On The Car Ride Down
“You cry, but you endanger nothing in yourself. It’s like the idea of crying when you do it. Or the idea of love.” -Angels in America
The next morning, I wake up feeling a little Zombie like. I can’t manage to stay out of bed, and at 1:30, I remember I have to go to Sunday Funday. I assume The Writer will be there but have neither the critical nor emotional faculties to even deal with his presence, so I bite another xanax in half and swallow part, slipping the other half in my pocket.
When I pull up to Noah’s house, I realize a couple of problems. First, there are only four cars on the street. The second, none of them belong to Clark. Luckily, my janky ass car isn’t spotted by anyone. So naturally, I drive away. I don’t even pretend to pretend to think I can hold a conversation with a couple of strangers right now. Driving through the hills, however, is wonderfully calming. Except when a car comes speeding around a bend and there’s about two inches between me, it, and certain death.
After my daily dose of near-death, I need a little grace, a little soothing; I call Ann, one my dear friend from New York. We haven’t been keeping up like we should, but she remembers most of the boy details from my visit. “Listen poodle, do what’s good for you. You know what that is. And if he doesn’t want something, you can’t force it on him. These things have to work themselves out…” My phone keeps cutting out. The Hollywood hills have notoriously poor reception. I call her back, but we’re cut off again almost immediately. She didn’t say what I wanted to hear, but she did say the truth. And this talk with The Writer is for me, not him. That’s why I’m the one initiating it. I just hope I don’t do something embarrassing like faint and fall into Noah’s pool or walk into a giant window…again. That would suck.
I sit, parked in front of some random house for five more minutes. Some yard-workers look at me, and I realize how pathetic this is. I put my car in drive and take my foot off the brake. The wheels roll backward as I slide down the hill a bit before slamming on the gas and narrowly dodge a mailbox. I’m pretty sure I hit a garbage can, but it didn’t fall over, so I’m going to say it doesn’t count. Did I mention I’m not the best driver? I plug in my iPod and blast “Who’s That Chick” by David Guetta and Rihanna. “Who’s that chick? Who’s that chick?” I sing shaking my shoulders and dancing. “I’m that chick!” I yell at the top of my lungs, cruising back toward Noah’s.
I park behind the line of expensive cars, and pump myself up. Normally, I’d feel ridiculous, but…really no I wouldn’t. I have no more shame. Who’s gonna stop me? No one. I bounce on my heels and roll my shoulders then launch myself up Noah’s driveway with a hip little strut, which would probably look better if I actually had an ass. I decide to tone it down a tad when I reach the house. Taking off my sunglasses, I spread my arms and yell, “the party has arrived!” Noah and the half dozen guys I don’t recognize look at me blankly. Me…cuz I’m the party. An exceptional start to an awkward afternoon.
One hour and a rum & coke and a half later, I’m sitting next to the pool…on the ground. Jerry, that producer I saw last night, is laying on a comfortable chair along with an older gay man, and some questionably heterosexual dudes. I’m sucking on the other half of my xanax while they’re chatting about…well, I’m not really sure. The reason why continue through my mind with a loud whisper:
41. How when I’m with him, I have my shit so together.
42. How when we’re apart, I feel like a tangled mess.
43. All of his ridiculous assertions.
44. How much conviction he holds for them in the moment.
45. How he’ll forget them the next day.
My posture is unflattering to say the least as I listen to Jerry begin to talk about his new show. I try to focus on his words, but I think I’m getting sunburned. My eyes are squinted, and all I can think about is The Writer. I stand up and go inside to pee, but really I just go in the bathroom to give myself some pep-talk looks, then some “what the hell is wrong with you?” type looks, but mostly all I see are my sad, little eyes.
46. How he always drives.
47. I’m his front-seat friend.
48. How he always says the wrong thing.
49. How I find all his bad habits amusing.
50. I feel more at home lying next to him than anywhere else.
A pressure starts to rise in my chest, and I wonder for a moment if I’m going to hyperventilate. Wouldn’t that be dramatic?
Instead, I go back outside and Clark is there. “Hey!” He says with a hug. “Glad to see you’re drinking.” “Yeah, I really need it today,” I say squarely. A few more people have arrived as well, including Thomas, who walks over and wraps his hand around Clark’s arm. “Hi,” I say with great indifference. I pull my shit together and start to converse with the other guys, including Jerry. I listen intently, and I think that he appreciates the attention. But the pressure in my chest continues on a steady rise. I feel more natural, but way less in control. I put down my drink as some guy tells me about a direct to DVD movie he made, and I type the title of the film my phone upon his insistence that I watch it. As he walks away, the pressure becomes too much. Then, something breaks through. It’s not violent, but it is powerful. I suddenly feel as though I’m possessed. It’s like I’ve been infected with some parasite and can see what’s going on, but I have no control of my body.
I walk back outside, and nearly take off in a sprint back to my car. Luckily, Clark is standing between the driveway and I. “You heading out?” He asks. “Yeah, there’s something I have to go do.” “Alright, buddy, I’ll give you a call sometime this week, and we’ll get together.” I nod, and he looks at me. “You okay?” He asks. Clark usually isn’t super in-tune with my emotional states, so it’s telling that he should notice now when my brain is buzzing, and I’m in auto-pilot. “I’ll be fine,” I tell him, heading down the driveway.
51. He doesn’t carry a wallet.
52. His pockets are filled with gum wrappers and receipts.
53. How he tries to talk to go-go boys while they’re working.
54. How he looks for happiness in all the wrong places.
55. He thinks he likes to get dirty.
I get in my car, and start the engine. I know for a fact that I’ve never driven after having this much to drink. Not to say that I’m drunk because I’m not. But under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t consider getting behind the wheel.
56. The way I feel when we write together.
57. He introduced me to Trick Bradley.
58. His ridiculous bids for group sex.
59. How hard he believes that he’s handy.
60. He wouldn’t eat my chicken.
I’ll be there soon.