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The 62nd Fire: A Tale of Longing

TheGarbageManMay 3, 2019, 11:51:20 PM

Written a decade ago, my life was at a very different point, an intersection that took me in a completely different direction than I thought it would. It's interesting re-reading these words, living back in those times. It makes me both happy and sad to think of all gained and all lost. The fire consumes everything, memories and emotions combined. Keep it burning bright.

Fool’s Love

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me... I truly don’t know what love is. I know I’ve felt it, made it, cherished it, thrown it away. Yet, I don’t know how to truly define it as an object. It seems so hard to define something that is totally dependent on the person you share it with. There is no such thing as two same loves. There is never the same feeling with one person as it is with another. Or is there? Might it be just a thing as simple as desire or even lust? I need to check it out. Bear with me as we start from the beginning and move our way up to the present. Perhaps then I can decide if it is or ever was love, the feeling I have sought above all others.

The first. Ahh yes, the first is how much of the others follow, is it not? She 19, me 14. It was beautiful for me. Knowing the ebb and flow of women at a younger age has probably given me an advantage in my later life. Following along with my father at the age of eight, I met her. Her name was Jody and she lived high in the sierras among a graveyard of old automobiles and sun-baked manzanita. She was a mountain girl of dexterity and intelligence. It didn’t take me long to find out what she liked, some cheesy Mac Bolan novels of an explosive mercenary that was always battling drug-lords and corrupt governments. After that first visit, I would scour book sales and stores for more of these dime-store stories that she craved. Every time I saw her after that, I would come towing in with at least two or three of these books and she was so happy to get them, giving the fact of her limited access to the outside world.

Falling on hard times, ousted by her family, she came to stay with my family being closer to work and given a chance to rebuild her life. She had landed a job at the local Burger King doing the closing shift and I would wait late in the night for her to come home so we could talk and joke around. We always had fascinating conversations about life as we had figured it out then at a young age and the use of drugs and our limited experience with substances among other subjects that we had known each other to like. One night she came home and I was watching late-junk tv. We shared some hour-old BK and talked like we had for a while. following through on what I had felt for months, I leaned in and kissed her. She kissed back in the way the French did. From there, I found what I truly wanted the most in life. Sex and companionship. This blissfulness that I had only recently discovered went on for a full month of shushing and sneaking around the family that would most likely disapprove of this relationship and eventually did.

One day, receiving a call from one of her girlfriends amusing at the size of the hickey I left on her shoulder, my mother overheard the conversation on the other line of the telephone. To say she wasn’t happy is an understatement. Mother was furious. When she returned, my mother already had all her stuff waiting outside, threatening to call the cops. I saw her intermittently in the next few months until she meant to go to church one Sunday to try and prove to my mom that she was a good person of christian faith. The four way stop that intersected the street to the church was where she was hit by another vehicle, slamming into her driver side and totaling her car. I saw her in the hospital after her second week there. Jody was still in intensive care and had only recently been able to accept visitors. As she looked up at me with weary eyes amongst the tangle of cords and beeps keeping her medicated and fed, I saw what love’s consequences can be. Pain. 

She got better in a few months, moved to San Francisco, married, had children, divorced, joined the Army, and there she remains with her three kids. Although we never did meet together again, I always reflect back to her with other women. She was the first taste of a life-long longing, a quest to find the ultimate happiness and contention that few ever seem to find in life. I can see why they don’t.

* * *

After two years of her absence in my life, I was determined to find my own happiness and see what else the world had to offer in companionship and experiences. Giving the limited scope that home schooling gives in those two cravings, I was able to convince my mother that High School gave me a degree, an advantage in future career options above a GED. But the real reason was girls. I had a taste of their addictiveness and wanted more. I dated two of the girls on my first class and am together with the other now (more on that later). It was interesting, having simple relationships that High School has, interacting with women of all kinds, not just girls from church and the mountains.

Although I dated frequently once I became enrolled, only one girl from that time captured me in a way that found it hard to let her go. Daughter of the local burger shop owner (I do like women involved in food), Elissa had a voice full of song, legs suitable to her softball team, and a smile and heart that enamored and encased my heart. I felt so strong for this short, black haired, blue eyed lady, felt like after all the searching and waiting that this was it. This was the one who would fulfill my dreams of happiness forever, right? Wrong, as 2 months went along and a former boyfriend, on leave from the Marines, showed me. 

That was the first time I felt the pain in my heart. The feeling like someone has grabbed it and squeezes it when you think of her and the want she left burning inside. It took awhile to get over her, a while of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, other women who probably did love me but I only used for their distraction they gave me from Elissa. The harshness of being broke-up with, the wonder of where the fault lay. It was the first time since Jody that I had to just let the feelings fade, sharply and long. I ran to the Army, seeking the refuge that only being yelled at and breaking the body can give. It helped.

* * *

When I finally got out, I was ready to go to college and learn the intricacies of the universe. And college chicks. The Army afforded no love, only money to perhaps ‘rent’ it time to time. College was great. Landing a job at the College of the Siskiyous cafeteria, passing the time off from school to work, I met Danielle. A sweet girl from southern Cali, we hit it off immediately. Less than a month of knowing her, we were dating and touting our relationship to all the world. It was exhilarating, she made me feel as though the other two had never happened, that they were merely preparation for her, my love for life. The feeling became stronger with Danielle, she was the one I had truly waited for for so long. Smart, tall, short blonde hair with green eyes and a steely smirk, I had fallen hard for this smart beauty. 

We dated for a year, longest relationship I had had to that point, when it went bad. I don’t truly know why she left me to fuck that skinny punk that had always wanted her while we were together but at least she had the decency to break up first. It took a long time to bounce back from her. Thoughts of a life together, marriage, our secret hopes and dreams, crushed in the course of a 5 minute conversation. 

It took a long time to get over her, even with another year-long liaison in-between. Longing, dreams were all that were left of Danielle, a girl that still makes me smile at the thought of her. Love had proven to be a difficult teacher at this point in my life.

* * *

My last semester before getting my AA, I met another in a Spanish class. Mi Montana was what I would call her, her nickname being mountain around the cascades and Mount Shasta. We had the most interesting relationship I had, and still have, ever been in. Tattooed sleeves, a panache for other women, and that same damnable short hair, strong as a mountain she was. We would go to parties, sleep on top of the mountains, sneak out boats from the lake we lived next to. She smelt like hemp, but never smoked it. She had a quick wit that would fire back as soon as I could respond. 

She showed me something important. You don’t have to have love to get what you want. 

We fulfilled our passions, lived our own loves, and met in between. She taught me the fun of love, that you don’t have to call it love for it to be so. She left for the East, to live with her girlfriend that she had met while doing clean-up post-hurricane Katrina. When she did leave, she left me with a smile on my face and a happy outlook on the other women that would come into my life. How short that bliss was.

* * *

When going so far back that the happy memories don’t even make sense, I have to judge and interrogate my own memories. I think about her, about the trust and love I felt for this simply beautiful woman who had taken everything of me and used it to her own advantage. She approaches me in the way she always has: Awkward, calculating, uneasy. I had grown used to it but by know it was just another sign that she was not mine to begin with. She could tell that for sure, give me that wanting-love, the love that makes you ache because you want more. It is a very good trick, something that she has become exceedingly good at. She knows what she has. This power to control others, to make it seem like it’s just you and her versus the entire world. It makes you feel important, empowered, and alone in the love with her. She is yours only, yours, your love. She whispers this into your ear, elevating your heart to heights only achieved earlier in passionate bouts of love-making or intense fights. She knows she has this power. She knows. You try to wrestle your heart back, to take it back into your own chest and never let it slip out again. She will not let you do this. She keeps it, twists it, and uses it till you are an empty shell, jaded at the thought of her. She knows then that it is time to stop and go back to whence she came. To find another that has regenerated their heart from her abuse and use it once again. 

I feel still empty, jaded, living with the want for her, but not wanting the pain that she inflicts upon those that want her to be happy. Maybe she is not meant to be happy. She knows this, that’s why she will do anything to ensure that a self-implosion is so near, the only thing she can do is keep running. Running from the lies, the pain, the men who have loved her.

Now she says she is pregnant, I’m the father. Talking to friends, they all say this is a good thing. That I’ll find the love I’ve been looking for. I don’t know. I’m ready to step up to the plate and shit on the pot but I’m still nervous. Is she the one? Is this right to follow through on? I guess I’ll handle it like I’ve handled love. Let time tell me what is real and what was merely right at the moment. I’m here, she’s there, and still I wait. Wait and see what tomorrow brings, while making plans for the best, preparing for the worst. And I will always find love, find truth, find myself along the cascading sea of emotions and people. Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.