goodbye

Tobacco and Peppermint

He didn’t smoke. But everyone else around him did. It was so easy back then to make conversation. Just standing next to a shivering person in the cold, asking for a light. It didn’t matter much to him. He didn’t smoke and everyone else around him did. He would just keep the conversation going.

He’d say things that I would find absolutely fascinating. Stupid things that I think back upon years later. How easy the lines flowed from his tongue. Captivating a shivering crowd just keeping warm from a storm. How he loved lines like “Tobacco and Peppermint”, how each item went well as a before and after thought.

Things about him made him seem off. He didn’t drive. After having his license revoked from driving recklessly in his hometown, he relied on other people to get him where he needed to be. Things I understood. Everyone drove me around and driving always seemed like an after thought. Stupid things I still remember. Why do I still remember these things?

They could have been twins. The same sentiments, the same sense of humor. They couldn’t have been more alike. His only downfall was a dry sarcastic humor that people believed made him a genuinely likable person. We saw through that. Making jokes and calling him every name under the sun. He was not the sun, but how he acted like he was. I don’t know why I thought of him today. Or why after ten plus years, he seems to creep into my mind. But when my head hurts I think of the last time my head hurt. How weather changes my emotional state and it comes back to him.

I always wanted to say goodbye, but I never had a chance to. I wanted to say so many things but every word came out wrong. Tongue tied with wanting to say the right thing but every word tying together and  coming out wrong. I find myself talking to him in dreams in cities far from my hometown.  In dreams the words flow out easily then they do in my waking day. Some days, it’s easier to see people in dreams then in my waking day.  Instead I left a space for other people to fill with words and stories. I live off the adrenaline of other people’s stories. The words that flow so easily off their tongues. When I am left tongue tied with goodbyes.

Tobacco and Peppermint. How I tend to think of that line often.

I think of that crowded bar and watching bands play. How easy they made it seem. How their emotions came out in song and I still struggled to express myself. How the room was muggy and how none of it mattered. The rain poured down and I see you walk with her. Hand in hand not thinking anyone was watching. Just as you walked through the door your hands break apart. Gone back to reality and gone to different ends of the room.  Why was I so fixated on that moment. Why that memory about everything else. How poetic it seemed to see people walk in from the rain and break apart once they found shelter. For a moment they were each others shelter, until the real world settled in. That night creeps back to my mind once the weather changes. When I think of rainy days and crowded rooms; finding shelter from storms.

How the singer of a band came up to ask for the time, and stood and stared at a button on my coat. Almost waking me from my haze of dream state. We both became silent for a minute. Maybe in that moment we were both in that dream state. Trying to find the words in waking day. Or maybe he was just staring at a button on a coat of girl that reminded him of something else.

You can have it?, I said
Really?, he replied.
Yeah. it’s just a button.

I handed him the button.
While, he stood and watched.

Tobacco and peppermint.
Before and after thoughts.

 

San Francisco, CA 2003

Flashing Lights.

If something hurts you enough, you pretend it doesn’t exist. The less power you put on something, the more power you want to forget it. I can’t say I miss the past with it’s nostalgic cloud that hangs over me. I can’t say I miss you, without feeling like a fucking hypocrite. I love how memories form in between the liner notes. How melody haunts a montage of memories harbored deep inside of your soul. How people have a way of coming into your life, without physically being there anymore.

I should have said goodbye a long time ago. I should have written this elaborate “dear john” letter the moment things changed. The moment I couldn’t hear songs the same way. The moment I felt I couldn’t be myself anymore. I felt ruined, that a part of me stopped believing in the cliche kitschy things of yesterday. I lost, you won, and everything else that follows, but all of that is old news. This cloud of fog that follows. Opening up a series of smokey destinations, I didn’t know I wanted to exist anymore. Old distant news with headlines of the past.

Smoke and mirrors, and shooting stars. Waiting, wanting, and longing for things that never had a place with me to begin with. Even after all this time, I can’t help but wonder what was the biggest illusion. What was your biggest performance. This belief of being greater and better then the rulers of the past. The lights flash, the lights dim, and I can’t help but still wonder. Even stars fall, even lights dim, eventually the darkest nights make way for the brightest mornings. The further you fall, the closest to the ground you become. All I could ever want is to see you crash and burn, just like the rest of them. Maybe you need to hit rock bottom to see how it feels on the other side.

I would never wish bad things upon you, but I could never wish you well. Seeing the last of our memories behind the glass, in photographs and songs, I just can’t help myself. I was never the good, I was never the light, but I could be the darkness in all it’s glory. I hate myself for believing in all the wrong things. Believing in sinners dressed up as saints in their perfectly tailored suits. Watching the fog clear, watching the smoke disappear and everything has changed. Songs have a different meaning, once you can listen to them again. Melody fills the cracks where the light once hit. Sooner or later, I start to feel like myself again.

I don’t believe in shooting stars, but I never believed in the ghosts of memories you gave me.  You never wanted me to hate you, and I don’t. I just want to forgive then forget you, then move on.

2/15/2009

This is where I leave you.

I leave you by the cracks in the pavement where we said our last goodbyes. When promises were nothing but spoken illusions under starlit skies. I have nothing against you, I just want nothing from you. Because everything you did merits no reply. Everything you said, were nothing but lies.

I watch nostalgia pick you apart. Take you down from your pedestal, piece by piece, and inch by inch. I have nothing left, aside from the memories I have packed for you to take at your will. I don’t need this anymore. I don’t need you anymore. Everything you did was never my fault, but how carelessly I believed otherwise. This is the last time, and this time I mean it.

How carelessly you held my heart, and dangled it in front of me from a string. I wasn’t good enough for my own heart and never good enough for you. I watched you go through your rolodexes of people and never paid no mind to me. And you wonder where this leaves us after all this time? You wonder if after all these years, would I still bother for your time?

I am done and this is my parting note.

This is where I leave you. I leave you with this goodbye.

11/5/2010