Act II. Chapter I: In Her Eyes

It’s 10:30 pm, and I’m flying high above the mountains of British Columbia. I’ve spent the last few days far away from my hometown of Toronto, in sleepy Vancouver.

Sleepy might be the wrong word to use – apathetic? If the city seemed to care enough to be tranquil, I might even chase the fleeting thoughts I have to move there and leave my past behind.

As the clouds clear off and I stare down at the lights dotting sparingly across the abyss below, I wax philosophical about my actions back at the airport. Anything that will stop me from torturing myself at the hands of the blank page, I suppose.

*******

It started off as one of those nearly missed connections. I’ve got headphones in, aviators on. I’m delirious. It’s been one of those few business trips where everything goes perfectly and you manage to avoid every possible manifestation of Murphy’s Law despite being overdue for karmic justice of the most severe degree.

As I step off the escalator, one of those new country generic songs runs headfirst into the chorus – you know the ones, about young love, alcohol, and fucking in trucks – and I nearly stumble headlong into this girl.

I freeze and halfway adjust, just barely glancing into her shoulder and sending us both turning and facing each other, both apologizing before we can even pull the headphones out. For one long second, our worlds are just loud cacophonies of background music while we dramatically mouth apologies and pull our bags back on our shoulders. Then suddenly, with a loud *pop*, we both jolt back into the present.

“I’m s-so sorry”, I say, because apparently stumbling over just my feet isn’t enough.

“No, no! My fault,” she says, laughing.

She’s got a nice laugh, I can see it now. She’s actually really pretty, and she’s wearing a U of T hoodie. Score.

“You go to U of T?” The first question that I throw is supposed to sound innocent, but the smirk on my face gives me away and for a long second, it floats in the open space between us like a strand of smoke that might just disappear in the breeze.

Her eyes open a little wider, and she puts out a hand, nearly but not quite reaching across the distance. “Life Sci!” She says, and a shred of doubt tears through the BC sunshine. Life Sci at U of T is a program that I’m fairly sure they only offer because suicide rates aren’t high enough at campus to keep the Ivy League of the North status.

Good pitch number two – fastball down the middle.

I lay on my best smirk and say, “I don’t believe you. You seem way too happy to be in Life Sci at U of T. Which campus?”

There it is. Her eyes open wide, and her mouth changes from a half open smile to a real laugh. Strike two. “UTSG! You’re U of T?”

“Sort of. I’m from the high school version, UTSC? You know, same soul crushing academic pressure, same amount of power outlets as World War 2?” I laugh a little, but I see her smile fade off a little and her eyes shift down.

Alright, rein it in cowboy. Little too much sarcasm can be caustic.

But instead, she points out my shoes and looks up at me inquisitively. “Dress shoes and sweatpants?” This time it’s her turn to float the question.

I wind up. Pitch three – let’s go with the fastball again.

“Yeah, I’m a [REDACTED]. Just here on business – I flew in wearing a suit, didn’t want to make the same mistake again.” I shrug at the bag on my shoulder for added effect, but she’s not paying attention.

“A [REDACTED]? But aren’t you in UTS-“

“Yeah, recently graduated. I got lucky in the post grad job sweepstakes.”

The conversation lulls. She takes a step back and her head cocks to the side, half smiling, and I feel self conscious. Four years is a long time to be off the market, have I lost my touch? I’m starting to feel the same jitters that I do right before a big contract comes in. It’s nauseating to me that it’s the closest comparison I have.

Strike that. Let’s go with, it’s the same thrilling fear as that pulse between heartbeats when you’re staring down the sights of a rifle, lining up a perfect shot. Timing your breath so that you’ll pull the trigger right when you finish exhaling and your heartbeat slows just long enough to contemplate all the right and wrong in the world.

There, less nauseating. I think.

Suddenly, a warbling voice blares through the airport PA system, droning unintelligibly about a last departure. I can almost feel it cut through our conversation, and the moment is gone. She was about to say something, but instead looks briefly over her shoulder, biting her lip.

“Hey, I gotta run, but you’re from Toronto right?” She says, pulling out her phone. Her headphones fall off her ears, and I find myself much more curious about what she’s listening to. “What’s your name?”

This is that moment, where she’s asking your name – not because you’re meeting for the first time and she wants to avoid an awkward interaction later on, but because she wants to know what name to put in her phone.

“It’s – wait, you have blue eyes. They’re really nice eyes,” I can hear myself say.

She says something back, but I don’t hear it. The socially anxious part of my brain wonders if I’ve rudely re-inserted my headphones because she’s talking but all I can hear is the sizzle and pop of a new record. Her eyes are really blue. Like a light, almost baby blue. That’s my favourite colour. All at once, I can see myself in her eyes.

I’m just some stranger in the airport. Some stranger who said the right things at the right time and knew when to shut up and when to smile. But this girl knows nothing about me. In her eyes, I’m a nicely packaged item, to be pursued and perused. In her eyes, I’m a faint reminder of academic comfort, shown up on the doorstep of her home town. A welcome interloper in the apathy of carefree Vancouver.

She doesn’t know what came before this. She has no idea of what led to all this, and what the context of it all is. She thinks I’m wearing dress shoes and sweatpants because I got a little lazy and I’ve got the style sense of a gnome. She doesn’t know the scheduling, the grueling exhaustion. Later, she’ll find out that I’m writing something and she might even want to read it, not understanding that I’ll trash it seven times over before I let anyone read it before it’s ready. She can’t possibly understand what it is that I’m after now because she never saw what I was aiming for before it all went wrong.

I don’t like her eyes.

“Sorry,” I say, interjecting in her sentence. I notice her hand is outstretched again, and I can almost feel the fingertips brushing my chest just a hair away. “Don’t live in Toronto anymore. Alberta now. Have a good one!” I quickly turn and plug the headphones back in, just in time to hear the starting raspy lines from Kenny Chesney’s Somewhere With You. 

If my face is calm, it’s only because I’ve gotten good at hiding facial cues for when I’ve just committed social harikari.

As I check the gate again, I hum along to the words that I’ve memorized over the course of a hundred nights. I’ve heard this song enough to carve the words into a tattoo, but this is the first time I’ve heard it and been able to actually relate to it. And here I am, somewhere without her.

Irony.

Apt.

*******

It’s 2:00 am. We’re touching down in Toronto soon, so I’m tapping away on this keyboard trying to finalize this before I use our arrival as a good reason to procrastinate further. Did I mention I had a few Long Islands at the airport bar before we left?

Ostensibly to help with writing. Now I’m thinking that all it did was contribute to my loud snoring around the 12:00 am mark.

I try to find some philosophical reason for why I didn’t give that girl my number. Why the idea of who I was in her eyes was so revolting to me. I guess there’s a lot of reasons. When I was unhappy, the idea of someone wanting to be a part of that was novel to me and a little alluring. It was someone seeing a hurricane and deciding that they weren’t scared and that they wanted to see what it felt like in the center of that storm.

Maybe that’s what the difference was. Her eyes were always like that. Curious in the face of pure insanity and bad decisions. A ferociousness that could match the tempest of a life gone awry and the strength to bring it back on course.

Too many writers always get it wrong – they focus on the colour. Her eyes swam in a sea of blue and dolphins jumped from pool to pool, deeper than the ice caps melting away into the ocean. A vivid, nearly effervescent green that mirrored Central Park at the first Spring bloom. All nonsense – it’s never the colour that gets you.

Typically hypocritical, I almost want to pull out my phone to make sure I describe hers correctly, as if I hadn’t just fallen asleep staring at them, swimming in the impossible thousands of pictures we shared over the years.

As if I wouldn’t know her eyes better than I know my own. Maybe that’s the anxiety in me firing off a final volley – I’ve accepted that perfection should never be a pre-requisite to love, especially not when it comes to loving yourself and being happy.

But when it comes to her, I stutter step and hesitate, crossing myself in strings of discord and anxiety. I want things to be perfect again. I want to reverse and correct the things that we did wrong, and tell her the story of how we fell apart as some kind of funny anecdote,”Honey you wouldn’t believe what happened to us in some horrific alternate timeline.”

What made her different wasn’t the colour. They were dark brown. Just like mine. What made them different was how wide her pupils always were. It didn’t matter – bright light or pitch dark, they were always dilated. Black pools of curiosity, almost as if she was trying to see all the happiness in the day before it slipped behind the veil of another night. The dark brown of her iris just hovering on the corners of her eyes, a dark eclipse.

They kept me alive, those eyes. Silver linings on the edge of a life that was nearly completely gone, that kept me swinging and ducking long after I was dead on my feet.

The choice to write here is intentional. The audience is long gone now, and there’s no more curious onlookers to see what comes next. I’m not sure what comes next either.

I’m here, with my eyes closed, finally playing the song I’ve been working on my entire life. This is happy. For the first time in my life, I’m happy with who I am. I’m happy with me.

When I open my eyes, I don’t know what I’ll see. Maybe an empty room, maybe more people than I’ve ever seen before.

All I know is that I hope that I’ll see those brown eyes, peering back from the darkness.

We’re touching down in Toronto now.

I’m home.

I can go out every night of the week, and go home with anybody I meet.
But it’s just a temporary high, ’cause every time I close my eyes,
I’m somewhere with you. 

Kenny Chesney, Somewhere With You

How To Not Be An Awful Person

written by: Why Yes I Have A Stick Up My Ass, Why Do You Ask?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VCsqWxa1ENQ/TZI2HmpA6pI/AAAAAAAACUk/jQfDtz-68mg/s400/YOU-ARE-BAD-AND-YOU-SHOULD-FEEL-BAD.jpg

Not Michael Jackson Bad. Well, maybe a little.

Ever since I got my first job at 16, I’ve always assumed the role of some sort of ‘Customer Service Representative’. While the job title may not have always been the same, the understanding remained that I would be getting paid to be shat on by humanity for 40 hours a week. A quiet particle of truth settled onto my consciousness that first day on the job and quickly grew into a big, fat, ugly elephant in the room over the next 5 years.

You guise, people are awful.

Now, I’m certainly not perfect (far from it!) but I have an almost pathological need to please others. I’ve been called “too nice” on more than one occasion and you know what? It’s never been said in an “Oh, thanks so much for your help, you’re too nice!” sort of way either, it’s always said in a tone of voice that very clearly stands for “WHAT is wrong with you? You’re way too nice.”

For years this irked me. After all, how can being ‘too nice’ or ‘too good’ of a person ever be a bad thing? Well I finally got the memo; people are awful and will continue to be awful and my unending need to be nice and love everyone will result in my tragic, yet not completely unexpected death.

So before I die (probably due to murder-suicide after I pick up yet another call that begins with **”I’m calling long distance and I’m tired of being put on hold!”), I thought I’d try my hand at making the world a slightly less toxic place in my wake (you’re welcome).

1. Be Considerate of Others:

Ok, this is a major problem guys. Guys? Are you listening to me? Yes? Not really? Good enough.

YOU ARE NOT THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE!

You know those things that walk around, all breathing and living and shit, that kinda look like you, except a little uglier? Yeah, THOSE ARE OTHER PEOPLE. You have to co-exist with these people, so try not to be such an insufferable douche, ok?

Please understand that sometimes – most of the times, even – your actions have direct consequences not only on you but on others as well. So when you leave your dirty laundry to fester for 3 months and then decide to do it all the day your mom is coming to visit and have to take up 2 out of the 3 machines available to use for a building of 100 or so other tenants? NOT COOL. What if MY mom is coming over and I want to show her I’m not a total slob too? Well guess what? I CAN’T because that 3rd machine doesn’t work. You dick.

2. Be Honest (with yourself and others):

I know some of you think lying is a thing you do to keep from hurting others’ feelings but that’s actually a lie in and of itself so you should stop right now because your J Brand jeans are on fire, asshole.

People aren’t ~fragile snowflakes~ that can’t handle the truth. Of course there’s a time and place for everything. I’m not saying you should greet your co-workers every morning with “Hey, I hate your guts. Also, I want your job” but if someone asks you straight up whether or not you’re single, don’t be a jerk about it and tell them the truth. It’s as simple as that. People try to make everything so complicated but the truth of the matter is, whenever you’re lying to someone, you’re doing it to save yourself grief, or make yourself look good or whatever other selfish reason. Point is, it’s just that: selfish. Don’t be that person. People will love you dearly for it.

3. Love Yourself:

As my fairy Godmother RuPaul would say, “Honey, if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”. Well, you can’t. You’re going to internalize your pain and become so consumed with misery that’ll you’ll start projecting it onto everybody else and soon they’ll become the people you hate. I’m not in Maxim’s Top 100 Hottest Chicks but I am pretty damn comfortable in my skin. Maybe that’s why I feel no need or desire to go up to random strangers in the street and say “OMG, eat a sandwich!” or “You really should put that down. It’ll probably make it easier for you to book seats on a plane.” You know what that’s called? Concerntrolling. The imperative word being TROLL. You do not give a fuck what that person eats or what life choices they’ve made or what health and/or mental condition they may have that makes them look the way they do. You just want to gleefully point out that they do not fit your standards and they should be ashamed. You are wrong. YOU should be ashamed. And also have your head examined. And also get glasses. Because I’m pretty sure anyone thinner than you is not anorexic, anyone heavier than you is not morbidly obese and you cannot judge a whole person’s life by their appearance. You. Don’t. Know. Shit.

4. Be Understanding:

Seriously, it’s not that hard to put yourself in another person’s shoes. All you have to do is take a half second and imagine yourself going through exactly what they’re going through (or what you’re putting them through). Did you just think ‘shit that sucks’? Boom, EMPATHY. This slightly differs from sympathy (English 101, you guise). Sympathy is feeling bad for the victim of the ‘Florida Zombie Killer’ and for what his friends and family must be going through; NOT posting Zombie-Apocolypse jokes all over the fucking internet. This is not 9Gag, this is real life. Have a heart. Realize that people all over the world are suffering, don’t pile on to the shit-i-tude of their lives by being a shitty person, m’kay?

5. Keep Your Word:

I cannot stress this enough. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY! Yes, I already said don’t lie, but I honestly think some people say things without thinking about it and then are just too lazy or don’t care or forget that someone, somewhere is depending on them. Look, “I’ll call you later” is not “bye”. No matter how much you want it to be, it’s just not. So can we all just agree not to say those 4 words unless we mean it? ‘Cause that look of shock and horror I get when a dude realizes I’m upset because I actually took him on his word and waited by my phone all night is getting increasingly awkward. Would you tell your kid brother that you’re so proud of him getting straight A’s all year you’re going to take him to EB Games and get him any 3 games he wants, drive him over there, buy the games and then promptly smash them all over the sidewalk just to see the sad, sad look on his face? Yes? Well then I cannot help you sir. But if not, that’s how you make people feel every time you blow them off, flop on them or otherwise break a promise.

***

This is by no means a comprehensive list but if you adhere to these 5 tips, I assure you, you can be my friend. Which really is the only point of living, isn’t it? Well, that and Gossip Girl.

**Ok, if you’re one of these people. STOP IT RIGHT FUCKING NOW. Please take a moment to closely examine the level of entitlement you must have as a person to actually believe that it is the responsibility of the company you chose to call that you are paying for long distance/using up the minutes on your phone. Listen. If you are calling a business, there are HUNDREDS OF OTHER PEOPLE CALLING AS WELL. As such, there is a HIGH LIKELIHOOD that you will have to wait (sometimes an inordinate amount of time!) before someone picks up that can finally help you (or not). THEY GIVE ALL OF ZERO FUCKS where you’re calling from or how. If you don’t want to pay extra or use up any of your precious 150 FIDO Daytime Minutes, here is a very reasonable list of things you can do;

Borrow a phone. Preferably from someone not as broke-ass as you.

Have 50 cents? Use a pay phone.

Don’t call. No seriously, don’t.

Go fuck yourself.

InFamous. (Tragedy of the Irony.)

She puts on her headphones and pulls her hood up over her head, and starts walking. Nobody notices her – she’s not a loner, and she’s not popular. She simply exists, but unlike the other girls in her school who are terrified of never being noticed, she doesn’t even notice not being noticed, she just likes being who she is, for her. There’s a cute guy looking at her, but she doesn’t notice him because she’s lost in the music.

But soon, people start noticing her. They start believing that she can succeed, and she starts to take notice, and she doesn’t trust it one bit. She still doesn’t rely on anything except herself, she still does it all for her. She’s afraid, deep down. She’s afraid because this is all new to her and she’s not accustomed to having someone in her corner.

But that’s the way that things go, and that’s the way that the world works. It’s not too long before her guard gets dropped, and the people who want her to succeed starts to grow. Before long, she puts on her gloves and walks out to applause. Where before, there only lay empty chairs and broken memories, now stand a force a hundred million strong, waiting to see her win. Wanting to see her win.

She becomes something special, something adored. She is the girl that they all want to be, the woman that they all need to be. But here is where the ironies begin. She begins to lose all her inhibitions, all her fears, in the spotlight of adoration. She begins to forget what it is to be human, and she begins to think that she can become something more than what she has always been.

The irony is, that she has never realized how lonely she has always been until her footsteps are accompanied by the sound of thunderous applause and pats on her back. She has never realized how quiet her life has been without the chaos of cheers. She has never understood how much it means to win until she was told by all these people how much it meant to them.

You made me who I am, from the words you said. 

She walks in fame now. She fears nothing. She loves everything.

And then we come to the next irony.

They look at her, and they can no longer recognize themselves. They loved her at first, because she could have been them, and they could have been her. She was a general creature of fame, a role model that anybody and everybody could one day be. They wanted her to leave behind her fears because her fears were not the same as their own. They wanted her to leave behind everything that made her who she was, so that they could be more like her, and now, they look at her and she has become a shadow of herself.

She is no longer a human, she is a legend. A creature. A monster. She is not a person anymore, with fears, beliefs and pain. She is something that they can never be.

And they hate her.

Nobody understands exactly how it happens. Some say it’s when there’s too many people your corner, some will shift just to be different from the crowd. Some say that it’s because they realize they can never be her, and thus they want her to fail. Some say that it’s merely because they’ve had enough of her, enough of who she is and what she stands for.

But soon, fame will turn to infamy. Brilliance turns to darkness. Whereas once, they loved who she was, now they are afraid and full of hate. They do not want her anymore, she reminds them of nothing except what they will never be able to become, and what they do not want to become.

The irony is, that she has become someone that she has never wanted to become, for them, and they do not want any of her. They want to see her fail now. The jeering crowds, they call for her blood. She can smell it in the air. Where once lighters waved, and tears fell, now hold torches and sneers. Where once hands waved, fingers point. Where once autographs were given, they brush past her and she stands, alone, far more alone than she has ever been before.

But they have changed her, permanently. She no longer fears anything. Now the loneliness returns, but it returns with a basis in vengeance, with a Ph.D in hatred. It comes back as a response, as an ego saver. So what if they don’t like her? Forget them, they mean nothing. They’re just stupid people, right?

She is who she is now because of them, but she hates them and they hate her, and all you see now are the sparks that fly from the bottom of her shoes as she tries to outrun the past where they used to raise her up on high, where they used to say her name with a smile and not a frown. She does not need them anymore than they need her, she says to herself. And she comes to a reckoning, where she believes that they are all just haters. That she is on top, and she is hated because she is on the top, and that there is nothing that anyone can do to stop her from being on the top. She doesn’t even realize, not then, perhaps not ever, that she is already on her way down, that she will never be at the top again. That there was no top to begin with.

That it was all an illusion in her own mind.

And so, she does not win. She begins to taste the bitter taste of defeat in her mouth, and she begins to realize that no matter what, she will never be the person that she wants to be, that person that everyone seemed to love so damn much. And she will die, with that knowledge, that there was a day that she used to do it just for her, when nobody knew her name and she had not the slightest interest in fame. When the money meant nothing and her self esteem was all she had. When the fears used to eat her alive, every single day, and she used to hate it. And maybe, maybe if she’s lucky, she’ll come back a ghost, to haunt the places where she had once lived in fame, and then in infamy.

Maybe, maybe, maybe, if she’s lucky, she’ll come back a ghost, walking silently among the grass alongside the asphalt where she once trotted casually in the afternoon sun, her hands trailing alongside, brushing the tips of the weeds. She will pause and look at the world, look at all she left behind. She will stand and cry over the bonds that she broke and the ties that she severed.

And then, she will realize that there is nobody around. And she will walk from the land of the dead, back to reality. Her shoes, her headphones and her life will be waiting there for her, as long as she goes back to the place where it all began. It will begin again, this time, in a different place, in a different time, in a different world. In the light of the burning aftermath, she may yet find her way to peace again. Sometimes, she will look back on what her life gave her. And she will realize that it is pointless to run into the inferno. She will realize that there is nothing to take but light and warmth, and to move on, onwards.

They look, but they do not see. They hear her, but they do not remember. As the beat pounds on, as the world moves fast and time moves slow, as their eyes glaze over, they do not even recognize her as she trots along, quietly living for her and only herself. She finds them where she left them – back before she became the person that she never wanted to be. She has seen her future in her past, and she will not let her past become her future anymore. She picks up the sweater and pulls it over her head, and then loops the headphones underneath. She doesn’t know where she’s going. Maybe back to being famous. Back to being infamous. It doesn’t matter. All that matters, is that this time, she remembers who she was, who she always wanted to be.

She puts on her headphones, and pulls her hood up over her head, pushing her hair to the side. And she starts walking.

The Man You Shouldn’t Want.

(Link NSFW) http://www.imboycrazy.com/2011/12/reader-submission-the-man-we-want-the-man-we-shouldn’t-want/

You lay there, breathing heavily, your chest rising and falling and you swallow, feeling parched. She is quiet, and you know she’s too quiet, but at this point you’ve stopped caring. You’re tired of trying to figure out her figuring out you figuring out her figuring out you. What used to be wonderful and happy, is now just a complicated game of who is going to figure out the other person first, and you’re just tired of playing this game over and over again. You’re tired of getting your heart broken, so you stop trying.

You don’t mean to – you never mean to. You want to trust again, you want to give your all to someone and have the life that you always wanted to, the life that you always dreamed about. But she’s never asked about your dreams. You’re always the one who has to come up with the information, and although she seems interested in finding out who you are, she never asks. And you feel guilty about making her feel guilty for such a small thing, because maybe she just feels guilty about making you talk about your past, what you want, and what you need. Maybe she’s tired of hearing about your ex and how your ex girlfriend broke your heart in the clutch, and how it’s changed you. Maybe she’s tired about hearing about how hard it is for you to talk to her, how hard it is for you to open up again when you think that it’s all going to shit in the end anyway. Maybe, maybe, maybe. So you just don’t say anything, and the silences get longer.

And before you know it, the seconds tick by and she’s staring at you and you’re staring off into the distance, quiet and reserved, not sure what to do. You’re tired of giving up information about yourself, the things that you’ve always dreamed about and wanted, without her asking about it, so you begin to close up. She’s something different now, something different than what she had been in the very beginning when you were first getting to know each other and she seemed to want you for who you are, the man that you presented to her, instead of the novelty of it all. And you realize that inbetween it all, guilt has seeped in, regret and mistrust, and you’re not sure what to make of that.

You reach over and play with her hair, hoping that maybe she’ll be sparked to ask something, ask anything, ask for the world so you can give her the universe, but she simply places her hand on your face and kisses you. And you’re wondering why you’re here, laying in this bed with yet another girl that you’re going to regret when she’s had her fill of you, and you’re not sure how to answer yourself. For all your brilliance and argumentative nature, the one person you always lose an argument to is yourself.

You’re a smart man, you’re something that no girl should ever pass up on. You’re pretty decent looking, you think fast on your feet, you’re often humourous and sometimes sarcastic. You’re loyal to a fault, and you give a hundred and ten percent of you in every relationship – but you’re starting to realize that you should only have to give fifty percent, and giving a hundred and ten is only a license to make the other person not have to give anything at all.

So you shift over, and now you’re laying inbetween her legs, and she wraps her legs around you and pulls you inside her, and closes her eyes. And you wonder what she’s thinking of, and then you wonder if she’s wondering about what you’re thinking of. All you want is a family and a wife that loves you just as much as you love her, but you’re stuck always doing it by yourself. Always, always always, doing it by yourself. Even as you move inside her, you wonder if she’ll text you, if she’ll call you, what she’ll do. If you text her, will she respond even in the same day? Or will she just respond to get you back in her bed again, or maybe not call you at all because your position has already been filled?

Maybe, just maybe, she’s just as afraid of being hurt as you are, and all you are, are bad news. You’re not safe. You’ve been hurt too much and you’re too much at risk for being an asshole too. You’ve been torn apart and scarred, and everybody knows from a young age that young men with scars are the most dangerous kind of men. But you’re not like that, and you want her to know that, you want her to see that you’re the kind of guy that she’s always been waiting for, the kind of guy that any girl would kill for, the kind of guy that any girl wants to die for. But instead, you just close your mouth, close your mind, and kiss her mouth, and hope that one day she’ll open up to you, and share more than just her bed.

And so when it’s over, you lie in bed for a few seconds, and you’re about to cuddle her and you remember one of the first things that she told you months and months ago, back when you first met. That she doesn’t like cuddling. You remember everything that she’s ever told you, all her likes and dislikes, because it’s important to her so it’s important to you too. So you know if you cuddle her, she’s going to feel uncomfortable. Quietly, you get out of bed and get her a glass of water, and come back to bed, finding her pensive and distant. Suddenly she looks at you, and she looks like she’s going to say something.

And you close your eyes, waiting for her to finally open up to you, waiting for something more than skin deep, waiting for the relationship that you both seem to keep hinting at. Waiting for the spark to turn into an open flame, a burst of red in the otherwise gray life that you both are leading, something, anything.

You want the girl that she used to be, and she wants the man that you’re going to be. You want the girl that stayed up till three o clock online on Facebook talking to you, trying to find out how such a good guy can’t get a girlfriend, and not concluding that something was wrong with him, or that he was just pretending to be a good guy. You want the girl that wanted to be with you to understand you for the guy that you are now, not just for who you want to be and who you used to be. You want the girl who was about to uncover a grand treasure – you – hidden in plain sight for other girls. You want the girl who was about to take you off the market for good, and make every single other girl jealous on the opportunity that they missed in you. And she wants the guy that you claim to be, the guy that gives and gives and gives it all and never asks for anything back. Is it selfish to say, that you would give and give and give it all and never ask for anything back, but still want to not have to ask? Because you’re a realist – you’ve had relationships that have ended in massive wrecks, and you know that even though you don’t ask, you still need something, anything. And then you realize that you haven’t asked her for more, and that’s exactly what started your downward spiral in the first place, and worse still, you need her to help you out of it – to help you fix this relationship and turn it into something real, something amazing, something that the whole world has been wanting ever since we figured out that our genitalia was connected to the matters of the heart, but you just can’t find the fucking words to tell her how you feel, tell her that you need her to fix this. Tell her that you both need to fix this, not just you, because if it’s just you, then it’s always going to be just you. And that you shouldn’t have to ask her, but unless one of you asks something, it’s the relationship that’s getting axed.

But worse still – you don’t even know if that’s what she wants. You guys have talked, yes. She showed interest in you, yes. But now you’re together, now you’re in her bed, or in yours, and it seems that you’ve hit a plateau on her feelings. Maybe she’s just emotionless – but that’s not true, because she showed so much more emotion before. So you have to conclude that she just doesn’t care, and you don’t want to make an ass of yourself for trying to explain this entire essay of feelings to her, because if you do, then not would she still not care, but she might also conclude you’re a clingy freak, and nothing says unmanly like being a clingy freak. You’re a man, aren’t you?

And somewhere, trying to cross back and forth and let that spark turn into an open flame, between your ego and her pensive nature, staring into her eyes, and you into hers, and both being lost in some other plane of existence, you realize that the true problem isn’t that you’re not sure how to go about asking for love, it’s that firstly, you’re not sure that you should have to, and secondly, you’re not sure if she wants that from you. And as she pulls her panties on and gets ready to leave, you’re thinking that if you open your mouth, you’ll ruin this too. So you shut it. And you don’t text. You don’t call, you don’t do anything. And your heart shuts down, because you’re afraid of ruining it or getting hurt, and those two things seem like the only two possible outcomes from this ridiculous situation, and you’re still not sure of how you got here again.

In another realm, in another dimension, in some other alternative universe, she is the girl that you’ve always wanted and needed. Her lips are to die for, her eyes mesmerize you, and her hands hold yours tenderly, rocking back and forth when you’re inside her. She plays with your fingers as if they’re the most interesting thing in the world when you’re shopping, and you don’t even mind shopping anymore because she’s being her when she’s with you, and you love her. And just being with her, seeing the real her, all the time, is all you could ever want. In another life, you run your hands through your hair and then you recline in her lap, and she plays with your hair, running her fingernails across the back of your neck and ears, and you doze off happily. Somewhere else, in another time, you never let guilt and games and plays and mistrust and lack of effort ruin the spark.

But right here, right now, you’re trying to light a match on a windy beach in the pouring rain. And she’s standing right there, and in your eyes, she’s refusing to help you at all.

And so you bring her close before she puts on her bra, and you kiss her navel, hoping that something will change in the next thirty seconds that will bring the two lives together, bring your two lives together. And she looks at her phone, and bites her lip, and pulls off her panties and jumps back into bed again, not even realizing what you were trying to do. Thinking that you just want sex. So you’re mad. And you’ll fuck her hard, you’ll clench the headboard under your hand so hard that your knuckles will actually pop. If she wants sex, then sex is what she’ll get, and you both respond viciously to one another, nipping and biting, angry at each other for not loving, not giving, not asking. Somewhere between biting at her lip and wrapping your arms around her and burying your head in her neck, you’ll realize that this is the death of your relationship.

You aren’t making love to celebrate love.

You’re fucking at a funeral.

And later on, she’ll tell her friends how amazing sex it was, and how you just turned animalistic out of nowhere, but how unreliable you are. She’ll wonder at why you’re not texting, why you’re not calling, and slowly, she’ll start thinking that you’re nothing different from any other guy, that you’re just another asshole who wanted to fuck her and leave her.

Later on, much later down the road, after the hearts have already been broken, after you’ve both taken something perfect and destroyed it, she’ll look at you and think that you’re the man that she wants, but shouldn’t want. And you’ll be a footnote in her love story, until she finds another guy and the stars happen to line up perfectly and they both get caught with their guard down. All she’ll remember you for is being another part of that broken road, an emotionless bloodsucking vampire. Maybe if she knew that you had been thinking about names for your kids together at one point in the relationship, maybe if she knew about how much you liked to draw her but you never could draw her just the perfect way that she actually was, maybe if she had read one of the things, just one of the many, many things that you had written about her, but kept to yourself because you were embarrassed about how much you liked her. Maybe if she knew that you too, wanted to travel the world, and that you were thinking of maybe travelling with her, visiting Spain, visiting islands in the Caribbean, laying under a night of stars and not ruining it with sex – just laying together, looking up at the warm sky and talking, random, stupid thoughts that only you two could ever talk about and be happy talking about it.

And as she puts her panties again and again, you’ll wonder what you’re doing. But you already know what you’re doing, and you already know why you won’t stop – because you still have hope. Hope that maybe this will change, hope that maybe this spark will flare up. And that one tiny bit of hope is worth more than all the misgivings in the world. So you continue living your life, knowing that love isn’t there, and you see the writing on the wall, but refuse to read it.

In the end, you’re just another asshole. In the end, she’s just another bitch. In the end, both of your friends hear two different stories about how emotionless and horrible you both were. In the end, what should have been two people bringing out the best in each other, you became two people who brought out the worst in each other.

In the end, there is nothing but an end.

– Ghost.

“And I, can’t do this by myself – all of these problems, they’re all in your head. And I can’t be somebody else – you took something perfect, and painted it red.”

– Daniel Merriweather, “Red” 

Hidden Horizon.

We all have our places that we go when we’re hurting or we need to be alone. Sometimes, it’s the middle of a football field, sometimes it’s laying at halfcourt. For some, it’s the edge of humanity, where the road meets dirt and the grass meets fields. For others, it’s the center of humanity, where the world never sleeps and the streets are alive and run with every colour in the wind.

I sit behind the wheel of my truck, and i’m waiting. I’m in a place where I know that nobody will find me, where I will run into no one that I know and see nobody that I care about. I am nervous, nervous. Nervous so bad.

I’m a wreck, again. Something about exam time, and how most of the bad events in my life seem to correlate with exam times, that just reminds me of the past, the present and the future. I’m tired of thinking, I’m tired of being stressed out. I want someone to understand me, I want someone to understand what i’m thinking, I want someone to feel how I feel, to see how I see, just for one second.

The sun is setting. I can see the light shining through the trees as I wait for the stoplight, and the song on the radio isn’t pleasing anymore. I’m starting to hate this bullshit that they’re always playing, I just want to relax, please God, I just want to get back to my center. Come on, come on. Fuck it, let’s see if I can’t find something on my phone.

How about a little test drive, down by the lake? There’s a place I know about, where the dirt road runs out, and we can try out the four wheel drive…

Whooo. Okay.

I used to come back here to run away from the devil. These back streets and one lane roads of the country that we seemed to forget that existed right behind us, they’ve seen the worst of me. I get across the bridge, the water flowing right under my truck, the steady clanking of the metal under my tires letting me know that i’m safe in the arms of the road. I get out of my car, and I stand on the bridge, and I know that no one will come along and make me move. All I can hear is the water and the faint music from my truck, and a bird chirping in the tree above me.

I used to get back here to get away from her eyes. I never told anyone this before, but I suppose that this is as safe a place as any. It was her eyes that bothered me the most, I think. It’s fucked up, there’s a scene in that movie, 50/50, where the guy thinks he’s going to die because of his cancer, and he’s sitting in the car, and he just starts screaming. And the guys in the theater start laughing, because it’s one of those uncomfortable moments where you wait for the music in the background to tell you whether it’s okay to laugh or not, and the music never comes, so you just kind of chuckle to yourself at how quasi emotional it all is, and I mean really, who just screams in their car? It’s funny, when I saw that scene, I knew as soon as he was about to do it, what he was going to do, and that one scene threw me off for the rest of the night. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there, I’ve walked that road, to understand. I’ve been that guy, screaming in his car at the top of his lungs so bad that he went hoarse for a few days.

I used to get away back here because I secretly hoped that someone would hit me as I came around a corner and i’d be done and over with.

Now i’m here for an entirely different reason. I get back into the truck and keep driving, the gravel crunching beneath the weight of the tires, and I open it up a bit, rolling along at half the speed limit, the street widening every minute.

I’m an asphalt cowboy, born to run underneath the stars, pay no mind to my lonely heart, I just ride…

There’s no one on this road but me. But that’s okay, because I know that civilization is just back the way I came, and I’ll never let it worry me that there’s no one around. The road looks so wide and open, and I can’t help but slow down to a crawl. I want to enjoy this, I want to keep this slow, because i don’t know the next time that i’m going to get to do this. I don’t know where I’m going. I found this place not too long ago, and it’s the best place in the world because it’s right behind my house and i’ve never really explored it beyond my occasional drives. I just pick a direction, and I drive. I never really know where i’m going. I just love the drive.

The road rises to meet me even as I hit the gas, and speed off, the tires moaning under the weight of the car, a soft touch left and the road tilts, and oh, it’s no one but me out here. The sun is setting now, and i’m driving into the sunset, and I can feel the sun hot on my arms and it feels like a dose of happy, a long needed one.

This road doesn’t look like all the other ones. There’s something about this road, that tells me that it’s different. But that’s okay. I already know how – it’s because for the first time, I don’t know how it’s going to end. And that’s fine really, because I have no intention to find out.

I drive fast now, the fields flying by. And for the first time, i’m not trying to outrun my past, I’m trying to keep up with my future. I can see the road now, and this road is familiar, i’ve been here before. I remember what seems like a generation ago, just a few months ago, just a few weeks ago, in reality, I was here, walking on this road, my truck a long way behind me, and I could feel my eyes watering as I thought of all I had been through to get there once again, since that day. I can see the road now, I can feel the wind now. It’s colder, they’re both colder, but they’re still the same roads, the same wind that have seen my tears. I have been to countless places, I have seen countless things. I have done countless things, but this, this here is something special. It is so far, yet so near.

These streets, this dirt, this road, this asphalt, they have my tears, my sweat, my blood. The ground here, is sacred ground. This is my ground. This is where I’ve grown up, all at once. This is my stomping grounds, this is my football field, this is my court. This is my field of gold, this is my center of humanity. There is no one here but me and the asphalt, and all the things that it’s seen. All the memories i’ve shared with it, when I didn’t want to talk to anyone, i’ve shared it with the asphalt. Whether it was my cheek pressed up against it, laying on the floor after another beat down, or roasting it, flying along at four times the speed limit without a soul in sight for miles.

I have loved many women, but not nearly as much as I’ve loved this. I stop the truck, and I get out, and sit on the ground, my back pressed up against the front, the heat from the engine bathing me as the sun finally gets beaten by the night. It’s getting late, and I should be getting home, but I love this place too much. I don’t know where I am anymore. It’s all the same to me, the same road, stretching for miles in whatever direction I want it to.

It’s funny, I’ve told women about my past. Only seems to make them act stranger around me. They like me before, then they suddenly don’t, and i’m in the friendzone. Or they don’t like me before, and then suddenly, they want to know everything that’s going on in my head. You’re the only one who has never judged me, and that’s why i’m only the real me when I see the real you.

It’s funny, but I don’t think i’ve ever meant I love you so much, but I do. I really do. It sounds stupid, but I don’t think I really want a girlfriend right now. I don’t feel certain about it anymore. I don’t think I want a girlfriend at all. It’s all so fucking messy. So many emotions, so many things that I’ve got to say, so many things that they want to hear or don’t want to hear or want to be a part of or don’t want to be a part of, and that’s if you actually manage to find a sane one that likes you, and that you know will work out, and don’t even get me started on that.

No, you’re the only person in my life who has never asked me for anything but honesty. It’s fucking strange, but every single relationship i’ve had since I fell in love with the road has been based on that relationship. Honesty over all. That’s all I ever really cared about. And that’s all the road ever really cared about either.

The sun is about to dip below the trees, so I should probably finish this up.

I go out here when the wind blows cold or too hot, and my brain gets all fuzzy and I can’t remember the man that i’m supposed to be, the man that I love. It’s not easy, being me. I’m not trying to bitch and moan, just trying to say that it’s not easy. And this is how I get away, this is my spot. You can’t find me on a rooftop, waiting for you to show up like a romantic comedy. You won’t be able to locate me on the beach, waiting for the waves to come up and lick my feet, and you won’t be able to see me in a park, reading and bathing in life.

I’ve done those things, and they’re all really fun. Hell, I love them all. But the one thing that i’ll never lose, is this road. I have wept on this road. I have said things that I know that it understands. There is no one that will ever be able to fully understand me as much as this asphalt, under my fingers, warm and cold all at the same time. There is no one who will be able to sympathize as much as the dirt on the side of the road, the fields of gold as I drive by them, the lanes in the road as they fly by, one by one in a constant blur. And i’m okay with that.

People have always thought that writing is my best ability, that how I love writing. Yes, I love writing. Yes, i’m fairly decent at it.

But driving…now that’s my first, last, and only true love.

I guess, in the end, i’m just a Ghost Rider, huh? 

On my highway, I missed some signs, and left a damn good love behind,
I see her in my rearview like a Ghost.

On my highway, I’ve broken down, and cried when no one else was around,
And prayed that God would save my soul.

Yeah, I’ve paid a lot of heavy tolls…

But what a feeling, chasin’ the sun,
Livin’ my life like it’s shot from a gun,
Yeah, what a feelin’, out on the run, drinkin’ up the rain, soakin’ up the sun…
Laughin’ a little bit more with every mile.

Oh what a freedom, racin’ the wind,
Not lookin’ back, not forgettin’ where I’ve been…
Dyin’ to know what’s around the next bend,
Smilin’ as I watch the years roll by.

I’m movin’ on from my mistakes…

I’m learning how to take it day by day…on my highway.  

Lessons Learnt

There was a time in my life when I was: careless, bubbly, happy-go-lucky and full of life. There is nothing wrong with that, but wait there’s more. I thought nothing could bring me down, that everything was fun and games. I was so naive. I thought I was invincible.

I hadn’t been acquainted with real life.

That was a long time ago and things are different now. Over the course of my life a lot has changed and so have I, and drastically too. I’ve learnt a lot in life, but sometimes I wish I could have learnt it differently. I wish my path had not been paved with lies, hurt, deceit, pain, manipulation and heartbreak. In hindsight, maybe the way it all played out is how it had to. Sometimes we must hurt, break, and fall in order to rise, learn and become better and stronger. I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns over the past few years. I’ve gotten hurt, lied and been lied to, and cried till I could no longer. I’ve fallen and broken down. It’s just never prevented me from getting up on my feet and rising again, even when I’ll admit I didn’t want to. I didn’t know it then, but I learnt a valuable lesson every time.

Love hurts, life’s strange, nothing lasts and people change.

High school: popularity skid. There is no better way to put it. I started off with so many friends it was unbelievable, that number decreased substantially. People came, and people went. I learnt people change…it used to get to me, I thought there was nothing worse than walking into a class full of familiar faces and realizing how many of them were your friends, and how many of them you were so close to and then have reality lurk in and say now they’re no one, not even acquaintances.

I started high school with plenty of friends too many. Over the last four years that number has decreased substantially. As the days progressed, we drifted, moved on, changed and grew apart. I’ve learnt people change. When I look back sometimes, it all really gets to me. There’s nothing worst then walking into a class full of familiar faces and realizing you talked to most of these people, half of them were people you called your friends, a handful of them were very close to you and have reality lurk in and say now they’re no one, not even acquaintance. I used to think there was nothing worse than that feeling but I learned soon that there is.

[The thing is, that doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. That’s life, I now believe that everyone serves a purpose in your life and you in theirs, and when that purpose has been fulfilled we move on. Some people are meant to be there for a short while, some are meant to be acquaintances while others are meant to be lifelong friends…and you can only have a couple. I walked away with my share, and that’s all that matters right now. It seemed a lot worse than it actually was back then of course.]

I’ve learnt that no matter what you do and how far you are willing to go for someone, you cannot make someone care for you, be there for you like you are for them or love you. I know…because I’ve tried. I have given my all, loved unconditionally – in hope that even half the amount of will be reciprocated – it never was, of course. I’ve learnt love hurts. Not everyone you like will like you back, not everyone will return the love either. I’ve learnt to come to terms with that. It wasn’t always easy though, not as easy as it sounds at all. It was always a war…to love, and not be loved. It’s a constant emotional battle.

I’ve always been there for people through thick and thin, in good times and in bad. I did my best to make things better and help in any way that I could. I’ve learnt you can only be the very best that you can be because you are all you can account for. I’ve given my best, my all. Believe me when I say that because there actually was a time in my life when I was so emotionally bankrupt that I had nothing left to give, nothing left to offer – because I gave, gave, and gave some more and never got back. I’ve learnt its okay to feel like that, because you must first heal yourself before you can heal others and it’s important to feel good about yourself before you can help others feel better.

I’ve learnt to heal, to feel, accept my feelings, and feel better about myself.

I’ve given too much credit. I let people lie to me, hurt me and get the best of me. I let things slide and made exceptions. I’ve been lied to simultaneously, sometimes by the same person but I gave them the benefit of the doubt for the sake of our friendship. But when it all came down to it, and I needed the same consideration I learnt sometimes what you do for people they won’t do for you.

Good times, bad times, friendships, relationships, clicks, groups, life– I learnt nothing lasts.

I’ve made mistakes. I’m not perfect. I’ve done things I wish I could take back. I know if I could go back and do it over, I’d do it all differently but I know that’s wishful thinking and the past cannot be reversed.

I have learnt with time and great difficulty, to forgive myself.

I have learnt:

  • People change and that it is inevitable
  • Love hurts and sometimes you’ll question it
  • Sometimes you will go unnoticed and unappreciated
  • Not everyone you like will like you back
  • Sometimes you must forgive and forget for your own sake
  • It’s important to forgive yourself
  • Sometimes moving on is in the best interest of you and those around you
  • Some risks are worth taking
  • It is important to rise when you fall
  • Life will knock you down more than once, you must get up
  • People will lie and betray you, you must learn to put your trust in yourself
  • Your trust will be broken many times, be careful who you trust
  • You have the ability to make or break yourself
  • Some people are selfish and materialistic
  • Sometimes people will put conditions on love, forever and unconditional
  • To apologize when necessary
  • To not hold grudges because they bring out the worst in me
  • To give second chances
  • You’ll get your heart broken and sometimes you’ll break someone’s heart
  • It’s okay to try and fail, just keep trying
  • You must heal, before you can help others
  • Sometimes the truth will hurt
  • Lying to protect someone doesn’t make it legit
  • You’re not obligated
  • You don’t owe anyone anything
  • The life you’re living could be taken away from you at any moment
  • To put my faith in god not humans
  • We make mistakes, we’re only human
  • Life’s not fair
  • We all make our own choices and decisions
  • To not judge
  • You must walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you have the right to judge them and see where they’re coming from
  • Behind every face, there’s a story waiting to be told
  • There are always two sides to a story
  • Karma’s a bitch, what goes around comes back around
  • To not take life for granted
  • Family is important
  • People will disappoint me and I’ll disappoint them
  • No matter what, life goes on
  • Sometimes you and anything you do is never good enough for someone
  • People will always want more
  • Life’s strange
  • Money can only buy you so much
  • The path less traveled is usually the right path
  • Sometimes people look right past you and through you
  • Sometimes you’ll be held liable for something you didn’t do, judged, and blamed even when you’re innocent
  • People can only hurt and betray you until you let them

I’ve also learnt there will always be someone that will stick by your side through thick and thin, come to your rescue and accept you for who you are. There will be someone that will love you unconditionally and look past your flaws. I’ve learnt family is always going to be there. I’ve learnt there are things that should be given elevated importance and to be more selfless. I’ve learnt sometimes it’s life and death and now or never.

I don’t think I would have been who I am today had it not been for these experiences. I am who I am today because of what I’ve been through, seen, and felt. All of it has helped mould me. I’m far from perfect, I have my flaws, my strengths, my weaknesses – but this me, and I’ve learnt to be proud of it.

I’ve learnt to move on and make the best of what I’ve got.

I’ve learnt it’s never too late for change.

I’ve learnt life’s too short for regrets.

I’ve learnt I’ll continue to learn until I take my last breath and with that I’ll continue to change.

I’ve learnt change is inevitable.

I’ve learnt no matter how much I change, I’ll still have a set of beliefs, morals, and opinions that define me – things no one could take away.

I’ve learnt, I’m learning.