A sort of life

I’m telling you for the last time

RICHMOND, Va. — As 2007 buggers off stage right, I’m left standing here with a half dressed bottle of champaign and wondering what happened.

�Dude: what the fuck?� says my worried boy mind.

My audience, Bishop the cat, makes no move.

Well let’s take a trip way back. Divide this year up a bit. Slice it into bite size sections. She’s all right, you know?

January was, as January’s often are, cold and benign. I can’t remember too much. Back to school, to classes I didn’t visit. Back to bars and drinks and stories shared over stomach gas. The kind that comes with careful anticipation of something good. Like the night before Santa Claus, but serious. That was January. A relaxed restart, a jump start of something a long time coming..

It might have been the first time Richmond felt like home. Like a place I belonged to and in. This meandered into February. The birthday month. And nothing in particular stands out about that month except that, like many birthday months years past, I was sans girl and sans girl in birthday suit as birthday present for birthday boy. Things were beginning to pick up with this one girl, but we’ll get to that in March.

March was, well, I never liked March. This girl and I were spending a lot of time together. We, a set — so to speak. But complications of course. She was not single. I was recycled news. And who the fuck knows where or what we were doing, but one things for sure: I don’t know what it was. Story’s kind of complicated and involving her boyfriend joining the military to prove his worthiness of her (he isn’t) and me doing the best I could to keep it together for her sake (I didn’t). There were plenty of good times and plenty of nights I wanted to run away.

April I decided to run away for good. I was thinking Boston or Montreal or maybe taking a lot of pills and ending it right then and there. Of course none of it happened. And really who would take those odds? The boyfriend left town and what was looking like an upper of a situation was a nowhere situation. Just because you possesses a piece of heart in hand, it seems, doesn’t mean you can keep it in your pocket. Understandably (but to my emotional detriment) the girl checked out and might as well left with the guy. I was losing her for a second time and I could take it any more.

Then the world blew up. Cho shot up Virginia Tech and took 32 and what was left of her. Cho killed her friend. And how do you console — and keeping in mind that I could barely keep myself together — someone you love losing a boyfriend and a friend at roughly the same time. How, as the other guy, do you play the part of the friend. All you want is for her to be happy. And all the world conspires to keep happiness from her. Take the between her and I away — how do you keep on going when it seems the world is dying around your feet? If it were anyone but her, I would have hit the road jack.

And then her grandfather died. And that was that. We find ourselves in the morning of June and she told me to fuck off. Literally.

This ends bite size piece number one.

The first thing I did was walk across the street and buy a Slurpee. My organs felt liquefied, almost like what a rag looks like when you pull it out of a bucket of cold soapy water. Like rag washing your car, you know?

I haven’t seen nor talked to her since.

Didn’t eat much for nearly a month. Didn’t go outside. Didn’t bathe. Didn’t remove the covers. Not for food. Not for anything. I considered buying a hooker to get my mind off of things. Didn’t feel like even getting out from the mattress to even investigate such a possibility.

But eventually I did get up. I finally got a call back for a job interview. And that’s another thing I didn’t mention. The whole time: March, April, May, June, I sent out what felt like a million applications. Nobody called back. I tried follow-ups. No one called back. I was hemorrhaging money faster and faster and no one wanted to hire me. So while the world of love was tumbling, the world of stabilizing and gainful employment was tumbling faster.

But finally I got a call back. I went to DC to celebrate and to bum some financials off the parents. I still felt tremendously sad. I have friends. I had friends. But they were dead to me then. Nothing to do with them, but I couldn’t find the energy to smile let alone find the strength to have a beer with them. That’s how I was, that’s how I am. When I feel something I feel it with my whole body. Got math on the mind, I can’t preform. Wringing out the organs — I ache so bad I can’t see. So with friends was not where it’s at.

I returned to Richmond to find my door standing open and nearly $4,000 of electronics (and a bag of weed ) stolen from my apartment. And as awful as that is, it was at that very moment things flipped back the other way. I was pissed that my stuff was gone. But I didn’t care, not really. It was like: �Finally! Something I can deal with!.�

So the cops came and I reported everything but the weed gone AWOL. This is July and my job was about to start. Violated, yes. Angry, not really. Yes, I could really use my cameras these days and yes, I really do wish my laptop still made the nightly appearance, but who cares? I had a new job and I was ready to do what I do best. I was ready to start things all over again.

And now we begin bite size number three.

Now we’re in August and my job is really just beginning. Nothing fancy. Nothing too special. Something to do mostly. And August brought a little sentimental feelings for not returning to school. I had signed up for a few classes, but one week in I knew my heart wasn’t in it. No matter. Things were brightening and now September.

September and October and November and now December have all really been the same. If I’m still working in the same place a year from now I’ll hate myself more than ever before. But things weren’t going so bad.

My first six weeks working, my company was in mandatory overtime. And really I’ve been working overtime since that time. Working through lunch and not eating dinners. And that’s where I find myself these days. Working the 9-5 like a champ, and spending every other second contemplating my next move. I’ve been constructing a business plan and this is the tantalizing bit of cream pie I keep dangling out there for all you to see. That moves slower than I think, as always, but it’s really coming forward.

And one day soon it will be complete enough to lay all out in the bare world. my only hint is to not do anything .com unless you talk to me first. And that’s all I’m going to say until my next writing. And that will be probably be January and by then we’ll be in 2008. So see you in ’08.

“I’m telling you for the last time” is from Volume One: Frank’s Wild Years (1983–2009). Written between 2003 and 2009, Volume One was this author’s attempt to find meaning from life as a young twenty-something. While this endeavor would ultimately fail, what remains is a comical tale of loneliness and debauchery.

Bleeding burgundy and gold

Bleeding burgundy and gold

Dan Brenner beams after surviving a punch to the nose by an angry Philadelphia fan at FedExField in Landover, Md. on December 12, 2004. Washington lost the game 17-14.