redlands telling me to get the hell away from you, did I? Why didn't I listen to you then? I don't know. Stubborn, I guess...

Still am.

Happy birthday, Andy. 36 now, wouldn't it be?

Happy birthday. Wherever you are.

Happy birthday. I've moved well beyond you now. OK?

No comments: