Lost in Translation

2006-08-30 21:13:12 (UTC)


You asked me if would go have a drink after work and as
usual, I didn’t decline that invitation, especially on a
Friday. I had to go to the post office first, so I took care
of that before we met up later that evening in Old Town.
The sun began to set as post office personnel genuinely
lived up to their reputations as underachieving and
careless-- losing my mail and all. So unfortunately, I
shaped an awful temperament after this discouraging
experience. That soon changed though- as you are a rare
breed of people with an ability to snap me out of a foul
mood almost instantaneously… but I’ll get back to that.

I arrived a few minutes later and called to find out exactly
where you were. We talked and walked; gauging our where a
bouts like lost children in a park. You were across the
street, looking at me with that glorious smile. Still on the
phone, I crossed and met you…

The eatery or, for our purposes, drink-ery, was chosen
pretty much in sync and it took less than a second for us to
decide. It has been established that the words, “HAPPY
HOUR”, in that order run very high in our collective
vocabularies because discounted alcohol and bar food are two
very important things. As we walked in the Club 41, we
seated ourselves in the bar area. The table was adjacent to
a window that had a very nice view of the street. Amy, our
server, walked up to our table and in no time asked us what
we wanted to drink. After some brisk analysis, we selected
Stella Artois. As we talked, I presented you a poem I had
recently written and I handed it to you:

Is your future known? Does it know you?
Can you make the right decision and still be true?
And if true you stay, to whom will it be?
Will his heart reap benefit or will it advantage ye?
One week to live or one week till death…
Choice became burden, your heart gasps for breath.
Pleasure me bliss or pressure me flat...
Why did it have to get so complicated, can you answer me that?

Convoluted and incoherent poem perhaps, but I concluded if
the poem had made sense you would’ve appreciated it anyway
because you knew it was written for you. This kind of
mutual respect was nothing new, but this time it seemed so
blatant and different. Anyway, I decided not to think into
it and continued to talk to you about anything and
everything that was on your mind, mainly, your boyfriend
situation as well as some issues you were having with your
family. My judgment was in tact at this point although I was
probably jumping the gun.

An hour or so later, about 8:30, we knew that it was time
for us to depart from this place but what was next? Were we
ready to head home? Were we ready to separate and meet up
with other people? I know these questions crossed your mind
while we were walking down the street-- but we were riding a
wave of continuance and it was subconsciously clear that our
night was not over. It was the beginning; with “beginning”
having nothing to do with time and everything to do with
reactionary disenchantment.

Under the influence, the wave of continuance gained steam as
we arrived at Jakes Bar for another round. The air was thick
and the temperature was fine and I was surprised to find
that you had never been here before as we stood facing a
tall, light skinned black man with blue eyes.
Simultaneously, we much admired his silky smooth voice. I
iterated that he must be a singer in a band or something to
that effect and his humble smile signaled a confirmation of
that fact. He seemed to be at a loss for words as he I.D.’d
us, so we made our way inside. The place was packed with
delightful customers holding pool cues as we walked down the
stairwell. We made our way through a vast sea of pool
tables, neon signs and pool sharks walking hand in hand—

That’s where everything changed.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to make of the intertwining of
our fingers as I clasped your hand. We’ve done the whole
hand holding thing before but it had never felt this warm.
It felt personal and distinct, but extremely pleasant. It
sent tingles down my spine like cosmic ash blowing in a
windstorm and it astounded me to the point of physical
paralysis. I needed a drink instantly, so I wasted no time
settling us up at the bar.

(What streamed through my mind was)

An affectionate demeanor is profound in your personality and
anyone reasonably close to you would be familiar with it;
or, maybe you substantially trust in our friendship and I am
too blinded in modesty to fully understand that.

For whatever reason the geography and nature of our
association changed in that split second, the question now
was; how was I to handle it?

We sat at the bar holding our drinks, and as our fingers
dampened, we talked about situations of a highly personal
nature so an inconspicuous location was preferential at that
point. Tip toeing to a new table and wanting to know what I
thought you should do about your man, you asked, “should I
just end it and move on?” you also wondered if you should
continue to hang in there and try to make it work. Steadily
upright in your seat, eagerly awaiting my response you
looked at me eccentrically. Faithfully, after drastic
consideration of the situation and trying to discreetly
ignore my impending buzz, I felt as a friend there was only
one thing left to do; tell you exactly what you wanted to hear.

For the last few weeks studying the look in your eyes and
analyzing the tone of your voice, I came to realize that you
would not be content walking away now, as it was not your
time to give up. I told you to stick it out and see where it
goes. There’s an old saying that implies “age has its
compensations”, in this situation, my compensation formed
the ability to see through your smoke screened emotion and
utilize my knowledge of your tentative condition, in effort
to implement an suitable action. I could’ve vocalized the
evident possibility of your days together being numbered and
a definite relationship with him being highly unlikely; it
is also possible, the inevitable conclusion discussed, if so
ridiculous and uncharacteristic of you to believe, actually
is residing in your mind. Ultimately, when I sold you this
opinion and you were more than happy to buy it, I gave you
the push you needed and as I came to find out later, you
acted on it rather quickly but you are young and can afford
to live carefree.

Around 10:30 or so it came time to leave Jakes and walk back
to the parking garage-- you didn’t drive so I gave you a
ride back so you could pick up your car. En route to Plaza
Las Fuentes, I played you some of the songs I picked for you
in a “break-up” play list on my iPod. I chose Patsy Cline,
“Why can’t he be you”, which is pretty self-explanatory and
I also chose “River” by Joni Mitchell, a song I think
represents you pretty well; as it is about an ambitious
woman who is stuck in a situation that is perfect for
everyone else but her.

As we finally entered the garage I stopped the car next to
yours, and as it sat idling, we looked at each other and
simultaneously agreed to get a couple cheap cigars and go to
the bar upstairs for a nightcap.

The wave of continuance rolled as it was just about to peak.
After a run to get our “symbolic” cigars, we arrived at the
hotel bar. I ordered a Heineken and you a blush wine; and
before I even knew it… Crash!

Flash back, to earlier in the evening, when I theorized the
geography of our association changing and wondering if I
could handle the change.

Here’s how I handled it:

At 11pm, something inside me broke and left me in a
vulnerable mind state, the alcohol didn’t help either. I sat
there gazing at you completely helpless with an optimism and
adoration I had never expressed in your presence. I spoke to
you in a manner I had never intended you to comprehend. You
now knew things I never anticipated you to know. I felt a
preternatural need to rearrange every word, thought and
action that had taken place between us and abandon all
rational behavior in effort to discard all of the facts. I
decided to take all of the agony, pain and potential risk
and throw it all out the window.

Part of life is the ability to take risks…

And don’t think for a second that I don’t recognize the
impact our friendship has in your daily routine, entrusting
me with information that is sacred and private; information
that is now, (right now), helping shape the woman you are
and will soon become. You adore the fact that I furnish
undivided attention and treat you like you’re the last woman
on earth. You love how I am respectful, articulate and
listen to your every word as if it were a gospel. You
undertake in my advice and think highly of my opinion. You
understand that I am knowledgeable and regularly looking out
for your best interests. When in accompaniment, the mood
could be silly, serious, intellectual, tender or riotous
while never becoming problematic or zealous. When we go for
lunch, we have fun, no matter what, and without a consorted
effort. This perfect friendship segued and morphed into…

You representing everything I’d ever wanted in another human
being and also being a source of inspiration for me…

My senses were no match:

I see you in everything that is beautiful. When I visualize
a picturesque sun lit beach with children running, waves
crashing and people relaxing, I think of you; or-- may hike
up a mountain trail to its summit, look left and see a
brilliant cascade of hills, trees and sky [only to] close my
eyes and notice you standing next to me, holding my hand;
or-- One day, I may accomplish a great feat and receive a
million accolades from everyone but none would ring more
meaningful than yours; or-- I’d hope that -after one
dreadful workday- I could come home and seek solace in your
gentle mind and compassionate arms. Your bestowed touch
sends prickles down my spine and shivers in my legs. To hear
your voice entangles my rational thought and doesn’t let go
as your scent takes the wind from my lungs, chill from my
stomach, and havoc from my mind.

And I decided to risk it all; but did it payoff?

On the surface this situation may seem painless, but in my
reality it is a grueling, masochistic escapade. The futility
of what I feel, vs. what I know is going to break at some
point. Not to insinuate that any thing rash would happen—but
wanting to hold you, when I know I can’t; or revealing the
desire to kiss you when I know it’s not appropriate. How
about wanting to profess how dedicated I am in our
relationship-- feeling like I have a right to expect more
from you-- believing that one day you’ll grow a new pair of
eyes and see that my outside is just a beautiful as my
inside. Maybe I’ll wait for you to become single again and
sigh in agony as all my manifested hope comes crashing down
when you tell me that I’m not a candidate for your heart and
never was.

All these wants, desires, dreams and the (this) and the
(that) can all be too much for a man to take, no matter how
disciplined he might be. In a parallel universe or in a
dream, we are already married and living together happily.
But this isn’t science fiction and we don’t live in a
dream-- in this real world-- we are just friends. Since the
cat has been out of the bag, everything distorted. These
emotions had no bearing before the crashing wave, symbolic
cigars and bouts of association. That night, our world
changed because my feelings became real.

The bottom-line is, that I made it possible for you to rely
on me so abundantly; I permitted the ability for you to snap
me out of a foul mood at the drop of a hat; I enabled you to
show me respect and appreciation in a way that can be
misinterpreted; I aided your capability of caressing me like
a companion and I subliminally shielded you from knowing
that all this other stuff was going on behind your back. So
for that I am sorry…

While we lit our cigars outside that night, it was apparent
nothing else was worth speaking of as I became exhausted
from this mental behemoth. I realized our friendship was
just to perfect while my heart became frail and I should’ve
known there would be reaction to the action.

I imagined, in an overly dramatic, orange tinted and blurry
fashion, a glimpse into the future; the scene, a crisp
evening at sunset, we sit side by side on a bench talking. I
was luminously confused on how much you love and care for
me. With your arm securely fastened around mine, you put
your head on my shoulder and tell me lovely things. Your
embrace was tender yet, strong and firm. In your own unique
style, you mention just how important I am and how long we
are going to be friends, even after we get new jobs and
relocate. You speak slowly and you don’t foresee in hours
and days, but in months and years. Convinced that you’d
never let me go, my dream became a Shakespearian drama. In
response to your assertion about our future, I retort:

- “You have to stop!” I say this with my heart pumping,
hands shaking and my mind twisted.

I leap off the bench and look at you with perplexed eyes.
Anticipating the next installment I feel like it will be our
last conversation ever.

- “I’ve become addicted like a drug and you keep enticing me”

- “I’m like a drug to you?” You reply.

- “I can’t think of any other way to describe it”, I respond

- You interject, “How do you know it’s that deep? It’s
probably just a crush”

- “I have written 3000 words and devoted countless hours
suggesting other wise and I know the difference between a
crush and being in love with somebody. We can’t be friends,
not like this. Our friendship is fucked, and it’s all my
fault, I’m sorry”

Before you even have a chance to respond, the dream is over.

I woke from this vision and never looked at you the same.

Fast forward:

For weeks our association had changed; I don’t call or
see you as much. We don’t go to lunch as often as we used
to. This is a transitional frame of mind that I am learning
to grow accustomed to. But just as soon as I see the future
heading in a different direction you turn it around and act
like nothing is different. You may know what you are doing
and maybe you don’t.

I still feel overcome with emotion when I see your name
flash across my phone; I pick up and you ask me how I am and
what I am doing, after sinking out of my seat and into the
floor you also ask me to lunch and I can’t refuse you. (If
it wasn’t for you we’d never do anything). I crack jokes
here and there, masking my recently qualified inability to
articulate in an appropriate manner. I feel troubled that
every day is a constant reminder how hard some things are to
come by and it seems like I’ve been succeeding more in
making you upset with me than anything else, but
coincidentally you don’t stay mad for to long. I wish so
many times that I could just stop this charade and move on,
find a new place to work and be out of your life,
completely. And then there are the days where I feel life
without out you would be insufficient and uncustomary, like
asking a millionaire to live on a blue collar salary.

Fast forward into the present:

No doubt those days were tough for me, living day-to-day
like that. I didn’t want to meet him and at minor thought, I
still don’t; I didn’t want to lose you, nor, did I want to
risk losing you, but the human learning curve is
considerable. Due to life’s daily exploits, I acquire
strength consistently and this association with you was no
exception. I can paint it anyway I choose, I can use the
experience to my advantage or I can shift in my seat and
hope my prayers get answered. I can run until my heart is
content or I can’t live stagnantly and hope for the
unlikely. It’s much easier to do nothing and let life come
to you, but I chose the title of this piece to celebrate my
new found strength, perseverance and confidence, I also
celebrate the hour I made the decision to live in the now
and forget the past, and that realization is my “Happiest Hour”.

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