THE JOY OF SUICIDE, serialized on http://www.first100books.com
Repeat previous paragraph on self-pity and obsession. Four days pass before I can bring myself to leave the room, again. I even stop eating for a couple of them. Eventually, the stir-crazy feeling of being in the room starts to outweigh my urge to just sit in the chair and not move. Which is a good thing because I still had some things to do while I was here.
First, I had to see Paul. The long-suffering pal who had put up with my whining, bitching and moaning far more than you could ever stand. I mean, you’ve about had it with me just from reading this book. Imagine if you had years and years of this stuff. Sounds pretty hellish, doesn’t it? I mean, I have to say, I’ve been in rare form, even for me, since we started this journey together, you and I. But still. Paul had to be some sort of super-human to cope with the likes of me and I knew it.
Anyway, a few nights after my four-day, self-pity fest, I took him to dinner at the King’s Head. The British pub I had earlier referred to. I got the chicken curry and he got fish and chips. What, too much detail for you? I see, if it’s sex, you want all the detail in the world, but when it’s great food…I’m sorry, I’m just tired and feeling pretty shitty about things. I don’t mean to take it out on you folks. Really, I don’t.
Anyway, Paul spends the first twenty minutes of our reunion bitching about how I made him drive across town and how much he hated having to come all the way out to Santa Monica from Los Feliz (also a part of L.A.). It was a total pain-in-the-ass drive. But pretty much driving in L.A. anywhere to anywhere was. The roads here simply didn’t work. Broken. Not functioning. Useless. Well, at least there was that great mass-transit system you could use (Insert dripping sarcasm here. L.A. had virtually none since they tore out the street car tracks at the request of General Motors some fifty years ago). Anyway, as he went on and on about how much of a dick I was for making him do all that driving, I just kept thinking how much I was going to miss the guy. That’s about as gay as I’m gonna get, so don’t be looking for anymore on this issue.
After a fine meal, we start downing some fine, fine British Ales. Actually, he’s drinking Bud, which I’ll never understand, but he’s a great guy in spite of that. (For purposes of our story let’s pretend he’s drinking something that doesn’t taste like urine. Say, Newcastle or Fuller’s London Pride). Anyway, it has been a really long time since I had a good drinking night out and I really, really enjoy it. It feels good to be among the living again. The whole world seems kind of new again.
I tell him all about the trip and all the shit that had happened. I try to edit things out that might make him suspicious that anything is really up with me. Which isn’t too hard because he can easily see me having an early mid-life crisis and going a bit crazy. I make sure to tell him all about Sam and Mary and Michelle and Meagan and that Bible Humping Whacko and Ann. Especially Ann. As much as he loves to give me shit about it, he can really relate to the wanting-someone-as-more-than-a-friend-and-not-getting-it thing. I think any guy can. He really sympathizes. Which encourages me to bring up the real issue on my mind, Nancy.
I don’t know why I feel so nervous talking about Nancy to him. Maybe, because I care so much. Maybe, because I know how much it’s going to get to me when he makes some well intended, light-hearted joke about the situation. A joke that just really hurts and pisses me off instead. But he doesn’t. Again, he is total sympathy in the perfect best-drinking-buddy-in-the-world way. Which only encourages me to go further and further into the topic.
I tell him about the conversation I had with her. And how I told her I was in love with her. He just nods and doesn’t say anything. Then I tell him what she had said about me creating conflict and distractions for myself. And how I probably didn’t even love her, but was simply obsessed with her. Which Paul thought was total bullshit. Unless I was stalking her. Which I wasn’t, really. But which Paul makes sure to make some jokes about. I keep waiting for him to reduce the whole thing to me just wanting to get laid and being frustrated. But he doesn’t. He say’s something worse. Worse because it was such a guy thing to say. Worse because it made me really wonder if it was true.
Basically, he reduced my feelings of longing and obsession to this. He said I wanted to fuck another man’s wife mainly because she was another man’s wife. Pretty much just as Nancy had said. But even more evil. He didn’t mean because it was a challenge. He meant simply because she was a female that belonged to another male. As offensive as it sounded, I had to agree with him that there was some hard-wired thing in men to just feel the urge to take women from other men. Sick isn’t it? Some sort of Alpha Dog kind of thing, I would guess. Not that that means it’s OK to ever act on it. No more than pillaging, rape and murder are still acceptable. But, I really do think that it’s there in most men as some sort of misplaced natural instinct. It certainly was in me.
Oh, pa-leeeeze. Don’t tell me I just found something new to offend you with? Get over it and pay attention. Something else he said right after that might be even more important. It went right back to the heart of the matter. The core of what Nancy had said to me. He said, very simply, we all want what we can’t have.
Still don’t think that means anything, do you? “We all want what we can’t have.” Think about it. Or don’t. Whatever. Anyway, our drunken conversation moved on to something else. Something about how hot he thought the bar maid was. And how he thought she might like him because she was being so kind to us. So sad.
The most terrifying part of the night was the end of it. Paul insisted that he drive home, even though he was drunk as hell. Being L.A., and being that you generally couldn’t walk anywhere, driving home drunk was a frighteningly normal occurrence. I offered to get him a car service. I offered to get him a room at the hotel. I offered to pay for anything and everything. I offered everything I could think of to get him to stop from trying to drive in the condition he was in. I even tried to steal his keys from him. None of it worked. Although, it did piss him off quite a bit, that trying to steal his keys thing. He even asked when I had decided to be the older brother he never wanted. All of which pissed me off because he was just being an idiot.
The last thing in the world I needed was for him to be the one to end it all in a fiery car wreck in L.A. That was my job, God Damn it! Not his! But it was hopeless. He was going to get in that car of his and drive off, unless I physically knocked him unconscious. Which I really considered doing. But it was too late. By the time I had decided it was worth it to punch him in the face for his own good, he was already in his car. I tried one last time to talk him out of it. Useless. Finally, I just asked him to call me when he got home. He laughed at me and called me “Dad,” but said he would. And then he drove off.
As I anxiously waited for him to call me at the hotel, I realized I had forgotten to do something really important. I had gotten so self-absorbed and into this thing that Nancy had said to me, that I forgot to thank him. Fuck me. And now he was driving in a car plastered out of his mind and could be dead before I got to tell him. Well, I suppose if he were dead, that would be kind of a bigger issue. But that’s not the point. Assuming he did, in fact, make it home safely, I would have to figure out a way to tell him. Some way to say “thanks” without tipping him off about things. And then I waited for him to call.
I suddenly knew how My Mom or Lynn must have felt when I was out an hour past curfew. It’s nerve racking as hell. I don’t know how parents do it. All that wondering and worrying if your kid is out there doing something stupid. Doing something that could ruin their lives or get them hurt or killed. And what if it actually happened? How does any parent live with the death of their child? The death of the little creature they are biologically predisposed to protect at all costs? Protect even at the cost of their own lives? Oh, fuck me. How was I going to do this to My Mom. How was I going to be able to face the horrible pain I was going to leave her with if I died before she did? God damn it, this killing yourself thing gets so damn complicated.
So, time doesn’t move as I wait for Paul to call. And wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, I look at the clock. He should have been home at least fifteen minutes ago. I call his number. It rings and rings and…groggily he answers. Praise Be. And then he completely goes off on me for being such an asshole about him driving home and nagging him about calling me and on and on and on. All of which sounds like music to my fucking ears. And then I tell him to shut the fuck up for a second and listen to me. And he does. And then I tell him that it would kill me if he had gotten in a wreck because he is the best friend I have ever had. And as he calls me an over-emotional Pussy-Bitch, I feel so overwhelmed I could cry. But, of course, I don’t. Because that would just be too gay for words.
I am still drunk and can’t sleep. I feel really tired. And really horny. Which I take as a really good sign after the four days spent in this room where I know even Miss Heaven In Her Mouth couldn’t have done it for me. I lie back in the bed, naked and…and start to think of Nancy. Of what it would be like to be with her right now. The way she would feel. Of that conversation in the park. That fucking, God Damn, conversation in the park. I instantly shrivel up like a turtle going back into its shell. So much for things being back to normal.
Now, not only tired but frustrated, and not a little angry and depressed, I stare out the window into the darkness of the ocean. It’s dark. Not really a whole lot to see. Kind of like the lake view in Chicago from Ann’s room that time. Ann, my pretty little distraction. My pretty little warm up act for the real pain to come. Anyway, the ocean. You can’t see a damn thing. But I can faintly hear it. The sound of the waves coming in. I just lie back in the chair listening to the ocean. Looking back on how much had happened in the last seven or eight months. Thinking about how very strange it’s all been. And then I fall asleep.
THE JOY OF SUICIDE on http://www.first100books.com