"Your smell is still on my sheets
And I love the scent of you;
To feel your warm, tender embrace
Even though you are so far away.
Your darkness is the taste I crave,
The flavor that I just cannot replace.
I'll burn for you,
Your perfect match.
You were the itch that I longed to scratch.
And I need this more than air in my lungs,
Or blood in my veins.
I need someone here in my arms that gently calms me still.
I still feel the same way that I did before.
And I'd kill, so let me unfold, I'd sell my soul
I'll sell it away, to you."
- "Dear Desiderata", Rise For
I buried my face in my pillow, wishing I was burying it in Jon's messy mop of shampoo scented hair. I was coming down off of a two day coke binge. Nothing too insane, really. It was just the feeling of coming down that got to me. Compare it to when you're in an elevator going down. All of a sudden, whoosh, the bottom falls out from under you.
Sad thing was that Jon wasn't here to catch me.
I hadn't talked to him in three days. Or was it four? Maybe a week? I couldn't tell; time had a peculiar way of moving lately. Sometimes it went in circles, or maybe skipped an event. Every now and then I just lost some of it. Through my pounding headache, all my thoughts focused on him.
What was our status now? Did he still love me? Did I still love him? Were we together, or was it over by default since neither of us had picked up the ball and ran? I think I fumbled the pass, actually.
Yeah, it had to be my turn to carry it. After his dad had been so rude to me, I hadn't tried to get in touch with him. I guess that normally I'd see him at school, but the summer months were still upon us. August was, however, just around the corner.
With my body's sore, abused tissues groaning in protest, I hobbled over to the computer. I must have pulled something and not felt it through the coke. After all, when I'm on it, I am God, you know. The price of being God is very high, though; somewhere around 120 to 150 dollars a day at my current rate. The money came from my personal savings from my job, my few savings bonds I'd cashed out, and various other incomes. I didn't really need the TV I pawned anyway, since I never watched it.
I clicked on the lower right corner, on the time, to pull up the calendar. Only three days, that was about right. But it was July 18th, and the day after was my birthday. I couldn't believe I'd forgotten my own birthday. Briefly, I thought of how Mary Lou would beat me senseless, hardcore old lady-style, if she knew what I'd been up to lately. I doubted that she really cared all that much as long as I brought her some cash next time I went to see her.
"I really should go check on Jon," I thought, "but what do I say? Hey, Jon, sorry I ignored you `cause the coke was so good? Not a good idea..." I had to go see him, though.
"But I'll be damned if I go sober." I mumbled. I went to my dresser and rifled through my magic box.
Somewhere between my room and the front door I got sidetracked. I ended up sitting on the back porch smoking a blunt all by my lonesome. The pot made me think about an endless array of things, one after the other, each topic bringing a menacing plethora of questions.
What was wrong with me? I can't be normal. How did other people deal with what I was dealing with? What exactly was it that I was dealing with? I felt so anxious all of the time, worrying about anything and everything to the point of exhaustion. The drugs made that go away, which was the number one reason I used them.
The anxiety always lead to depression. Guilt, a feeling of stagnancy, more guilt, insecurity; I felt like that saying `grasping for straws'. Like if I was so far gone that nothing could make anything worse, then that's where I needed to be. But that behavior only helped for so long, and then the guilt and insecurity got even worse. The depression would follow, and everything hurt so bad.
Not having a cigarette could cause enough pain to make you crazy.
I stood up, though, and brushed dirt off the seat of my pants. I was getting chubby, I noticed. Very strange thing for me, especially with all the coke and other shit. But it corresponded with my mood. It was destructive, threatening, cornering me into action that I didn't want to take.
With every step I took, I thought even more about how much I dreaded this encounter with Jonathan. I felt as if there was this giant void between us. The time spent apart had allowed it to grow, lengthen, enlarge until there was no way to bridge the gap. What words take back others? What action heals the results of another?
It all seemed so looming, so complicated. Bars on a window, tangled in a net.
I finally made it to Jon's house, thoroughly freaked out. My heart raced, ready at any second to go into full panic attack mode. I always switch from being the man to the little boy so fast.
A little boy would have an excuse to run away. `I was scared' didn't quite cut it for me, though. A knock against the wooden door echoed through the house briefly, and I saw Jon's messy head of hair through the window. This was the last second, the last moment to back out.
"Hey, bastard." He said to me. I took in his appearance. He seemed so much shorter than usual, like his entire frame was being pressed downward. A shirt hung from him in wrinkled billows, and a splash of sickly greenish purple lined his jaw. I saw him, and I couldn't talk all of a sudden. I shifted from one foot to the other, made motions back the way I came, and let out a long `sooooo...', but I didn't know what to do.
"Well?" Jon asked, raising an eyebrow and glaring. His eyes looked so pointed and sharp, like two silvery blue stilettos in their sockets. I missed the way they once looked like a fairy's swimming hole.
The stare dug into me, and I let out a gush of air that twisted into a sob as the tears came. I twisted my hands together, and then shoved them deep into my pockets. My gaze stayed fixed on the ground. I heard a sigh, and expected further reaction.
Through tear-blurred eyes, I saw Jon cross his arms. My mind went back to a moment with my psychowhatsit, and I couldn't help but laugh through the sobs. "You have a habit of crossing your arms and legs, Joey." She had told me. "You know that signifies that you're closed off from a conversation? It shows me that you don't care about or have any interest in what I'm saying." From that moment on I'd made a conscious decision about whether my arms should be crossed or not in every situation I'd encountered since.
But that bitter humor left quickly, and a terrible headache descended in its wake. A vice-grip on my skull threatened to crush it, and Jonathan wasn't reacting a bit. This wasn't what was supposed to happen. He was supposed to be the perfect boyfriend, goddamnit, he was supposed to know what was going on and how to fix it. I needed to get out of there so bad. I needed a cigarette, I needed a joint, I needed a fucking LINE so bad.
"Sorry, Joey, what'd you expect?" he asked me. I felt this giant, intangible hand grip my chest and squeeze. My lungs couldn't get enough air, and my larynx refused to vibrate the way it normally would.
"I don't know!" I finally squeaked out. "I'm sorry, Jon! I didn't..."
"Mean it?" he asked with an eyebrow raised. I nodded quickly, taking the opportunity to dry my face on my sleeves. "Nobody ever means it, Joey."
His words made something go off in my head, and I realized why this was so hard for him. Instead of helping the situation, it just made me cry a thousand times harder. The worst thing I could ever do to Jon would be to hit him. If I have to explain to you why, then you're so fucking stupid I wonder how you can read.
"Jon, you have to listen to me." It was hard to talk through the sobs without seeming hysterical. I knew I sounded like an idiot, and that just made it even more difficult NOT to sound like one. "Look, I know I fucked up bad. I'm sorry! I know why you feel the way you do!" That got a strange look out of him. Jon kind of narrowed his eyes, bracing himself for whatever I had in store.
"Joey, whatever you're on about, it's not gonna change the fact that you punched me." He said before he started to turn and head back inside. I jumped and grabbed his shoulder, though.
"No! Hit me back!" I yelled. Jon turned and looked at me like I had lost the little bit of mind I had left.
"Are you insane? I'm not going to hit you!"
"Why!?! Fucking hit me, you goddamn pussy!" I screamed at him. Jon's eyes went wide, and he put a finger to his lips as his eyes glanced both ways.
"Shut the fuck up, you can't just yell like that, there's neighbors!" He whisper-screamed back at me.
"I don't fucking care! Your neighbors can kiss my ass! I said hit me back, damn it!" I jumped up and down in time to `hit me back'. Jon waved his arms and shushed me to no avail. "I'm not gonna shush! I said hit me back! Then we're even! I'm sorry, Jon!" I yelled even louder.
"Joey, shut the fuck up!"
"FINE!" Jon looked exasperated.
"REALLY?!" I grinned as wide as I could, unable to believe my little ploy had worked. Yeah, the grin lasted until I felt Jon's knuckles connect with the side of my face. Then I just fell down and couldn't see very well for a few seconds.
"Shit, Joey!" Jon dropped down beside me and helped me up as I started to giggle.
"I win!" I yelled. The arm that Jon wasn't holding was up as I did some kind of victory jig.
"I'm sorry, Joey, you just wouldn't shut up! I didn't mean it! It's just, I, and then you kept on... you kept pressuring me!" Jon babbled. I kept right on giggling, though.
"'Sokay, Jon! I won't miss that tooth." I said. My face took on a sober, sad look.
"Oh my God! Let me see it, I'm so sorry!" Jon immediately cradled my face and looked close at my mouth. Blood was oozing out at a good rate, so I imagine it looked pretty bad. I grinned as wide as I could. "Oh, you asshole! You still have `em all!"
"Hehe, yep! You punch like a girl!" I said, and stuck my tongue out. "So, can we please call it even? I swear it'll never happen again." I waited for him to say something, anything that would ease the tension. In the meantime, I gave my best puppy dog look and hoped for the best.
"Look, this isn't gonna just magically fix it. You fucked up, Joey. That hurt me. That you of all people would take a swing at me seriously hurt. I still love you, though." Jon grabbed me in a tight hug, and I cried my relief into his shirt.
The one good thing my father ever taught me came to my mind. He told me that in life, you either got `atta boy's or ah shit's for everything you did. He also told me that it takes a hell of a lot of `atta boy's to make up for one ah shit. I couldn't help but wonder how many `atta boy's it would take before this particular ah shit went away.
Jon held my hand as we watched the swirl of the toilet together. I wasn't exactly a happy camper. I'd been talked into cleaning out my stash by an adamant Jon. Of course, Jon didn't really care about the pot. He smoked it too, remember? It was the hard shit that scared him.
He maintained that a lot of my problems were exacerbated by my escapist behavior. For all of you special people, that means things got worse `cause I wanted to run away. See?! It's happening already! When I'm sober I get mean! Oh, but anyway, Jon had a point and I knew it. He wasn't the only one who told me that same thing. My psychowhatsit and even Mary Lou had both told me the same thing in so many words.
So now the next step was to start dealing with it. Dealing with my relationship, dealing with my problems, dealing with school (it was just around the corner), dealing with everything. No more running off.
I felt Jon wrap his arms around my waist and lean his head down onto my shoulder. I realized, in that moment, that if things got bad enough to make me want to run away, now I had someone to run to. That in itself banished a lot of the fears and anxieties I held.
I twisted my neck around to look at Jon's face, and kissed the purple blotch on his jaw. I wished that I could kiss it away, I wished that the fact that I loved him could protect him. He closed his eyes and nuzzled against my face, and I stared down into the toilet feeling my eyes water.
Why did I have to be so helpless? If I ran to Jon, then who would he run to? I recognized immediately the old, familiar feeling of self-hate. I shivered, and felt Jon hold me tighter.
"I love you, Jon." I told him. He nodded.
"I know, Joey. Me too."
Mary Lou sat back on her scratchy, old couch and sighed. A smile spread across her face and she drummed her fingernails against her house robe contentedly. An orange tiger-striped cat landed lightly on her lap, and she automatically began to pet it.
"Yer a good, sweet kitty, yes you are. C'mere, hun, let's celebrate. We still gotta keep a eye open for `im, but I think he'll be okay for now. We got to call Frank later on today, yes we do." Mary Lou scratched under the cat's chin as she spoke. The animal nuzzled her hands and purred thankfully. It seemed to nod its approval of Mary Lou's words as she went on.
"Yep, we got to keep a eye on `im. I expect he'll be comin' around to see us soon, though. Now let's go get you some tuna, hun." Mary Lou stood slowly, and raked her wispy gray hair back behind her ears. She trudged to her kitchen and opened the tuna for the little mini-tiger, who wasted no time digging in.
"Gotta call Frank now, hun. You hush and be a good kitty." Mary Lou picked up her phone and squinted to see the numbers she dialed.
Okay, no more delays on my writing. Basically I've been waiting holding out for a specific story of mine that I was hoping to focus on, but that didn't work out.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed chapter ten of Rave Boy. If you did, let me know! Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or you could always visit my site at http://members.gayauthors.org/razor and let me know in the forums there.