I went from club to club, night after night. Desperate, to meet someone, have a relationship. My mood was frenzied, as I went deeper and deeper into despair. Sleep was non-existent never more than a few hours Mornings, I would take more speed and sit in the bathtub, the hot water relaxing. Soaking in the steam, just letting myself go, until my skin was red and shiny. When I at last got out of the tub, I felt woozy and time started to slow. I powdered my face chalk white, glued on two pairs of heavily mascaraed false eyelashes surrounded by black Kohl eyeliner. I had cut my hair into a bob and put on enough lacquer to take out any hint of curls. Dressing carefully, making sure that the black miniskirt showed my legs to their best advantage. Speed had the opposite reaction on me; slowed me down, and made me more introspective yet profoundly sad. Crying hysterically at loose ends that would never be tied, purposelessness. Living on whim, never knowing what would come next, thinking each passing birthday would be the last. Today was all, tomorrow not certain.
Men and I had brief encounters. Meaningless. One guy stole $20 from me. I didn't care, kept seeing him; maybe it was his cologne that drew me in. I bought a ticket for us to get out of town, and soon realized my mistake. He looked different away from the familiar. We got off the train; I went to the ticket booth handed him the return and walked away.
One night at the bar, I found myself sitting next to a photographer that was known for taking black and white photo’s of boys in street gangs. A confirmed alcoholic, I found him fascinating and loved his cynical view of the world. He knew the guy I was dating, and told me to stay away, that pretty boys who flatter are dangerous. I knew the guy that he was talking about long before we ever met. He was the cute blond who wore the tightest pants with nothing left to the imagination. I used to see him around town usually in the company of a really weird Frankensteinian person. He was not the type of guy who usually attracted me because he was so conventionally pretty and did not have any of the bad boy looks that I found fatal. He kept intoxicating me with favors, mornings with flowers strewn on the bed, chocolates, and sweet cakes.
It was easy to get lost in the gestures not noticing the fading, the disappearing, until the night that I knocked on his door as planned, and kept knocking but no one answered. It was the same day of his father's funeral that we visited in the hospital before the jaundice of cirrhosis had taken its fatal hold. I found out much later who was behind that door. It was the girl with dark curly hair who I saw at one of the clubs. She was a flight attendant, and soon would become his wife!
My friend got worried and called me out. She was afraid that I was not in control. I promised that I would stop and that my connection had skipped town. I lied, because I was thinner than ever and loved how I looked. Except, I was beginning to cry and my moods came and went so fast. My mouth felt dry and it was difficult to quench my thirst!
A guy that I used to see at gallery openings started coming around. I wasn’t attracted to him, but did not have the energy to say ‘Lay off”. He had a girlfriend and they did some kind of act together, I heard that it was a weird kind of erotic dancing. One night, without calling, he stopped by and asked me to go out, having nothing to do; I went. I did ask about his girlfriend. He told me that they had broken up. The disco was in the far reaches of the city and it was almost dawn before we headed out. That was the night everything changed.
He lived a few blocks from the club and asked me to come up and see his paintings. I was tired but went anyway. Alone and away from the crowd, I found him passive, limp and boring. He started to put the make on me. My resistance was fading, but all that I could think of was getting out as fast as possible.
Before I was able to make a move. I heard a key turning in the door and in came his so-called former girlfriend. Seeing me, she went right into the kitchen got a knife the next thing I knew she screamed and I saw blood dripping from her wrists. It all happened so fast; he ran to the kitchen
I grabbed my things and bolted. Didn’t know where I was and had to ask someone for the nearest subway; it turned out to be quite a distance. When I finally got there, I noticed that my purse was back at his apartment, but walking back was impossibility. I had no money. At the subway station, I was able to sneak under the turnstile.
Part of me died that night and what was spontaneous was replaced by fear. I was angry with myself for falling into what seemed a trap. Drugs were no escape from the futility and sorrow that filled my heart. I was wasted, humiliated, and without plans. I stayed in bed for a long time. When I finally could rouse myself, I tried to avoid him and any memory of that night. Once we did meet, he apologized telling me that he hoped what happened did not have a terrible effect on me. Nowhere was there anyone to trust, doors were shutting and walls caving in. Life sucked. Thoughts of ending it all came and went.
Frantic for something different, I decided to find a job. Then it came upon me; why not go to the bookstore a little ways from my house. I had always liked that it had a large foreign language section and kept up with all the underground press. I went in and pretended that I spoke three languages; a bold faced exaggeration. The manager seemed nice enough and told me that an opening might be coming up soon.
I have not yet been able to get rid of the image of the former girl
friend slitting her wrists. Why was I even there, when I had no desire to be? Was it a setup? Could we have been mirror images of each other? I still remember that night so viscerally: as a catharsis, beginning to untangle the web called my life, whose roads are left to be determined.