It’s my birthday! As my birthday is progressing, I have decided I’m going to talk about that which is my favorite to talk about. I’m gonna tell you all about the love of my life. This is a section of my autobiography. It is the third volume, and the thirteenth book of the autobiography titled Reality of the Unreal Mind. This section is called The King’s Concubine. It’s about the times when me and my wife almost got together spanning from the last day of eighth grade til six years later, when we actually did connect. So today we talk about the near-misses of love. This is the last post in this series. I have been releasing them all day.
Now we’re talking about my day, and I live on a 48-hour schedule. So a new one of these has been coming out every two hours and 45 minutes from Monday evening until 2 in the morning on Wednesday the 24th, when I go to sleep.
I guess this time you’re really leaving
I heard your suitcase say goodbye
He was charismatic, good looking, very funny and very broken. Taste had married the woman he loved. That woman just happened to be crazy. She would rant and scream and throw things. She came into Pizza Hut while he was working one night and screamed. Just walked in the front door and let off a blood chilling scream. She wanted him home. Was sure he was cheating on her between pizzas.
When she stabbed him, he had to kick her out, and she went back to Seattle. He was shattered, and I scooped him up and brought him home.
He met Burg and Bell, and we started hanging out. He almost immediately started kicking at the supports of the Droog relationship, but we turned an eye to it. He was broken. We needed to try to let him heal himself.
And as my broken heart lies bleeding
They say true love is suicide
She had left Brett but the break had been as ugly as it could get. He had gotten physical with her and she had to walk away. Bekah went to his house the next day, and he tried to make nice, but she was not even close to having it. “I’m not coming in. It’s over,” Bekah said.
“We are supposed to get married,” Brett said. I think he had a plea in his voice. See Brett was trash from trash. Bekah was brilliant, she was going to be successful. She came from money. His meal ticket was walking away and he needed to do anything to keep ahold of her.
He had spent their entire relationship trying to keep her from hanging out with me. He had seen the draw the two of us had to one another. He was frantic to try to make it work. But she shattered it all with her next statement.
“We can’t get married. You hate me,” she said. ”Why do you hate me?”
He snapped, “Because you’re always right. Because you are so smart. Because you are so beautiful. Because you are better than me. I hate you because you’re perfect.”
And when she left, she was broken. How does she ever find love if her best qualities are the things that drive them all away? Bekah climbed into bed and never left.
You say you cried a thousand rivers
And now you’re swimming for the shore
“She is broken after Brett. Leaving him was the best thing that she ever did but she won’t come out of her room. Bekah is breaking. I can’t do anything about it,” Shadow said.
“Who is Bekah?” Taste asked. See, ever since his great love left he had been chasing women. He had been after anything he could get ahold of. He had a goal. He was trying to force his feelings away with as many women as he could find.
“She is off limits. You are not going to go to her while she is broken and break her further,” Shadow said. “I swear, Taste. It is not going to happen. I will beat the shit out of you.”
But this is one of those situations where no one believes me. Taste is taller than me, thicker than me, and he is a soldier on the army base. He is convinced he can kick my ass if he wants to. Unless I drop him, I can’t prove otherwise. But there is more going on here.
Taste is furious and he is lashing out at everyone. He is even lashing out at his friends. He wants to destroy everything I have built at my apartment, and he wants to shatter my heart if he can.
“Well let’s go see her. I swear,” Taste says. “I won’t touch her.”
You left me drowning in my tears
But you won’t save me anymore
Well we go over to her house and Taste turns to her sister Bliss. “Where is Bekah?” he says.
Burg has seen Taste coming a mile away. He knows exactly what is about to happen, and so do I.
“She is up in her room. She hasn’t been down all day,” Bliss says.
“Well I will go say hi and try to cheer her up,” Taste says. I watch him run up the stairs to her room and knock. Everything sags in my body as she lets him in, and he disappears into her dark room.
I know you know, we’ve had some good times
Now they have their own hiding place
Things happened in that room, but it did not go too far, and days later we are all at Taste’s barracks. He has a room full of corny crap and a twin bed. It is one of those made from the gray metal, where the legs are not full but L shaped. We are all there because Taste has to talk to someone and he has to grab something. He has Bon Jovi going in the background, and me and Bekah are fans.
Well I can promise you tomorrow
But I can’t buy back yesterday
It’s a song we both love. And while Misty, Bell, Burg and Bliss walk around in this terrible room, Bekah sits cross-legged on Taste’s bed singing with me. Was it Shadow, was it Guardian, was it Servant or Ronin? No one knows because we all remember the faces we made as we sang the love song with gusto and flare. And here it comes.
I’ll be there for you, these five words I swear to you.
The room is busy and we are alone in the song. And when “five words” is sang, we hold up our hands and spread them to form the number five.
For years we have been bumping into each other. For years we have almost, and almost, and almost ourselves into heartache. We have never worked, but we can’t get away from each other. “Maybe one day” has vanished beneath the crushing weight of “never gonna happen,” and when our fingers are splayed out in front of each other and we are singing this song to each other, it happens.
We close our hands around each other’s, interlocking our fingers and staring each other in the eyes.
When you breathe, I want to be the air for you
And here is the hand. The one we were told to find in heaven before we were born. Mary’s was almost perfect but not quite. Destiny’s was always wrong. But here in this moment, when our fingers interlock, it’s like they click together. I stare at her and she is no longer in the song. I am no longer in the song. We pull back, and when we leave, I leave after her. As she squeezes through the door past Taste, I place my hand on her shoulders. It is normal, natural, she never even notices. It is what lovers do who have been lovers for years, a simple “I’m here.”
Now it’s days later. Taste is gone. He left hours ago. Bekah and Bliss have just left. I am in the chair, Burg and Bell on the loveseat smoking. Misty in the floor talking. And I can still feel Bekah’s hand in my hand. The sensation has never left.
I can’t do this anymore. How long have we been slipping past each other? How many times are we going to do this?
But there are rules. The laws of love were taught to me by Grr, the godfather of all romance, at Slinger Middle School. There are rules, and even Joe has to follow them. And though they don’t call me G.I. Joe anymore, Grr’s way is still the way. Grr taught us how to do the next step almost a decade ago.
“You know who I have a crush on?” I say. Start the rumor mill. Leak the crush. Tell the friend. Grr is never wrong.
The entire room goes silent. Misty looks at me with horror and hope.
And off goes Misty. She jumps up immediately like I knew she would. Grr’s method never fails. She taught the whole school that.