{ When Sparks Fly .. part 2 of many }

alOha : ) 
  This wasn't really meant to be a blog. It's actually just cut and pasted from the rough manuscript I'm working on about the last decade of our lives. Us, the Winnie, our crafts, travels, the lessons we've learned and people we've met, all the way up to present day .. 

   Anyway, it picks up from the "how we met" blog I wrote forever ago called, { When Sparks Fly .. part one of many. } 

   You may want to read this new blog in sections .. . it's 6,000 words .. ha ha ha. Just throwing it out there for our die-hard readers who can't get enough : ) 

Well .. back to work, loVe, 

   This is a work in progress : )


   I was in a daze when I got back to Arizona. In disbelief, really. I’d been the lone wolf for a long time, and this whole deal with juwels would’ve seemed so improbable up until just a couple weeks ago.
   Juwels and I talked on the phone so much that I probably have a heart-shaped tumor on the right side of my brain, right behind the spot where I held that overheating cell phone to my temple with that big stupid smile on my face.
   We talked about all kinds of things, but surprisingly for a time, not the parameters of the relationship. Was there a relationship? Could there really be one with all these miles of barren desert between us?
   I worked through the nights typing in all the changes and corrections we’d penciled into the manuscript during our cold read in bed. And when I was done, adding many new riffs of my own, I’d email the file to juwels, and she’d print it and underline all the parts she liked, make notes on corrections, and read everything to me in her sweet gentile voice, “Oh .. oh .. yeah, I loved this line right here …”
   Believe it or not, I was actually the one to pop the, “so what are we?” question. Or I think it actually came up as a retelling of a dialogue I’d recently had. “So-and-So was asking if we were dating..”
   “What did you tell him?” she asked.
“Um … I said I wasn’t sure. Are we?”
“Yes. Are you my girl or what?”
   “Um ..” she paused. “I’ll have to think about that.”
   I thought she was joking. Think about it??? What’s there to think about?
   “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve never seen the long distance thing work out. I mean .. you live in Arizona. How’s that going to work?”
   She knew I loved it out in California, and she wanted me to move out there, and since I was a kid, so did I, but she wasn’t going to come out and say it, that it should happen for her. Mind you, this is maybe week three or four into our soul melding.
   “We’ll visit each other,” I said. “I skate in California sometimes .. and you’ll love the parks and ramps out here. And the desert is beautiful.”
   It took me a long while to convince her of that last part.
   “Well .. okay then. I’m willing to try it if you’re willing to try it.”
   So much for romance …
   But she’d later tell me that she was just scared and didn’t want to get attached to a phone in hand and have to read into tones and texts and voice mails .. and I understood that completely.

   I’d lived the life of a hermit the past year or so, receding from skateboarding, writing my book, dwelling on what had become of my skate shop and big dream, falling asleep in the early AM to the sounds of the movie The Wall, for the sound track, or Fear and Loathing, for the spoken word, and this much disembodied talking on the phone was pulling volts from somewhere without the recharge of touch and closeness.
   But on and on we went. Having this project between us really helped eat up some of that nervous energy that can come with a new and distant relationship. So for a time .. the book saved us both.
   For seven months (“seven, exactly,” juwels says) we tickled each other’s eardrums from afar, but the rest of the relationship was a vaporous mist of letters or scrawling words on the screen.
   On two occasions, we visited on the sandy shores of her coast, and on two other occasions, out here, we danced in the dust and heat waves of the southwest desert. And in between, I continued to work in my head, sorting all the details of my writing, and recreating the whirlwind dream that had inspired the book.  
   I guess this saved me more than it did her, as I’d escape the world through the story and meditate on this fictional creation of life. I often chuckled at the idea that I could make these characters, now on paper for long enough to be real, do and say anything I wanted. Have you ever had those thoughts of … “what if I just screamed right now? Right here in the middle of this movie .. in the silence of this lecture?” You’d be surprised at how many times I’d jokingly write a whole paragraph or two .. laugh, and then hold the delete key in rewind. 
   But Juwels life always seemed like some kind of island-based fairytale to me, something with a Jack Johnson and Bob Marley soundtrack. In my thirsty desert mind of mirages and tumble weed, I imagined that many colorful birds would carry her, and her skateboard, amongst the clouds and rainbows from one empty swimming pool skate party and contest to the next.  
   She knew everyone, showed up in magazines, skated and traveled with pros, ate well, slept like a cat and sometimes wore a black and orange king snake, “nesta”, around her neck or wrist to the grocery store and farmer’s market. She was independently happy and bought herself flowers and raw chocolate without occasion.
   She lived as though she’d never found any troubles in life .. although she’d found many and overcome many. And in fact it was that trouble, and breaking free of it, that gave her such positive perspective and happiness and freedom. She was a true tribal fairy, and I was a scrappy mongoose, fighting a rattlesnake for dinner. Or at least that’s the way I imagined it.
   And with these thoughts, I hid out in my tiny, locked bedroom, avoiding the three roommates to get some writing and thinking done. A skate friend of mine, Ian, and his girl friend lived in the master room .. "You're sooo married. Why don't you two just get married.." -- "Shut up!"And he was a fun cat who spent most his time filming skate tricks or recording hip hop in the garage or standing around a keg. 

   But in the third room, beside mine, lived his older brother, the other son of the homeowner, and he was a connoisseur of  drugs of all types, but he seemed to favor the ones that sent him up-up-up and away. He broke into my room when I was out of town or at the store or library, and robbed my coin tin of everything but the pennies and nickels. And at other times, I’d find him doing manic pushups or squats in the kitchen without a shirt.
   “Hey, Peter,” He’d say, not taking a break from his exercise. “I didn’t know you were home. You wanna go to the bar .. you fly I’ll buy.”
“No thanks. I never really drink.”
   “Oh come ON man !!! I’m just talking about a beer … a beer and some laughs. Come ON man !! I’m buying. Also, I’m supposed to meet a girl there, and I’m already late for the bus.”
   There were times when I would be so imploded into myself from the writing and the repetitive music mix that I’d actually take him up on his offers for company.
   I said “no thanks” to so much that he’d offer me or try to get out of me .. mostly rides or money. And I’m surprised he didn’t just get discouraged by the no-to-yes ratio .. but he was like that old lady at the train station, the one who just wants you to buy her damn bracelet, bottle of water or roses, so sometimes out of pity .. but most times out of curiosity and loneliness, I’d listen to his fishing stories and lies. He’d bribe rides to a restaurant, grocery or liquor store. And on one occasion, I’d become the unwitting accomplice and getaway driver.

   On that night, we were walking around the store, and he wasn’t talking much, and seemed to be kind of agitated. I was saying something, but he wasn’t listening. And then, actually not noticing that we were on the liquor aisle because I was rambling on about my story or something, he looks down at me (tall guy), smiled in a way that looked like he was biting his own teeth, and says, “Listen. Peter. Now I’m about to put this bottle of Jagermeister down my pants and walk out of here.”

   “What?? No .. what ?? Bad idea. We’re like the only people in this store. Somebody’s gotta be watching you..”
   He was looking over my shoulder, farther down the aisle, and when he put those beady little eyes back on me .. and saw how flustered I was over the whole thing, his smile grew, and he said, “Get out of here, man. I’m doing it ..” And the bottle dropped down his pant leg and stopped in a bulge at his cuff.

Jee-sus … 

   I knew I couldn’t stop him .. or change his mind, and I wasn’t going to turn him in, so I just spun on my heal and walked away. The florescent-to-night transition of walking out into the dark parking lot left me with a flash in my vision, and I half-looked over my shoulder but didn’t see him behind me.

   Back in the truck, I popped the key in the ignition. I don’t need this. I don’t need this, I thought. I don’t even drink .. I don’t even know this guy. I’ve been flushed out of my room with the promise of cheap chineese food. Value. $4.99. Not enough to risk handcuffs or a police chase

   Only a minute or two had passed, while I thought of these things, and I decided that I’d just leave. Screw it. He could figure it out. Then I thought about him seeing me leave .. being confused .. maybe chasing the truck or hollering. Not being tailed or noticed by anyone, but not wanting to walk home either. This would be a spectacle both here and at home, and I just didn’t want to get into it .. my God, but what if he was being tailed … chased .. all the while I’m vanishing on the horizon.

   I started the truck and backed out. Craning my head to find out soonest if he was there. And just as I pulled all the way out, I saw him running up on me like a madman. He must have pulled the bottle out of his pants when he’d cleared the door and the front drive, and from what I could see, there was nobody following him. But in my mind, I saw floodwaters at his back, flashing lights and rolling boulders. Why the hell else would he be running?

   Laughing and tumbling into the truck, he yelled, “Go! Go! Go!” And I did. Again, I was infected by his presence, so his escape was my escape.

“Dude! What the hell!! Don’t do that shit around me!” I hollered.

   He was already taking the cap off.

“Close that shit, man. I don’t need that open container in my car.”

   He laughed some more.

“Did they see you?”

   “No! Hell no .. I’m Good!”

“Then why the hell were you running?”

   “Because it’s more fun that way!”

We hit a red light, and I studied my rearview. 

   Later, I think just to quiet the ideas in my head of cameras and plate numbers and all that mess, it crossed my mind that he could have paid for the bottle and then put on that whole show for me .. but then again, I had seen him drop it down his pants.

   I stayed away from him for a while after that … even more than I’d already been doing. But then there was another outing that I’ll never forget. And even though he didn’t have a car, he was driving this time.

   I was out of my bedroom and walking around in a kind of fog, as was customary for me in those days, and I was out in the covered storage area in the yard. And there I found him with the back gates open to the alleyway, working on a four-wheeler in the summer sun.

“Hey,” he said. “Wanna take a spin?”

   “Nah .. I’m just looking for a light bulb for the bathroom.”  

“Come ON, man !! It’s fun...”

   This was his standard argument for everything and good-enough reason for doing anything. I looked down the alley and saw old mattresses and broken TV’s and piles of branches that awaited the trash truck, an uncertain obstacle course. It was pretty narrow, and the dirt path itself was in bad shape.

   But I’d always wanted a bike or a go cart when I was a kid, although the closest thing I’d ever gotten was a Go-ped (earned by many chores and by pocketing my lunch money and sneaking a sack lunch from home on the sly.)
   I took a step towards the mechanical bull, just looking it over and taking in the smell of grease and gas, and he took this as a sign that I was ready to ride.
   Would I have to shift this thing? I wondered. Do the brakes work? I had never even seen this quad before that moment and didn’t know if it had been stored out there the whole time I’d been a tenant, or if he was just borrowing it from somebody or what.
   I guess I was contemplating taking it for a ride. I guess it could be fun just down to the end of the alley and back. And then he started it up and jumped on and gassed it.

   “Get on,” he yelled over the noise of the engine.

Get on?

   He revved the thing some more and it spit black smoke, and the smell changed from nostalgic memories of lawn mowers and my neighbor’s childhood mini bike, to a chainsaw massacre.

   “Come on ! Come On !!” He yelled and smiled that big joker smile. He was so excited about it, like a dog with a ball, and I felt bad saying no. No’s a funny word .. never liked hearing it, or the slump in energy that came with it, so I try not to use it, either. Normally, I can just tell some story about why I simply can’t do it, or go there, or help out … But not over this roaring engine I couldn’t. “Just around the block. Come on !!”

   Reluctantly, I kicked my leg over the seat and spiked tires and sat on the back-half of the squishy vinyl seat.

 God help me.

   As I said, sometimes it was pity or my anti-no awkwardness .. and many times I was just bored and needed to get away from my pen and pad, and he was the only other person home, but I probably should have drawn the line here.

   We went screaming down the alleyway, bumping and dodging things at 35 miles an hour, and I held onto the one definite decision I’d made just before mounting this horse, “I’ll hold onto the back bar. Be my own balance. I’m not snuggling up like some adoring, spooked, girlfriend and passenger.”

What the hell? What the hell?

   Bump, swerve, bounce.

   I caught the bemused expression of an old man who was standing in the alley beside his dumpster, and many dogs barked and ran the fence lines, loving us and hating us all at the same time.
   And when he took the first turn, blind and narrow turn with block and fence walls on all sides, giving up my one condition of the ride, and without even knowing I’d done it .. I was clamped onto his sun bleached, sweaty bare shoulders. This, I knew, still seemed pretty sissy-mary, but I had bigger things on my mind. Silly to consider these things when the possibility of death is becoming quite real, but what can I say, the 6th grade version of myself drew up the constitution of thought in my mind, and it was backed up and justified by the big brother’s of America .. of which I was one.
   Terror .. mixed with irony. I’m going to die in a pile with this crazy person, and nobody will know until the trash truck comes around. Oh .. give me a tidal wave, give me a Great White, give me a burning building and a poor puppy dog upstairs .. but this ? I thought about choking him on a place where the road was straight .. he’d pass out or pull over, and we might get into a fight, but I’d live. And I thought about just pushing off the back and rolling in the hard desert clay and broken bottles .. but this I’d save for the end, if somebody jumped out in front of us or if the steal elephant, trash truck, appeared from around the corner.
   Faster and faster he went … going up on two wheels on turns, and spitting out onto the actual road amongst cars for a time before escaping back into the unpoliced back alleys.   
   What are they going to tell my mom ?? “He died instantly. On impact. There was no pain.” I could hear it. “We don’t know who was driving, but his friend had crack, speed, taco bell and coolaid in his system.”
   I’m too good for this, I half-thought, before breaking into a laughing fit, and then coming back to the terror, and then again still, to my poor little Italian mom. My book’s not done. I’m in love. I can’t die like this .. I can’t die now !!!!
   And then, even though I’d been trying to keep track of the fences and dogs and broken TV’s to know if we were rounding home plate .. we were there. We were home. And the motor was off. And I could hear the birds and the breeze in the leaves in the trees.
   I was too shaky to say anything of consequence. And I knew it was all my fault anyway … this, is what a crazy person does for fun. This is how they live. This is how they burn up all the extra chemical energy that they’re borrowing from their retirement fund.

   And after all that, I said okay to a stiff drink … as a medicine. And I drank it with my eyes closed, on a floating raft the pool. 
   He really wasn’t a terrible guy or mean in anyway, just a partier with no money and no direction and parents that let him live in their investment property rent-free. That deal went for me, too .. we just had to pay the property taxes three ways plus utilities. Crazy deal, $150 per month, and it helped me survive while I wrote, but it did come with a price. The theft, for one. But I found ways around that, like not leaving anything of value out, and even the stock from my closed skate shop fit in that little room with me.
   My bed was set up off the ground on crates filled with the skateboard invention I’d produced and patented the year before, and I’d built a wall out of boxes of new skate shoes, a hundred or so pairs, and the closet was filled with trash bags of tagged and folded tee shirts and pants awaiting ebay. Talk about caring your history around with you.

   Juwels was sort of mortified the first time she came over and saw the storage locker I called home.
   “Ummm .. there’s blood on your carpet,” she said, standing in the adjoining bathroom.
   “Oh, yeah .. I think that’s my roommate’s .. he gets a lot of nose bleeds.”
   The springs from the bed hurt her back. The light hurt her eyes. The dust hurt her nose. And when I was away on a gig the next day (I used to skateboard in TV commercials) she ran out to the store and bought rubber gloves and cleaning supplies.
   “I cleaned your toilet,” she told me just after we’d kissed hello. “It was disgusting. I couldn’t get myself to sit on it. And I couldn’t get the stain out of the carpet.”
   We went out that evening, and I bought a new memory foam bed. And although at the time I’d didn’t think there was anything wrong with my sheets, (I’d never even heard of the term “thread count” before) Juwels insisted on buying me a new comforter, sheets, pillows and pillowcases.
   To her credit, she wasn’t being fussy, and I can see that now. My mattress did leave imprinted coil marks in your skin. My version of a fitted sheet was stretchy tee shirt material, a size too small and safety pinned to the bed’s corners. There was no top sheet to speak of, and my comforter was handed down from childhood. She should have ran away screaming .. but juwels always did like a project.  
   I guess I’d always just thought I was low maintenance … but that can turn to sloppy if you’re not careful, and apparently I wasn’t careful.   
   It was a strange place to be while California dreaming and writing love letters. Just in the peek of my creative writing, the sheriff would come knocking on the door unexpectedly. I’d see his car through a slit in my blinds, and my ol’ riding partner and roommate would plead, “Oh .. shit !! Don’t answer it.” He’d hide under the down-folded drop leaf table in the garage, or scurry up into the attic to nest with the dust bunnies until I’d tell him the coast was clear. Creditors would call and bitch me out about his debts, and parties would rage late into the night while I was trying to sleep.  
   And when he wasn’t doing beer runs or donating plasma for drug or grocery money, he’d be disturbing me with the pounding sounds of loud sex in the middle of the day or night or replacing my apple juice with tap water. One morning, I walked out into the kitchen to find him sitting at the table and doing cocaine with a well dressed bald man I’d never seen before.
   “Hey, wanna do a blow?” He asked as if it were a slice of pizza.
   “No thanks,” I said, not even a coffee drinker.
   I’ve gotta finish this book and get out of here, I thought. Also, juwels had increased the distance between us, setting off for Spain and skating in Barcelona for a while, and so the phone calls stopped. This depressed me, and feeling dramatic one day, I said through a text that I was starting to forget what her voice sounded like.
   Two minutes later, my phone rang.
   Paying by the minute, she’d rushed into a hostel and said, “You can’t do that.”
   “Hello.. ” I said.
“You can’t forget my voice.”
   “Okay ..”
“When do you get back,” I asked.
   “In a week.”  
“Well … I’m moving out there to be with you.”
“Yes really.”
   “As soon as you get back. I’m going crazy.”
   I don’t know what the holdup was, but it was finally said, and as soon as she returned, she started looking at places for me.
   “Do you want to come out and look them over,” she asked.
   “No. I’m sure I’ll like whatever you like.”
   And three days later, she’d found me a newly renovated studio in Long Beach, month to month, and I sent her the deposit without seeing so much as a picture.
   It might have taken me another week to find a good stopping point on my writing, give my notice, and throw all of my stuff into the pickup truck and tiny Uhaul trailer, and I just left.
   I’d already vanished from the scene long before this date, so when I slipped away, nobody noticed.
   I’d crossed that desert so many times before on childhood vacations in my family’s big brown van, and later in life, on skateboard tours and trips, but bringing all my stuff with me made it real. I was really, finally, going to live in California .. and I had a great reason for doing so.
   Showing up on the coast, I told juwels that the first thing I wanted to do was swim out into the ocean and wash the desert off my brow. It was a long slow drive, and I’d almost lost the trailer when the ball hitch came loose on a mountain grade.
   And so we went, picnic basket, beach blanket, all smiles and bare feet. The town Juwels lived in, Seal Beach, was a kind of paradise. The breeze was always cool and had the scent and taste of the ocean in it. Tropical flowers and banana palms stretched out past the white picket fences to kiss my cheek on the short walk to the beach. And from the pier, old men could be seen fishing sand sharks and sea bass over the chorus of screaming, laughing, crying kids in the sun. I could die in a place like this, and from the looks of it, many of the residents intended to do so.
   We found ourselves at my new studio later that day, but didn’t stick around long, just dumped my stuff so I could return the trailer. Juwels was acting all giddy on the way down to the studio, and just before I put the key in the door, she stepped in front of me and said, “Okay …. so I did a little house warming for you.”
   When we walked in, I found that she’d snuck into the studio before I’d moved out and decked the place out with everything I didn’t have: silverware, plates, cups, and place settings. The shower curtain was pressed and new, bathmat, soap dispenser .. and she trailed me around this new space like a kid on Christmas morning .. even though  she was the one doing the giving. She pointed out all the frill and lace, and it was all very sweet, but most of this stuff would be returned to the store within the week.


   Over the next few days, I don’t think I checked in with my studio-box or pile of stuff once. Juwels had kidnapped me once again, and this time it was for keeps. The vibe of her space was so great, bright, fresh and natural. She and her sister, Lily, shared a little house with a guy named Charles. I didn’t see Charles much, he mostly stayed at his boyfriend’s place. But our few interactions were awkward (I seem to make people awkward no matter what I do .. guess it’s contagious) .. so anyway, not being able to figure me out, he had decided that I must be gay, too. I laughed when Juwels told me this .. not that the idea that I could be gay was so unbelievable, but just because he’d said something like, “trust me … we can smell our own” or something like that.

   I was happy that he was there, though, for the moment, because it would really help in the premature next step in our relationship. And besides that .. he had a big cushy chair in the living room, and during the first time I’d stayed there with Juwels, seven months before, I’d fart into the cushion of that chair about a hundred times .. it was like my fart catcher.
   You see … I get a really nervous stomach around new girls, and being a new girl, I couldn’t just casually release the pressure. So it builds and builds, and so just before I was about to float away .. or self combust from an unfortunate brush with static electricity, I’d go strolling off to the kitchen under the pretense of a drink or a snack, and then I’d silently roost on old Charles’ plush sofa. Maybe he could smell me ??
   For those of you at home who may want to try this technique, the trick is not just to sit and fart, but to sit .. then ever so slowly lean back up off the cushion while farting. This creates suction, like pulling open an accordion, and your little secret will be safely stored inside. Well, just as long as somebody doesn’t sit there again in the next ten minutes or so ..
   But this farting business had long since stopped, maybe before I’d left the first time. Maybe that’s how I knew she was a keeper. And I was able to relax in the jungle atmosphere that they’d cultivated on 15th street and the PCH. The furniture was all imported teak, silk spun and gold lace, and vines and palms and other carnivorous-looking plants greeted visitors from door to door. Juwels had painted the walls in themes, and they were always having friends and neighbors over for meals and laughs, and everybody seemed so happy and open and giving. Coming from a big family where everyone fought over the last popsicle in the box, and argued over what was fair, this was unreal, and I wanted to be like them and live in this easy going beach flow.
   The beach house in Seal was so much better than the blaring traffic and the smell of hot asphalt-filled potholes and poorly tuned cars in my hood. Juwels and I were on a kind of honeymoon, making up for lost time and fulfilling promises of breakfast in bed and snuggles late into the day. We revisited all her favorite hikes and beach coves and worked up a sweat at the skate parks by night.
   All was great, perfect, and then the property manager at my new place left me a voice mail. She said something about meeting up to go over things. Things? I had the key … she had the rent and deposit. What was there to go over? It had been over a week, and I still hadn’t even slept there, so nobody could have complained about me ..
   I met up with the landlady the next day. This was a first, but Juwels had described her to me, and she was like a memory of the words I’d heard, even the same clothes. She arrived in an electrical rolling cart, but then got up and walked up the small set of stairs and into the “courtyard”. She had shiny blue spandex tights and an over sized white tee shirt printed with a cartoon tweedy bird. Her hair was bleached from stark white to radioactive blond. And as she got closer, I noticed what I imagined to be stained splats of bird poop streaking her shoulder and sleeve. Juwels had been to her apartment, which the lady secured free in exchange for managing the place, and even though she wouldn’t open the door more than a crack to snatch the deposit check, Juwels said she saw and heard dozens of birds in cages, all squawking and pooping and damming their bars. 
   “So I have some paperwork for you to go over,” she said.
   And we sat at a wire mesh table beside my door.
   She slid a full ashtray to the side and opened a folder. “This is the rules of the house,” she said, sliding it over to me, and I pretended to read it.
   “Please sign it.”
    I did.
   She yammered on about this and that … and about all the problems they’d had which led to some of the more obscure policies on the sheet, and then she slid another paper over to me and said, “And here’s your lease agreement.”
   “Lease?” I said. “I thought this was month to month. You told juwels month to month, and I’ve already paid and taken the keys and ..”
   “Well …” she started, not denying what I said, “The owner wants a lease now. They don’t just want people moving in and out all the time.”
    “Ummm .. I wasn’t planning on that.”
   “Why would you want month to month?” she asked. “This is good for you. This way your rent is set, and you know you have the place for at least a year, and ..”
   I hate contracts, especially on things that I’m not head over heals about .. like this stupid apartment, newly renovated and fuming  with the smell of the carpet glue and fresh paint. “I’m a student,” I lied, “And I might be changing schools in the future, and this wasn’t the deal. I just moved all my stuff out here from hundreds of miles away, and this wasn’t the deal.”
   She patted the paper in front of me with her boney old hand, and said, “Well .. these are the terms. Per the owner’s request. You need to sign it, or move out.”
   I wanted to tear the paper up. Dump the ash stray on top of the shreds and storm off, but not knowing what else to do .. I signed it.
   That was it, a prison sentence. If a little bungalow or converted garage should open in juwels beach town, I’d be off the market. My box in this row of silly boxes, like motel doors with bright red numbers and shared walls with neighbors I still hadn’t met .. this would be my cell away from my love. Another lonely box with a lock and a window without a view. Why would I ever want to be here?
   I was irked as I watched her little cart roll away on the horizon, tweedy bird shirt flapping in the breeze and a duress-signed contract tucked away for safekeeping. I was mostly disappointed with myself for signing though. But what choice did I have? I did need a place to live .. even it if it was just a hypothetical place secured for appearances, or possibly a fallout shelter should unexpected bombs drop on the Eden of our relationship.
   Juwels was confused when I told her about the meeting. “What? That wasn’t what she said. You’ve already moved in. Is it even legal to do this to you after you’ve already moved in?”
   “I don’t know … I signed the damn paper though.”
   This put a bit of a funk on my mood, and I continued to stay away from the place. Juwels sister worked full time, and Charles was away day and night, so nobody was around to care that I’d sort of attached myself to the zip code.
   And then juwels surprised me with a question. “Why don’t you just move in here?”
   “Ummm …”
   Given the trap I’d sprung my foot in, the idea of living there with her in this endless summer seemed like heaven. But we’d only physically been around each other for three or so weeks, including our first foray. This wasn’t a worry of mine .. but it was a worry of her older sister and roomie.
   “Lil,” Juwels said, “Charlie is never here .. he doesn’t live here. He just needs to move in with Felix, and stop wasting his money on an empty bedroom. Peter can rent that room, and we’ll turn it into a studio.”
   “I don’t know ..” She said, “What if you guys break up and he moves out .. Can you pay $1200 a month until we find another roommate?”
   And she probably could .. with her talent in high demand and well compensated, but she wasn’t thinking about any of that.
   While Lily was thinking about it, juwels took the opportunity to run it past Charles. “We’re kicking you out,” she said jokingly. And in reality, he was probably happy to hear about it, only paying rent there because he was on the lease and to keep up appearances of his own. “You don’t live here .. you know you don’t live here, you don't even have any clothes left in your closet, so you might as well stop wasting your money, and Peter will take your room.”
   He agreed without a fuss, but warned juwels about moving so fast with somebody she’d just stared dating .. not to mention the fact that he thought I was gay.
   A day or two later, juwels sis called her from work and said that she wanted to meet for lunch and discuss her thoughts. I waited back at the house, not wanting to be there if it was just going to be some long big-sis talk about how she knew best, and how she was saving her from a mistake and all that.
   It seemed like she was gone forever, and I was climbing the walls with anticipation. And then finally it got to be too much, and I left juwels a note saying that I was going to be out at the beach waiting for her in our spot by the jetty.
   I took my blanket and went on foot to spend more time in transit. It was beautiful that day, as it was most days, and I lied there, listening to the waves, and thinking.
   When enough time passed, I sat up and watched the boardwalk, looking for juwels shape in the distance. And a bit longer than that, I began to worry. I laid back down again, shielding my eyes from the sun and actually fell asleep. The sound of something crashing into the sand right beside my head shook me from my nightmares of cartoon birds and contracts, and I looked up to see that it was juwels, digging the tail of her skateboard into the sand beside the blanket.
   I smiled.
And she didn’t.
  This confused me .. and I found myself getting a little antsy, probably just stored up from all the uncertainty. I hate waiting for results.
“Well …. What did she say ?”
  And then I noticed she was holding a hand behind her back, hiding something.
   This confused me more.
   “What are you waiting for?? Come out with it.”
   She finally smiled, and then from behind her back, pulled out a wild-looking long stemmed daisy and said something in Spanish, the only word I remember knowing was “casa”.
   “What ????”
   “I said, welcome to my home” she laughed .. and then I noticed that there was a bronze house key tied around the neck of the flower, just dangling there from a piece of yarn.
   It was a bit like being on a game show mixed with a hidden camera show .. but in my mind, with much higher stakes.
   It took me a second to get excited, and then we rolled around on the blanket, and the poor flower was crushed in the mix.
   From there, it was a day of swimming, and then back to the house .. our house. And I called the evil tweedy and told her that I’d signed under duress, and that I’d be taking my stuff out the next day.
 And even though I’d never stayed there, and their bait and switch had left me not wanting to keep the place at all, they stole my entire $650 deposit, which acted as first month’s rent, and deducted another $20 from my last month’s rent for “cleaning”. And I left that place without ever flushing the toilet.
   This last cash grab was a further twisting of the knife, and I even talked to one of my lawyer friends who drew up papers for small claims court, but in the end, I chose to call that $670 the expedited processing fee and dramatic occurrence that led Juwels and I into shacking up together. Well worth it, and who wants to start a move to a new state by fussing around with courts and papers? I’d let the karma police straighten them out.
   For the next year, things were almost always easy breezy. The dreaded street sweeper, trailed by the suckerfish meter maids, leached our accounts every now and again when we’d forget to move our cars, and we’d have a little adjusting to do to get our yin & yang swirling in the right direction, and then one day it all ended. The house, the beach town, unexpectedly gone … But we’ll get into all of that in the next installment.

Thanks for reading, loVe,


  1. Nooooo! Why am I at the end of this installment?! More, please!

    1. ha ha ha ... best compliment : )

      There will be more samples from the book, but of course, we'll save a lot too : )

      loVe !

  2. Your writing is so intriguing that the words just whizz by. It's got the hook, and the pull that keeps me wanting the next word, sentence, installment... Make the next one 1,200 words, please :)