Actually, right after a vicious brawl is sometimes when people develop their closest friendships. They have met their adversaries at their best and they are both tired from exhaustion. As long as both of them are conscious of what has transpired, they develop at least some respect for the other. I don’t entirely know where I’m going with this, but I think there is a link between respect and anger that is very important.
But I don’t think anger leads to that many reunions in the long run. You have to take grudges into consideration. Because, for every happy reunion that happens when two people get into an argument, there are always more people who fight and hold grudges their entire lives for whatever reason. If someone dies, even if it was one of your worst enemies, you’re likely going to feel sad/bad. Humans aren’t supposed to get used to people dying. They aren’t accustomed to it. The sadness comes both ways. If there was a bit of respect for the person, then they will be missed. However, even if the other held nothing but bitter contempt and hated, then they will feel bad because they probably feel that they were involved in some way for their death, even, and especially, if they weren’t .- Kurt
Donald needed his remaining days on his extended “mono” induced absence to download and compute Kurt’s last message. The days were short and that signaled to Donald his birthday waxed before the next moon. Eighteen, the final high school milestone approached for Donald. It was the year he entered his inheritance, unsure of the validity of the concept. The money itself had been made back when a man could be an industry. For the moment, Donald accepted it as though he picked up a winning lottery ticket. Donald played Shakespeare’s Prince Hal in his own place within the American Royalty. His blood called to the times before one could pay their way through tests. No, Donald had no need to romanticize the failed meritocracy. He recognized his privileged position within the American oligarchy. He would be meeting his parents for dinner on Sunday and most likely would be joined by his grandparents for dessert after. It would be the official family recognition of the day and he worried they would go into dry legalities regarding the access to the trust or the payments, he wasn’t quite sure what happened in his case.
He needed to speak with the Blond Commander. There were words to be shared. It had been a week since they argued through the cobblestoned roads.
Donald took the T to Boylston and Tremont before he realized he overshot the Christian Castle. He went down the outbound entrance farther away from the Little Building
Cellphones can be ignored, but ID cards work at all Campus buildings. Donald covered the peephole before knocking. The Commander opened the door.
“I got a brownstone if you want a space to do some drugs,” said Donald.
“I thought you left with the Cook,” said the Blond Commander.
“Came back,” said Donald, “still have finals to go to.”
“Smart, the Cook just got a lotto ticket a little less stable than yours,” the Blond Commander grabbed a backpack and they headed for the street. “Where’s the townhouse?”
Donald recalled the old brownstone on Beacon St. that his family built and kept while they waited for the bus. Donald’s grandparents used it for hosting duties and as a private hotel after societal gatherings ran long. People visited Donald’s Grandfather, the aging head of the Guntherson tradition out in the country these evenings rather than the city and the brownstone became a charitable salary for the staff.
“I’m tired of the dorms,” said Donald.
“One usually must participate in something to tire of it. Did you at least empty the minifridge before you went roadie?” said the Blond Commander.
“Fuck,” Donald slunk and dialed a cleaning service and offered double the going rate. He charged it to his trust as an educational expense.
“No, Tank Man was bold. That was shameless at best, and not even on an Ani DiFranco level, and nowhere close to her live at the River Music Hall rendition,” said Donald.
“Fine, you’re a real rich shit, you know.”
“Didn’t you say I should think bigger?”
“Speaking of art, what are you doing with your major?” said the Commander.
“I wanted to get your take on it as well. I had an idea for a short story that led to this book idea. ‘Through the Dark Forest’ was the short story, and it was about a man entering a fey forest in New England and dealing with his heartbreak. The book idea is called “Dream Girl Rei” and it’s two stories of two boys’ adventures into the fey forest. One, Ezra cannot return to reality and quests for non-existence and the other, Andrew discovers the entirety of what we consider love.”
“You need some Adderall in those veins,” said the Commander.
Donald lit a Spirit and passed the pack once they got off the bus.
“I may stick to short stories for a while, and collect them into a zine of some sort. I worry about the 35 line,” said Donald.
“Just Philip Roth it. Peak before during and after. Maybe a low hits, but each valley leads to a new summit. Besides the notion that most great works occur under forty only applies to real majors. Artists peak when the public tells them to, never sooner and without the ruse of reinvention. We all have expiration dates, but you’ll never find it until you’re six feet down and some twerp dissertates meaning from your wanders,” said the Blond Commander.
“What if I never wrote a novel?” said Donald after his cigarette unlocked the front door to the brownstone.
“Carver never did,” said the Blond Commander.
“Don’t put that on me. I might stick to reading for another decade.”
“That’ll make your portfolio review quite hard.”
The Commander followed Donald into the kitchen and began to unpack.
“Would people read collected vignettes?” said Donald.
“They always have and never will.”
The Commander handed over two beers, opened with his lighter.
“I saw a kid do that with his teeth once,” said Donald
“Good way to look like George Washington,” said the Commander.
He and the Commander spent a good portion of the night posted up on one of the dark green leather couches from when Clinton ruled the Earth. The pipe flowed when words became damned.
“I want to be a friend and I need your statements. God knows, I’m not sure where I stand when I use the term: God. It may simply be habit at this point,” said Donald cupping his clear vodka filled mug. Donald shifted to the stance of a perched bird.
The Blond Commander sighed and took a drink. He shifted and swayed.
“You can say that, we are friends and it’s okay, I’ve known how much time you spent at the Newman center and not just for the all-day breakfast,” said the Blond Commander.
“That’s true enough, but it comes down to this when I’m at Mass, I taste the flesh. When I sit down at the Longfellow, I question why such a God would exist. I’m either a Pope or a Dawkins; no Agnostic ideas for me. I can’t accept the notion there must be a ‘possibly’ because you can’t say or prove otherwise. By that token, any idea could be valid, including the Flying Spaghetti Monster as Lord Creator. Plus, why would he create a species in his own image and only care about 1%, or whatever small figure it was that made up the O.G. of the Judeo-Christian faith. Or if there was contact, it ended so badly that every other civilization erased it from their records. The Christian God and his church is the last bastion of white male privilege and, to a large extent, organized hate in the Western world. On the Longfellow, I feel the Sun and ask for nothing more. The idea to be always cowering in fear from a Lord is no way to go about. That’s a true American principle. But then I walk by an American Cathedral and am awed by those who came before. If I ever go to Europe, I damn well might be a Saint by the time I return, for when I think of the generations that went into those bricks. Their life’s work must stand for something if justice is to exist,” Donald stopped for his vision had blurred.
“I don’t worry about the why. As for my take, I think that humans created these ideas and codexed their orthodoxy long ago, but that doesn’t make their belief any more valid. I’m a fine artist, but I’m also a craftsmen. I build set and other sculptures, but maybe I’ll go into the architecture program. I’ve walked through Paris and the French countryside. But in the end, it is all the same. The legacy is the building itself. We, humankind, are something to marveled and wondered. The lengths we as a species go to achieve enlightenment shows how moral we can be. I’m no Dawkins Atheist. I don’t feel the need to shun those who carry religious beliefs. That also should not be inferred as a sign I wish to be a tolerated second class citizen within a religious society. I do not believe the Founding Fathers intended to create a theocracy across the sea,” said The Blond Commander beginning another cigarette. A Marlboro Smooth, which reminded Donald of thin mints. Not that the taste was the reason the Blond Commander smoked. He smoked to support one of America’s oldest industries.
Donald kicked the dusting of snow from the long strands of dormant grass.
“Did you go to church as a kid?” said Donald.
“3 times a year enough to satisfy my parent’s traditions, but I don’t think any of them think of church often. They aren’t anything but vanilla Protestants,” said the Commander.
“No table prayers?”
“Not even on Easter,” said the Commander.
Donald packed a bowl. The Earth was slowing down.
The Commander sucked down the bottle and hugged Donald.
Donald watched the people walking by. They worked the graveyard in the half run plastic factories, warehouses, and data entry. Others became washed into the one industry the web could not touch: Service. They pushed along consumer goods, they stocked your shipments, and they did it because they lived in the new Global desert. Life belonged to a selected few; Donald took another swig and went inside.
Donald and the Commander swayed into the empty kitchen. Only empty bottles and scattered wounded soldiers remained on the counters.
“We don’t live in the same space as them. They work for rest and we work from restlessness. They bet against the house every fucking time, crash in the penthouse, and then talk about it at the water cooler Monday morning at the ten o’clock break. We seek desire, but they know nothing but. They can’t love me or know me or recognize me as other than an object. I am a symbol of Americans past and why time has meaning beyond one’s lifespan. Future Yous that wander for meaning as survival is unquestionable,” said Donald.
“Go read Shakespeare.”
“Because you’re drunk and forgetting yourself. Look, I heard about Jess in Allston and going with,” the Commander trailed off and looked at the seat where the Cook probably would be sitting.
“No, I’m not just drunk. We want to, not need to, work. We don’t live on the only edge nature ever gave a shit about: Survival. In Dune, the Emperor raises CHOAM’s flag,” said Donald.
“Are you going to join them then?
“Not yet,” said Donald, “I don’t envy the need to survive, but that doesn’t demean my idea of a gap. I didn’t say I wanted it either. Even the wealth of Silicon Valley doesn’t earn a right to such a gap. The rich, we used to build institutions and gave security to our industrial families.”
“Different times” said the Commander.
“Only because our elders deemed it as such. Besides, it all goes in cycles since we dropped the bomb,” said Donald.
The Commander sat on the kitchen counter, shook his head and opened another bottle. It contained a brown liquid, which, when it hit the tongue, revealed itself to be Ambrosia. The taste of drunk Thursday nights when Donald made his own long weekends senior year. Kurt would drive until Donald freshened up. Sometimes they would sit in the car until they reached equal sobriety discussing the books their classmates avoided when the teacher passed them out.
“This should be our nightcap, let us go to bed. Tomorrow I can dress you as fits your station, but I cannot carry you.”
Donald downed the glass and silently went up to the master suite.
“I’m going for a cig, first. I wanted to see if you wanted to join?” said Donald.
Donald flinched in the sun. He gasped the nicotine in and snapped the butt away.
“Have you ever seen me write?” said Donald.
“What?” said the Commander.
“I go to school to write, but have you seen me do it?”
“It’s been like two days since we last chilled, dude.”
Another cig?” said the Commander scanning the aether.
“Sure,” Donald took the lucky and tossed the Commander the pack.
The chill awoke Donald’s nerves. Winter made one better. An agreeable temperature will make one dull. Heat will smooth the brain. Donald knew nothing, but he listened. He heard the click of flint and he struck a match against his zipper.
“I read once that the contemplative life required a life of leisure,” said Donald.
“I’m not your whore,” said the Commander from behind, “don’t throw verbal or physical shit at me.”
Donald rubbed his temple and puffed for a moment.
The Commander cracked open a Loko and the seesaw began.
“Oh anyway you’ve had to have written. You got into a top art slash communications university. They had to have seen some sample. I’m all fine motor skills, but they wanted to see some letters on a page and not for the handwriting.”
“I guess, but does 500 words make one a writer?” said Donald.
“You’ve already succeeded in your first career so they’ll give you a second and throw a few symbolic paydays your way even if you end up like Chelsea Clinton,” said the Commander.
“To what career are you referring to?” said Donald, plucking a cigarette from the Camel lights in the Commander’s pocket. Donald’s Smooths had run out hours before.
“Being a Guntherson– well, it’s like what John Adams said. He studied war and politics so his son could be a scientist, and the grand kids would be artists to make the house not a shambling mess. Which reminds me, your parents are going to cure cancer right?”
“I don’t know if the single cure theory ever was a valid theory in the community,” said Donald.
The Commander put down the can.
“I think you have a problem with women,” said the Commander.
“That was a jumpcut if I’d ever lived through one. I may have not done the Ex thing well, but forgive me and grant me the option of redemption. It was my first ride,” said Donald picking the bottle from the snow.
“No like you might as well sneer whenever people walk by holding hands. You abhor being intimate and view it as weakness. You half meet every girl you end up seeing. You don’t respect them enough to even know them. Why not just Google porn like a normal loser?” the Commander took back the bottle.
“Why change the subject?” said Donald.
“If we recall, you introduced yourself to Lindsey and didn’t not not choose to fuck her, which meant half seducing a girl with an illegal vagina,” said the Commander. “When did you last speak to Dagny?”
Donald paced around the empties.
“We’re getting coffee soon and I bet that will lead to a discussion,” said Donald.
“Oh yea, good luck with that,” said the Commander,” Anyway we need to get your brownstone set up to look lived in for if you bring home company on Saturday and get you something fit for your family Birthday dinner at the Oyster House. That’s tomorrow and it will be at least three before we hit Newbury. Sunday will be haggling for décor.”
“I’d prefer not to.”
“Come on Bartleby, you must just sign on the line when the time comes. I’m the one parting with all the great finds,” the Commander went inside.
They went to Newbury Street to shop.
“After last weekend or this weekend, or week, the current guest list has shrunk with both Jess and the Cook having gone to NYC,” said the Commander.
Donald stared at Johnny Cupcakes, which was not a punk rock bakery, as one might assume from the name, but an overpriced boutique for the lack of occasions suited to wear Jonny Cupcake branded gear.
“We do want to show our ability to gain new perspectives,” said the Commander.
“We must behave at least for an evening and a day.” said Donald, “Also, that store should be a bakery.”
“Shouldn’t they all.”
“You know I heard some people enjoy Olive Garden,” said Donald scratching his leg.
“People will say anything to be ironic,” said the Commander.
“It was sincere on an unironic personal Tumblr. They mentioned enjoying Red Lobster as well,” said Donald, “Why not just cook it at home?”
The Commander started closer to the Mass Ave intersection than the gardens. His work began.
Donald entered Armani, his fate locked into the Commander’s grip. His face was covered with small beads of sweat from the brisk walk down the street. Donald prayed for the Singularity and the end of clothing, “There must be a room for a valet in the budget.”
“It is easier to look well when another’s means of living depends on it,” said the Commander as he adjusted Donald’s collar.
“I mean, I don’t want to run a household. I just own a few,” Donald shuddered as the Commander’s fingers brushed against his neck, “let me buy you a pair of gloves.”
“A service fee?” said the Commander on his way to a display shelf.
“A token of appreciation. Saves me postage,” said Donald, donning a blazer. “Are we certain tweed with elbow patches can’t survive your veto?”
“Another weekend my friend. Let’s earn you credits other than from AP tests before you shift into Joe College.”
“I have a doctor’s note or will. I’m sure my professors will remind me for proof if needed on my return.”
“We are finished here, but don’t turn in yet, Donald. I know of a few shops open that we must browse, although I doubt we will find anything fitting,” said the Commander with a flick towards Donald’s wallet.
Donald handed over the card. “Then why would we go?”
“Because we can than endeavor to find occasions to wear anything worth buying,” said the Commander holding the door while Donald grabbed the bags.
“Can’t we host—”
“Never. That would be kitsch as a Koons’ Sculpture,” said the Commander, “and I hope you aren’t under the sway of Damien Hirst and the other buffoonery that passes for culture today. If so please, return all those items I just selected. I won’t aid such an inane soul.”
“I would prefer Evel Knievel be displayed at the Tate than another gaudy stunt. There are too many readers of Walter Benjamin in the world today as well. I mean sure he was a good philosopher, but academics are a bunch of Jesus Freaks sometimes, if you ask me,” said Donald.
“Did you know the founder of Ad Busters buys presents at Christmas, not just for family, but friends too,” said the Commander as they shared a cig in a brick alley.
“The Anti-Santa doesn’t exist after all. Can we get some ramen at the end of the alley? Cash only, but worth the walk to the A T M,” said Donald.
The Commander turned on to a side street to get to Boylston. Across the way stood the Pru and below existed a Gamestop, a Golden Wok, and a Dunkin, if Donald knew New England. The Barnes and Noble by the T entrance was known as inferior to the Borders down by Boylston. The Borders had a decent manga section and the store had sales during book buyback. The Prudential Building had some nice stores, but Donald had never been to them; he preferred his games in a timely manner and the walk to the Best Buy at the end of Newbury took an extra twenty minutes by foot. For movies Donald chose Newbury Comics, the only contender in the area. Newbury had an okay selection of American comics, too, but not as good as Comic Stop in Watertown across from the public library.
They took the green line to Brookline choosing the B line over the D.
The stores close at six, but the restaurants lingered til nine. Reuben’s Deli is a trap on the Allston border. Real deli, but suburb pricing. They parked and sauntered into the Upper Crust. The Coolidge Corner Theater has a worthwhile marquee, but Donald needed to wait a week to have the time.
They ate in silence.
Donald got up to use the restroom and the Commander had gone when he returned to the table. Donald left to get a cig and saw the Commander at the ticket counter. Donald ditched the smoke and went in for the show.
Donald could be sober for art.
December and November stood as the months when the artistic merit of celluloid became tested in the dark halls of the American Multiplex. Good books came out year round, but films only blossomed three months of the year. The festivals screen flickers of hope. The medium in recent years had been sogged down by the pomp of acceptance into the halls of True Art. Print had a few centuries head start to develop, Donald guessed as to why so fewer good films existed. As for the picture, he was about to watch the ache in Donald’s bones was evidence enough that the film would be good.
On the walk back to the T, Donald reflected not on the film, it would take longer to process rather he focused on his own body’s functions in the cold. Shivering stood as Donald’s least favorite, but reliable weight loss tools. The knowledge given to Donald at lunch with the wrestling team, but shivering wore on a body. He was glad when the T car finished warming him up later.
Donald put on WFNX back in his dorm and spent his post shopping time counting down the hours to Tums doses. The mediated discussions, once a week, by cell phone made the childhood boundaries between him and his parents lower as Donald relayed the events, he heard the sober kids whisper in the reference section at the BPL. Nervous from the approaching revelation of his fraud, Donald plotted a switch from the Oyster House, which could be filled with inquisitive Brahmins, to a more historic location, but most of those would be nixed by Donald’s mother, who cared little for old Bostonian notions of exclusivity. Donald’s father hadn’t watched the Masters in years because of Augusta’s traditions. Donald didn’t argue with her stance against sexism. Donald could feign illness.
Donald darted for the door. The Commander arranged for Donald’s dorm to be cleaned in case Donald’s mother wished to pierce the veil and no debris blocked his exit. He could make Park Street Station before his parents arrived, though he did want to meet with his grandparents at Mike’s pastries after dinner. The diets of the elderly left room only for the important treats. Donald paused at the knob and waited for the phone call.
Donald’s parents never owned a sedan. The lack of doors on their coups matched Donald’s view of siblings: who needed more? The ride up Tremont through Haymarket passed Donald in his Mother’s grip. A silent hug, a reprieve from the agony of spotty cell phone reception.
“Jess is over at BC yea? Have you guys met up?” said Donald’s Father in front.
“Shh Don. Donald, don’t mind your father,” Donald’s Mother’s grip tightened.
“What? She was nice? Donald liked her,” said Donald’s Father.
“Don’t scare off the new girlfriend. Who was at dinner with you a few weeks ago?”
“We’re not in a relationship, we were just hungry post discussion,” said Donald, wiggling out of his mother’s grip to the front seat to gain position like Sun Tzu taught.
Donald kept Dagny’s name from discussion throughout dinner, but after when Donald and his parents had walked to the North End and met his Grandparents who had waited in the weekend crowd at Mike’s for cannoli. They sat on the benches under the trestle in Columbus Park.
“Dagny,” Donald said as his grandfather passed him a brown paperbag.
Donald’s mother trained at a music conservatory until eighth grade when she ran off to Boston University Academy to be closer to the labs of Harvard. Her nimble fingers instructed Donald how to sip from the bottle as a gentlemen sips from a brown bag in Columbus Park.
Donald disliked the soft burn and sighed, which his grandfather mistook as a stutter and chuckled. Donald’s father placed his hand on his shoulder.
“Do you have enough snacks son?” said Donald’s Father in the car. He passed Donald a hundred and forty dollars.
“You do good kid,” Donald’s Father paused as his wife climbed out of the car to allow Donald to exit.
Donald thanked his father again as he exited the car. Donald’s Catholicism made each gift a burden that expression failed to convey proper gratitude only found in thought.
Donald’s Mother escorted him to the elevators and clutched him.
“My boy,” she whispered, a sound like the wind in autumn calling to the golden leaves ready to depart yet willing them to stay. She handed him another clipping of twenties.
Donald went up and prepped for the morning.
Donald found a girl and a bag in his room when the sun hit his face again.
“I think I’m supposed to fix you,” said the girl.
“Might as well try.”
Donald pushed himself into the shower and found a small hair and makeup studio set up in place of his room when he returned. Donald made coffee on a hot plate and sat down in his chair ready to become the canvas.
“Any questions?” said the girl.
“You got a name?”
“Not for you.”
“What if we meet again?” said Donald.
She started with the hair. It ended with Donald getting dressed as chosen by the girl and a phone call.
“You did not inform me you failed to get permission to use the brownstone. You do have a wonderful apartment fully paid in a storage container. If you get me drunk enough, I’ll tell you where it is before they auction it. I did get you a suite in the Four Seasons for you to sleep in. I arranged for taxi vouchers in your name as party gifts because it is both safe and courteous. We need to go to my warehouse to finalize the setup for tonight,” said the Commander.
“Thanks, will you be here soon to approve of my wardrobe?” said Donald.
“The car is downstairs. She texted me a photo, anyway. Looks good. Could you hand over the phone?”
Donald handed the girl his phone and she accepted the Commander’s gratitude with grace. She handed the phone back.
“What’s her name?” said Donald.
“Just meet her again,” said a soon silent line.
Donald and the Girl left the dorms and took separate cars. Donald preferred to walk to the Four Seasons across the Gardens, but the Commander would not have his pageant ruined with mud.
There was a pair of satin pajamas waiting for Donald in his suite.
South Boston can swing from fabulous to traditional on a corner. Look at the battle over the St. Patrick’s parade: they all shared the neighborhood. Most of it being empty warehouses from when Americans imported from Europe. The warehouse is an asset especially for exhibition and social gatherings. The Commander bought it once he accepted the offer to attend the Academy. He needed studio space as a visual artist and as a craftsman. His pieces were on display, scattered across a floor studded with coach oases.
“Is that a fire pit?” said Donald with grin. He slithered into an Adirondack chair next to a two foot tall brick fire pit. A man with a Securitas jacket on stand nearby.
“We can afford the precaution since I own the company that owns the deed. A police inquiry into the events, I can’t afford to lose the deed due to underage drinking,” said the Commander, adjusting Donald’s collar as the Commander nodded towards the guard.
“This feels like an ending,” said Donald.
“Ah but you just became a man. Hit the bar.”
The Commander called all the important places to cater: New Golden Gate from Chinatown and Chopsticks from Leominster. In lieu of cake, mounds of cannoli chilled in coolers.
Donald poured two gin and tonics.
“Flax seed, my friend,” said the Commander.
“What?” Donald lit a cigarette.
“You’re impressed and that is the secret to this evening’s success. See me for treats. But take some Flax seed. Your ass will thank you.”
Donald stalked the caterers and “checked for under cooked items”, the waiters couldn’t deny the host large servings before they had finished set up. Donald chatted and feasted before more gin. The spicy, head-on shrimp invited Donald to find a couch for a few minutes with his eyes closed. Donald saw a guard, who handed him a key to the back office with private bathroom.
Donald kept to coffee and cigarettes until the floor became pockmarked with classmates.
There was an alarming trend in 21st century art school where the normal well-adjusted humans were allowed in. These folks have consumed great art, but made sensible decisions and abandoned all risk. They hovered around as future editors, teamsters, and critics. Creation eluded their souls. They were the kind that reblogged .gifs of Sitcoms as a form of self-expression. They were dangerous to the art world for they made pickled sharks and unable to make beauty, the false artist covers his shame with the notion of the piece containing a message. Their works forbade mystery and flouted its secrets as if art was one of the girls down Tremont. Donald floated until he saw the Commander with a blunt.
“What kind of operation do you operate through?” said Donald taking the blunt.
“This is an LLC, but I got other situations for other scenarios. Not that I really do much myself,” said the Commander.
“I’ll wait to discuss it with my lawyer,” said Donald passing the blunt.
“I could break them down.”
“No thanks, I feel stoned art school students in a warehouse don’t equate to an investment banker. I’ll just hire a MBA with a decent portfolio or CV or resume, the right format for his credentials,” said Donald.
“I’ve always preferred the CV. Seems more Victorian,” said the Commander, “Take this.”
The Commander slipped a ziploc of cocaine into Donald’s pocket.
“Hey,” Jess grabbed the blunt from a traveler punk, who had yet to crust over. He had a buddy too. Both looked like they were missing pet dogs like the part of a wolf hound tribe from Allston. Donald glanced about, not making eye contact with Jess.
“I heard from the Cook. The tour wraps over break. He didn’t get any credits from a few weeks at Brahmin. Who knows if he’ll be back in the spring,” said the Commander.
“I’m going for some food,” Donald slipped behind some dreads and returned to the student wasteland.
Over by a cathedral of metal, wood, and stained glass that grew out of an earthen base as a tree, Donald spied Lindsey. Donald approached her before one of his classmates could. He questioned if that was to her benefit.
“Hey,” said Donald tapping her shoulder.
“This is so cool,” said Lindsay.
“College has its privileges.”
“This tree brings me to my childhood when I had to go to church,” said Lindsay.
“The Commander is a monument of talent,” said Donald.
“My friend ditched me and my mom drove me to Alewife. Can I crash somewhere?” Lindsay rotated around the sculpture.
“I’ll get you a room somewhere. Don’t worry,” said Donald.
Donald didn’t notice Jess who stood on the other side as he followed Lindsay to the other side of the sculpted tree.
“I think she should,” said Jess “Are you going to start helping out with a scholarship next fall for a few falls and then you know?”
“Fuck off,” said Donald peering at Jess through the stained glass inside the tree.
“Eat a bowl of dicks,” said Jess swinging around to Donald’s side. “She barely has pubic hair.”
“You didn’t have to show,” said Donald, waving the Commander to take Lindsay elsewhere.
“I wanted check in, I’m on my way to NYC for the time being and picked up some things from home,” said Jess, her head rested on Donald’s shoulder.
“You’re moving to New York?”
“Just until Martin Luther King day weekend than I’m off to live with my aunt in LA again. She thinks I’ll be able to go to UCLA after 6 months. So don’t worry about me joining the Evil Empire. I’ll miss Fenway.”
“Are you high?” said Donald.
“I thought we were cruising at the same altitude. I got some shit from Ted and Jim. What of it?”
“How’d you pay for it?”
Jess slapped Donald. Jim and Ted, the dogless Punks, left with her.
“Fuck this,” said Donald.
“I just want to give you my old phone for your birthday.”
Jess handed Donald her old phone open. The phone that maybe could text: the phone she’d had since before, during, and after their relationship.
Donald called Jess on his phone, his hand vibrated. Jess answered a different phone and joined the Punks as they exited. Donald hung up. His phone vibrated.
“Told my mom I was at Harper’s Ferry. She’s picking me up early. Need Taxi fare plz.” texted Lindsay.
“Okay,” Donald texted.
Donald grabbed the Commander.
“Relax. It’s art school. Let’s find some kid for Xanax,” said the Commander.
They went down the wall flowers til the Commander convinced one to sell them a bottle.
Donald found the mirrored coffee table to be tacky, but useful. The Z bar gave a new face to adulthood in the millennial crowd.
Donald went to the door and found himself in Southie, the industrial zone that most people get a glimpse of before they roll into the JFK T Stop.
Donald found Jess puking over a corvette. She removed her coat and lifted it as a rag. One of the punks stopped her coat from setting off the corvette’s alarm. The Policia would remain unaware of the warehouse.
“Let me clean it. Someone has too,” said Jess. She darted between the punks. She spotted Donald. Donald noticed her glaze and paused. He lit a cigarette and offered it in her direction. He took a swig from the Andre in his other hand. He had found it in the snow mounds near the entrance and assumed a guest left it. The liquid gave Donald a bit of heartburn and Donald figured herpes happened.
Jess took the cigarette and a swig. Her punks went off to find their car and started to warm up the engine.
“I found that in the snow,” said Donald.
“We’re all probably getting the herp at some point and then we’ll all be biking and mountain climbing,” said Jess.
Jess reached for Donald’s red cheek, but withdrew before contact.
“You wrote me a suicide note, you know,” said Jess, “before high school let out. I stayed.”
“It wasn’t like that. I wrote it to Kurt and you featured as a point of discussion. For most of it,” said Donald, “I told you not to read it, anyway”
“Yea, like you would beat me,” said Jess rubbing her forearm, a nervous tick of hers. “Kurt gave me the letter.”
“He told me.” Donald held out the baggie.
“Hey guys, I’ll take a late Fung Wah or something,” said Jess as she waved the punks off.
“What about your shit?” said one of the punks.
“Who needs it?” said Jess. The punks drove off.
“Felt weird saying that my mom would probably ship it. Those guys could be Travelers,” said Jess.
“You don’t know them?” said Donald.
“No, I do. I mean it was a long car ride from New York, but I meant they had the potential to become Travelers.”
“I hear North Dakota or something has a beet harvest that funds a lot of Travelers,” said Donald.
“Anyway, got somewhere else we can be?” said Jess.
Donald texted the Commander and took a cab with Jess back to the Four Seasons.
The late night cab drivers of Boston needed a living and defined gypsy cab. A puke splashed girl and well-dressed companion, Donald noted would be an easy fare to a dorm even with the concealed open bottle that would pop out at one moment. They’ll take anyone with cash, or anyone who looks like they have cash, at least. Donald told the driver to head to the Four Seasons. Donald tipped cabs based on the route they chose more than the actual end fare. Those turns had to cost something if Donald could believe in justice.
Donald wondered if Jess would notice if he caressed her puked splatted shoulder.
“Does the Four Seasons have a laundry service?” said Jess rolling down the window.
“I haven’t a clue,” said Donald, “If you wait until morning to take the bus, we could find something down at the Garment District.”
“They’ll want to pick me up tonight. Besides I’m dry and, for all I’m concerned, so are you,” said Jess.
“You’ve chosen quite a fate,” said Donald contemplating the foot of leather in the middle of the seat. Her body remained distant.
“From the look of tonight, I think we both have,” said Jess.
The driver made it short. Donald gave him a Benjamin for a twenty dollar fare.
“Can’t you take off the fucking coat,” said Donald in front of one of the gaudy cars parked next to the sideway. The brick driveway of the Four Seasons remained free of icicles and snow through the year.
“I don’t really want to go in. Let’s go to the docks,” said Jess.
“The docks in the Garden. We can blow off a credit card or receipt.”
Donald led the way. The docks were an unofficial common room for Brahmin kids and tonight it seemed another crew claimed the zone. The leaves had fallen off Grandmother Willow and the placard bearing her scientific name was exposed. The original Brahmins had attached the names of all the trees in the Gardens. Until about when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, teachers forced marched the children through the Gardens until each child memorized the words of a dead language. Not wishing to join the already busy dock crowd, Donald and Jess headed toward the Esplanade, but were stopped when the current group on the docks noticed the pair and let them know they would be gone in twenty.
Donald sat on a bench while they waited. Jess shivered and used Donald’s hands as a glove.
“You’re always warm.”
“Why haven’t you seen a Doctor about your circulation?”
“Girls are just cold,” said Jess and gave Donald a stare.
“Do you have decent fake nails on?”
“Scoop and sniff?” said Donald as he slipped out the baggie.
Jess took a nailful and gave Donald a bit. They got up and let the group on the Docks know they wouldn’t need to leave so soon.
When one walks in Boston at night, the legs will not be still; one can go anywhere. The streets left bare of people and cars for the most part remain safe enough. Beacon Hill in some places is still cobbled. The soft diffused light of the lamps bounced on the snow and warmth ran through the roads. Donald lit two cigarettes as they walked.
“Our senior year when we stayed at Sarah’s house in the Blizzard,” said Jess.
“That was Kurt. Sarah’s mom drove me home. I wanted to ask you out that night.”
“I asked her to take you home, I think.”
“Why?” said Donald.
“I thought you might try something.”
“Was it that bad that you have to ‘Eternal Sunshine’ your life?”
“I’m keeping somethings, but you were a real asshole that night,” said Jess.
“I was upset you saw the letter,” said Donald taking another nailful of powder.
“We just wanted to be in the snow and you didn’t want to get your jeans wet and Sarah wasn’t poor either; she had like 2 dryers. Plus I wanted to see if I could sleep with Kurt. He kept selling you.”
“You introduced me to the Painter the next night, I think, and I got stoned for the first time,” said Donald.
“I keep flipping back to when we watched ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ in your basement, I think we had our final breakup over at your neighbor’s a few days before. Everyone else out at the Applebee’s or some shit for date night,” said Jess.
“They all wanted to go to the Friday’s at Solomon, the better mall.”
“You hated that place, always taking me to cumstained seating in Leominster.”
“It isn’t cum stained, maybe a little soda, but I don’t think it was the kind of place Pee Wee would get arrested at,” said Donald.
“Yea the midnight showing of ‘Surf’s Up.’ Totally was designed for children,” said Jess.
“I didn’t get why you wanted to go to that before Graduation.”
“Plus your grandparents were over. And I left a big gob on the row below.”
Donald smiled and lit another round of cigarettes.
“You know my grandmother totally saw us in the truck,” said Donald.
“You meant to say you know she totally saw you finger banging me in my truck and yea, I did,” said Jess.
They were in historic Boston now, next to the old city hall. The old city hall by the Borders and one of the Starbucks reminded Bostonians that they as a city once could design buildings. Donald believed the current push for a waterfront move stemmed from a universal rejection of the brutal style monstrosity built when acid made people think cement could be fashionable. Instead of land titles and wedding licenses, the building now housed a fairly serious steakhouse. Donald lamented Outback Steakhouse for, while serving a reasonable steak, it paled compared to the old room grills that feed the tycoons to an early grave. The place in the old city hall wasn’t quite that steakhouse either, but it carried itself with the air of one. If Donald ever learned the name without Google than maybe it too could bare the mantle of a power player’s club.
Better than the steakhouse was the donkey statue dedicated to the most beloved of Boston objects outside of Fenway and the Garden: The Democrats. Jess mounted the donkey and Donald took a picture with his phone.
“That camera sucks. You should get a 5D or something,” said Jess.
“I’d never use it, but I’d pay for a decent phone camera,” said Donald rubbing against the side of the horse.
“What about a Blackberry?” said Jess as she waved Donald up.
“Who’d I email? I never text as it is. I’ll pay a guy to blackberry for me,” Donald said as he slid in sidesaddle.
They rode into the sunset for a few silent minutes.
“What do you think of most?” said Jess.
“I think back to the fight to the “The Namesake” and sometimes I think to the blow job later while watching L.A. Ink, it was the last one before we came to Boston. Sometimes, I think that was our most intense togetherness. Our supernova before that we’d been drifting on desire for a while,” said Donald.
“I think back to the morning, I bolted from the cabin after awaking you up by slapping you upside the head because Kurt came over. We were going to have a nice skip date and you invited him over for the usual six hour “philosophy tea discussion” that began with Marx and ended with an analysis of The O.C.”
“You hadn’t quite read G.E. Moore yourself yet,” said Donald.
Jess pushed Donald off the donkey.
“It’s my memory. Anyway I really just felt bad, but you always had a third wheel or worse you’d add a couple and treat your friend to a gratifying evening. I just wanted to be alone with you, but doing public things. You always wanted to cook and fool around. So I left. You got and repotted a few tulips surrounded by pansies and left it by my truck. Then I drove off.”
“I drove off and met up with the usuals at the Painters. I thought you would come. I called you a few days later.”
The ziploc was thinning, but still thick, to the relief of Donald’s heart. Donald puked. It was more a dry heave.
“I had to work picking fucking vegetables in the summer and you just could read and smoke all day. You and Kurt skipped all the time that May,” said Jess.
“I puked when we talked at my neighbor’s house as well,” said Donald.
“The Painter had some shrooms and I thought we could just take them and puke all the negative energy out. You didn’t pick up your phone. So you made me go to the BBQ and guided me to the grill where you waited for your steak. As a sign of respect, you spent a full hour eating the steak. I half thought I would have come down by the time we got back to the crew in the car. So I force fed you the shrooms behind the shed.”
“You decided we should go on a sexual hiatus than I puked then I ate the shrooms.”
“That’s why I called; you just texted “meet me here.” Any who, you were only an hour behind, but you pouted as we all came up on the way back to the studio. Then next four hours, you hid in the bathroom because you thought your penis fell of,” said Jess.
“Why did ‘The Namesake’ happen?” said Donald.
“Because I enjoyed you, Donald. You loved going down and when you saw in the mirror you had a penis, we had a fun trip.”
Donald and Jess walked through Downtown Crossing to Chinatown and from there South Station. They sat fiddling waiting for the next bus to come, the only riders in front of Jess all had beaks as the bus line shipped chickens to make trips on the hour profitable, so the wood bench in the unheated bus terminal served as a playground as their minds burnt out, tracing the carved tags and other graffiti.
Jess grabbed Donald’s pack and they went outside for a cigarette.
They smoked them. Donald took one cigarette and gave Jess the pack along with a lighter.
“Still has the lucky,” said Donald.
“Thanks,” and Jess walked back inside.
“Can I see you again?” said Donald.
She paused, but rejoined her feathered companions in the waiting line.
Back in his dorm room, Donald grabbed an orange bottle from his jacket and picked up Jess’ high school graduation present to him: her noted and earmarked copy of “1984.” Donald took it to the Gardens and blew some more lines off his ID and rolled a blunt, most of which fell into the snow.
Donald wrote his response in a moleskin by the Japanese Lantern near the oldest suspension bridge in America.
I fear you are correct.
In friends and romantic lovers, respect and love must go hand in hand. You should both love and respect your friends; otherwise, they are not true friends. If you don’t respect your partner then true love cannot last and the relationship will never truly succeed.
George Orwell in 1984 explores the idea of the mutability of the past. This idea is very intriguing as I start a new life. Do I forget my past and start over anew? I don’t think that is entirely possible, because who I am today is based on who I was yesterday. Yet INGSOC was able to erase their bad experiences, or close enough that there isn’t a difference. Before I continue, I would like to answer a few basic questions.
What is the past?
It is the sum of your remembered existence.
Where does the past exist?
In your mind. All your emotions, experiences, thoughts are your past, though only your memories count. Forgotten experiences do not factor into existence as someone has to know them for them to exist.
Who controls the past?
Whoever controls the present. You are mostly in control of your personal past.
Why does the past matter?
Your past controls your future. You base future decisions based on past experiences. You avoid things associated with a bad memory, and pursue those connected with good ones.
Next we come to an ethical question: Is it right to change your past?
Why should you remember a bad time?
It could be a lesson, so you never return to the same situation again. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, the saying goes.
So when you erase part of your past, you must dissociate the things you wish to keep in your future from anything that is being left in the sands of time.
As to if it is right to change your past as you start a new phase, the answer is different for everyone. It depends whether they can handle the pain, and if they want to carry such a heavy burden. A noble cause, but not for everyone. If such a burden would stunt the growth of a person, then the past must disappear for the sake of the future. It is not a light decision for anyone.
The forgetting of a period of one’s life is not against the people involved. It is a way for one to move on. In fact, one may wish to forget because the involved parties are thought of so highly, and that is what causes the pain. It is the weakness of the one changing their past that is the cause of this choice. The pain of friends growing apart, with one friend trying to save the friendship and the other accepting fate, May cause the one trying to remove the other friend from their world.
Is this a permanent situation?
I don’t think so. If the friend stops letting what will be will be and puts effort in, then the other friend will welcome back the other.
Donald woke in his hotel room, turned and looked through the massive window over the Gardens.
The past is something that no one can control. Those things are already done. To be able to control them would change the very nature of linear time, though one can always choose how to interpret the past.
However, interpretation is not the same as deletion. One should never forget. Every memory that occurs becomes a part of someone, and to try and forget that would make them a lesser person. Though it may seem hard at times to deal with those memories, they are as much a part of you as your arm or your leg. They define you and your personality and you will base future decisions off that memory. To forget is to repeat your mistakes.
As for stunting growth, sure there are bad memories, and they will cause pain and hardship. But, this world is not free of either, and so eventually one must experience both. Even if one forgets these, they will happen again, and it is unrealistic to forget each time life is painful. That will stunt them more than any memory.
True friends are some of the most valuable things in the world. They must be kept at any cost.