are never different. That is just something we say when our capacity for
opportunity exceeds our fragile ability to act. In instances when given
a clear path of decision we fold. We back down to the pressure that change
threatens and we hide behind the imaginary solace that an empty phrase
like I wish things were different offers and we feel better.
But in reality things are never different.
I knew a girl once. Not to well but I knew more than her name. She
was fascinating and scary. She was like a foreign film with incoherent
subtitles, what you read was not necessarily what you got. No different
from most people she was a collection of good intentions, bad decisions,
and even worse timing. A product of an inherited value system so far
out of whack entire wards of hospitalized mental cases could look at
her and experience a feeling of progress and accomplishment. This does
little to affect the fact that I liked her. I liked her quite a bit.
People love a train wreck. Sometimes so much as to get close enough
to smell the railroad ties that are burned to instant ash when the train
jumps the track.
My recollections are subject to recall or denial. I have but brief
memory of conversations that gave me the insight I am alleging myself
She was married at age 16 to a Turk with an ability to beguile middle-aged
American divorcees more than an ability to speak in our most native
tongue. The middle-aged woman of course was my friends mother.
The thought of an arranged marriage for the purpose of an Immigration
Fake-out seemed like the most natural thing in the world to her mother.
Like at the top of the to-do list of a 16 year old girl are items such
as: 1) Go to mall 2)Call babble-network-of-pubescent-friends and the
ever popular 3)Marry Turkish National to secure immigration documentation
so that Mommy can have a boyfriend in the same zip code and/or hemisphere.
This caused no small degree of turmoil that possibly exists to this
She was pregnant at age (X)teen by a boy whose face is blurred by complication
and regret. Upon hearing the story I placed the events mentally in settings
that are familiar with my life. I lack the type of imagination to create
realistic settings based on the disjunct narrative of someone telling
intimate details of their life. I could see the meeting, the cheesy
dialogue, and of course the ugly, sloppy, and uncoordinated sex that
young men have. In a side note well not actually a side note
because I was thinking in tandem with her out pour of the past- I was
identifying the problem young men have early in their sexual experience.
They forget a crucial element to the process. The Girl. The are so busy
using their pelvis as a fulcrum making them look like Tall Texas,
the Galveston oil rig pumping for Texas crude, that they forget there
is another person in the same room not to mention in the same bed. The
point is lost to them. Anyway, a few weeks after Tall Texas
struck oil, my friend discovered she was pregnant. To the best of my
knowledge an abortion was preformed which spared the world the kind
of offspring that would have resulted from a one-time encounter in the
stale-aired stock room of a car stereo shop. I think it was her first
time to have sex.
My friend at this point decided that the banner lined hallways and
pep rallies of a Suburban High School were not the best place for one
to burn their precious youth. So in a move prompted as much by boredom
as frustration, she said fare thee well to the constraints
of a publicly funded education and set down the bleak path that this
decision often leads.
My handle of the time frame these events is skewed by a combination
of times drain on the memory and faulty listening skills upon
initial report. It did not occur to me to take notes or ask for a professionally
prepared timeline from Kinkos, for that I apologize to the reader.
Men had been an unstable and precarious offering for my friend so it
seemed only logical to see what the competitor had on sale that week.
My attempt here is not to stoop and call lesbian affairs flights of
fancy or whimsical self-delusion but
well that is what it sounds
like so lets leave it at that. In the arms of a woman it might
be possible to find the tender embrace of unconditional acceptance not
predicated on any of the bullshit and circumstance one finds in traditional
relationships. Not so in this case. For my friend whose life had already
been troubled with hassle and turbulence was drawn into the fray of
yet another series of bad decisions and bad timing all the while with
intentions above the punishing reproach issued by fate.
Strong words and stronger fights, usually physical and abusive, permeated
the pores of this union. Harsh and exhausting in conflict as well as
in sex. Bruised bodies battled through bruised egos. There were no winners
left standing in the wake of divergence and warfare. Butterflies and
Black Ink under the skin. It was the fire that burned deeper into breech
and fueled the ludicrous roles played out daily. Until finally a flash
of good judgment or a moment of good timing ended the chaos. Back home.
Proverbial frying pans and fires, all present and positioned for the
She decided a family might be in the cards somewhere. The idea was
appealing because it gave her the chance to do better than had been
done to her. This required things that the previous lifestyle lacked.
(I refrain from pointing out the obvious.)
It becomes a counter productive exercise to even attempt to take the
story any further. The purpose of the background it to draw the reader
a simple picture of the obstacles faced by this girl. Fucked from the
word go. Fucked by a childhood marred by the erratic habits of deficient
parenting, fucked by the laxed controls of the U.S. Dept of Naturalization
and Immigration, fucked by a faceless teenager with ball-bearings in
his hips, and fucked by a mean spirited girl named V- whose idea of
affection was a blood alcohol level of high octane and a vicious left
hook. And despite it all she held the ability to love almost to the
point of gentle desperation and deliberate need.
We sat at a stop sign in a residential neighborhood one evening. The
car stretched lifeless in the moonshine shadow of a tree fallen victim
to autumn. I can not remember a word about what we said I just know
it was laced with sadness and inspiration. I liked this girl. I liked
her in spite of her past, I liked her because of it. I was as drawn
to her as I was repelled and every other type of contradicting scenario
you can come up with. So there I sat at the intersection of two nameless
streets thinking about how much I would enjoy taking a chance on this
one. But I wouldnt because things are never different. Timing
is always bad, commitments are always too strong, and excuses are always
stacked in mass quantity for easy withdrawal and use.
Though time has done a demolition crews task to my memory of
events, times, and phraseology, I hold with me a measure of her that
out distances a photograph by a few million words. Her face had a delicate
slope to it. Her eyes had a penetrating light. Her voice had honest
inflections that assured if not complete comprehension then at the very
least the desire to comprehend. Her hands had a soft touch that disregarded
the calluses that covered her soul or psyche or whatever gets broken
inside a person when they are the systems bitch either by their
own doing or just chance. And her ability to laugh in the face of unfairness
on a life-sized scale brought a profound sadness to my own laughter.
I will most certainly never know the end to the what ifs
I occasionally bother myself with. I think at times I imagined everything
and I was assigning sainthood to a girl that was a standing monument
to her own ill-planed life. Other times I believe that Angels roam the
pock-marked face of our world in the bodies of prostitutes, politicians,
kids with Downs Syndrome, and 16 yr old girls bound to Constantinople
(or Istanbul, I can never remember) in marriages of international convince.
If she were ever to read these words my hope would be that she realize
I was the loser. I was the one ultimately at the loss of not exploring
every opportunity. Fear is just as poor an excuse for inaction than
logic. I know that now. Though we had an interesting friendship based
on a righteous respect, I will always wonder about the "ifs"
and "could haves". If only things had been different
Things are never different!