Friday, April 20, 2012

1:00 a.m. in Chicago

It was 1 a.m. Chicago time and I couldn't sleep.
My love was in bed; we had spent the evening joking and having the most ridiculous fights. I found the fights both wonderful and elucidating.

Me: What happened to my panties?
My love: I ripped them off of you; this is no longer my problem.
 
And it went on like that. I woke up in the morning to thunderstorms, which became indicative of my day. Part of me was desperate to focus, to become a pinpoint in the storm, a raindrop, crystallized, real. The rest of me was caught up in scattered fury, shaking and rattling with no purpose.

I thought to myself that I was home.

And some part of me wondered what home meant anymore with the life I live. Three days here and I would be on the road again. To somewhere. Always somewhere.

I was nothing but destinations.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Music and a Drive

I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between cities in Korea as part of my job. This was part of the consequence of being successful at what I do. I met my business partner in the train station in another city and we walked and talked about what was going on, what I was going to do, and what needed to be done today as we headed out to his car.

Sometimes he drove us in the Car (SUV, big black, comfy) and sometimes it was an actual car, depending on whether or not Son Number 1 had borrowed the vehicle for the day. More often then not when we got into the car we just drove to where we were going, talked, discussed the ins and outs of the business and prepared for the meeting/event/presentation, that I had traveled in for. It was usually some kind of precursor to a day of working on other things that I didn't necessarily want to work on, ending in dinner and a bottle of vino before heading home.

This day I got into the car, and instead of the silence I usually expected and the conversation there was actually something playing on the radio. I'm a crazy music person but I had not expected to hear music coming out of the Man's radio.

And all I could do was sit and listen.

I felt tendrils of recognition as I was hearing it, but at the same time it was like a vague memory of something, maybe barbecues and Monolycus singing along. Maybe it reminded me of notes of my father rocking out a long time ago. It was music of memory, music that just took you right back into it and you couldn't help but to be locked for a moment in a time warp of reflection and childhood and feelings. It was intense and I couldn't really make out exactly what it was, but the experience stopped me for a second until I finally managed to bring myself to snap out of it and speak.

"Dude, what is that?" was all I could think to say.

And the Man, as he slid the car onto the road, just leaned back into his chair and replied with a smile full of nostalgia: "That's Don Henley man."
The music played for the rest of the ride and we didn't say a word until we got to where we were going.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Choosing Cherry Blossoms

The party was lovely. After the party and the wine the Artist and I went back to my place and retired; we were both tired and silly after so much wine and amazing food. I’ll tell you about the restaurant we went to some other time. The plan was for a nice quiet lie in. The Irish was still out at the birthday and I didn’t expect him before sunrise. Sadly, our newly formed flatmate status was not sitting well with the One, who went out of her way to stay up and ambush said Irish when he finally came in.

The crazy got out of hand whenat five in the morning—she came knocking on my door to wake me up. I could feel the Artist tense up next to me.

“Can you call him? He’s not answering his phone.”

Yeah, I figured I knew exactly why that was happening and I wanted nothing to do with it. While I had been dancing for a week around being in the middle, it quickly dawned on me that right now, at five a.m. I was being asked to pick a side, and since I was still trying to remain as neutral as Switzerland, I knew exactly where I was I going to end up.

“Go to bed, he’ll be home when he gets home.”

“Call him.”

“I’m not calling him.”

This went on for five minutes and ended with me sending a text message that got no response. I went back to bed and passed out, with the Artist grumbling next to me. We next woke when the Irish did manage to come home and both of us listened to the argument that ensued at the other end of the apartment. When it was over my bed was suddenly full of a drunk Irishman.

“Go to bed.” I said. It seemed to be the catchphrase of the morning. At 6:30 we all went back to bed. Or so I thought. At 7:30 I heard the flatmate crushing recycling next to my door. In the space of two hours I had gone from being in the middle to be firmly on the wrong side of the argument, as far as she was concerned. There was no stopping it. There would be no way to walk back from it. It simply was what it was going to be.

It is never easy to watch two people you care about grow apart, but in reality that had been happening for a much longer time than anyone wanted to admit. It was harder still to have to end up in the middle or on any side, but five in the morning was the worst time to have to make a real decision on it. Even so, I’d chosen wrong by one of them, and it was a choice I’d have to live with.

Eventually the crushing stopped and I got up to make the Artist coffee and breakfast. The Irish, surprisingly hangover free, came out to join us, and eventually the other flatmate joined as well. She sat in silence at us as we talked and eventually announced she was going out to study and left. Everything felt a little bit better at that point. After some talking, a bit more coffee, and some much-needed cuddling on all our parts, we decided to walk downtown and get some lunch someplace.

It was a rather cool-ish mid-morning so the decision was made to walk the mile downtown and enjoy the spring. It was that time of year where the cherry blossoms were out in spades. As we walked across the river we saw light petals dropping down from the tress and littering the ground with their pink cherry snow.

We kept walking downtown and ran into a marathon that was apparently taking place. I had no idea why people were running, but as we stood at the edge of the bell park we saw the last runner, decked out in all his gear, running at a modest pace. He was an older gentleman, definitely someone’s grandfather (or at least that age), and here, around the park, a small number of people were still lined up to cheer him on as he came across the finish line. The gang of us stood there, watching him pull in that race, obviously quite a while after everyone else had finished, and we smiled and laughed and shouted and encouraged him, too. Everyone who is willing to commit to such a feat should have a chance to hear a cheer, even if it is from three unknown foreign strangers who are late to the game. Sometimes you have to celebrate the success of strangers.

The end of the marathon had put us all in a magical mood, and the pink forest of the park only increased that feeling of sublime everything. At first it started with us taking pictures of trees, and then it quickly turned into us climbing into the trees to take pictures. There was a sense of passion for nature, for spring, for rebirth, for beginning. The marathon runner with his commitment to himself to finish that race at all cost, us with our engagement in each other and our reality shifting and changing, making decisions and keeping with them, for better or worse. Being in love with the season, and knowing that the season would pass by quickly and we would have to run just as hard to keep up and finish this race as any before it.

It took us forever to walk through the park, and into downtown to find lunch, and the whole time our smiling, and our laughter, and our freedom just took hold and grew.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Late Leather, Wine, and Wicked Women

After eating too many mussels, we sat and sipped wine over an all-too-overly polite dinner for a friend's birthday. The attendants were all new to me, so introductions went around. The bit of wine and the fact that I didn't have to work with anyone made it easier.

Both the Artist and I were amused by the group as they were young and each of them expressive and convinced that they were more experienced and more corrupt and more different than the two of us.

We smiled and held hands under the table as we sipped wine and engaged them in conversation. There was the Dancer, a wiry little Filipino boy who could not stop moving. He wasn't a dancer by trade but it was in his blood, in the way he moved you could see it that he was wound up and would go all night long if given half the chance. There was the married couple, who were also artists, young and from Portland. Very much a Portland couple who could not stop talking about scheduling vasectomies. Perhaps they thought this made them special, but the way they went, on, and on, and on, and on about it made it down right trite and boring. There were others there, I sipped wine and listened to the conversation, participating only when it amused me.

After dinner we walked downtown for birthday cake for the birthday girl and people indulged in sweets. Then the birthday girl in question announced she was going to pick up one of her friends, who was apparently too drunk to figure out how to get the restaurant on his own. That would never end well.

When she finally got back with her drunk friend the Winedrinker, he was very much definitely out of his mind. He took one look at the Artist and decided that the best thing for it would be to hit on her without ending. Within three words she had cut the floor out from under him, challenging him to be more interesting.

"But I am interesting." He kept shooting back.

"You don't even know who you are."

"How can you be so mean to me?"

"Because, you're not interesting, you can go away now."

The poor drunk was cut down hard and began to complain to the birthday party, while the two of us tried to decide what it was exactly that we wanted to do.

In the end we went outside to talk to the other half of the party that had retreated into the cool April evening. We talked for a bit before the Dancer came up to stand beside us.

"What are you going to do tonight?" I asked him.

"I don't know, man, I don't know. This is the first wave. Hard to say where I will end up."

"First wave?"

"Yeah, the first wave, and then when you go I'll find the second wave, and then the third wave. You just ride the wave all night long." Ah, to be young and 23 and full of unstoppable energy. I smiled.

The Artist and I posed for a picture and then decided that the privacy of a bed somewhere else would be the better way to spend our own waves for the evening, and with some polite goodbyes we headed off in our own direction and let the waves roll over the others in the group.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Comedy of Couchly Delights

I walked with her, arm in arm, into the apartment. We were giggling girls. I offered her some wine, and she said yes. It was early afternoon and the sun was shining through the windows, giving the entire apartment a soft glow.

“Let’s get comfortable.” I said.

Comfortable soon turned into naked and we stayed in my bed with rope and fingers and busy tongues with all the fun slippery wet moistness that you would expect from two girls who were so desperately into each other and who have had to prolong their desire for many more hours than either wanted.

I buried my head deep in her, drinking in her taste and smell, while her hands worked into my hair, pulling me back up to her lips, her breasts. We rolled around on my bed, leaving messy sheets and uncovered corners of mattress and oily trails of slippery female around each other.

“That wine.”

We caught our breath and I went and poured us two glasses of red and we walked around the apartment talking. It was so lovely to have such a big space and to have it all alone, especially when I was heady with her taste and the wine, and the early evening, and thinking about the night to come. We sipped the wine and danced around the apartment, talking, girl talk in the soft light.

Her presence was arousing and I couldn't help wanting more of her. Even as we sparred back and forth with conversation and sipped glasses of dark red wine, I wanted to drink her up again.

“Your flatmate is going to be home soon.”

“So?” I asked her as I pushed her down against the arm of the couch and found her neck with my teeth.

“She is going to walk in on us while we are on the couch.”

“So?” I asked again as I moved lower and uncovered her most perfectly shaped breasts and pulled them out from under a handmade silk kimono.

I think she may have protested again, but the urgency of my leg between hers, and my hand in her hair, and my lips on her lips was enough to distract me from further protests. We were deep into each other again when I heard the door open. The flatmates and I had agreed at a meeting earlier that if we were in common areas we had no right to expect privacy. I figured that was fair enough. I also figured that seeing as how we were pretty well engaged with each other my flatmate would mostly likely just go to her room and leave us alone.

Perhaps I should have rushed us off to my room, but we were busy.

Then we were aware of someone standing over our heads.

Standing very close.

Watching very closely.

Practically participating with their voyeurism, and while this amused the exhibitionist in me, I was also a bit caught off guard when the conversation started.

 “So how are you?”

I looked into the eyes of the girl in my arms, the girl who was dripping down my thigh, with hands wrapped around my back, the girl who was really distracting my attention from any kind of reasoned conversation.

“Busy,” I replied.

“How as your day?”

Seriously? It was all I could think. Is she seriously trying to have a conversation with me right now?

“Long.” I replied. I thought to try to cut off any more conversation by diving teeth first into the small hollow of the neck underneath my fingers and burying myself in waves of long brown hair and pleasant smell.

“Did you get a lot done today?”

You have got to be kidding me, I thought. You have seriously got to be kidding me.

The girl under my hands began to giggle, and I felt my desire cool just a touch.

“Not really,” I replied. I really couldn’t get mad at the flatmate, as I had taken this particular risk when I decided to pick up with my shenanigans on the couch. I was trying to be polite, but I really hadn’t expected her to invite herself in for a conversation. If anything, I expected an awkward moment and then for her to walk off to her room while we finished up.

Nope.

“The weather was really nice today, don’t you think? It’s starting to get warmer.”

Right. At that point I realized that the nipple under my hand deserved more attention and resumed with a renewed ardor. What it was I had been doing when the flatmate came in? I stopped responding. Not that it stopped the conversation from being one-sided from her. Finally she walked off onto the porch, but continued to add comments as she walked in and out of the room around us.

Right, done. I grabbed the girl and the wine, and we went back to my room and finished what had been started there before cleaning up and getting ready for the rest of our evening. We finished the bottle with tastes of each other in between, and then there were hot showers, hot kissing, and dangerous formalwear as we prepared for a lovely expensive dinner celebration with others.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Afternoon Favors


It all sort of began in April. Granted at had been beginning for the last 16 months and I was probably more aware of that than the parties more involved. My involvement really came about because I had been subletting in an apartment with the Irish since August of last year. Had it not been for that I might have been less involved, but I doubt it. The reality was there was no way to escape it without just not talking to the Irish at all, and that was not happening.

As it was, things were coming to a head in the relationship with the One and the One had been moved into her own place in the apartment. Which at the time seemed like the least of all evils, since it meant not kicking her out completely on her own and gave the pair some time to work out their problems. I did my best to ignore it.

Since it was April there were a smattering of birthdays coming up and the Artist had asked to come over on a weekend that happened to coincide with a birthday party. We decided to do that together as I figured it would be fun.

What was less fun was the Irish asking for a favor.

“What do you need?”

“I need you to pick up someone who is going to be doing a presentation at the meeting.”

“Seriously?”

“I can’t ask her to do it.”

Fair enough. I am a good friend so despite my desire to do nothing all day but hang out with the Artist, I agreed to help the Irish out and pick up his friend, since he was going to be out on the city doing work-related things.

The Artist arrivedlooking beautiful and lovelyaround noon. I picked her up, we walked back to our place, set the bags down, had ten seconds for a talk and then I had to spring on her my need to go and do the favor.

“Seriously?”

“I know. I’m a good friend.”

The plan was to take the new girl out to lunch and drop her off at the meeting, and then the two of us would slip off to enjoy the rest of our day together. It seemed like a really good plan at the time. The Irish had presented Indian as an option, so that it what I was asked to deliver.

The Artist walked with me back to the station to pick up the Presenter. We went to the lunch place, but it turned out to be closed so I went with a backup plan: a little Italian place I  knew down the road. The only problem was the place had changed ownership, and sadly the new owners did not do half as good a job with the meal. Between that and the conversation with the Presenter my day felt like it was quickly going downhill. Fortunately for me the Artist saved the day with her uncanny ability to hold a conversation with complete strangers. I watched, mesmerized, as she managed to dance a line of double entendre and scandal but never pushing things so far that you would begin to suspect that what she was actually talking about was anything other than what she was saying. I envied her causal ease as I still had trouble having conversations with strangers, most especially those I might see again in a professional setting.

We walked the Presenter over to the meeting and suffered the drama of trying to get the meeting hall open, and then, because it was a meeting where I was pretty well known, I had to make the rounds and put on my game face for another thirty minutes while making my apologies to the organizers so I could escape shortly after the start. As soon as the Presenter began to talk the Artist and I slipped hand in hand out the back and down the stairs, giggling into the just-blooming cherry blossoms.

The Artist was becoming somewhat of an inspiration to me, in both her heady beauty, her unabashed manner of speaking, and her take-hostages approach to life. The take-hostages part was that she absolutely refuses to have to compromise to get what it was she would like to have; it was enviable, hard to understand, and amazing to be a part of. I enjoyed being wrapped in her envelope. She’d perhaps say the same things about me, as I could be pretty to-the-point as well. If anything we complemented each other with time spent together. I suppose this was why I enjoyed spending so much time with her.

Indeed, she had become a larger and larger part of my last year, and I would have to have more attention focused on her when she was here.