That was the night that Johnny showed up.
What was I doing for New Year’s Eve last year? Oh!—how could I forget?! I was in New York City at the Phish show in Madison Square Garden with the Trojan’s son.
When I think about that whole concept of a girl having to define the man she’d want to spend the rest of her life with, with just six months to get that concept together—I wonder if you’d have to decide based on some one you know, or if you dream man would be some sort of composite that you just haven’t realized yet?
I wonder if I should feel guilty that I probably can’t even recall all the men who have ever claimed love for me? How many hearts have I broken?
Nah—I need to remember that life is short, and I’ve never really thought that it was true that if you can’t be with the one you love that you should love the one you’re with. It’s about taking that deep breath and remembering that you used to fall asleep every night with dream in your head of what life would look like, in the paradise that your father painted.
What if you believed that you were already there?
That you were in just some kind of symbolic lesson or joke? That your father is really there? Could you believe as I was raised to believe that your father would one day live again? If so, would you recognize his face if you saw him?
Would your father be someone you know? The man in the few photos you have? Or grown older? Would you know his face, if you saw it, either way? Mine died so young, when I was so young. What if he was a phycist?
How do I explain how confusing it is that I seem to have two mothers—only not if you think of it as One who gave me life, the Other who gave me death?
What lessons would you take away? To always listen to your mothers—or perhaps, is it, to wary of the mother who’d commit you?—or would it be the mother who’d bust you out?
If a homeless man came to your door—would you take him in—feed and shelter him?
It didn’t feel like risking my very life that night. It felt like the night that a 21-year old blue-eyed blonde version of grandfather walked through the door.
What if you had to figure out your very own movie? Backwards? Would it be a wedding movie at the end? Or would it be death?
What if you’d already lived it? Could you recall the scenes?—Would you try? Or just live it out as each breath expires in time?
What if the movie was a wedding mystery movie!?! Where you have to figure it out—like Momento—backwards in reverse until the beginning or you get it or something?! Wait?! Didn’t that guy— wasn’t it?!— wasn’t it about some guy who had stuff happen because he couldn’t sleep? No! Wait. That was The Machinst. What happened in Momento? What happened in Donnie Darko for that matter? Was Momento also about not being able to sleep? I can just remember him not being able to remember. Donnie Darko, I can’t remember why he couldn’t sleep. The Machinist—he couldn’t sleep, but I couldn’t remember why…
…any way! What if you had to figure it all out? I think I’d circle around to remembering that I liked it better when the Devil slept in my bed and nearly burned my house down, and a girl helped me pitch the tent in my spare bedroom after I kicked out my Trojan horse of a roommate, and The Devil’s uncle brought his kid’s over to watch Annie in our secret garden that reminded me somehow of the surf version of the set of Dirty Dancing. I introduced them to my version of Mister MacGrewgor, and told them about his garden.
I had a bunny once. And this summer I had a beautiful dog. And a summer wonderland. Would you regret what you did this last summer if you knew it were the last summer of this earth?—Oh, it’s been nagging me that thing he said. But you know, there was this other thought that struck me, which is that — jeez — I really need to remember to spin it up faster and remember that you have to remember the scenes.
—Glad that you’ve come back—Cat Powers, Lived in Bars—Could that be your long lost aunt? How old is she? Does she have a twin brother?
—The Ozark Mountain Dare Devils
—Wait?! What if… We kow your house so very well… we’ll bust down your door if you’re not there… She keeps bringing me back to happy… air planes… out of here.
And we’re back again—is it a wedding video? Mystery? In reverse? Or is it a life mediated by reminds, which all seem to point you in some direction, but you’re just not sure which one?
Remember when you met all those crazy people? Why is it that that felt like the beginning? Was that all after Independence Day? I met the old man who looks like John—you know— like John the baptist with dreads.
If you could imagine Jesus— would you imagine him to be more like a blonde, young, lanky Southern California’s next authentic rock star, or would he be in long hair and birkenstocks? And—oh! my!—can you believe what you almost sold your soul to design last year?!—you’d almost forgotten.
What if you took a few drugs and ended up finding your way to Jesus… would you trust Jesus? Or would you believe he was drug induced or psychotic behavior? My father hitch hiked his way across the country in 1975, from Indiana to California, finding himself in a Moonie camp just about an hour north of San Francisco and met some guy named Brent Blakeley who doesn’t believe in making money, or the Internet, and told you that your dad was alive for an hour, to an hour and a half before a trucker came along at that time of night to see him laying there, and to call 911.
You think of your mother, holding his hand—”you blew it buddy”, she said to him. And as his hand slipped from hers, she knew that that was that.
You remember her telling you a story. The first time you’d heard this one. She doubted whether or not your dad could make it. Stay true. But to what, you can’t recall? Not to the religion—but in some behavior? What did he do again? How did he disappoint her, and make her doubt him? He got drunk at some party—? Was that the night she doubted? I wonder if he knew? Or if he believed she believed in him?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and what else have you read this past year?
And all the movies you saw? Shutter Island, The Adjustment Bureau, Limitless, Source Code… and?
Don’t forget to bring in the Raymond Chandler romance. The Man in the White Suit. He looked so good from so far—and even better in your memory.
The TV shows—Weeds, Californication, The L Word, Entourage, Dollhouse, Nip/Tuck, and How I Met Your Mother.
The bands—The Bird and The Bee, Cat Power, Ozark Mountain Daredevil’s, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, and finally some Avett Brothers, or just listening to your iPod on play all the way through, one song at a time.