- Bret Holmes Baltimore Md

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I Kan't Spell

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stage 1: Boy Meets Girl

We just ended our 1 millionth conversation. They all end with "I love you". It's an "I love you" just like yours and we mean it just as much as two people can. The "I" stands for me. The "love" comes from my body. Nothing I know moves me to want to be alive more than her. The "you' is her. And to know her is to know what the sun sees when it comes over the water, always rising and setting forever. She is in me casting beautiful sunsets and awe-inspiring sun rises.

Our conversations all end like a balloon filled with oxygen as opposed to helium. They sit on the floor. They wait to be touched and picked up and made alive by each other's hands. They live for our breath but they can't be lifted to heaven. They won't be soaring over the world without us giving up fear.

"I'm afraid baby."
"As am I... But I'm more of afraid of not knowing than anything else."

We live alone from each other. We live separately while holding each other's fingers like two lovers being separated by a swarming crowd. We stretch and reach and sacrifice for our dream. We live for the idea that is 'us'.


It was under a Leo star that I was brought into this world. It was with screams and kicks I'm sure.

"I wouldn't say you were a quiet baby as much as you were a happy baby. I could take you anywhere and you would smile all day."

It was always screams and kicks when it came to making noise. There is no doubt in my mind that back when 1979 hit, if there had been a digital recorder or disposable cameras my little body would have been pitching a fuss forever. I would have been preserved on some film somewhere doing what all good wild babies do. Under the Leo sign, I mean shit - you can't hide anything you do, especially what you love.

Let's see in the time of my life, the Berlin wall came down and Lennon was shot. Gorbachev was gone and the USSR was no longer. God, the Cold War really was my childhood. I mean nameless, country-less planes in Top Gun and Lee Greenwood being on the radio to electing the Chairman of the CIA. I've seen a few continents and lived in places and eaten things that would make most people cringe. I have seen floods, and earthquakes. I have seen death and birth. I have known how to love and how to let go.

My life up to the point when I first saw her was full of vapid character building. There was booze and hugs with people who have faded like cheap paint in a widow's living room. It's sad to think of wasted love but it's all a building process towards a foggy goal aloft on a steep learning curve. I was a captain here and a lover there. I was rich and young. I had a great head of hair and bravado that could stop most Italian soccer teams in their tracks. I was happy with myself. I had a family then and they shaped me as much as anything. How it shaped me is still in the jury, but I was shaped none-the-less at least to learn to express myself through one medium or another.

"Too bad it wasn't Reagan that got shot", my father would always say. I'd roll my eyes and say, "He did get shot." To which he would reply, "Well he's not dead, so who cares." This was shortly followed up by his only other advice, "If you are going to steal make sure it's over a million dollars." Back then a million dollars was the baby boomer cap. My family had barely a bonnet much less a doffing cap to salute the market. "Too bad it wasn't Clinton" my Grandfather would say. And I couldn't give two cares to who was in the oval office. I cared about baseball and being heard. Well, I cared about women too. I loved women.

21 years went by since the lion perched over my Mother. 21 years of laughter and some love. 21 years of triumph and all that life heaps on you when you are looking for the next laugh. I wasn't looking to hide in love. I had no need to be crippled by love anymore. Love doesn't know this rule and will crush you as if you didn't exist.

I had 21 years of being thrown about in a washing machine on the gentle cycle. I got into my share of scrapes. Sure, I had bad times with drinking dads and crying moms. Of course I grew up pretty poor and had to sacrifice most things in order to do other things. I grew up in Baltimore for Christ's sake. There isn't anything here but dirt under your nails and bad air to breath. I'm sure decadence is somewhere. But how the hell would I know what that was? My mother drove a Camaro.

My bio - boy looking at it now doesn't really bring any tears to my eye. I know I had some good times and some bad ones but I figured it might be more than that. I wish my life for any person. Jesus, doesn't everyone wish his or her life up until 21 on anyone? Despite the reflection of later life, your golden years are still yours and you'd like to think that your 'best of times' is at least good enough for everyone.

Do you remember the feeling when you first saw perfection? And this isn't Vertuvian Man or Eiffel Tower perfection. This is YOUR perfection. This is the kind of perfection that rings your head with a tuning fork that can resonate the code to unlock the Kabala secret. It's different for each person. For some people, Cheetos are perfect and for other's it's Claudia Schiffer circa 1986. I've seen it twice in my entire life. I saw it once with my first love and then I saw it again with that girl who was always yelling about something, smoking cigarettes, and laughing. Her infectious gnarl of a laugh caught the felt of my ears for the first time and I was hooked. Her Cleopatra eyes were the kind that dart right to your eyes and can tell you exactly what kind of man you are. If sat down to do a confessional sketch drawing of the perfect women. The police interview would go something like this:

"Ok Mr. Holmes we want you to draw what you saw."
"Wat do you mean?"
"We mean that when you saw perfection... when you saw the woman that stopped your heart for those brief moments."
"Why do you want that?"
"Don't you know what that woman will one day do to you? I mean, trust us we find that in cases of this much infatuation...we like to have a sketch on file for future reference."
"I mean...she looked like...umm... Liz Taylor in the movie where she played Cleopatra. Only she was...yelling and laughing and wanting to be held more than she wanted to breath."
"I think we understand. They all say something like that. Sad fucking lots you romantics. Sad lot. Well anyway...we'll let you know when we see her. "
"Please do officer. That's my ideal."

I didn't know her name or what planet she ruled in her spare time but I knew she was special. Everyone has looked at someone and said, "Unbelievable!". I said that every time she walked by me. I never did this to other women. I'm an eye roller when it comes to women. I don't like their shyness and despise their push and pull behavior based on formalities and gestures of weakness.

I heard her voice and laugh the same way you hear an ambulance siren. You turn and look and have to know where it's going and how close it is to you. You get slightly excited by the overbearing sound of a rescue vehicle on its way to relieve or help. I heard that mouth and I had to know. I had to know where it was going.

I would sit eating my lunch with friends and I would spring from my seat and pounce on top of the table. I looked through the window and saw beauty. I saw real beauty and I screamed and shook my body as if slightly electrocuted. I called her "Liz" and I had no idea who she was or where she was going. I remember staring at her until my head could no longer bend around the doorways or posts to keep her in view. As if in slow motion she would walk past me everyday. She would walk past me guarded by her equally olive skinned boyfriend. I never even saw him or anything else around her. I saw her. I saw only her.

Every once in a while I noticed that she would look over her shoulder in order to see me. She would tilt her head and snarl when I would yell "Liz!". She would look with a furrowed brow that was less than inviting. In fact it said "Stay the fuck away you jack ass." I didn't care what it said. I was infatuated. I could imagine what she smelled like and how it felt to hold the small of her back when she would laugh that barrel laugh and kick her right heel up and throw her head back for you to support her. I would imagine that and sigh. But as fast as the fever of her being near came on, it went away.

If she weren't around I wouldn't think about her. I didn't know her. I had no idea who she was and for all I knew I was just one more dullard that yelled at her on a daily basis. I could have been any clown at any time that was vying for her attention. I was too busy with younger girls that had low self-esteem and not enough life experience to know Manet from Monet. I was too busy learning how to woo the poor rather than elevating myself to an absolute queen. The thought of having a real girlfriend again was completely absurd. And you could tell, at least I would have felt, that this was not a girl you picked up and took home and then discarded. This was a living goddess to me and her presence at all times brought my actions to a halt. Remember the standard comedy bit of the guy getting hit in the head with a ball as a pretty girl walked by? Well that reaction was mine whenever she was within sight.

Most of my psyche at the time revolved around me filling a void that I had assumed I had accumulated. How do you accumulate a void? Well, I guess it comes from thinking that you missed out on things as a result of wasted time. I felt as though I had missed out on some of my best sexual years by being in a monogamous relationship with my first girlfriend for a little over 3 years. I thought that I should be out fornicating as much as possible in order to see what I had missed. And that's what I did for the next 4 years. I went out every weekend looking for a new girl to fill that void. None of them ever did. None of them ever gave me the amount of love I wanted to give someone else. I never gave them any part of my soul. I never intended to hurt anyone and I never lied to have sex. I simply pursued and won over what I was after.

There were things I had to learn about love all over again. I had to learn to want again and not to strive so hard towards the middle. Somewhere deep down I knew I would see her one-day and make her mine. I would lose her for a few years but that image and that perfection never left me. Her presence seemed to be etched somewhere in my subconscious and the thought of the perfect woman always brought about images of her laugh.

"Mark my words boys. One day, that wild thing right there, that untamable beautiful woman will be mine. She will be mine and I will be king."

Hell, I had a Camaro.

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