a zoo in hell


things I will forget: 1

This is something I remembered because I heard a song. I would never have remembered it if I hadn't heard this song at just the right moment in just the right acoustics. I would forget it if I didn't remember it here. --

Cigar smoke drifts upwards in lazy blue sunlight and tired tungsten orange. I'm on the second, well, third-hand couch, that still smells like booze and too many of other people's cigarettes. The roomate, Bill, is out of the apartment. I know he went out to the clubs last night and probably found another hot darksider or metal chick to entertain him for the remainder of the evening. He looked a lot like the Alice in Chains dude, but he was much cooler than most of the guys that looked like the Alice in Chains dude. I moved in with him because I was between girlfriends and he had copies of Alphaville and Nosferatu on VHS. Actually, we moved in together, both seeing the mutual advantages of having an awesome art-bachelor pad a block away from Hennepin Ave.

We will overlook the fact that I had the hots for his best female friend, and we will also overlook that he flirted unabashedly with my ex-girlfriend on more than one drunken evening. I couldn't blame him, it was clear we had very similar tastes in many things. Anyway, that's not totally the point.

For some reason, my Velvet Underground CD sounded really, really good on the stereo we put in the living room. When Sunday Morning came around, and it really was Sunday morning, somehow the cigar smoke grew lighter, brighter and rolled in slower whorls to Nico's breathy accents. I was still hungover from fighting with my ex-notreally-ex-girlfriend (saying your name doesn't quite feel right) who was also notreally-faithful to her techno DJ replacement boyfriend, and the music elevated that room and myself outside of the main timeline and into a suspension of tobacco and lighted motes. We never did vacuum that place.

I watched the clouds fill the ceiling and spread blue tendrils toward the torn screen windows. I knew the room was a mess, I knew the whole place was a mess. There was a week worth of dishes and two layers of beer bottles that needed tending to. I suppose there may have been a rent check to write too, but those things are easy to forget. I thought about calling her and checking in, like we always do, but the more the smoke drifted around, and the more I hit the repeat button on the CD player, the less likely that phone call became.

Of course, this wasn't the end of that love affair or that home on Hennepin. This was an end, though, the first shove of the ship from shore toward whatever the current of wind and sea had in mind. There was no loss. There was no gain. There was fire, smoke and music. One thing became another and rose toward some impossible goal. Time stopped with the push of a replay button and when the phone did ring, I didn't pick it up. When the cigar burned down to my fingers, I set the butt in the ash tray and watched the smoke linger as long as it chose to stay.