Tale of Love Apart
I traded my lover for my love, and went on...
name was Tarbok, and my memories of her never seem to fade. With every
passing year of our separation, my thoughts and fantasies begin to mix
with what I have left of her: just memories. Every year, the corruption
of the validity of these memories seems to deepen. I remembered her
on the night I had to leave, and I remembered how she touched my face
and walked away. Whenever I go back to that night, I can't remember
if the buildings were made of stone, brick, or wood. I don't remember
if it was concrete or asphalt that I was standing on. It is a blur when
I try to think about the lighting of street lamps and private housing.
But I do remember her face, I do remember her movements, I do remember
her smile. Sometimes, though, I think I might be forgetting even that,
and all I am left with is jut a fleeting memory of how good I felt when
I was with her and what she meant to me. I can only pray that this won't
ever leave me. But today, I know I remember her face, and today, I know
how good it was to be in her presence. Thinking of those days past,
I loved her company. And thinking of those nights past, I loved her
touch. It was under that Houstin sky that we met. But, like a squatter,
I had to keep on the move, I had to leave those stark streets and go
back to where I came. I asked her to come, but she couldn't. She had
obligations. So, I traded my lover for my love, and went on, following
the Northern Star, little more than a real slave to this mad world of
Finally, a year would pass and I would be living permanently with a
friend of mine. Yet, nothing was ever permanent with a squatter. Unless
you're also squatting, don't ever fall in love with a squatter.
They'll break your heart.
I kept in touch with Tarbok through normal mail. Those days I would
wake up at 2:00 P.M., first take a piss because of all the beer I drank
the previous night, and then run out to the mail box to look for mail.
It didn't come regularly, but it came nonetheless. To read that greeting,
"To the lovable Vicnor." That was what my days consisted of.
Finally, I had managed to find a friend who had a van, and he was planning
to go out to Los Angeles. "Hey, why the fuck not?" I said,
and I asked if I could tag along. He said he had no problem at all with
me coming. When Tarbok wrote me back, she told me she was heading to
California. This excited me greatly. Finally, I would be able to see
her again, and love her for the person I remember her as. I immediately
wrote back and told her that I was going to Los Angeles, and that we
should meet each other there.
And that night, I thought... Fantasizing about being on the West Coast,
nothing but the ocean breeze caressing my face, on the ocean at 5:30
in the morning, as the sun begins to rise. I was on the other side of
the country, in this dank apartment in New York City, and I was already
in California. Just laying on the floor of the apartment with a pillow
and blanket, looking to the ceiling, sleep slowly grasping me and holding
me... Already walking across the beach in 14 eyelet, steel toe boots,
the window wreaking havoc on my clothes... I was already there, on the
West Coast, next to my lover. I am holding her, kissing her neck, licking
her nose, pulling her tighter to me, as we fuck on the beach.
I am already there. Several days passed, and I finally convinced my
friend to get the van on the road so we could get the fuck out of this
terrible city. "I don't see why you're in such a rush," he
said, "Los Angeles ain't going no fucking where." We were
already several miles out of New York City.
But then, the van started making some bumping noises from the inside,
so we pulled over and my friend opened the hood. "Shit," he
said, as he examined some obviously damage motor parts.
"So?" I asked, wanting to know.
Wiping his hands on a white towel he had, he shrugged, and said, "What
can I tell ya'?"
I grabbed him by his jacket and said, "What the fuck do you mean,
'what can I tell you'?!"
"Hey, man, lay off," he said, and he pushed me off. But I
let him push me off, and I turned away, because I didn't want him to
see the tears welling up in my eyes. A few seconds passed, my back to
him, and I just started walking back to the city, thumb outstreched.
I knew he was watching me walk back. I didn't see him, but I could feel
him. By around seven o'clock, I had finally gotten a ride back to the
city. It was nine o'clock when I walked back in to my friend's apartment.
"What happened, Vicnor?" he said, "Aren't you supposed
to be in Los Angeles?"
"No, I'm not," I said, trying not to think about the issue.
"Here," he said, "You have a letter." He held it
out and looked me in the eyes, and I didn't turn away from him but just
gazed back. "Well, take it," he said. I looked at the letter,
then at him, and I took it.
With letter in hand, I walked out of the apartment.
I searched for the perfect spot, and I found it. I laid down on the
sidewalk, feeling the coarse pavement on my palms as I sat, and I leaned
against a building. There were a few people around, just walking.
There were also a few other homeless people. For one last time before
going on, I looked up at the stars.
I looked down, and opened the envelope addressed to me. I read the words,
"To the lovable Vicnor..." And I read on... I had to read
it. I had to read what she said we would do together, where she said
she would kiss me, where she said she would take me... I had to read
her words, as she said that she couldn't wait to see me.
I had to read her words...
© Benjamin Tepolt 2003
[Author's Note: Written on Friday, May 2, 2003.]
- A Squatter's Tale
all rights reserved