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endings are the new beginnings - 2015-06-22
who cares valerian - 2014-11-10
she said / they said - 2013-12-10
hindsight is perfect - 2013-11-12
Stella - 2013-11-04

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endings are the new beginnings

2015-06-22 - 10:37 p.m.

Everyone has clever ways in which they self-destruct. The problem is at some point you simply know too much to keep it up. So if you still happen to be acting in the role you’ve been playing for long enough, your real self starts to come out, either getting your attention through intense emotional pain, or you just go right back into the role, agreeing to be consciously unconscious for a while. Until the next wake up call. Some people never stop acting in their original role, even with multiple casting calls for a better part.

One of my favorite women was recently in a situation I couldn’t fix. I’ve known her and her husband since we were in our 20s when we lived in Arizona, and we met randomly one night around a huge campfire. I instantly had the feeling we already knew each other. There are very few people I’ve ever felt that way about. I had just lost my mom (lost = no longer alive), and she had just found her best friend Nathan (found = dead of a heroin overdose), so our bond was instantaneous. We kept looking over at each other that night and laughing, because we knew how ridiculous life was sometimes, especially at that time.

Right before I met Marie, I met her soon to be adopted grandfather, Two Eagles. He came up to me at the campfire and told me I should meet Marie and come to their next barbeque, because he felt we would get along. Then an hour later I stumbled across her anyway, and knew she must have been the one he was talking about. They weren’t blood related, but they were both Indian, so in a way they were.

Eventually we moved away from each other. Sometimes we’d lose touch for a while, and we’d just pick up again years later, and within seconds it’s always back like it was never gone. I knew that she and her husband had split up once in the past and then they got back together again, but I still never had a doubt that they were / are made for each other, I don’t care what anyone says. I’ve known it since they first met, when he was still trying to get clean, and she would say his full name whenever she spoke about him or to him, and she’d tell me how deeply she loved him already. I had never experienced that personally in my own life, but I could still recognize it when I came across it.

When they planned to get married in Vegas a few months later, they asked me to go with them as their witness, which I stupidly declined b/c I was dating a control freak who didn’t think Vegas was a good place for me to be. It was one of the few times in my life that I listened to anyone telling me what to do, I’m still not sure why.

After they got married, they officially adopted Two Eagles as their grandfather in a feather ceremony / barbeque, and he moved into the tiny broken down house they were renting. He had been living alone in sparse conditions by himself for years, so it was an amazing tri-union of love.

Then they had their first son, and my friend Tattoo Dan and I tried to post his name up on their living room wall in huge party letters before they got home from the hospital, but we spelled it wrong. He couldn’t read yet, so he never knew we messed it up.

Then Two Eagles had a horrible car accident shortly after that, when two cars collided into his jeep at an intersection, sending him into a coma.

I watched Marie take off from work for months so she go to court to fight on his behalf, and then by some miracle, we found out that the cameras inside a nearby 7-11 had by some act of divine timing captured the entire accident on tape. The tape recorded a 7-11 worker whistling and mopping the floor, and then outside the glass door, Two Eagles’ red jeep pulls up and stops at the light, gets slammed into twice by two different cars, and the employees drop everything and run outside to help him. It was hard to watch, but completely serendipitous at the same time.

So Marie won the court case for Two Eagles, and suddenly there was a lot of money, a bigger house and 24 hour nursing care. He came out of the coma eventually, but he wasn’t the same, and he couldn’t talk, and when he did, you couldn’t understand what the hell he was saying. Marie and John always seemed to know exactly what he was saying, but no one else could. One time he was lying in his bed and when Marie sat him up to drink some water, she translated what he said about one of their visitors, which turned out to be

“I don’t like that guy. Tell him to leave before I stab him with a knife.”

Most of the time we’d just strap him into his wheelchair, put him in the van and take him to the movies. He loved any movie, even the hip hop gang banging comedy flick that left the entire movie theater empty except for the four of us. He just laughed right through the entire thing with his head back and his mouth open, with popcorn all over his shirt. We laughed because he was laughing, not just because the movie was the worst movie in the history of life.

The last time I saw Two Eagles, he had somehow been asked to be a main speaker at a large AA meeting. I would bet my life on the fact that no one in the entire meeting understood one word he was saying, but everyone nodded agreeably throughout his entire talk anyway, all 45 minutes of it. It was actually a great meeting.

Eventually he got weaker and died. Years later I found a flyer announcement in my papers with Two Eagles’ name on it, back when he was a main speaker, back when everyone could understand him really well, and he used to speak really loud. It was a speaker / barbeque meeting. Arizona fucking loves barbeques.

After having two more kids and another decade and a half later, John fell off the deep end, started using drugs again and left, taking all of their kids with him.
Somehow Marie ended up in Iowa. The last time he left, she was living with some guy in Nebraska. She told me recently that this time, she had attempted suicide over his leaving her.

As she was lying on her kitchen floor bleeding somewhere in Iowa that night, a male friend walked in on her, immediately cauterized the wound with a hot butter knife by placing it on the stove, and rushed her to the hospital. They stayed close for a while. Then they began dating and moved in together. Then he started beating her in blackouts, ruining a really good thing.

She finally told me about the entire situation last month, but said he had never touched her face. It was such a volatile situation, and I figured she would never leave, mainly because she was usually drinking too, due to losing John and the rest of her family.

“You need to get the hell out of there, Marie.”

“And go - fucking – where? I have my own room, and a nice dresser here. Besides, I just started training to be a shoe Cobbler.”

“Oh is that right? I didn’t realize that you were going to be a shoe Cobbler. Why didn’t you say you had a nice dresser? He’s eventually going to kill you.”

“He’s only made my arms black and blue. He’s never touched my face. I miss John. I miss my kids.”

More tears.

“This is the one time in your life that you can get your shit together without them. Seriously Marie. And Iowa of all places. Before this it was Nebraska. What is it with you and the cold states lately?”

We went around like this for hours, with her crying and me crying and the both of us laughing and her arguing with me over having nowhere to go. I knew the conversation was futile, plus she was drunk, so what the hell did she care what I said? I tried to find a sober living place she could come to out by me in CA, but ultimately felt like she wasn’t going to leave the guy no matter what I did. So I just checked in with her periodically, with no reply, which I expected.

Then a few weeks ago she posted a photo of herself online with a black eye. I grabbed the phone to call her and she was down at the river, crying. She had packed up all her stuff and said she was going to drive back to Arizona to stay with one of our old friends and his wife. He really cares about her, and I knew he was super safe b/c I used to be his roommate for a while.

“Are you really leaving this guy?”

“Yeah, but don’t worry, he doesn’t love me enough that he’ll try chasing me down to kill me or anything, believe me.”

“So he’s more of the lazy domestic-abusing alcoholic type.”

We laughed a lot over that.

“Yeah, exactly! He’s not nearly obsessed enough with me for that kind of bs. I’m telling you.”

“Even so, don’t be hanging around the river long enough to find out if he does turn up. Go!”

Instead, first she called John to tell him what was happening. He gave her a hard time, and told her to go to the ER to detox, then come out to where he was in Chicago, then sign over the kids and some other nonsense.

She debated it for a little while, and then started driving toward AZ anyway, calling me every few hundred miles. She was scared of not knowing how her life was going to end up, but she still had her sense of humor.

“I’m kind of getting a kick out of talking to people whenever I have to stop somewhere, because no one will look at my face when they talk to me, you know? So now I have to stop off again somewhere to get my car looked at.”

“Just point to your face and tell the mechanic that you obviously had a pretty bad day, so maybe he can bring his A game on this car.”

We cracked up. Then she cried again, smoked a cigarette and ate some fruit.

“I’m really scared.”

“Who else will be able to help so many people with a story like yours? Keep driving, you’re going to be fine.”

Then she’d take a pic of her face and send it to me.

Meanwhile, the blackout drinker was texting her incessantly, not understanding where or why she went. He had no recollection of blacking her eye out, or her arms, or anything he did to her in the past few months. That’s an active alcoholic for you, but she kept on driving. Because she was an active alcoholic too, only she was actually doing something about it.

Halfway there, she texted me

“Holy shit there is a God and he is with me right now. I am sober and alive. I’m in the desert now - still New Mexico but I can feel the healing energy. I pulled over and cried. The radio played Coldplay Yellow which was the song I had engraved on Two Eagles’ headstone. I also heard Nathan’s voice in my head with his laugh, saying ‘I’m a miracle.’ “

“You’re being shown you’re on the right track. All this pain is not for nothing, keep transmuting it. I promise it will turn into something beautiful. So happy you got away from fucking cold bloody Iowa.”

Then someone she knew heard she was coming to AZ, and found her a sober house to stay at for 3 months. They just so happened to have a daughter who was trying to get sober also, so they all met up and moved her in, so the two of them could help each other.

The last picture she posted online, she was beaming and standing next to a healthy looking woman, with no black eye and no beer cans or bottles in the background, or in the foreseeable future.

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