September 26, 2009

glowing young ruffian(s)

I guess it would have been that funny in the not-irony irony way if it wasn't heartbreaking; standing on a 99, half-drunk, admitting that things were far from ideal, and they'd gotten harder, but that somehow both of us were more worried about the other. Surrounded by strangers who were undoubtedly catching the wrong end of this conversation,1 and letting the brave faces slip because the effort was painful and we were safe with each other. Hushed tones and averted gazes from us as the sadness we'd been revealing obliquely and in parts came together, were focussed on and then defocussed2; the whole too much to behold. Remembering the discussions we had before I started the effexor about the nature and value of sadness, and the necessity of valleys to make the peaks meaningful. His references to a dark period before we'd met, of thoughts and actions that he didn't regret3 and the ways and means of our shared states.
Off the bus and inside for a pit stop, an offer of bourbon deferred4, and then to the bar. Quiet reassurances exchanged, unilateral apologies for multilateral failures, the soft familiar patters of our respective strides. Before stepping in, a half-second to file these thoughts away and to put brave faces back on, blinking at their unfortunate familiarity before diving into the sea of distractions provided by a table full of friends.
It's the dwelling that gets you; in one spot for too long and it's the other kind of head lock, trapped in worst-case scenario planning5 and the creeping horror of an impending loss6.

What came before: a cancelled concert, a shuffling of plans, a realization that it had been too long, two phone calls, a meeting point and then a meeting. From there, a long and public hug7, a walk down to 2nd and then a Canada Line trip up Cambie to 25th; both of us too lost in conversation to steer towards dinner until we decided on a place that was about a block from our starting point. Noodles, dumplings, additions to the party, a trip to Firefly. Large beers in a kitchen, waiting for confirmations, cherries and soba and hobgoblins in said beers, and then a walk to pick up a bicycle, the promise that we'd see you soon, a walk to the bus stop, a saddening of eyes and a slow fade to the airing of our woes.

What came after: suspension, revelry, disbelief that a bar closed at midnight, the houndstooth couch and bourbon manhattans. Three hours of chatter, and my hitting of a wall. I crashed in the den8 at 3 and failed to let him sleep while I snuck out at 10 to head back to the job I had been successful in not thinking or talking about. A barrage of text message apologies trailed into ephemera, and then I was back on the clock.

The point, I guess, is that I'm still fairly angry that one of the best people I know and love dearly has to deal with a whole stack of painful nonsense but that being able to at least be there was something I can and will be doing more often. You should join us.

1. As if there was a right end.
2. Defocus like a lens; take the edges away and let it fade slowly into nothing. The size obscured, the edges dulled. It's easier to avoid, this way.
3. With effort and as part of a greater no-regrets paradigm.
4. Not refused. Merely deferred.
5. Both of us.
6. Again, both of us.
7. Good hugs are hard to find.
8. During my first tour of the place: "This will be the den. Also, your room when you need it."

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