XXIV. Get Your Bruised Butt Up
Something that should terrify me more than any mystery in the world, any stranger on the MegaBus and all of the pending atrocities on full moon nights- is the lapse of time I am faced with the morning after a blackout drunk. On this particular morning, I woke beneath a canopy of scarce branches on a bed of dewy grass. Without possessing anything of remote commercial value, the only assets I really have to keep intact are my legs, my face, and my lungs. My legs were cold and wet, but fine. My face felt blemished, but I could still see and smell and smile. My lungs were working, however they did feel slightly beaten up from an overdose of smoking.
We were in a barren park. The sun was struggling to peak towards the world from behind a few relentless clouds. They were white and sweet looking, but malevolent things. The rays squeaked between the billowed edges, but were constantly rebuffed. I wanted some warmth but there was none to be found. I leaned against the trunk of the tall maple tree and looked out into the empty park. There was a swing set a few hundred yards away. Trees were sporadically planted on beds of wood chips and sod.
The grass had crisp linear patterns in it from careful mowing. I could smell the remnants of the last mow and it made me think of childhood. That creeping feeling of being tiny and dirty, playing outside and taking full breaths of spring air dawned on me, as memories do. I could almost see the mirage of my father in the distance, stooped over and driving our dinky lawnmower forward, sweat dripping down his face and a cigarette hanging from his lips.
I could have died last night, and I really wouldn't have noticed, I thought. Dying seems to be the part of life when every cognitive realization, every part of the brain, every corner of the soul is elevated to a conceptual understanding. Of all the moments and of all the epiphanies, the sensory overloads, dying, I imagine, is the apex. I would have missed the whole hoopla. I would have surpassed the grandiose production and just keeled over, drunk. "I suppose I should thank you, for keeping me around to find out what it all feels like," I said. I was looking up, towards God, or those malevolent clouds, or that poor sun on the offense.
The last thing I do remember is being kicked out of Hobo Sam's. After we concocted the most organic reception of love that I have ever been apart of, we sabotaged it just as fast. The engagement had made Wheeler, that bumbling idiot, palpably irresistible to all of the local ladies. It's disgusting really, the way our humanity pushes us to desire the things we cannot, or should not attain. Moments after our eloquent loop and over dramatic kiss, Wheeler was getting eye fucked from every corner of the bar. It was happening to me too, but the guys weren't as openly disrespectful to each other as the girls happened to be.
The sequence of sabotage began like this...
Tan man walked back over to us and struck up a conversation with me. It was all garbage. More reiterations about how amazing Wheeler and I were. More talk about promotion. More bullshit bullshit recollections of our love. Meanwhile, Wheeler had begun talking to the brunette who had asked us "Why Hobo Sam's?" earlier. At least a half an hour went on like this. I continued to sip drink after drink. As tan man talked, I studied the skin on his face. The dark organ was stretched out in astounding proportions, defying my imagination. I started to look at him like a talking briefcase. I'd laugh where no laugh was due.
After many moments of crap, I left for the bathroom to maybe puke or poop. There were blood stains on the tile, and a great crack down the center of the mirror divided my face into two jagged halves.
I puked a little in the toilet, and assured myself afterwards by saying, "It had to be done." The strange girl who I directed the comment towards offered me a mint from her purse. It was peppermint.
I left the bathroom and walked back towards the bar stools we'd claimed. Tan man was gone, but standing next to my empty stool was Wheeler, making out with the brunette. It was all spit and tongues were everywhere. The only way it could have been more graphic, would have been if he'd ripped off his shirt or lifted her up on top of the bar. The people around them, those who were still remotely coherent, were struck with awe. Some stared intently. Others appeared to have been scanning the room for me, his supposed fiance.
Soon he noticed me standing there, and he gently removed the brunette from his mouth. We had successfully condensed all the melodrama of a long term commitment into the span of two gloriously public hours.
"How could you!" I announced, with calculated gusto that sent a wave of silence through the bar. The words churned in my stomach and I wanted deeply to laugh and laugh and laugh.
"It's okay! It's okay everyone. It's okay. We're not really engaged. We've only known each other a week. It was just a joke! That ring? I bought that ring for a quarter in that machine over there. It's all good everybody! No need to get upset," Wheeler reached for the brunette's arm. She slapped him and the party resumed.
Everything after that is somewhat of a blur. It was definitely not okay, by the standards of everyone who'd spent a buck or shed a tear on our behalf. We were usurped from Hobo Sam royalty, and literally kicked out of the bar. I couldn't tell that morning, but I had a giant bruise on my butt from the kick. After that, we'd evidently wandered intoa park to sleep.
Wheeler appeared from behind the maple. His hair looked electrocuted, and his face had strands of creases in it from a bed of grass. He looked genuinely homeless, and I was not entirely convinced that he wasn't.
"How's your ass?"
"See what happens when the moon is full?" He sat down next to me.
"Or when you are just a giant fucking idiot, rather."
"Come on...That was incredible! We single handily created love and then crushed it! I feel like my parents."
He pulled out the map from his backpack.
"Honestly I don't have a fucking clue where we are now. We walked for at least an hour after the bar last night, so we're definitely going to have to take a cab or get a ride to Hackett house number one," he said.
"I hope it's our Cait Hackett," I said.
"I kind of hope it's not. I'm not ready to be done with this. I've got nothin' to go home to."
"I just want to find her."
"Well, get your bruised butt up and let's go then." He dusted dirt off his pants and helped me to my feet.