Monday, November 13, 2017

Los Angeles Lately // Manhattan

He knows the first Manhattan better than I,

but it was the second Manhattan he introduced me to.


There's pizza in both places.

We'd eaten slices in the former Manhattan, but at different times in our lives.

In the second Manhattan, we ate in one another's company.


Large, slender slices dripped from double layered paper plates,
with parmesan soaking up the delicious grease.

I took a fork to the meal, and he was quick to take it from my hand,
instructing me to pick up the slice and fold it into a half.

Like a New Yorker, he said.

Like you, I thought.


It was breakfast, and we were within the perfect hole in the wall,

peering over a large counter, me holding tightly to his arm.

And, at the table, checkered red and white,
he sat across from me, sleep still in his eyes.

I said something, and it took his breath away.

He shook his head, laughing, before looking at me,
mouth slightly ajar,
his mind searching for the words,
but all he could do was take my hand and tell me that I am something else.


The first Manhattan would have been cold by then due to the changing season,
but ours was warm.

That weekend was warm.

Not just in the sun, but in our hearts.


One last blessed Saturday,

in Manhattan,

with pizza for breakfast,

and a book we would read aloud to one another,

whilst lazily soaking up the sun,

and one another's company.


I pulled away from him, sitting up upon the sand, with him alongside me, pulling
me closer.

I clicked my fingers as if I were holding a camera,

taking a photo with my mind's eye.


There was a quiet tension we both could feel,
and I know this because he named it in the evening as the day
unraveled itself around us.


We were unraveling, too.

We just couldn't admit to it quite yet.



The water was cold, and he threw himself in it,

I stepped away from the tide.

It was not his Manhattan, not the one he's known a while.

It wasn't mine either,

I wouldn't claim it if I could.


I've since returned to the hole in the wall.
It was an accident, stumbling upon its doorway one afternoon
with a friend who'd brought me along.


The brief role it played in my life like a ghost of something I must have never known,
and only heard stories about.

Manhattan.

Something else.


The sun was hazy, unlike the Saturday we'd shared.

Though how clearly I saw everything then, on a Tuesday,

the water still cold,

with the air still warming all around, and in my heart.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

monologue // 2 of 2

"I keep telling myself, 'I need to give this girl a fucking monologue. I haven't let her say a word'" -- him, caught somewhere between the sort of tears brought forth by frustration and realization.

+++

Most of the short time consisted of me wanting to listen. It isn't rare for me to be a listener -- I enjoy it over most things, actually. However, for those who know me well, it is no secret that I tend to do much of the storytelling and performing.

The issue was never how much he talked, and it certainly wasn't that he had an issue with listening. He was vocal about wanting to hear me out, especially in the latest hours when he'd ask me to tell him things just so he could hear my voice as he let his mind settle.

Looking back -- catching those memories in the reflection of my mind's mirror -- I see myself noting the real issue. He welcomed my monologues and heard them through, engaging and humoring me even as the days and words dwindled on. I paid close attention to his eyes, and not just because of how handsome they made him. I watched them watch me.

In the beginning, they very clearly processed every bit of me. He had a why for even the most infinitesimal aspects of my life. He'd ask a question, and always let my answer settle in before following up with another question or pulling me in close for a kiss. I watched his eyes deepen as they pondered my monologues, which were scattered in fragments upon the floor along with the pieces of him -- polaroids that were fading long before we knew to take them out of the sunlight.

Now, I catch an image of myself in my mind's mirror, and he's there, too, just off to the side. And when I look at his eyes, I see that their depth isn't deep at all. I measure his curiosity, and it does not reach intention. I realize now that he was attempting to put together the pieces of who I am, holding them up to the sunlight to get a clearer look. Much to no avail. Not even the longest monologue I had to offer could reveal to him the picture and purpose at hand, because even the best monologue I can give was not enough to inspire his pursuit.

Therein lied the issue: The lack of pursuit which followed my monologue.

My most significant and shortest monologue being I love you.

His eyes, from that moment, are burned in my memory, where they will stay for a bit of time. He'd given me the same monologue before that final moment, but suddenly his face told a different tale. He pulled away from me, eyes gazing acutely into mine. Their acuteness, though severe, was brief.

+++

There'd be one more long, last look. I traced my finger along the features of his face -- a last means of telling him I see you, I knew you. The moment was neither preceded nor followed by any sort of monologue. It didn't need to be.

He'd already given me the fucking monologue. 

And, I know full well that I am not at fault for the honesty I'd divulged within it.

+++

Every last polaroid that faded in the sun was an honest depiction of the story I have to tell.

Saying the honest thing to the wrong person does not make a monologue any less valid --

If anything, it simply teaches one to wait for the right audience.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Life in fiction: A Beginning

The prologue took place at Harlowe, off Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, where I insulted you by asking who the hell you even are. Most suits and ties are synonymously vain and arrogant, in my opinion. You didn’t stand a chance that evening. 

The real story began nearly two weeks later at a brewery in the North Hollywood Arts District. A mutual friend invited me along, and you were dreading spending the evening with me, the woman who had recently fired at your ego with such pleasure. And yet. According to the three witnesses, my entrance into that brewery was the equivalent to you being hit by a train. On multiple occasions of recalling the story, one of them claimed that you saw no one else in the entire room, and that it was only us in existence the second I walked in. Such accounts were confirmed by you and I in the most quiet moments of our short lived love as we recanted finding one another. How mediocre love seems from a distant, sobered perspective. 


It was the comedy show that set the tone. The magnetic field between us as you let your arm rest against mine for the duration of the show was palpable. With each slight movement on my part, you’d look my way to see if there was a problem. Not a word was spoken, yet we both later discussed how, in that moment, neither one of us wanted the other to move away. 


After the show is what solidified the entire thing — equivalent to the seventeen page rule of a protagonist making a game changing decision. No one else wanted to hang around the brewery, but neither you nor I could stand the thought of letting the night end. We made our way back to the scene of the train accident, and it didn’t take long for conversation to deepen, and with it, curiosity and simple human chemistry. Our first kiss was abrupt — you pushing yourself a bit too quickly against me, your hand cupping my face, warm fingers sticking to my hair, your arm around my waist, and my mind wondering who both of us were in that moment. 

I laced my fingers in yours as we ran across the street towards the driver. Every large topic presented itself within conversation as we winded back over the hill in the darkest hour of the night. Hollywood glistened in fluorescent red and yellow from beyond the window closest to you, illuminating half of your face which was contrasted by a shadow that would eventually return to reveal the coldest side of your being. How fleeting your curiosity would become in the wake of the storm cloud of your shadow. 

I remember the realization that I’d laughed more in those few hours than I had in some time. I desired to bottle the moments up for safe keeping — for a sad time that would inevitably come in whatever context, though I certainly didn’t think you’d be the author of any such scenario. 

I didn’t want you to stop talking. Not that night, and not in the earliest hours of the morning.

So, you didn’t.

For three months. 

And then, silence.

The beginning striking as sudden and unanticipated as the end. 

There was every reason and none for why the whole affair started in the first place.


And, there was every reason and none for why you let it go the way you did at the end.

two declarations i'm living by as of now:

Write hard and clear about what hurts.
- Ernest Hemingway

+

The future is full of hope
- The motto of a church I attend, Mosaic


++

In some way, the two compliment one another. Pain without hope will remain. Hope without pain will not teach. 

I will say it one million times more, but Los Angeles is a tough place. It breaks more dreams than the amount of films, shows, and songs it produces (and it doesn't just produce these three mediums). Lately I've been in such need of affirmation (which is in perpetual short supply here). I am not the same woman I was this time last year as I interviewed for what would become my current job. My confidence then was blind; it hadn't seemed so blind at the time, but retrospect always reveals what is hard and true. 

Someday, I will look back, and realize all that I am currently blind to. Even though I waver toward feeling as if I've got this whole thing figured out. And, that's a core problem with control. Assuming total control in one's life comes with immediate limitations, doubt, and a deepening fear that exists at the root if not also in the fruit. 

When I say 'control,' I'm not at all suggesting that recklessness is an answer. I'm not talking about the perspective of control you're likely thinking of. I'm naming the sort that stunts and blinds. My own control. My own assumption that I can predict what is going to happen simply because of my current emotions. It's assuming that I have to get everything right the first time; that there is only one way; that my own actions don't fall into a chain of reactions. It's pride that rejects a helping hand. An ear turned away from wisdom. An unprioritized mind, and a conflicted heart.

In a fit of self doubt last night, my dad kindly listened to me before kindly instructing me to listen to him. He spoke the sort of affirmation that only a dad is capable of. He listed the things I know deep down to be true. He wants me to fight like hell to achieve what he believes I'm meant to do, right sacrifice and all. 

My go-it-alone, look at me, I've got this mentality is the blindness I need to strip away. It has only born me doubt, hesitation, a lack of focus, and a derailment in priority. Most importantly, the passion I need to thrive, and not just survive, has been reduced to an attitude of maybe's and impossibles, rather than my prior song of certainty. 



I've been writing again.
Which is good and well for so many factors in my life. I've always said that an outsider can tell how I am by asking whether or not I've written lately.

But it's time to look in the mirror, to face the blank page, and to write hard and clear about what hurts.

And, by 'hurt', I don't believe that Hem was referring singularly to a grievous pain. The best things in life always come with a portion of pain and ache. Joy, success, wisdom, knowledge, creativity, empathy, perspective, hope without pain will not teach. 


Los Angeles hurts.

The rejection stings. The comparison and competition break. The grind is unrelenting and selfish. The traffic is constant. The dream seems impossible, and will surely never become the picture one can fathom. 

I can't control what will be thrown my way, so I need to release the assumption that I can. The anticipation of future struggle and failure is a prison with gates that lock the moment hope dissipates.


Los Angeles hurts in all of the good ways, too. 

The future is full of hope, even in the city that sings the loneliest, loudest, song.

I'm going to get back to writing hard and clear about all that hurts here, knowing full well that the future is always full of hope. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

monologue // 1 of 2

“Are you always this way?” my five word question that would define our three month stint of whatever-we-were. 


Later, you’d reveal that this question caused you to feel performance pressure. You assumed my comment to mean that I expected you to perform your personality each time we were together. Such was not the case. It was the volume of your voice and the charisma of your hands as you spoke which drew me in. Hook. Lined. Sunk by a fucking cliche. What kept me wasn’t the current I was drowning beneath, but the nights of conversations that stretched well past two a.m. as we gradually became more comfortable with who we were when together.