My friend Hank loved to fuck with the guys who stood outside the student union in college, preaching about the evils of illicit behavior, particularly how homosexuals were going to hell. We were close to the famed Fry Street, a thorofare of drugs and sex and liquor stores, a place were Tex Watson had come to hide out when he was on the lam with Charles Manson. (Tex had reputedly stayed in my dormitory for two days, the most exciting thing about Bruce Hall save for the requisite pregnant girl ghost named Wanda from the 1950s who had killed herself trying to perform a self-induced abortion to avoid family shame.) Hank, a large legally-blind (could see some, but sometimes used a cane and always wore sunglasses) man at 6'3 with dirty blondish hair falling halfway down his back -- he told people who asked that he'd cut it when it got down to his bra-strap -- was not a person who was easy to ignore. He wore a fedora with a Scruples card in it (remember the game with all those wonderfully complicated moral questions) turned to the side of the pitchfork and had a selection of faded black t-shirts with the sleeves cut off that he'd rotate every few days. "Do you think you could take a break, assholes?" he'd shout, tapping his cane for emphasis. "I need to get through to go see my boyfriend." Hank wasn't gay, but not above pretending he was when the occasion called for it.
I could never figure out why he bothered with the nuts, men who stood atop wooden crates with homemade signs and bad haircuts, sweating in their long-sleeved white shirts. But he loved the engagment, said it made him feel alive. He'd tap his cane for emphasis when he spoke, and I thought about how when we were little kids, he'd run into things and other kids would make fun of him for his thick glasses and his lack of athletic ability and how far he'd come from our crappy hometown. He himself had wanted to be a preacher for a little while, mostly he said, because he'd get to speak and people would have to listen. As we got older, we understood that the only way you can make people listen is by saying something nobody could ignore. You could make yourself heard, even to and maybe especially to the guys standing on their boxes in the middle of the night, telling you that the end was at hand, something both of us already knew because the end is always near, you are always losing what you love, minute by minute, each day a death, each moment gone before you can appreciate it. In the end, you only have your courage, the fight, a choice to engage or stand back and watch as time passes before your wondering eyes.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels." Chucky P., Fight Club
1 shot of whiskey
1 shot of tequila
Put shots into margarita mix and serve chilled or frozen.
Benedictions and Maledictions
For Hopeless in Bloomfield Hills:
I'm glad that you've decided to take the month off, despite the difficulty. It's crucial to take some time to remove yourself from a situation like an affair if you ever want to get any perspective on it. As for your friends, I'm sure that they are not enjoying watching you suffer and this lies at the heart of their advice. When my friends are in pain, the first thing I want to do is alleviate it, no matter how bad that would be for them (ie, you really need heroin to feel better? Let's go see if we can find some.). But this impulse for instant gratification should be ignored. And I'm sure your friends are also a bit burnt out on the relationship -- a secret relationship involves a lot more drama than a public one (that's why they're so compelling at times) and one tends to rely on friends for support when he's not there, taxing certain resources more than is healthy. If you are as sick of your situation as you say, this month will let you know some very valuable things like how much you can tolerate and if there's hope for something different. Keep the faith! If anyone on the comment board would like to chime in, feel free! We're all rooting for you!