Sunday, June 28, 2015
Just to Remember
The summer afternoon storms come, the air becoming cooler and drier and, some say, even beautiful. Sometimes, on a half-cloudy day, when the breeze begins to kick up, the days are pretty, too. Yesterday was such a day. I strolled upon a half-abandoned Boulevard in the southern summer heat that was not horrible but just heat, and a small breeze rippled the leaves on the trees in the park across from the sparsely populated sidewalks and shops. Stopping into a favorite restaurant to sit at the bar alone. The folding sidewalk glass doors closed, the cold air trapped within. A waterfall over the large wall mirror behind the bottles of expensive liquor which I eschewed in favor of cranberry juice and soda. A wahoo reuben sandwich. A couple to my left, the woman exquisite in every way, beautifully appointed, a summery print dress, smooth olive skin, perfectly painted red nails, the most tasteful jewelry, full lips and thighs. . . and a husband with whom she seemed to be very happy. I ate and drank in silence then walked the Boulevard a bit. In the late afternoon, I met a friend at home. The house was clean and fresh from the work of the cleaning crew, and we lay on the couch and finished watching Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye" which we had started the night before. Drinking various teas with rock sugar and bits of fruit in them until we were hungry. Early, we went to a tapas restaurant and ate at the bar drinking sangria and ordering bacon wrapped stuffed dates and gazpacho and some exotic flaming cheese. "We're just playing," I told the barman. "We are not serious at all." Stopping at Fresh Market on the way home to get cardamon and clove and nutmeg for making boiled milk that night, me trying hard to cut down on my consumption of liquor. Another movie and kava tea and half a Xanax and then a scotch, just one, and then the sweet spiced milk until we could not keep our eyes open any longer.
I had to write it just to remember.
We watched a really dumb movie about the real life crime of three body builders in Miami, and I began to tell my friend about the real life crimes of the body builders I worked out with every day for years and years and years in America's Oldest Gym, and telling it, I began to feel an amazement myself and realized how difficult it would be to believe having been away from it now for so long, having so much distance and not rubbing up against it every single day. Jesus, she said, what a thing. Yes, it was. Quite. And for the zillionth time I heard someone say, "You should write that," and for the zillionth time, I agreed. And I think I should, but for some reason every time I try it seems too difficult for the stories are too big and too large and just too over-the-top. There are robberies and murders and drug trafficking and prisons and more murders and corrupt cops and drug busts that turn one friend on another and biker wars and steroids and people you would know. For a long time I didn't write it because I was afraid I would get killed. At least that is what I told myself. But now most of them are dead or ravaged and I doubt that I would get killed. I want to tell the stories. Maybe I'll try. Maybe. But someplace else where I tell the truth and not here where I am like Batman hiding behind a cape and a mask and cannot explain to you why it was really such a strange life for me.
It is a challenge, and I am dull. Now that the pictures have changed and maybe what I write as well, the blog's readership has dried up, or maybe only the visitors for apparently many were not reading but simply looking. . . I don't know. It could be many things, but I do feel dull and dissolute and apologetic but I keep doing this because as I said I just don't want to forget.
I need to tell it, though. It has been a larger life than I had imagined.