Cologne

So I was scared to ask him. I didn’t know what his reaction would be. I had dinner with The Thinker and it occurred to me that it wasn’t the first time I’ve sat there wondering if this dinner was a date of some sort. I don’t know, maybe closer to a date as more than friends? So throughout the hour it popped in my head, and I would ignore the question. Then of course, the waiter asks how we want to do the check. The Thinker looks down at the table, as if waiting for me to decide. So automatically, after a second of uncertainty, I just say “separate.”
This encounter has happened to me before, and I’m sure to others, with friends that want to be more and friends you wish were more. Sometimes awkwardness stays thick in the air.
With him it wasn’t awkward. I said to myself, “he did just talk about having $40 to his name, so that could be why.” Then I felt like a fucking idiot and wanted to call the waiter back to just pay for both checks. Some friend I am.
In the end, I was sad to see him go. I burrowed myself into his chest when we hugged. I’m not sure of it was a conscience decision, or I sub- consciencly knew that later on i’d still smell his cologne.
His cologne is rather soothing. And so is he. This week I cut my dad out of my life, a childhood friend passed away in a motorcycle accident (not the first of my friends), and a past best friend is rocky in the standings. I also left work early twice. I never leave work early. The stress is probably causing me to get sick. Yet, here I am, as relaxed as that time laying in the hammock.
I’m in the best mood I’ve been in a while.

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What’s my price?

He got my attention and motioned me closer to him to hear what he had to say.

“What’s your price?”

“Excuse me?” I asked, sure that I heard what I had heard, hoping that I hadn’t.

“What’s your price?” He repeated.

His two friends said nothing, but they grew uncomfortable looking at how my face changed to anger.

“Don’t you fucking look at me, touch me, or talk to me again if you don’t want to get fucking punched in the face, you fucking asshole. Go suck your own dick.”

I turned around to the faces of my friends, confused about what just occurred. I can feel him behind me still looking.

“Do you want to go?” My friend Evangelista asked.

I tried to play it cool, like I cared only to tell him off, then when I did it was all okay.

“Whatever you guys want to do.” But I could see their eyes looking passed me at that sorry excuse of a human.

“Let’s just go,” She said, taking hold of my arm. I knew she could feel me trembling.

The second we got out into the filthy street, they all asked what happened.

They couldn’t believe it, just like I couldn’t the first time I heard it. Then a slew of comments:

“You don’t even look like that, what the fuck were they thinking?”

“He was drunk and just an asshole, don’t even listen to him.”

“Yeah, don’t let him get to you.”

My heart was racing.

And not even a minute into our walk, I saw Evangelista react to someone touching her ass as we walked by. She gave him the dirtiest look, then continued walking.

My insides were turning.

“Look at that place! It’s playing latino music! Maybe we should go there,” She suggested.

“Well, it can go one of two ways,” I told her. “It can either be amazing, and no one will talk to us or try to touch us, or it can be the complete opposite and the most sleazy place in town.”

So we took our chances. I bought myself a huge Corona with lime and salt to shake off the tension, then we danced the night away until our heals asked us to give our feet a break. By the time 2am rolled around, we were ready to head back. Evangelista’s idea to take our chanced at that cantina was the first great idea of the night.

We parted ways with some friends. Evangelista, Green Eyes and I all walked back down the street the way we came, trying to stay friendly to our feet as we continually sped up.

Two minutes later…

“Hey Mami! Get me some of that!” This huge black truck drives by slowly, so they could get a good look at the human beings they consider pieces of meat.

“Fuck off,” I said, along with the universal signal. But they weren’t giving up.

The other two girls sped up, not saying a word.

I realized they weren’t going to say anything, so something ridiculous and quiet hilarious took over me.

“You’re fucking ugly!” I shouted at them. They sped off embarrassed, while people around us laughed.

“My sister always did that to gross guys growing up. I was always embarrassed by it, but now I get it.” I spoke fast and confidently, trying to mask my nerves. “It’s empowering to embarrass them instead, especially when you have no other way to gain that power. My sister was right, it feels great!”

I had a false sense of hope that I could have some sort of control over such an uncomfortable situation.

Not even 5 minutes later, I witnessed this hideous gross excuse of a man smack Green Eyes’s ass. She turned and glared at him. I realized she wasn’t going to say a word to him, so I turned around and started walking towards him.

“Don’t! Just stop! It won’t do anything!” She yelled at me.

So I stopped. But my brains were screaming at me, and at him. My insides were still walking with all their might towards him, and my heart was so tense I swore it would tear itself into shreds. But my knees were completely weak.

“I can’t. I can’t do this anymore.”

I completely broke down.

All the feelings that I had been pushing deeper inside me were just spilling out onto the disgusting, grey concrete. My tears were non-stop.

“I’m strong, I know. But I’m not strong enough for this. Not anymore.”

Green Eyes took hold of my left arm, lifting it up in case my knees would give.

“Let’s just get a cab,” Evangelista said, “None of this is worth it at this point. You’ve completely broken down.”

Her second great idea of the night.

We all squeezed in the back seat of a small taxi, not wanting to be more than a few inches from each other. It was too uncomfortable to be apart.

My eyes were puffing, I could feel their weight. My nose began to run. My mouth ran too, repeating itself over and over, “I’m so angry. I mean look at us. How pathetic is this world that we have to catch a taxi to avoid being touched by disgusting men?”

The second the cab driver heard me crying he turned down the music. It was like he wanted to respect whatever mood we were in. After what I said, I could tell he was listening. It didn’t stop me.

“I hate men right now. I really do.”

“Something needs to change, something big,” Said Green Eyes.

“Yeah, and the fact that you’re so upset by it makes me rethink how I reacted,” said Evangelista. “You being upset tells me that it’s not okay. I’m just so numb to it.”

“But that isn’t okay! You can’t be numb to it. Half the problem is that fact that we let men do it.”

I didn’t mean to scold them. But I couldn’t stand my best friends being violated, then watching them brush it off because they feel helpless to the situation. We have more power than we think.

“But what were you going to do?” Asked Green Eyes, “You had no clue if he was dangerous. He could have hurt you if I had let you go up to him.”

I bit my tongue. I knew she was right but my boiling blood didn’t want her to be.

“So we’re fucked. No matter what we do we’re fucked. I feel so fucking trapped it hurts.”

We arrived to the apartment, handed the guy the fare and got out as quickly as possible. The second we entered the room we completely unwound.

“How funny it is that a place that isn’t yours suddenly feels like home in times like these,” Evangelista said, wiping up some smeared eyeliner from under her eyes.

That night I had the weirdest dream. I was in my kitchen cooking up some food, when I noticed the ugliest cockroach I had ever seen. It was huge, absolutely enormous. I wasn’t scared of it, but I set down newspaper over it to step on it so many times that my kitchen was covered in newsprint. And it still got away. I turned to the roach spray, but I missed every time.

Then I woke up to the sound of my Evangelista’s voice.

“I just had a dream about a cockroach,” I whined.

“Awww, you’re so cute,” Green Eyes said to me, making me feel like I was 10 just waking up from a nightmare.

But then I sat their as they got ready, and I began to pick at my own brain.

Men, or should I say boys, like that are vermin to me. They are the scum of the earth and I only hope that one day they will learn at any cost to them what it feels like to be looked at as inferior. But as vermin that creep around an infested kitchen, these sad excuses for men creep around our lives never to leave. Until we make them. Until other men help correct them.

“I’ve got a solution,” I told them.

“Wait what? For what?” They asked.

“For these sad excuses of men that continually demean women.” I said, softly and somewhat lost in thought. “I’m going to get one of those blow dart things. The solution on the end of the dart? I’m not sure, yet. But what I’m sure of is that it’s small enough to conceal it anywhere. The next time some fucking asshole grabs my ass I’m going to turn around and shoot him in his ass. Maybe he’ll pass out from it, I don’t know. I haven’t decided.”

“What the fuck? That’s hilarious!” The girls congratulated me on my plan.

It’s been two days ever since that night, and I’m still nauseous with anger.

We moved sand with our hands

“Okay, now let’s think about this. Come here, sit with me,” The Bullfighter said to me, motioning me to the floor.
We both sat on our knees, staring at eachother, waiting for the other to say something.
“Face the other way, put your hand together,” he said, “and ohhhhmmmmmmm.”
I tried not to laugh but did what he said. I put my hands together as if to pray to some non-existent being.
“Ohhhhmmmmmm,” I repeated, halfheartedly. He knew.
“No no no, like feel it in your being. Ohhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
“Ohhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
Then we changed hand positions.
“Ohhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm,” we said in unison.
“Now come back here, and sit like a frog.”
“Um, yeah, I don’t think I’ve done that since I was five,” I said, struggling to switch positions.
“Yeah, um ok me, too. Scratch that. Ohhhhmmmmmmmm.”
I tried not to laugh, but my smile was way too obvious.

“Okay, now lets search in the sand.” The Bullfighter moved on to grabbing at the beige carpet, acting like it had more weight and volume than it actually did. He grabbed a handful of sand and tossed it at me. And for some reason I almost felt it.

So I followed. I reached out my hand and took hold of some sand, then held it up and watched it pour slowly down in a straight line. The wind picked up some sand dust and spun it around us. I spread my fingers and ran them through the sand, “I’m searching for an answer. I see something dark, and bold. Dark and bold. And I see something real.”

“Will I be ugly?” asked The Bullfighter.

“Sure, if you want to be.”

“I want to be just real, myself. Just flat out ragged.” He explained.

“Well yeah, you. Whatever is you. As real as you can be.”

Just barely before I finished talking, another band member brought over a magnetic board with word magnets. So randomly necessary.

“Oh god, I’m glad there aren’t any kids around,” The Bullfighter said.

“What? Why?”

“Because I’m about to write the most inappropriate sentence ever.”

We dove into the word magnets, pulling them off, sticking them back on. Arranging, rearranging, borrowing from one another. I got so into my word play that I didn’t even notice what he was trying to spell out.

“Do you have the contracted word ‘don’t’?”

“I don’t see one,” I answered, not really trying to find one. “I’m picking out words to describe the shoot.”

“How does it make you feel? How do you want others to feel?” He asked.

We fought over words and stole from each other. It felt like a race against our own minds and creativity. I stopped only because I ran out of words to describe what I wanted.

“Bold, black, dark, inspired, raw, photo, emotion, true, creative, tattered, anger,” The Bullfighter read my words aloud. “Yeah, I see you.” We then stopped, and looked at each other, into our inner workings. “Hey everyone,” He said to the group, “Listen up! She’s got something to say.”

Everyone quieted down without a fight. 

“Everyone is going to take this plain white paper, and a marker. Go into that room alone, and just write. Whatever. Just write. About the music, about your day, about your life or philosophy on life. On anything that moves you.”

The Trombonist got up first, grabbed his necessities and left the room. Music blared through the hallway and we turned down the lighting. Somewhere in the midst of silly banter, The Bullfighter took my camera and told me it was my turn. This is rare, but when it happens I try to set the example of a good model–not that it always works, but why not?

We went into the kitchen, and my clothes happend to match the scenery so perfectly. He swung open cabinets and centered me in the room. 

“That look you did earlier, do it. Now clench your fists, like you blew open the cabinets.”

I did what he said at first, with a half an ounce of doubt. So this is what it feels like. Shit, this is hard. 

“Yes that! Right there! keep that.” The Bullfighter said, stepping back between the refrigerator and the table to get a better angle. “Yes! Right there!”

I occasionally turned the camera to fix the settings, resulting in occasional photos of me reaching out. In the end, bright, tungsten-tinted portraits in a wrath of kitchen supplies and alcohol bottles. Teal, orange, yellow, brown. Young, alive. 

Brilliant.

And all in a matter of minutes. 

I sat there looking at him, and he looked at me. For a split second, our artistic minds seemed to switch. Music was on my mind and photography was on his. 

One of the best part of being an artist? Collaborating with other artists, to the point that brainwaves sync up into a harmony of sounds and colors. Ultimately high from the experience, it reminded me why I do what I do. 

 

Hammock eyes

We laid in the hammock, The Thinker and I, underneath the ceiling of a welcoming home to friends and those we didn’t really know. Just minutes before we walked down the street around 1AM, planning to call it a night, when we heard yells from a porch across the street. “Hey you guys! Come hang out with us!” We had no clue who it could be, but for some reason couldn’t resist. A huge hug from a cuddly friend, and an embrace from a new one. More followed as we entered the house. Hula-hooping, hammock swinging, singing and dancing and kissing and laughing. New people to get to know and a few friends who probably knew my middle name. Such a random, yet meant-to-be encounter. After we talked a bit, then danced and sang a bit, we laid a bit in that hammock. As we swung slightly from side to side, your arm under my neck, we talked about absurd things I can’t even remember now–and probably some serious things. All I knew, and know, is that it felt so right at that moment. The swinging and laughing in the background, and the fact that it didn’t phase anyone if we hula-hooped, danced, chugged 50 beers, or just laid together apart from everyone else enjoying only each others words. All of it was surreal, with a hint of truth. The mixture of it all, and your eyes, kept me consumed.

Me and the Thinker

Me: I like hearing things and locking them in, strangers.theres so much back story to what people say.

The Thinker: To everything.
Me: and i may never know that story. I like that and dont but, meh.

The Thinker: What do you like and dislike about it?

Me: it depends on the mood i guess

 The Thinker: Elaborate.

Me: some days i feel apathetic and dont care about the backstory. Or some days i want to know every detail and will spend the rest of the day wondering about it

 The Thinker: Why? Examples?
Me: I don’t know, when im emotionally exhausted i can be apathetic

The Thinker: I get that.

 Me: Or when im happy and remind myself at the beginning of the day that we only live once so to take in every detail like i used to when i was 5. Ill wonder about peoples stories and meaning behind what they say, study all the wrinkles on their face or some days im happy not knowing anything. Theres beauty behind being human and not super human, just knowing what we know without digging deeper. The simplicity of it.
The Thinker: There is depth in simplicity I suppose.
Me: yeah, but the depth doesn’t always have to be known. Like the sky. Its the same for humans. Theres also no possible way to know 100% of a person because were all our own centers of our universe.
 The Thinker: I don’t study very much. I have a pretty simple outlook, and I’d say most of my knowledge is in my intuition. I trust it.

 Me: I like that

 The Thinker: It has its pros and cons I’d say. Working to be more of a studier.

Me: Theres a balance
 but also, people spend too much time studying, i think, taking in information that is wrong half the time then regurgitating it using big words to sound more intelligent than the person next to them. People forget to critically analyze the information they get and ask questions. or just think for themselves completely.
The Thinker: Everyone is just trying their best I suppose. In reality we all suck
Me: no we dont, we are all just changing and learning about ourselves, its all good
The Thinker: Dammit. I guess I just suck then.

Me: as long as you take from your mistakes and others and dont hurt anyone on purpose in the process. Nope. You’re a thinker. Not a studier and regurgitater. Maybe you just feel youre not balanced

The Thinker: Haha, I’m working on it. -my favorite phrase. I feel great about myself lately actually, so no need to be so nice. I appreciate you calling me a thinker, I think you are too.
 Me: Im not just being nice, I just think you dont give yourself enough credit and just because we are all different in our process doesn’t mean you suck over someone else’s process. Fuck it.
The Thinker: No really, I think I give myself a very fair amount of credit!
Me: mmmmk…..MMMMMMMMMKKKKKKKK
The Thinker: gonna kill you…
 so hey, my computer is dying and I am sleepy and I have an interview tomorrow morning so I’m gunna sleep.
 YOU GOTTA PROBLEM WITH THAT TOO BAD!
 Anywho, let’s talk more tomorrow please. For now, goodnight and may you have the most beautiful dreams. Further more, I hope you wake up with a smile on your face and something to look forward to. Good evening madame.
 Me: I look forward to talking to you again. Because you always put a smile on my face. And if you don’t, its because you meant to annoy me only to make me smile later….goodnight you. And good luck on your interview.
The Thinker: Gracias chiquita. Buenas noches.

Howdy Doody

On the phone with Ms. Irish Fire.

Me: Hey you awake? I’m coming over to get the keys.

Ms. Irish Fire: Ok I’m up!

Get to the house and go up to her room.

Me: Here’s some yogurt…(setting it down on her desk, then realizing a used condom is right next to my hand. She doesn’t notice it’s there.)

Me: Goddamit, Ms. Irish Fire. There’s a used condom. Well, there’s some yogurt. See you in a bit! (leave non-challantly)

Ms. Irish Fire: (as I walk away) Oh Goddamit! I thought I cleaned everything up!

Me: “Closed for season” my ass.

conversation with Ms. Irish Fire during a 3 hour car ride from point a to point b.

1 hour into the drive:

Me: I don’t know what he wants. I mean I do, like all men they just want to get in your pants. But he may want more.

Ms. Irish Fire: Well do you want more?

Me: No. I can’t do that right now. He’s great but I’m not ready for that. And I don’t want to just sleep with him. I can’t do that.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yeah, well. Just go with your gut feeling.

Me: Yeah I will..

1.5 hours into the drive:

Me: I don’t know, maybe something will happen. I guess I have to talk to him and see what’s up.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yeah, ask him what he wants first. It’ll give you an idea of where he is emotionally. You are going to say the same thing no matter what anyway. You aren’t ready for a relationship.

Me: I just don’t want to hurt him, but we’re already in too deep and people will be hurt. But I don’t know, maybe something will happen.

Friend: I thought you said it wouldn’t.

Me: I don’t know!

2 hours into the drive:

Ms. Irish Fire: I’m just in some kind of mood!

Me: Oh my god! Me too! I just want to make out with someone. I mean you’ll be doing that tonight won’t you? Oh dang girl! He be all up in your goody snacks!

Ms. Irish Fire: Naw I won’t be giving him my goody snacks, just making out.

Me: Yeah right…”Closed For Season” my ass. I found a condom on your desk this morning and you said you weren’t having sex!

Ms. Irish Fire: I know! That was hilarious! Goddamn!

Me: Yup! Wasn’t even surprised and I didn’t even skip a beat.

Ms. Irish Fire: I know! We’re at that point in our friendship where it doesn’t even matter anymore! You were so casual! Well I’ll be seeing The Neighbor tonight, and I swear we’ll just be making out! He asked to have sex, and I was like “Nope! You ain’t getting up on my Howdy Doody.”

Me: Howdy doody?! What the fuck? Goddamnit, the shit you come up with.

(silence)

Me: Damnet, now I’m feeling some kind of way. Goddamit.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yup, now you’ll have him all up on your howdy doody…

Me: Stop calling it that!

Ms. Irish Fire: ALLLL UP in your HOWDY DOODY!

Me: Goddamit. Making out with someone could be nice.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yup, all up in your howdy doody.

Me: Nope, not having sex with him. Maybe just making out, I mean it’s not more than we’ve already done.

2.5 hours into the drive:

Me: Goddamit! Now I’m all feeling some kind of way!

Ms. Irish Fire: Right?! Now we’re both in a mood. Howdy Doody and shit.

Me: Fuck it, why not?

Ms. Irish Fire: I thought you weren’t gonna have sex with him.

Me: Yeah but he’s hot and makes me feel some kind of way. And you have no room to talk!

Ms. Irish Fire: Um no! I told him to back off my howdy doody. Back off my howdy doody! Back off!

Me: Stop calling it that!

2.45 hours into the drive:

Me: Fuck it. I’m having sex with him.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yeah I thought so. Godammit. Howdy doody!!!

5 minutes later:

Ms. Irish Fire: (pointing at a billboard of weird looking sausages, and sounding unsure) That billboard makes me feel some kind of way.

Me: They look like dicks!

laughing

Me: Damnet, how old are we?

Ms. Irish Fire: Howdy doody! Howdy doody!

Pulling into the driveway:

Ms. Irish Fire: Notice what happened in a 3 hour span of time. You went from saying no completely, to making out and having some fun, to having sex.

Me: Fuck, you’re so right. Welp, at least I’ll enjoy it.

Get home to find our water is shut off because the water company fucked up our account.

Ms. Irish Fire: Well I need to shower, I’ll probably just go to The Neighbor’s house.

Me: So he’s gonna be all over your howdy doody?

Ms. Irish Fire: No! just making out!

Me: You’ll be naked and in the shower, you really don’t think he’ll be all up on your goody snacks?

Ms. Irish Fire: No I won’t let him!

Me: Yeah, uh huh. Well let me know how that pressure is in that shower….

awkward silence

Me: Yeah, you know the water pressure. Not his. But that’s what you were thinking so that means you’re totally having sex.

Ms. Irish Fire: No I’m not! Why don’t you believe me?!

Me: bullshit…

And now we wait and see.

The reality of children gone.

I read once in a roommates most deepest writings that hurricane sandy killed the non believers and saved those that believed.
But what about the children? Innocent, unknowingly mistake-making children whom deserve only the best. How about the children in the Middle East, dyeing horrible deaths from drones sent with a button from the other side of this Mother Earth? She cries, I swear by it. What about the children overworking their developing bodies, working days in and days out to make needless material objects for Walmart bought by this very same roommate, objects used maybe once and left to waste? What about those affected by globalization, a loss of culture, and a never ending identity crisis for the mistakes of Europeans made hundreds of years ago? What about the children forced into slavery of all kinds? And those forced to have children after being raped. Or those that live next door to you, starving while you eat three meals a day, with a small snack of 200 calories or less in between each meal. Or those that wish they could read? How about the children fighting cancer or aids, or those living with sick parents that expect care from them? Children lost and confused with no where to go.
I read her comment about hurricane sandy in her personal journal that she left out on the dining room table. Pages open and full of a false knowledge, the overall ignorance constantly protruding out of this close-minded, Midwestern world. Pages heavy with the scent of frustrated innocent children, asking this supposed god, why?
This morning, 52 dead in Oklahoma, some of them children. A state drenched with self-righteous Christianity. So I ask you, now what?

Saved

I find it quiet hilarious
that one of the things you didn’t like about me
you ended up doing
not as easy as it looks, is it?
Okay, maybe not hilarious,
but ironic that the heatheness in me
only spread to you
all while you were trying to save me
from my love of affection and hate of its opposing factors
I enjoy the seconds and years of my life I have spent
exploring beautiful beings Mother Nature created
Save me
Save me mother from the nature of the beast
Save me from yourself and the fake attitude you call believing
while believing is not knowing fact
is not always victorious when written by men many years ago
So listen here
Listen and hear the voice of a victorious woman
Living a life of love and affection
Saving the life of the little girl she used to be
A woman proud to have failed and lost
Failed at her highest and lowest
Only to rise and greet mother nature once more
Save me
Save me mother, save me
But don’t save me for the wrong reasons.

Small talk with a stranger

Stranger: hey there ladies, what you doin over there? You tubing?
Friend: no writing papers
Stranger: oh yeah, cool. Papers on what?
Friend: Shakespeare.
Me: misogyny
Stranger: oh that’s cool. I like that kind of stuff. Knowing about popes and Egyptians.
Me: those are two very different things.
Stranger: yeah, I like that stuff. So I’m just trying to make conversation while I wait for my friend who may or may not be coming. That’s a big house you have there. You have a lot of roommates?
Friend: yeah
Stranger: how about bills? How do you split them?
Me: equally
Stranger: psft, well yeah. How much does this run you? A G a month?
Me: yeah something like that
Stranger: (looking at the house like he was counting rooms. And seeing through walls) that must mean you have lots of roommates.
Me: a ton
Stranger: I mean I don’t want to get into or anything but I don’t do that technology stuff. Like pretty ladies like you should be looking at each other and smilin at each other. I don’t do that Facebook shit or whatever. You ladies haven’t talked to each other once since I’ve seen you guys.
Me: oh trust me we did plenty of that.
Stranger: oh I bet you did, I just haven’t seen it.
Me: because we don’t need to talk out loud.
Stranger: oh! You do that girl shit where you talk with your eyes! Ooooh I see
Me: (pointing at his BMW convertible) what about your car and that technology?
Stranger: well I’m selling it! You wanna help me post that shit on Craigslist? Ill give you half of it.
Me: yeah right
Stranger: “yeah right” she says! She’s given an opportunity and she doesn’t take it! By the way, you’re beautiful! Like, I’m just gonna speak my mind, you’re beautiful. (Yelling to his friend) hey homie! You ready? I was talking to your neighbors over here but they don’t seem like they want to talk. They’re all into their technology and shit. Alright.
Friend and I: (laughing and not hiding it anymore)