Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm Going Back to 505


I know, I've been talking about telling you about Delhi (not her real name) for some time now, but I still can't find that picture of us. So no Delhi story. I also can't find the snake brooch Jody gave me, which really upsets me. The weird thing is, Delhi recently emailed me, just when I was getting ready to write about her. I haven't heard from her in at least 15 years. Strange.
As stories go, hers is an interesting one to tell, because of her obsession with Johnathan. I used to get so frustrated with her about this, because he, at first, would pull me aside and whisper his confusion and discomfort to me about Delhi.
"Why is she acting like this, Brian?! Why is she so in love with me? You gotta do something!" He begged, his face dripping with desperation.
I say at first, because the look of dismay that clouded his face when we rounded the corner and approached his bar eventually was replaced with a look of acceptance, or maybe even a little bit of joy. Delhi could be a very persuasive gal, as well as a generous one. I know his pockets were never as full when he went home, as when she came around.
I was annoyed by her behavior, because I saw her advances toward him as unwelcome, so seemingly obviously unwelcome, and I found my experiences with that very extreme, in a scary way. When I was younger, I seemed to attract people who grew intensely found of me; who's dams would eventually burst into floods of emotion over me, that I guess I always secretly wanted, and expected.
Mainly, I saw way too much of myself in Delhi's behavior. I was blind to the fact that I acted toward Brad and Doug as she did toward Johnathan, but internally, on the inside, in my guts, in Fantasyland. I'd pay my admission and enter the gates and wander the grounds of If Only and What Could Have Been. I could spend hours there. And I did. I spent years there.
I could do it anywhere: laying in bed staring at the ceiling, while wandering the streets of Chicago, at work, in a bar, etc, etc. I knew it was expensive, in an emotional way, but it took me a long time to see it for what it really was- it's true cost was staggering.
But that was yet to come. As spring turned to summer, in 1989, I made many promises to myself, and I kept them as long as I could. The main promise I made was I would be happy, and if I wasn't, I faked it. I met a lot of fun new people, went to a lot of parties, taking care to not over do my imbibing, and lived my life as someone who loved them self would. I had to make up those rules for myself back then, I'm sure borrowing from my literary and musical heroes, because any sort of 'loving existence' was a dusty old thing, rolling around some forgotten corner in my head.
I was surprised at how easy it was for me to make those changes. I connected with people quickly, and my focus became talking with them and knowing them, instead of getting wasted or 'scoring' (anything and everything). I had my group at Berlin I danced with, and my group who I would wander the streets with til all hours, talking up a storm, and a group I would go with to parties and late night diners.
I used to think these were tenuous connections I had with these people, til I ran into one last year, and we picked up where we left off in 1990.
I would sit back in my mind, from time to time, while I was with them, and mull over how different they were from some of the people I had surrounded myself with of late: they had plans for their life that stretched past what was happening tonight, and looked at me like I had the same thoughts; they looked at me like they were excited for my future, because they knew it was going to be great.
So I made some plans for my life: I would save up and go to London and New York, and write more, and make more art.
I divorced myself of any physical intimate relationships, though, because the ones I was having in my head already took up all my energy. Though the relationships I'd had over the past couple years had ended in real life, I could not end them. Why? Did I need them to end differently? Was I looking for some loop hole, some sort of self-esteem loop hole? I'm sure I could write a list a mile long of whys.

I started to hang around my old friend Scot more, and we talked about getting an apartment together again. We were both experiencing major changes in our lives, and thought each other's daily company would be helpful. My apartment on Patterson held so many ghosts, and ghosts of a time in my life I needed to forget, I couldn't bear to spend any time there. In every corner lay a failure, and in every shadow hid a heartache. It was time to go.


Aaron said...

I'm feeling the ghosts myself lately! I've also been running into/hearing from friends and acquaintances from a long time ago who seem really excited to see me...and it always happens when I'm exhausted and can't string two words together. :-)

But I think it's all part of the "big plan" for my life--a sign to have some hope after all...

American Girl said...

HAve you ever heard "In Every Dream House A Heartache"? It's a Serge Gainsbourg song. I have a version by Bryan Ferry.