{ when sparks fly - part one of many }

   Sitting at the desk - juwels: at yoga. I've got the big, noise-canceling headphones on which seem to have disconnected me from the neck down. This is nice. To get out of this body for a while .. this bruised and battered body with its achy muscles and faulty joints. They say "it's not the age, its the mileage .." and I've been road tripping for close to two decades now ; )

   I've been meaning to write this post for a while .. it should've been one of the first, but here it is, about a year later. You can probably guess that we have a LOT to do for the biz with Black Friday on the wings and all, but one must sit still every now and then.

   Nobody pays us to write these blogs - luckily - because then it'd be a job .. and for now it's an escape, an indulgence, and a guilty pleasure.

   What I wanted to do, here, is break down - Cliff's Notes Style - the last ... 7 years ; ) Just so everyone has an idea where we're coming from, and what shared wrinkles juwels and I have locked away in our minds and hearts and around our eyes.

Here goes nothing ; )

    Juwels and I met through the skateboarding industry. I used to own a skateboard shop, which I opened the year after graduating high school ... barely graduating high school. But by the time juwels and I met, I was in my 3rd year and moving to my 2nd location. Our meeting wasn't kismet. Juwels likes to say, "it wasn't love at first sight." And she's right - I was more interested in sliding down handrails and cannon-balling off rooftops on my skateboard, and she was in fashion school, skating in contests, flying around the world on photo shoots, and doing her Ani Difranco thing.

   We met in Long Beach (while I was visiting from AZ). I remember the setting, trite and thoughtless - such is life. A whole pile of us gritty Arizona skateboarders were staying in the living room of a female photographer's 1920's cottage near downtown. She was sitting on the wood floor and looking through a digital slideshow of the day's stunts, and I think, just to break the silence, I said, "Hey. Nika. You should invite some of your cute friends over." What girl doesn't like to get that request??

   Don't get me wrong, she's a nice looking Russian girl, a bit dangerous, spoken like a sailor .. and .. just 'one of the guys' .. but conversely, she was also in a long-term relationship.

   "I don't know any girls," she said. "Oh, wait, actually, I just met a girl .." She was already dialing her phone as she said this. Juwels answered. "Hey," Nika said, "Come over and meet your boy friend." (Silence) "He's got curly hair. He's Italian. Just get over here." Juwels admitted, later, that normally she wouldn't entertain such a request, but for some reason, curiosity got the best of her that day.

   I was awkward, still am to an extent, and once she finally showed up, we pretty much just ignored each other. We all went out and skated - came back later that night and climbed the fire escape, as a group, and hung out on the roof on an old rained-on green couch and rickety lawn chairs. People drank. People smoked. The night wore on, and I don't remember any dialogue at all between us. It wasn't until much later when I figuratively pulled her hair or placed a toad on her shoulder, that we kicked each other's tires a little, but that's about all .. no kiss, no exchanging of phone numbers. Poof.

    Fast forward almost a year exactly: I was back in California and had just written a novel, based on a nightmare, but mostly fueled by boredom, curiosity, and loneliness. 

   The guy I was staying with in LA invited me to tag along on a trip up to San Francisco for a visit, and I love that city, so I went. And on the way back, after the trip had been cut short, and a bit of a disappointment, I got a call from another friend in Hollywood asking if I wanted to go out to an art show at a little bar in Tinsel town. I don't drink, and I don't go out in conventional, youthful settings, and I was tired already and only 1/2 way back from SF, but I said okay. The universe must have forced my lips .. Juwels, in a little beach town down south, may have been feeling the same odd gravitation towards the grimy walk-of-fame bar-turned-art-gallery-for-the-night.

   The part about me not drinking is true as a practice, but as we passed the neon lights of a liquor store, and one of my broke-ass friends from AZ asked if I wanted to split a tall can of Steal Reserve, I said, sure .. once again .. the Universe, I think, trying to ready me for my next big chance with juwels .. which I'd try my hardest to screw up .. but she just wouldn't let me ; )

   We drank, hurriedly, which is the only way one can drink such a beer in an alleyway, and by the time we walked the next couple blocks, my stomach was feeling  queasy .. and confident. Inside the dark bar with red lights and loud music, we walked the perimeter, avoiding the bar for lack of money, and as we rounded the third corner, without looking at any of the paintings or mixed-media pieces, I saw juwels standing in a group of people .. kind of a semi circle .. facing us.

   Oh, shit, I thought .. (I'll admit, I may have been a little intimidated by her ..) so I looked away, hoping she hadn't seen me, and started walking away .. maybe to plan out something to say or just wait for that confidence, which had vaporized, to come back.

   It wasn't until I though I was fully past them and out of view, that I felt somebody punch me in the shoulder .. and not too light. "What?" juwels said, "You're not even going to say 'hiiii'?"

   I'm pretty sure that everyone I was with stopped just then, like, 'oh - we know somebody.' I think I said I didn't see her there, and then went into the typical small talk .. the whole thing was kind of a blur for me. After about 2 minutes, I came up with an amazing escape plan, "Which way's the bathroom?" I asked casually. "It's over this way," juwels said, "I need to go, too. I'll show you were it is." And off we walked.

   When I came out - she wasn't there. I pondered whether I should wait outside for her or if she'd already gone back to the group .. or if waiting for her to exit the bathroom was too 'weird' .. or if I should run like hell ; ) And out she came - as we walked down the aisle, stopping to say hi to her friends tucked away in little VIP-kind-of booths - and introducing me - I said some things that she liked.  I don't have 'game' and my unedited stream-of-consciousness way of talking doesn't always translate, so I just kind of threw it all out there. All in. I won't mention the exact dialogue here - maybe down the line in this book that's kicking around in my stomach, but as juwels likes to say, "I don't know what happened, but that night, sparks were flying."

   The next two weeks, juwels shamelessly "kidnapped" me (her words), and I was okay with that. We laid in bed and she read my manuscript aloud. Hearing it floating around the air in her voice gave me many new ideas, and we began our first edit together - she's really the reason I finished it. Loneliness, my strongest burning fuel as of then, was gone from me now, but she believed in me, and she stroked my ego .. and at times, pierced it, but it was all for the better. I wrote the dedication page out to her (and my wonderful mom) without hesitation, but sadly, as reality had to set back in, I packed up my duffle bag of dirty clothes, scattered notes and skateboard parts, and moved back to Arizona ... but not for long.

     **** I decided, many paragraphs ago, that summing up 7 years in a breakfast blog just isn't my style, and that a reoccurring, linear series might be more fun in small chunks and cookie crumbles, so here, we say, goodnight ; )

 lOve, loVe,


    .... Part Two is out !! 

   Here's the { Link } 



  1. Nicely written and it is a very captivating tale. :)

  2. Cute story. I want to know more!

  3. Yes , very cute story. Would also like to know more. : )

  4. My favorite part about this story is the story that you're leaving out. You see Ghallagher, I actually DO listen (sometimes). It's the story you think you knew, but really didn't ;)>.