Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Wilderness Years - I Took a Pill on a Friday Night

 The creak of her apartment steps was becoming familiar... and it was a sound i liked. The old apartments of Steel Town back when the industry drove the economy and turned the sky black and grey, these old neighborhoods filled with the architecture of Europe, built by immigrants who slipped little reminders of the old country into the things they built and the streets they named. She opened the door with a radiant smile and immediately slipped a pill into my hand. I just took mine when i heard you on the stairs she smiled and i tossed the pill into my mouth and washed it down with the Gatorade i had brought to mix with the bottle of Grey Goose i had grabbed on my way over. We put the vodka in the freezer and the mixer in the fridge and flopped down on the couch. We talked and kissed while we waited for the E to kick in. I got up and mixed some drinks and wandered over to the window and watched the traffic roll by on a Friday night. She came over and stood with me and i put my arms around her as i began talking, about nothing in general, my fucked up and half-assed philosophy on existence, the pills began to kick in. 

For Veronica this was something different, taking Ecstasy and spending the night in was not the usual itinerary. Taking it at half past seven in the evening was not normal for her either. Usually it was downed as her shift wound down so that it would be in full swing at the after-hours clubs that were inundated with strippers and bartenders and would-be players. On a good night when the clubs closed between 4AM and 6AM they moved to someone's apartment and continued to party until daylight came and the gear wore off and they all made their way home or passed out on a couch as the squares all shuffled off to work. It was much the same as i had done ten years earlier except my drug of choice was acid. I told her stories about my summer of love, aka my first season as a migrant beach worker, where i took acid constantly, how my favorite thing to do was walk out to the beach as the sun came up over the eastern shore and stand on the rocks that acted as breakers, the waves smashing into them and covering me in a cool mist, the roar of the wind and the ocean drowning out the cesspool of humanity known as Ocean City which lay directly behind me. Inevitably the cops would roll down the beach and yell through their bullhorn for me to get off the rocks. I'd turn and walk down the rocks and back into the sand and never acknowledge them. 

Back on the couch we discussed what we could do. With the gear kicking in i wasn't so keen of driving anywhere. I also knew i had to be careful about getting caught out, a fact that was somewhat danced around as we talked. I could tell she wanted to do something other than sit in her apartment but as the gear kicked harder she turned on a movie, True Romance (she'd never seen it) and turned off the lights, the autumn darkness enveloping the front room and the telly flickering light. We sat and watched for a while. Of course we knew where this story ended and soon enough i cracked the cover of the book and began rubbing her shoulders as she lay across me. The Ecstasy proved a catalyst for a relaxed and lovely evening. Soon enough the drinks were just pure Gatorade and i watched as Veronica's face twitched a bit from the E. She had a habit of gurning a bit with Ecstasy, an involuntary grinding and twitching of her jaw. My favorite way to stop it was to lean in and kiss her. She'd smile and ask if she was doing it again and i'd grin and nod. 

The rubbing of her shoulders soon gave way to the losing of our clothes and we spent the rest of the night much like we did the previous. There is no secret to new or young love and lust, it's an old story played and replayed among the folly of humanity. There is no obstacle that can't be overcome, no problem or quarrel that can't quickly be resolved. We humans are smitten with everything about the object of our affection. The problem is the objects of our affection are not objects at all but human beings who come with an array of emotions and thoughts and feelings and sooner or later those things rise to the surface and can't be ignored. But for a time there is nothing but sweet and dirty bliss and those times are as addicting as anything a sentient human can experience. 

For now things were perfect. We subjugated the rest of the world for each other, so that we could spend whatever time we could together due to the circumstances. Of course those circumstances were always there, the dark and ominous clouds sitting far off on the horizon from the gorgeous and sunny space that we occupied now. My current plan was to ignore them, maybe a passing glance now and then but no real concern. Of course i knew that sooner or later i'd have to make a choice and that choice would cause pain and heartache... or maybe i wouldn't... and the choice would be made for me. One cannot catch water, you could scoop it up and take a drink but the rest slipped through the cracks and the crevices of cupped hands. At the moment i was doing my best to quench my thirst, scrambling as nonchalantly as i could to hold the water in my hands. These cool autumn nights spent in her bed, watching her walk naked to the bathroom or to get a drink, these things are woven into the tapestry of a history that writes the story of a life, it's an education, a personal religion, and with any luck we learn from it. There are some altars we never forget.

Being a Friday night i didn't leave until almost 3AM, i had a habit of staying out late on Fridays so there would be no need for a cover story. I knew the places that would do the lock-in and let me stay well past closing so it wasn't uncommon for me to come rolling in late. I left Veronica laying in her bed. She had mentioned she might call Little Blonde to see what she was up to and maybe head out to the after-hours. It was the first time she saw a flicker of worry and hurt pass across my face. She paused and pulled me back down into bed. She said on second thought she'd probably just stay in and enjoy the rest of the night. Even in perfection we must spackle over the cracks. This night was about as perfect as it could be... for me at least. But i understood. I made my way home and crept up the steps an into my apartment. It was quiet and the cats strolled by to rub my legs and say hello, a contented smile on my face as those clouds crept slowly closer. 

1 comment:

looby said...

This is a good way to start a Sunday -- a few chapters of a one of my favourite love stories. I too was wondering how things were going to pan out with the utterly lovely Veronica after London. You've got a real knack for telling a story and I love all the little details. Oh boy, would this sell! (And get you into a fuck of a lot of trouble :) All the best from the Southwest.