Monday, June 15, 2009

Every now and then, I get entangled with him again, and he steals every song, wrestles away the meanings from anyone else they could possibly apply to. He shows up in every cloud formation, there's something relevant to say to him about every thing I observe. When I look upon other beautiful things, I do not feel the beauty-- I feel guilt. I look upon them sadly, wondering how something so magnificent could mean so little to me in his absence. I look upon my life and I am dissatisfied, I look upon my decisions and question them.

I want to tell him all of this, and I do, but eventually I fill up my quota of e-mails I can write without getting an answer-- without losing whatever vestige of pride I still pretend to have. So I turn here. When fully-formed lyrics for a song I'm supposed to write for him-- because it's not enough that every song should be about him, it has to be every song plus one-- I find little pieces of scrap paper to jot them down on, carry them home in my pocket, add them to a growing document in notepad. I have all these perfect lines, these perfect stanzas, little blips of melody in my mind. It doesn't seem that I'm writing him a song. It seems that I'm writing him an album.

And tonight, I have spent a small fortune on more songs, for inspiration, for commiseration. Downloaded, from iTunes, an album called Punk Goes 80's because it had a cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" by a band called Gatsby's American Dream. Ordered the Cure CD the Original was on-- Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me-- off the Amazon Marketplace. Downloaded the Dullard album by the Will Gattis Trio-- no idea why I didn't have it already, and if you don't, go get it, I won't burn it for you because I support local musicians. (As a side note, it's almost dangerous to have contact with someone so clearly brilliant. I've asked Will to help me with the accompaniment when I have this foolish song written, and I will insist on paying him for his efforts, if I ever get it done. After listening to some of his music for the first time in a long time, I'm afraid I'll have to give him more for his help than I was planning too. He's really too good a musician for my chicken scratch obsessions.) Ordered a used copy of Elton John's Greatest Hits. And I'm probably missing a few.

I press play on a random title on the Punk Goes 80's listing once it's downloaded, just to test my theory. Yes, as always, there's at least one line in here I want to use as a subject line for an e-mail that I just barely have enough restraint not to write. Maybe, if I'm lucky, the next six times this happens, I can satiate myself by quoting the line as a status update on facebook, and I'll imagine him reading it, imagine him wondering if it's for him-- maybe he'll doubt it is, have just a glimmer of hope that it might be.

He won't, mind you. He has a life. (So why do I keep offering up mine?)

During a recent reorganization of the "Recovery" section at work, I saw several books on Love Addiction. Seemed like such a farce at the time. Now...well, not so much. Let's be clear here, I don't know thing one about actual love addiction, but when you break it down, all attraction really comes down to is an interaction with a person creating some sort of chemical reaction in your brain. What happens if, with one person in particular, your reaction is less seratonin and more...heroin?

(Right now, if I were Starlee Kine, and this were This American Life, I'd be calling some neurophysicist to have them explain exactly how right or how wrong I am about that chemical addiction to a person hypothesis. And it would be Phil Collins helping me write a song about my heartbreak, not Will Gattis. If you have no idea what I'm talking about-- and, let's face it, you don't-- you really should subscribe to the This American Life Podcast. Or at least download the episode I'm talking about from the archives here.)

I've let a few tracks from Dullard distract me from him for a few stray minutes, and I'll have to thank Mr. Gattis for that. I'm quickly reminded, however, of how much the object of my thoughts likes this CD, how he bought a copy at the benefit where I met Will. I'm reminded of his being there when so few people were, and soon, that will bring me into another spiral of thoughts.

It won't be too long before I start to detox, to force him from my mind. In the wake of my last seeing him, I could tell instantly that I had been more guarded this time. In the days since then, it's been a struggle to picture his face, to remember the effect of any stray contact of skin, and I should be thankful for that. For my sake, for the sake of the people I love-- the people I'm not simply addicted to. It's easy enough to write songs about obsession, harder to build relationships out of scraps of paper and cloud formations. It's cloud illusions I recall. I really don't know clouds at all.

The detox has already started, in fact. I was trying to think of him earlier, shaking and shuddering when I realized how far from those few precious moments I am. I was panic-stricken, looking at the closet full of my clothes, in the house that holds the life I've built with somebody else. Looking at the soda cans strewn about, at the TV I own jointly, laying on the bed I share every night with someone I am not addicted to.

And now I think of something Elorza said to me once, that there are two kinds of substance abusers: Addicted and Dependent. This thought, for the moment, leaves me cold.

I'm so confused for the moment that I've lost the direction this post was going. The neat-and-tidy full-circle reference that was going to make my errant ramblings seem somehow so precise-- he always liked it, when I used one of those in an e-mail. Probably, I am only compelled to write this because the other day he told me I am a good writer-- or, rather, he told me that I was not a bad writer, but with a voice full of irresistible conviction. Between that and all the extra chemical activity bumping around up there, I am writing, writing, writing. Songs at first, then entire albums. E-mails at first, then lengthy blog posts. Musings at first, then confessions. Then revelations.

Addicted or dependent. Could it be that all this time it wasn't that I couldn't narrow it down to one man, I simply couldn't decide which kind of self-destruction was a better fit for me?

At least I finally got around to downloading Dullard.

Why does everything bust at the seems?
Why can't anything stay between two extremes?
Nothing's as it seems.
So I dream
Lavender Dreams.
Will Gattis Trio, Lavender

On with it.