An Essay on Why I Hate the 21st Anniversary of My 29th Birthday. (#5)
Well, since my emotional discord and melancholy have resulted in a failure to be scathingly sarcastic and/or delightfully quippy, which in turn seems to have diminished my readership, I feel the need to take this last opportunity to blog before my two week unintentional abstinence from electronic media in my home to exorcise the November demons and just put this out there.
Yes, I am sad. You can say it’s a fucking number all you want, and I was even trying to do it, but you know what…numbers suck. Pythagoras sucks, Aristotle sucks, anyone related to the development of numerical system sucks and that means you Ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Romans, and especially you people of India and your damn Hindu-arabic number system. I don’t care if it was necessary to develop a means to count goods. Words like a “whole bunch” “lots” and “all those over there” would have been just fine. I am not pleased about birthdays. I have a love/hate with them and here’s why:
24 years ago, two days before my birthday a good friend of mine died, choking to death in an intoxicated state. That night, I got a phone call from the one person who knew more about me that anyone before or since. The one person who I could be with without speaking, doing nothing and having them know more about what was going on in my head than anyone else. The one person I miss every time I feel the way I do now, because somehow he would have made it all right again. The one person who I was always absolutely myself with because he loved me whatever I said or did. The one person I wanted an intimate relationship with desperately but at the same time wouldn’t trade our friendship for in a million years. The one person who it would always be the right time and wrong place, or wrong time and right place. The one person who knew. When I got that phone call on November 10th, my friend asked me to save him. He said he was tired of watching our friends die. He was scared he was going to die. He wanted to leave our hometown and come live with me, and get off drugs and change his life. He wanted to get on a plane and come to California. And I said wait til I get home for Christmas. I said I would be home in just a month, and we’d figure it all out. Just wait I said. Just wait.
The day after Thanksgiving that year he was dead. Overdose. Needle in his arm, they said. And since then no November has ever been the same. I used to write him letters every week, sometimes two or three times a week, big fat letters, full of nonsense and important things, because back then there was no internet and no unlimited long distance and we were in two different time zones, and he’d never call anyway, I always had to call him. Until that one night. He never wrote back either, but his mom said he kept everyone of my letters, tied them all together, and when he finally called me, he dug out all of those letters to get my phone number. And he called in the middle of the fucking night.
I didn’t save him. You don’t have to tell me it’s not my fault, and things happen for a reason. I know that shit. I only have one real regret in life. It is that I didn’t say get on a plane. I play that last phone call over and over and over and I still see that fucking stupid pink phone I had, in my little tiny studio apartment. I still remember how we had just come home from San Francisco and I bought him this stupid little dragon for Christmas. And then that stupid pink phone rang again.
And I remember all the things we did together…sneaking around like criminals in back alleys in the dark just to hang out together so who ever we were involved with at the time didn’t get jealous. But they did, and we’d both just say fuck it. Snow angels, impromptu dancing on back roads, drinking six packs in alleyways, poker games that lasted until morning. Waking up on his mom’s couch. Birthday presents. Bottle-rockets launched from the cast on his hand. Setting his cast on fire and then putting it out with beer. Killing cockroaches with an ax. Hiding special crops when the police showed up. Diving off the balcony into the pool. My letters to him looked like they came from a six year old girl, covered in stickers. And inside was every secret I ever had. Things no one else knew. Or knows.
I laugh when I think of some things. Drinking too much and then stealing a friend’s car to go for a joy ride when the only license he had that was valid was a fishing license. Having him walk in on me in the most uncomfortable moments because he had to talk to me right now. Letting me cry. Making me laugh and loving me unconditionally. And his fucking laugh. And Friday would have been his birthday. Which makes it hard every year. Because I remember.
I used to write him letters even after he was dead. Long letters about how pissed off I was that he fucking couldn’t hold on until I got home. How I kept hoping it was all some nightmarish mistake. How I got drunk and went looking for his grave and couldn’t find it. Not that he was there anyway. I just miss the comfortableness of that relationship. No expectation, no drama. Just finding each other and resuming our friendship whether we were miles or months apart.
I wish I could let it go. It’s one of those shoe boxes in my head that never gets empty and every time I go there, I have something else to add to it. I can remember those days so clearly which is a miracle considering my life choices at the time. I should be lucky to remember anything at all from 1976 to 1986. But I do. Even now, I can remember us making mushroom tea. And being warned to drink just one cup. And then after three, being curled up with him in a corner with a comic from the newspaper in our hands giggling hysterically. Abundance = A Dance Buns Do. Chasing non-existent birds. And challenging squirrels on Sunday morning. Mickey Mouse ice creams. And the bad bleenie incident.
This just adds to my misery about my milestone birthday. I am feeling like a failure for not achieving a lot of the shit I dreamed about or planned. Not that I am unhappy with my life, I just wish that I had done more, and I am now afraid I will run out of time before I get to do a lot of it. And, yes, I’ll get back to being the positive ball of fucking rainbows and sunshine soon, but let me have my time to grieve. A huge part of my life is behind me, and I didn’t do as much as I hoped I could. I’ll forgive myself eventually and move on. But for now, I’m just gonna sulk and be miserable. And probably drink a lot of vodka. This too shall pass. And you thought I was strong for kicking cancer’s ass. November is a much more toxic than that.
Notes: My hiatus from the blog-o-sphere starts tomorrow, although I may ask my good friends next door if I can log into their interweb and use it for the next two weeks while I am scraping up the money to pay the internet-phone-satellite bill. It lost in the which utility gets paid this paycheck lottery. Please don’t feel sorry for me, I am a grasshopper. It would have won except for the fact that we were out of oil, and hot water in winter trumps internet. I’ll have it back in two weeks. It just means a slight inconvenience for me. However, if you really care about me, you will invite me over on Tuesday nights at 10 to watch SOA. If you want to get in touch with me, send me a message on FB and I’ll give you my cell. I can still check FB on my phone. And I’ll still be writing blog entries, just not posting them till I am back on line.