This has got to be one of my favorite stories that I don’t really tell. It’s not that I’m a prude. It’s just that I think ladies should keep things to themselves at certain moments unless chatting with other similar ladies etc etc.
Well this particular night, we had gone to a rock bar we frequent but was not in our neighborhood. We had no real goals except to drink & watch bands. Festivities ensue, we have fun and at one point my cohort hears that the Canadian headliners needed a place to crash. Sure, she says, you can stay at my apartment. As she had been known to let random musicians sleep on her floor, this was not much of a big deal. It just ensured that the night would last into the wee hours.
After party at my house, my cohort yells. The party continues on at her apartment. Many drinks consumed, cigarettes smoked, & thoughts discussed. People slowly pass out one by one or filter out drunkenly home. A movie is turned on and then there were two. Me & Pierre.
Pierre is a dirty punk rocker. Still a baby in his 20s with a mop of hair that was asymmetrical. I noticed his tattoos at first, then the track marks.
(Mental note: never sleep with anyone into needles. In the past is one thing but still..cmon..)
So Pierre starts kissing me. All I can think to myself is you cannot sleep with him, you cannot sleep with him. Such a hard thing to do with a cute boy ramming his tongue down yr throat. I start feeling him up. He’s already rock hard. I pull his cock out of his jeans. I start giving him a hand job. He moans. We kiss. He moans. He bites my lip. He moans. I feel him cum all over my hand.
That’s it, I say. Wow yeah I guess I really needed that, he says, thanks. No problem, I say. We end up sharing the couch to sleep on but not cuddling.
It’s 2:30 am and I just had a cigarette in the freezing cold after listening to your record on repeat. I could think of a million things we could do if you came to visit me. I think we briefly talked about a frozen lakefront, flask at the dollar movie theater, dinosaur bones at the history museum…
We could go to a show at my favorite place, the basement of my friend Billy’s house. We’d have to take the subway one stop north and then walk past Leland Park. Leland Park is really awesome at night, it’s long and skinny and lined with streetlights. The trees are skinny too, and looking at it from the Truman Boulevard side makes me think of a long hallway. A long hallway covered in snow and crunchy dead grass. There are benches at the ends and I always want to sit there at night but I’m always alone when I walk past it. Maybe if we were on our way to the Billy’s, we could sit at a bench and have a cigarette and then walk right down the middle of the park. If it’s not too wet and cold, maybe we could make snow angels right in the center of it.
Billy’s basement is really fun to see shows and party at. The walls are covered in wood paneling and bands sound amazing there; we wanted to record there, even. It used to be some old dude’s den, so he built a bar in the corner and speakers into the wall. It’s lit by wall fixtures that the new tenants put red bulbs in. They sell dollar beers and two dollar shots of Jameson, and all the kids smoke so there’s always a hazy cigarette fog sitting thick underneath the ceiling. Everyone dances and sweats so it gets muggy and warm, even in the winter, so stepping outside into the garden makes you think about how much you take fresh air for granted. I’ve had a lot of fun nights there, it’s always packed with underaged kids and old friends.
If you came to visit, we could have coffee at all of my favorite places. There’s a new place that opened up sort of near my apartment. They have Devo records framed on the wall and the tiles are hot pink and yellow. The bathrooms have horrible spray painted art and Sharpie doodles by peeing patrons talking about how much they hate hipsters and coffee nerds. They always play good music. The last time I was there, I sat in a tall, cozy chair for four hours and wrote in a notebook. I noticed people always look up when someone comes in. If I took you there, we could get bottomless cups of coffee and sit in the overstuffed couch and talk about bad art or weird people or the records on the wall. Or we could sit at a table by the window on the west side of the building and watch the sun set over Leland Square.
Another coffee place I used to go to a lot is called Utopia Lounge, it’s about five blocks from the bar you played at last spring. It always smells like really strong coffee, almost like burning dirt. They’ve always had consistent art shows, except most of it usually sucks but sells anyway. One time there was this horrible “steam-punk” artist that made blurry paintings with black tubes and rusty nails coming out of it, and all of his pieces were selling for over $800. It was the kind of art that made me lose my appetite. Once someone had huge photographic prints, and they were amazing. My favorite was of a teenage girl sitting on her bed, staring into the camera. Red sheets and red lipstick, dark vignetting in the corners. It seemed like she thought that she’d never be more mature in her entire life than she was at that moment. She’d be wrong, of course. Maybe it reminded me of myself.
There’s a couple places I used to really like that have closed down. There was a place two blocks from my first apartment called the Stockyard. I had been there before the smoking ban, so they had a smoking section, though I wasn’t a smoker yet. I used to sit there and write for hours. The walls and everything were painted grey. Sometimes if I couldn’t sleep, I’d stay up all night and then have breakfast there in the morning, at 6am, when no one else was awake. I’d sit in the window and watch the early commuters walk to the blue line, winter coats still on even though it was the Spring already. Another place that closed down was next door to the place I used to work at, called City Tea. The owners were really nice, one was a Wiccan priestess and the other ran a tattoo and piercing shop. They had the most delicious tuna sandwiches. If work was slow, I would go in there and drink pints of tea for as long as I could. I’d sit on huge pillows and draw doodles on index cards to pin to the bulletin board.
I already mentioned this, but I’d really like to go to Leigh Street Theater with you. They show second-run movies for four bucks, and they usually show decent stuff. It’s an old theater. There’s a huge vertical sign outside that doesn’t light up anymore. The carpets are red and stained in some parts, and the long wear of shoe tracks have made a brown path that branches off like a thick tree. The snack bar is small but they have fountain sodas and fresh popcorn and candy. The ladies bathrooms have a big powder room and faucet fixtures that look like they’ve been there since the twenties. The seats are short, old, and the whole place smells like old carpet. The curtains that line the walls are heavy and thick and musty, as if cigarette smoke still clings to them years after people stopped smoking in theaters. We could sneak in a flask and pour whiskey into our cokes. We could sit in the back row and make out in the dark, awkwardly navigating around the armrest between us, buzzed on Makers Mark, fingers greasy from popcorn butter.
I’ve mentioned the lake too: I’ve only been there once in the winter, but it was awesome. I stood on the rocks and closely examined the icicles forming between them, terrified that I might slip and fall into the freezing water. The lake in winter takes a color I’ve seen nowhere else. It’s a milky blue, closer to the sky than anything else I’ve seen. It’s different than the deep greens and reds of the Pacific. We could walk on the beach, make tracks in the snowy sand, step in frozen puddles that break like mirrors under our shoes. We’ll take hot chocolate with us and bundle up in scarves and hats and gloves. If you walk all the way across the beach on Pine Street, eventually the sand ends and there’s just a concrete platform with huge steps at the end. We could sit there and look out onto the lake and it would look just like a frozen blue field, never ending, meeting the sky at some indistinguishable horizon. There’s a great view of the city from Pine Street Beach too. The buildings are deep black on a cloudy grey canvas, like tall stripes, like some kind of geometric void, like doorways leading past the bright sky.
I’ve been talking about my city a lot, but I’m actually pretty bored with it. Instead of you visiting here, I think I’d rather go to you. I’d like to see someplace new.
It’s 3:30 now and I’m exhausted.
Sent Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 at 3:41 AM.
I just got back from an early show in a basement on the eastside, not too far from my apartment. There were a few hardcore bands that played 15-minute sets and the place was full of young people. The first band, after accidentally shutting the power off, later on kicked over the drum kit in a delightful attempt to look really out of control angry but they actually looked pretty cheerful and contained. My friend, who had to be about a decade older than them, turned to me and said aww, that’s so cute! and I laughed because it totally was.
My ex-boyfriend’s band played, their fifth night of a week-long tour. It’s weird calling him my ex-boyfriend because it never really felt like a real relationship. I met him over three years ago when a punk band he used to play in came through town; someone we knew had an afterparty. I think I noticed him looking at me from across the room, and when he finally came over we played foosball and spent the rest of the night talking.
We sat next to each other and held hands, slightly, secretly between our laps. I got up to go to the bathroom and heard him follow me, and isn’t that how it always happens? Outside the door, hands freshly washed, we kissed. Don’t forget me, okay? he had said, and I told him I wouldn’t.
He called me the next day, even though he was still on tour, and the next day after that. We chatted online a lot, had dirty conversations. Called each other boyfriend and girlfriend. We even threw around “I love you.”
A month later, I took a plane to Texas to visit him and it was neat. It was a typical small Texan town, and unlike any other place I had ever seen. Little one story houses with cracked paint and torn wooden screen doors, overgrown shrubs and yellow grass in the yards, tired old cars and crooked sidewalks. We had sex once we got back to his place. We had previously talked about a bunch of kinky stuff that in the end didn’t really work out, mostly because I think we were both pretty submissive. It was alright, though, we had fun. We went to shows, ate at delightfully shabby family-owned places he liked. I didn’t cry when I left, but I did cry a couple nights before after he had fallen asleep. I was laying right next to him and felt so lonely, even though we were finally right next to each other.
Not too long after my visit, maybe a couple months, we stopped talking. He said he couldn’t handle being in a relationship with me, it was too hard to be so far apart. I slept with someone else before it was technically over, though he never found out about it. For awhile after all of this happened, I denied that it was a real relationship. I even denied being in love with him. But of course I loved him. Of course it was real. I was just angry at myself over the whole thing.
We hung out a bit tonight, but we barely talked. He seemed to be doing well. He lives with his girlfriend now, and he’s back in school.
His eyes and his smile were sweetly familiar; his voice, with its subtle southern drawl, reminded me of what it was like under a warm Texan sun.
I miss him.