10.24.2012

Let this be the year when hope fails you. Part two.

Years and years ago on the flat, slim island of Miami Beach, late in the night, some friends and I nearly closed down The Abbey after my second, and final, going away party. I had a girlfriend in town from Seattle, and so when we all got back to my apartment instead of making her sleep on the pull-out, I offered her the spot in my bed next to my slight husband, threw some PJ's in a bag, tucked my toothbrush head first inside my mouth and shot them a peace sign before I padded out the back door in my flip-flops and climbed onto the back of my friend Richie's scooter. It was May fourth, it was at least 80 degrees, it was almost five in the morning, and despite the signs along Alton Rd. that warn "don't even think about speeding", we were helmetless and clocking at least 45 down the dark and narrow 30 mph thoroughfare to North Beach.

Two days later, I got on a plane.

These days Rich doesn't occupy much of my head space and I spend long stretches of my life oblivious to the way I so completely, for a time, hung my hopes on him. But lately it seems as if I can't get him out of my head and I haven't been quite sure why--maybe because of the upcoming stint in Miami I'll be enjoying this winter? I figured surely I had written it all down somewhere, so I combed this blog and found but four mentions of him. Four. That's hardly enough to unravel this mystery, so a couple nights ago I decided to do some hard-archive hunting.

I still own most of everything I've ever written down on paper that was of any consequence stretching back to 1992, but I don't often look at it. I'm fairly intimate with with everything I've done since 2005 since I've kept a fairly thorough online record of it, but sometimes stuff before that escapes me. I thought I remembered the 48 hours or so following that ride up Alton, but that was before reading my account of it written six months later.

It's weird reading yourself when it's been so long that you don't remember what it says, and although it sounds like me I feel voyeuristic reading it; It's all so foreign now that it feels like it happened to someone else, that I'm treading on someones ancient insecurities and vulnerabilities and hopelessness. It's just so goddamned sad, and now, pushing ten years later, I can't believe it all happened to me. By me. Because of me. What I'm telling you, finally, is that it was all my fault.

A year later I found myself back home in Miami for a five day stint before continuing on to Mexico. Rich drove down from Hallendale for one night and met me at The Abbey; we drank pints of stout and then broke onto the golf course to climb trees and lay on it's sloping hills and smoke bowls. It was probably two or three in the morning when the sprinklers came on and reminded us that we probably shouldn't be having sex on a golf course.

I say that like there needed to be sprinklers to relate to us something so obvious.

I've made mistakes, you guys. I try not to dwell on them too often and just hold myself accountable for the ones I'm bound to make in the present tense but these damned looming airplanes always find me contemplative and confused. I remember that first trip back, that night at the bar and on the golf course; I remember taking Rich back to Rob's old apartment with me and holding him in the thick, hot night and closing the door behind him when he left at sunrise. I remember kissing him one last time across the threshold, but I never thought in a million years that it would be the last time I'd ever see him. Hope, as it seems, completely failed me.

Two days later, I got on a plane.

I had hoped things would be vastly different and I forewent my active hand because I knew I was hoping for things I couldn't have. I could have easily drove out in front of the storm, seen where we were headed, made active decisions that would have left his 954 programmed into my cell phone to this day.

I've hoped for a great many things this year, but the only hopes that I have had that have come to fruition are those that I worked so hard for. I pounded the pavement in freezing rain and worked 16 hour days and made it a point to see my best friends every single week. I boarded planes and busses and squeezed my niece and nephew in the throngs of a humid Atlanta summer. I've made time and loved hard and reconnected and asked for what I wanted and made plans and stuck with them and oh, oh god, the rewards.

Fine, then. Let hope fail me. Let hope fail all of us--it's a tricky thing, hope. It's the thing that rationalizes us sitting back and waiting for something to happen. I've hoped for nothing lately because when this year broke I felt hopeless, and it's odd because if I could go back and replace that feeling with any other I wouldn't. That hopelessness, it seems, is what has propelled me all the way from the Woodhull Psych Ward to the best year of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Four people, in the last week, have told me: "I want your life." You can have it. It's easy. Just let go of hope and start making decisions.

Let this be the year when hope fails you.
--M

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