This is the second half of a story that begins here.
I was in her room one night toward the end. In Allston. She liked living in the middle of all the kids and punks but not really having anything to do with them. She woke up early. She studied. She was a great student, she had to admit. There was a small party downstairs. A cheap little disco ball. Bad pop and hip-hop played. We found ourselves on the couch. The two of us. Why she didn’t hang out with the girls more, I never understood. She was one one of a handful of dynamic young girls from Minnesota. They all went to high school together. Sarah, who wrote on the old blog was one of them. Every few months Sarah would introduce me to a new Minnesota Sparrow. This one visiting from DC, that one is the REAL genius. Leigh was always nearby, but at arms-length. In her world, with those middle aged shop owners on Newbury. Her boyfriends with the Boston accents. Yeah, I’m saying her name now. I gave that up too.
We dated for about a month, beginning the night of the party with all of Sarah’s friends. We went into Kelly’s room to smoke. But really it was so I could kiss her. Trembling a bit as I loaded the bowl. Normally, that was the source of excitement, but that exercise had just turned into a formality. Because we were going to kiss, and that was exciting. I’d been waiting a long time.
We had to leave. Not in Kelly’s room!
The night in Allston, where this story ends, was a few years after the party. It was after we ascended the stairs to my tiny attic room, where she nodded as she took in my posters. Okayyyyyyyyyyyy, okayyyyyyyyyyy. The Green Album poster. I took it with me to every new apartment. I’d learned about identity in a psych class in my early twenties. I read about posters. Walls were vacant in my teenage years. In Boston, I took poster-hanging very seriously. She wasn’t thrilled about Taylor Swift. Nobody was. That poster would later be demoted to a bathroom, where someone would put a sharpie mustache on Swift.
The night of the party was long after we walked to Central Square where I was going to hop on the Redline and she was going to take the One Bus. “The ONE!” she said. “I’m waiting for THE ONE!” she loved it. “Kiss me,” she demanded, and we parted. I wondered if I’d ever be the one.
Do you have a tattoo? No, you don’t have a tattoo!
The night in Allston was after numerous visits to the Newbury clothing stores that employed her. Early on, it was great. Something about a little four-year-old and a hanger. Poking mom with the hanger. Cute as a button. On a later visit, it was raining. I knew I wasn’t feeling it, but I went anyway. I missed her, decided to leave- maybe she was out. But I saw her on the stairs. Whelp, back to work she said. I might have tried to play it off like it was a chance encounter. I was never going to be the one.
She’d buzzed the side of her head and dyed her hair purple. Cut her bangs and grown them back. She wasn’t crazy about Lady Gaga anymore.
Have you ever done acid? No you’ve never done acid!
My favorite, was when she was still asleep and she slipped her finger through my belt loop. White t-shirt, she mumbled. American, she smiled.
That night in Allston, I didn’t make a move. We tried to be good. She had a boyfriend. We watched Frasier in her room with the door open. Earlier, downstairs on the couch, with the music blaring and the cheap disco ball spinning, I made some pitiful plea…she could really help me. I don’t even think she heard.
The Frasier episode was about Niles and the girl at the cafe. The barista explains that they are both just too crazy for each other. Allison was telling me something. This is how she operated. Smart.
A fella walked to the doorway. A roommate. She swiveled around in her chair. Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, this is my friend Aaron. He’s a writer-
What’d she say? Not avant garde, she wouldn’t say that. Experimental? Nah, a better word than that…what the hell did she say? What did she call it? Doesn’t matter! She said I was TALENTED!
-I gotta lay down
-No, Aaron, you can’t.
-No! You have to stay awake!
-Whew…I’m just going to lie down.
-NO! If you lie down, you’ll sleep!
-Nah, I’ll be fine. You’re the only one with more energy than me, you know.
-That’s not true!
-Hey, what’dyousay? Not experimental.
-What are you talking about?
-Youtoldyourroommate, somethin ’bout my style. My aunt says that cussing is my style.
-Ahhh, don’t listen to them.
-Nah, it’sokay. She alsotoldme I wasn’t allowed to fail. She’s alright.
-That’s nice Aaron.
-Justwanted to tell my story. Communicate, youknow. Never tried to be avante garde. That’s what CalvinandHobbes make fun of.
-You’re slurring your words. Wake up! You can’t go to sleep!
-I’mnot sleeping. Just lyingdown. Restin’myeyes, as my ol’man used to say, when we were kids.
-Wake up Aaron! Don’t go to sleep!
-Youalso saidIwas talented. You toldyouroommate.
-No I didn’t!
-Yeah heard it. Why don’t you liedown next to me? Playwith myhair? I loveyou.
-AARON, I have a boyfriend!
-Oh, I meantplural. YOU ALL. Likeeveryone.
-Now with this Holden Caulfield junk! Try reading something other than white male Americans. You have a LOOOOONG way to go!
-I know. Delusionaldegenerate. Thatsme. Plus I lied. I do loveeveryone. But I loveyou. I’m notta smartman, but I knowwhat punkis. Hehe.
-Oh jeez! You’re insufferable.
-If I’m so sufferable why don’tyou lemmesleep? Huh? Liedown.
-NO! You can’t sleep.
-Yeah, I’m gonna sleep for 100 years…gotta go home. I gotsome unfinishedbusiness.
-WHAT? You AREN’T going home and you AREN’T going to sleep!
-Yeah, I gotsomethings to do. Showem what theygot. Whattheygavebirthto. Busy-ness. Hehe, that’sall it is.
-NO AARON Aaronchan, don’t go to sleep! YOU CAN’T GO TO SLEEP!