It was September or at least felt like September, she was sitting and smoking, not a joint, a cigarette, smoking in the sand sitting next to me, with the sun descending, not setting but descending, from the viewable sky creating this perfect color I can only call citrus along with a static laser warmth that the sun gives off in it’s last half hour of daily life, slowly sucking the color out of the sky, pulling it down like an anchor on a canvass.
If you look far enough into the northeast, almost straining your eyes, out over the blue green windswept ocean and passed the crooked pier, you could see a star or two starting to glow. She is looking that way, searching for something far off in the golden and black horizon, maybe those stars and maybe it is nothing at all. Her skin looks a little pink from the sun, making her more beautiful somehow, and while her gaze throws past the white caps and the seagulls and the sand, just those things, because most of the people have gone even though it is not cold yet, and still she looks cold somehow, with her hair blowing in the southeast wind and a wild scarf wrapped around her neck, not talking to me at all. Just sitting and smoking and looking past everything. Then, in that moment, all I can think is, “What I wouldn’t give, to live this moment forever.” But that moment passes. Like they all pass. And in the next we are walking together on the boardwalk, not holding hands, because we are not in love, and neither of us think we are, which is ok.
While we walk I am looking around, lost in a thought of how everything is so strange now, the emptiness of this place, it feels intense after months of stifling crowds and heat. The cool breeze and the open space, room for your elbows and your voice, it makes a familiar place seem like an alien planet. It is strange noticing the variety of sounds that come to ones ears, from all the bars and the arcade machines, from conversations and feet walking over hollow wood, because before all you heard was this singular noise, not a voice or song or a sound but a symphony of it all giving birth to some new sound, ambient sound they would say, a sound that would encapsulate everything, the whole world, if ears could hear that far, and as we walk past the pier, which is closed and the gates are pulled shut, a beware of dogs sign hangs on the gate but I have lived my whole life in this town and never saw a fucking dog, not once, so while all the lights start to come on, and the sounds become distinct, and my mind is swimming in it all, I get the sensation of being inside a dome, even though the open sky is above our heads and the night is folding over the town, still, I am thinking about the imaginary dogs and the ambient voice, while she is talking to me, about what? I cannot remember, because I never remember those kind of things, but I do remember the cadence of her speech, the face she makes while taking a drag of a cigarette, the way her eyes sparkle and then roll back into her head when she has an orgasm, but not what she was saying, not just then.
We meet up with a few friends at a bar and start drinking in the early twilight, everyone is very excited, just to be alive, and all I want to do is get drunk because there is always one person or another that wants to talk philosophy because they think I like to talk about things like that. How entertaining it is to hear us talk about something and actually use our minds, but I am bored of thinking, tired of my mind, because it never actually gets you anywhere. You can debate the meaning of life, or the precepts of society, or the significance of morality, but once that conversation is over everything is the same as it was before except my beer is empty, or worse warm, and my cigarette has burned down, so even though I am drawn into the conversation, because I am an egotist, and I cannot help myself, expounding my ideas, hearing my own voice, even though my voice speaks ideas that I think are stupid, and to prove this, when the conversation ends, without anything ever getting solved, just more paint on the wall filled with holes, I say “It is all just a bunch of bullshit anyway.” and everyone agrees with that, so we get another round and talk about nothing, which is far more entertaining, because when you talk about nothing the world seems to make sense.
All this while the summer night sky envelopes us, we are unaware of it, along with the smell of the ocean, and light pouring from florescent bulbs, then, suddenly, we are a crowed of strangers, with everyone inhabiting their own level of inebriation, making us act strangely, talk to loudly, everyone on their separate planets. We are solar system lacking common gravity. To anyone else we must look like a pack of mad dogs. Lubricated by tequila and freedom. A kind of freedom you are likely to feel only once, when you know enough to understand life but to dumb to realize how you are living it wrong.
Even though this memory, the one I have, the one I am writing to you about, is not one night at all. More of a collage. A sublime mixture encompassing one hundred nights or one thousand or one instant, taking place with millions of characters or just one or two, anywhere, everywhere, nights that were all identical and at the same time perfectly unique. Because through it all the message the remains the same. The message born from the screaming lungs of an eternal youth. The profound beauty of it. The reckless combustion of chemicals that makes us believe in unbelievable things things and hope for some great future, even though everything around us proved hope to be futile and that the future will send us elsewhere and teach us otherwise. None of that evidence mattered because the high we were all on was better then one hundred line of cocaine or one thousand orgasms, one million facts, one trillion figures. It wasn’t just the beer running in our veins, or the sex sticking to our skin, the freedom resonating like bass note in our bones, it was life itself in it’s purest form. The sanctimonious debauchery dancing with ordered mayhem. The stuff that dreams are made of. Looking back ten years, ten hours, or ten seconds later you feel deep down inside that you had something, even though it wasn’t something you could ever explain, “it” was thick in the air and dripped heavy off of every atom, in the green of her eye, or the black of my beard, the phantom howling in the wind, a soft creaking of boards, the clanking of rust in broken down bars, a sour smell of old beer, endlessly blaring music, all of it was absolute. All of it was life. And all of it was freedom.
Then, sitting on the beach again, after everything else has passed and I am alone but not lonely because everyone is just a few yards away, standing, dancing, telling stories, around a big fire. I can almost here her thinking, “Why is he sitting alone” but then someone else grabs her arm, probably a guy, and he wants to fuck her, so she stops thinking about me. While the moon is low over the ocean, making a huge white undulating streak of light on the black choppy sea and I feel the light falling on my face making me glow while I sit down by the ocean with the waves lapping at my toes, still drunk but no longer feeling like I am, feeling pensive, knowing all the books in the world are filled with meaningless words, trying to capture something elusive, because in every book I ever read, not one ever mentioned or even tried to explained any of this. The only thing you really live for. Not to grow old or raise a family, become rich, famous, fall in love, win a battle, find some answer, no. Not any of that bullshit. Because that is what words are, bullshit, and I know it in that moment. Because in every book I ever read, they never mentioned how it feels to sit somewhere, anywhere really, and think “What I wouldn’t give, to live this moment forever.”