The clock had just struck 3 AM and my eyelids were heavy. We laid in his bed, fully clothed with naked thoughts. Above the blanket our fingers were intertwined. From afar they looked like two off colored tarantulas making love. An image slightly disturbing and comforting at the same time. He was humming a song, one that was familiar to my heart. I remained still as his voice warmed the atmosphere. The tune was of constant grace and it made me think of late night dances at closed jazz clubs and walking through alley ways that were cluttered with discarded, premature dreams. A sleepy smile crept onto my face as I began to roll around in my sub consciousness. I’ve heard that melody before; the recollection of it though was far beyond faint. It was in the middle of my dissection of the harmony that he spoke.
“Hmm?” I didn’t even bother to open my eyes.
“I have an idea.”
“It’s late Fu.”
“It’s nothing like that.” He pinched my arm to emphasize the point. “Just be still, I’m going to make a song out of your heartbeat.”
I didn’t say anything as he laid his head on my flat chest. I knew if anyone could create a song out of it, he could. He did it with footsteps, raindrops and smiles. His fingers brought to life the shadows of waves, swaying braches, and abandon buildings. It was as if he were the puppet master of everything odd, lonely and forgotten. I remember anticipating. He had a way of doing that; making me feel like something big was gonna happen. I wasn’t one to really judge, but if you couldn’t bring beauty out of it then I knew it didn’t exist. Minutes passed, and the clocks face began to blur as the sleepiness returned. I begin to have mini dreams filled with farmers digging giant holes for zombie potatoes and me waltzing with a guy who I knew would abandon me later that night. He sighed, and both me and time halted our sleep walk through reality. Without a word he turned his back to me and slept.
I wanted to stand up and defend myself, shout, “It knows how to be soft sometimes!” The real truth though was that I had an ugly heart beat, so fast and angry. It would never lull my lover to sleep, nor clam my frighten child. He finally knew it. Disappointment spooned against me that night. It wouldn’t be till morning that I fount the note stating that: A heart beat that leads inspiration, should never be confined in the notes of a song.
I never felt as peaceful as I did when he scribbled suicide notes on my back during my sun naps. I got so use to deficering the back word code that I would sometimes hear it flow from his mouth. Black sharpie ink zigzagging down my back like oil and the flutter of bird wings to my far left. The words are etched across my mind just vivid as they are on my tattooed back. I would sometimes ask him about his shady obsession with poetry and death, and he assured me that they were one in the same. Hand in hand. Together forever. The grim reaper would be his angel and the blackness his heaven. He wasn’t brave or ignorant. Just at home. Strangers were his only family.
I got a headache when he first taught me how to head bang. He did it so well that I just figured his brain cells were use to being shaken around like a boggle case. He was silently drinking his beer as he watched me pant and quiver on the filthy garage floor, like the musicians themselves rode through my body on horses made out of heavy bass, erratic drums and prideful guitar guts.. I couldn’t read his eyes from upside down, but his out stretch hand I understood. After I caught my breath he helped me up and patted me on my back like I just went through a rite of passage. He pulled out his shiny bass and I sat behind him and started braiding his red hair. He began to play all the right, rough cords and time became hazy.
“What about demon Destroyers?”
“You gonna be playing gospel?”
“Heh, you’re right…Oh what about Dysfunctional Disturbance?”
And as his fingers plucked each string and the bass whined with obedience I began to hear his inner clickings of his heart. His eyelashes held the vibrations of the amp and his tough finger tips demanded perfection from each cord. The heavy mummers formed a thick melody that hung from the ceiling like plump bats. I hummed along with his Frankenstein song, watching it as he strategically chose every organ, facial feature and thought.
“I have to give it a name, you know?” The touches were softer and the image became sorrowful as it looked at Fufu longingly.
“Dismissive Demise?” He asked, tempted to reach out and stroke the face of the monstrosity.
As the creature became filled with beliefs and ideas, as it towered over us intimidently, drenching everything in the room with an eerie foretelling, he just sat there, flinching every time I pulled a knot out in his hair.
He brought me a bubble pipe as an early Christmas present. It wasn’t shiny like his bass but it won my heart the moment I unwrapped it.
“For when you feel like being cool.” He said.
I smiled, already knowing what robe to buy for it. He never got my strange fascination with bubbles, or why I’d pick a bottle of them over a first class fire works show. At the time my oral fixation was not yet completely gone, so the pipe was perfect. I told him it was. I remember it, plastic wood that was smooth and cold.
“An old Sherlock one eh?” Was the first responds out of my mouth. He didn’t say much just looked down the street, waiting for nothing. He had that stupid ear shirt on again. A plain white tee with nothing but a giant, pink, human ear plastered on the front. No brand name on the tag, no words, nothing but the ear. I never got it and I found my mind drawing imagery hair growing from the inside of it with lice nesting and festering on each strand. He didn’t know anything about the shirt either, just that you liked it because of the dumb ear. Man I hated that shirt, with a fucking passion. It tripped my mind out for no reason and I always felt ignorant with it around. One big joke that everyone got but me. Of course that wasn’t the case, but man did that giant ear know how to make me feel that way. Fufu thought it was funny, me getting bent out of shape over such a simple body part. I don’t think it was so much the ear though, just the fact that it took up the whole shirt. How dare something so unimportant take full range of my brain capacity. Why be so loud when you don’t have anything to say?
“It’s just a shirt.” He would laugh, but no, it was more. I swear it was listening to everything and growing after every sentence. Every time I saw it was at least 3 cm bigger. But damn I hated that shirt. I would give my right ear to have it with me now though. To stare at it and hate while Fufu looked down the street, waiting for nothing to happen.
Fufu had locked himself in his room again…for work. I couldn’t bare it at times. His creations were nothing short of masterpieces but the things he would do to himself…It just wasn’t worth it in my eyes.
“It’s the only thing that makes it so, no other way.” He would yawn, totally drain and weak. I could always tell when those days would come. The vision would leak from the corner of his eyes a couple of days before. Seeing the fragments of imagination splatter on the table or his shirt always made something cold and dead inside cringe. I always wanted to go out and prepare, buy earplugs or make up an excuse to go home before you creep away. I was never fast enough though, and a part of me always wanted to stay.
“Just in case.”
“Just in case what?”
“I don’t know.”
He would sneak away and lock the door, wrapping himself in a grey cocoon. His screams and unintellegetable whispers would chain me to listen in the hallway. I never knocked or try to talk to him through the door. Just sit and listen.
Hours later, when the lock unclicked, I would cautiously step through his now weak barrier and snap the images with my eyes. Little shards of him sprinkled throughout the room like pink snow and just like the cheery people in those plastic snow globes we were trapped in a perfect world. Even still, despite the self inflicted scars I was always in awe of his blaze. Every time it happened I would spend hours in the bathroom trying to remove the scorch marks off my face. That’s when pain was added to the menu. And well, the beginning of something beautiful to me.
I remember Fufu convincing me to sneak out after midnight. It was the first many times and the moon smiled at me like a long lost child finally coming home. In all reality that’s exactly what it was. The night’s arms were an extension of my own and I never heard the wind’s voice as well as I did then. He met me half way and side by side we walked together to the raggedy fence that over looked Weeping Man’s Field.
Anyway, Fufu would smoke on that warn down fence and I couldn’t help but stare as his eyes would dim just so when he inhaled. Like a little candle flickering under the winds solid hands. I would let my legs dangle and blow bubbles with the pipe he gave me. And there we were. We never really spoke during those times. Just sit and watch the poisonous smoke mingle; slightly caress the black bubbles that had the ability to capture darkness in a fragile sphere. “If the night could cry, those would be its tears.” He always said the most depressing things with a smile on his face. I would too, finally seeing the beauty in dark, ugly things. Mainly myself.
And when the sun would still be wiping sleep out of its eyes we would go back to his house and huddle under his dinosaur blanket and he would tell me about drinking, drugs and sex. My eyes would be wide as he describes the hot, sticky mazes of a woman’s body and the twisted, distorted images his eyes would revile with different types of liquor and how his lungs would shrivel when icky black haze would hot box his entire body. He never laughed at my questions and I think in a way he envied me for being curious of a life I would never live. He had done enough living for 500 men it seemed like and yet the thirst remained. He was always reading and drawing pictures and reading some more. Being home schooled never took away the opportunity to travel. When I would finally quiet down and settle on all the conclusions he gave me it was his turn to pry. All he ever wanted to know about was Heaven and Hell. What do dead carnies sing about? Why can’t our hope mimic that of racehorses with broken legs? And why did he just suddenly get so sad for no reason. That’s all he ever wanted to know. He already knew everything else in the world.
Fufu got drunk and I had a slippery tongue from all the popcorn I had eaten prior to us giggling and stumbling down the stairs. It was cold as hell in his basement, but our fingers were on fire as we blazed song after song on ember colored paper. Our words spewed out of our mouths and became puddles of strewed wisdom that cluttered the floor like inconvenient teardrops. We splashed through them only on accident on our way to the kitchen or bathroom and each time we did it was a risk of coming alive with floating passion or drowning in sinking realization. I sat shivering, watching you tear off raw tips of reality with your ferocious fangs and chew it up into something suitable for us. I would then wait patiently for you to regurgitate it so my fingers could morph it into something tangible and unforgettable…and we did that till dawn. Each of us working in our own space but connected silently by things that are to soft to be punctured by words. With the house trembling underneath us, the walls shaking around us we lived in complete chaos and learned how to tame the things that were once unobtainable.
Fu was sitting in his chair, cigarette perched oh-so-gently on his bottom lip, dressed in dirty blue jeans that barely hung over his narrow ass with a white wife beater. His eyes the very source of that thick hard bubble around him that kept what he was thinking in and others out. Always in a far away place, but his isolation brought everyone and everything closer, and life didn’t have a grey tone film around it, he was seeing things that one would think could only breathe in dreams… It sounds corny as hell, I know, but he was just so beautiful to me at that moment and I remember saying that this would be forever.
Yes, till the end of time. No knocking on wood, or salt over the shoulder just me, him and God, painting the every lasting love I felt that day, and if God could hold the sun a little bit longer so it wouldn’t have to end…and He did…
Sometimes when I’m all alone for a long time, the blue and red lights from the ambulance and the police cars flash from behind my eyes, rotating colors with each blink. I could smell the plastic gloves used to scoop up brain bones and muscle matter. I wasn’t there and he wasn’t here but the moment he took his last breath was when I heard my soul wail for the first time ever. Then the phone call came…
Ever since he left I’ve been longing for home. The bubble pipe is dusty and chipped from when I threw it. I still listen to underground grind but sometimes instead of crying from my voice going course, I cry because I’m all alone and their angry screams of liberation oddly echo mine of sorrow.
Now when I dream of him there are always feathers. Sometimes there are so many I can barely see his face. I don’t look at the old pictures anymore. Every time I take one out little pieces tear off and fade away. So I wrapped them in a brown bag and put them in a box somewhere. When his face is teetering on the edge of my memory, then I suppose I’ll fish them out again.
My memory sucks now. I mean before it wasn’t that great either but it’s ten times worse now. I don’t think it matters how old I get though, I’ll always remember the hot vomit that surged up my throat when I heard the dial tone that went forever. I still have scars on my hands from the glass that got shattered when confusion and pain clouded my eyes. People came from all over to see me. I was never hugged so tight before in my life, and I regretted all of them for not crushing me.
Before I moved away I made sure to keep my closet door open to let all the screams out. Every since that last dial tone I’ve been time hungry. “The little white rabbit syndrome” they called it. I was always zooming, whether it be in my car, at work, any and everything. The faster I went, the more time I bought and I needed time. I had to look, search and dig. For what? I didn’t know back then, but the urge is so strong, the pull so great. I had no choice but to.
It happened without me noticing though, the realization of me changing and growing up without him. When I spoke my words had a tint of each memory, when I walked it was his shadow beside me and when I touched and listened and laugh it was his melody that kept me smiling.
I don’t feel incomplete anymore, with God in my life more than ever now I feel like I’m getting closer to finding home. Even though it was Thomas Wolfe that said, “You can never go home again.” But I’ve already decided to spend my whole life searching for a way to do just that.