Cops ‘n’ Rodders

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

The day after my incredible date with Jon was spent still drunk and recovering from the copious amount of mystery whiskey that swirled in my digestive system.  While I usual do not have a problem holding my liquor, this time it was just too much and I could only blame myself for the terrible way I felt.  At least I could wallow in misery alone, though Jon sent me messages all afternoon to check up on how I was doing, and eventually even called with a voice full of concern.

Our conversation began with him apologizing for having given me something he wasn’t sure I could handle; it had just been a special occasion and all that he wanted to celebrate right proper.  Though there are things I remember with such clarity it is difficult not to be distracted while listening to the soothing tone of his voice, so instead I ask about the random bruises that showed up on my skin.  He laughed as casually mentioned that someone might have been a bit drunk and clumsy even though he had done his best to help me out.

Then it turned in the direction I knew it would, sort of like when you are stuck behind a car on the road that has had its signal on for the last five miles before it actually makes that dang blasted right.

“You were beautiful last night, Angel.”  He wastes no time going right for the flattery but means every word of it.  “From the moment I saw you I remembered why I love you so much, and all I wanted to do was disappear with you.”

“Well you didn’t.”  My mouth moved and the flatness of my words did not register since my head felt as though it was swimming in booze.

“This ain’t some manure I’m trying to sell you by telling you it’s air freshener.  You are the only thing that keeps me coming back to Jersey and I am tired of my heart aching without you.”

“Then why do you leave at all?”

Five years of caring about this human being who randomly came into my life and has stuck around longer than anyone else I ever called a friend.  He knew he was more than that; we had a bond which refused to be broken yet remained weak due to the constant strain put on it.  The relationship had its history of flaws but at the same time I could not deny the fact he had been there for me when I thought no one was, and quite possibly even saved my life once or twice.  Five years of falling in love over and over, accepting his shortcomings and all of the things that made him imperfect, as that meant he was real and not just some asshole in a pretty package.

Five years of passion ignited and extinguished so many times even the ancient phoenix is impressed.  Through all the tears and fears, we were talking on the phone and hanging on each other’s words as though they were the air we breathed.

“If anything were to happen -”

“Aaron, enough.”  If I had to hear the explanation again I might have hung up.  “It it has been almost two years now, and I still miss them too, but if someone wants to fuck with you then they will have to fuck with me too, and we can deal with it together.”

The silence on the other end had my heart racing, or maybe that was the wave of nausea from having practically inhaled a whole plate of fruit.

“What if it’s me?”  His voice is small and he asks this in Carny Speak so it takes a moment for the question to sink in.  “The reason I always leave, I mean.  What if it’s on account might be the one to hurt you?”

“Aaron, that would never happen.”  My reply is sloppy but the intent of making the message clear comes through.

“How do you know?”

Sighing as I buried myself into bed, wanting nothing more than to look in his eyes at that moment so he could actually see how serious I was, I remembered the first time I saw him perform as the Geek.  It changed me in a way I do not talk about since I doubt people would understand, but suffice to say that image of my best friend was one of many that may have unsettled others.  He could skewer his tattooed flesh without spilling a drop of blood or defy the laws of gravity while riding a motorcycle, yet somehow that confidence failed to extend to the belief that there was nothing about him I did not love.

“We have to try to find that out,” I said, doing my best to sound comforting.

“Yea, I reckon that makes sense.”  He sounds more relieved than I realize and am just trying to hold that fruit in.  “Hey, you made me smile Angel, and I hope you are too.”

We never say good-bye since it is not something that ever seems to be permanent.

When morning came again it was hard to get out of bed and I thought I had dreamed the past two days until I saw the messages in my phone.  A new one wished me fun times at the car show, which is what motivated me to peel myself from blankets, shower and get dressed with enough time to still check it out.  Hooked up with James and his girl when I arrived at the show, and the three of us wandered the numerous aisles while casually chatting.  My head was turning in various directions, completely captivated by those magnificent metal masterpieces.

Personally, I don’t care for the fact that there always seem to be modern plastic vehicles mixed in with the steel classics. Coffins on wheels just don’t do it for me.  Granted, some of the paint jobs were eye-catching, but they just tend to look rather silly when sitting next to a hard-bodied hunk of steel, chrome dancing in the sunlight.

The Chevy’s always do me in and tend to make me drool.  The Mercury made me pause for a moment as I remembered something from earlier in the weekend, smiling as I thought of how nice it had been to sit in one.  The purple Licoln was sweet and a salmon pink truck was pretty eye candy.  Of course I am fond of muscle cars as well, as the ’70s were kind enough to breed so many great legends that squealed down the asphalt at night, engines growling with extra horsepower.  Hearing those classics rev up and watching them hit the road always seems to leave this little knowing smile on my face.

We split after a few hours on account we all had sore feet, and went to chill at James’ place where I steadied myself with a liquid breakfast of warm whiskey to kill the headache I still had.  Then we shared a blunt and my hangover was finally beginning to disappear.

Quite a satisfying end to one very memorable weekend.

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