Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Mornings

Hi, my name’s Miranda and I’ll be your depressed girl in the nameless café for the day.  I have purple hair and I smell like beer and cigarettes.  I look like I haven’t slept all night because I haven’t.  There’s scars all across my arms.  I talk to the staff so quietly they can barely hear me, and I never pick my head up.  I’m indecisive, I order a pumpkin spice latte but I wanted eggnog.  I order a sausage egg and cheese but I’m not hungry at all.  I clutch my coffee cup to my chest and shuffle my feet when I walk across the lobby, ignoring the jovial conversation about me, and pick the table farthest away, in the corner by the window.  I’m wearing furry Valentine’s Day pajama pants with a bright orange Aztec print alpaca sweater.  Bra?  What bra?  Who mentioned a bra?  Everyone stares at me but I never look back.  I just sit in the corner with my purple head down and sip on my coffee like every minute hurts, because this morning every minute does.  I’m lost in a thought, a memory, a regret, somewhere far away.  I blame it on California today.  Last night was Pittsburgh’s fault.  Yesterday New York.  I am no more an addition to the café atmosphere than a shadow that slipped in under the crack in the bell clad door.  I am an empty space.  I am the air from a different climate.  I am a mystery.  I am an idea the patron’s will ponder for the rest of their day, while they make copies in the printer room, while they chat business with their clients, while they pick up their kids from school.  I’ll be on their mind.
But me?  I’ll just stay on that thought, far away, like a leech.  I won’t let go, I can’t.    It grows into me, with me, getting all tangled up in my veins, making itself my breath and heartbeat.  It’s taking over, cell by cell, then dispelling my bits and pieces across space and time, like rain falling on the places I’ve been.  I’ll stay there all day, while I drive back home with the second half of my uneaten sausage egg and cheese, smoke my cigarettes, play with the dogs, read my books.  Until somebody calls my name, beckoning me to reality, or something real enough happens that I forget, for a moment, from where I came.  I’ll be there, on that thought, waiting, secretly wishing on my what ifs and maybes, safely tucked away, watching life unfold around me at a distance.  Far enough away, I tell myself, to not touch anything, not even breathe on it, to not fuck anything up today.
I sip my coffee.  I read a book I picked up off the corner stand.  I eat half my sandwich, then I leave, silently, with my coffee cup clutched to my chest.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Back Stories

Tonight I drink wine and write.  It’s been a goddamn long time.  I never became a horse cabbie.  In fact, I didn’t stay in New York very long after that at all.  Maybe a few days, maybe a week, its all a blur, as it always is in my life.  I got a job that Saturday, or at least I think it was that Saturday, bartending at my favorite pool hall, the one I grew up in while my mother drank, when I was  13.  They paid me $260 for the night.  I slept all day then the following night I met up with an old sailing friend on his cruise outside South Street Seaport.  It was good to be on the water again, that magic sound of halyards soothes a soul like mine.  And it had been far too long.  I hadn’t been sailing since San Diego, really.  It was just what I needed.  We got to talking about the years that had passed and the hard times we’ve seen.  Last time he saw me I was 18 with pink hair, on the warpath.  He said “I was worried about you kid, I’m glad we got in touch.”
“You were right to be.”  I muttered darkly, into the New York Harbor’s brisk night air.  We’re silent together by the helm.  He glances at me nervously.  I try to put the thoughts in a row, put in chronological order the massive list of horrors I’ve been through since then and now.  Every little thing he worried about had happened and he knows, I’m sure by the way he focuses on the compass and shifts his weight from one foot to the other.  I know his skill, I know he doesn’t need to be watching the compass like that, but he stands with his eyes glued, away from me.
“What happened?”  He finally says, in an almost whisper, finally looking at me again.
So I tell him as best as I can.  Our conversation is interrupted by giddy patrons, enthralled to be on a boat.  I welcome the breaks, embrace the chance to talk about something besides my shitty life, to talk with perfect strangers about a love for the ocean that they’ll never understand.  The night goes on as such, dark memories and sea stories, intertwined like the wind and the waves about us.  After I finish my tale I’ve decided I can’t stand another minute living with my biological mother.   By 1am I’ve hit the road with him to New Rochelle.    I was probably having a flashback but I didn’t care, I just needed to GO. 
                By morning I set out for Norwalk to have my car repaired and spend some more time with Kat and Ed.  There was some complications at the mechanic and by 11am I needed to turn to a specialist.  Ed called me his daughter over the phone on the porch while we’re figuring it out.  A part of me I thought was dead burst to life at the sound of the word and I almost burst into tears right there, but I’m too much of a coward for emotions like that in a normal setting, so instead I just stared down my cigarette smiling and silent.  Later I called [JW].
“Ed called me his daughter over the phone today!” I reported.
I could hear her giggle and breathe into the phone, probably hurrying down 86th street to the train on one of her missions.  I could almost feel her smile radiate through the receiver. “Yay!” she said.
                A week went by, my car stayed in the shop, or rather “shops”.  It took a few before we got to the bottom of my problems.   By Saturday everyone was starting to get impatient with me, I was supposed to only be around for a few days.  Even the puppy sitters needed a break, Brooklyn had a panic attack all night long and nobody got any sleep.  I agreed to take him Sunday and stay in the dog park where we’d be out of the way.  I figured that night I’d crash with my little brother, [DS] or something.  I slept most of the day on a picnic bench.  I hadn’t slept the night before and I don’t remember why, but it was probably something along the lines of playing for tips in the subway or hanging out in the pool hall.  Brooklyn dutifully sat by my side, refusing to move, even for other dogs.  A part of me swelled with pride.  I still got my team at least, I thought.  Me and Brooklyn still have each other.  I had cried that morning to my father on the phone.  Confused and scared because suddenly I was homeless again.  He asked me where I wanted to go, then offered to pay for me to start a life in Troy, NY.  I need to take a moment to you here and explain to you Troy:
                I have a friend, [R], I’ve mentioned him sometimes.  He’s my best friend in the whole world, and I’ve been shamelessly following him since I was 12 years old.  He moved up to Troy for college when I just got back from being a pirate impersonator in New Hampshire and I was in a mess with this older dude in Connecticut which is a story way to long for this chapter.
He stayed in Troy.  I hit the road and went to war with the world.  I made it back home to NYC from California in September of 2011.  I lost almost everything but my cat, a few bags and boxes of clothing and diaries, and one guitar.  And I had completely and totally traumatized myself.  I was a broken girl.  I visited [R] in Troy for the first time that month.  That week I stayed with him was the best thing that had happened to me in years.  I wrote everything down cause I didn’t want to forget what it felt like to feel okay again.  I promised to come back.  But the next month of my life, things started to spiral out of control.  There was a mess with these houses in a ghost town ten miles outside Pittsburgh.  My Dad and sister needed someone to go down there to watch them.  They said at first it would just be three days to three weeks, but that was a lie.  I was down there for a long time and I got my hands in a lot of things, most of them political.  Most of it was scary and lonely.  Most of it I dreamed away thinking about being back in Troy.  That’s the important part, I guess.  I began photographing the abandoned buildings, my desperate cry out to the world “See where I am, the beauty and tragedy!  See this town!  See that I’m all alone.” My Dad visited sometimes.  My sister showed up eventually but she got real sick and things got worse from there.  I lost the houses and all my pets.  I ended up with a guy called the Lawn Mower Man and his two boys who were homeless like me.  But the boys turned out to be crack heads and I freaked out over everything that had happened up until that point.  I biked to Maryland and back with no gear, then I hitched a ride to NYC, leaving everything, including Brooklyn and Sabina, behind.  That’s when I ended up in Troy for the second time, on the Fourth of July.
                The second time I got to Troy I was an absolutely a wreck.  I had slashed both my arms open and had nothing but a backpack and my favorite guitar.  I wrote about it awhile ago because that’s when I ended up in the hospital.    I also wrote about afterwards too.  But I didn’t cover how Troy was the reason I got out of the hospital.  Cause I had a plan, and that was to get better and move to Troy, where things would be normal and I’d finally get the chance to be okay again. 
So that morning I found out I could go to Troy whenever I wanted.  It filled my thoughts throughout that sleepy day but I didn’t tell [R] until the next week, cause that night things got weird again. [DS], my little brother, hadn’t picked up his phone and mine died so I followed a man who told me he had a guitar like mine in his house.  He kidnapped me for 6 hours until I escaped and slept in a park with Brooklyn before screaming for help at a dog walker, who took me home to Kat and Ed.  I lost the whole next week.  I forgot what it felt like to be a victim again and just slept.  I slept it all away, punctuated by small meals and cigarettes.  I don’t remember a lot after that, but I ended up with [DS] and his band.  The night I was kidnapped he had a hundred person search party looking for me, and like Ed calling me daughter, it woke a part of me that I thought I’d never feel again, the emotions for true family.  So I stuck with him and his band.  Over the next 8 days he and his band and me spent a time together that I will never forget.  We call it in our history 8 days of mayhem.  And in the end, I recorded some of my music, took a deep breath and drove to where I’ve been trying to go for so long, Troy.
                My first morning I woke up in my Jeep next to Brooklyn’s ass.  It was cold and I had shit to do.  By evening I had clothes, a job and a room with a nice young couple, [Dan] and [Willie].  Over the course of the following week I furnished my room, played an open mic set in Connecticut, pursued a second job and began working my first job.   [Dan] and [Willie] had their 2nd kid and  I met a lot of their family.   I began calling a new place home.
                So here I am.  I’m not sure where life is taking me.  I miss San Diego, I miss the road, I miss the applause over my guitar, I miss my cat who I’ll never see again.  But I’m doing something I’ve never done before.  I’m attempting a normal life, working hard, writing, and drinking wine.
And that’s the back story since I last wrote.