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I sit in my hotel room for hours after class and watch TV. I write a little more, fix coffee, then call down to the front desk and have them bring up more when it’s gone. The coffee comes in shiny caramel colored packages and is delivered by an older black gentleman in a green uniform and white gloves. He smiles as I take a few packages and thank him. He calls me "Sir" and this makes me uncomfortable and I close the door.

This is my day and this is my evening - and this is the let down at the end of a weekend that I can’t properly describe. I’ve become so used to the pulsing crowd close to me. There were so many people in and out of Bart’s house for so long that it started to feel normal. I sit here and my memory has made it all a swirl of heat and body and drunk and eat and talk and talk and talk I feel absent from it and filled

At the party I felt like an outsider at first but then so many people seemed drawn into the center and held -

You were always welcome here
You will never get away from us now

I’m in this fucking hotel room     I’m waiting for a call      I need a new shirt     I need sleep     I need more music

‘don’t talk politics and don’t throw stones’

was that a knock at the door?

Your knock on the door is so quiet that I think I imagine it. I leave you waiting outside wondering if you’re even at the right door. I force you to call and wake my pathetic, loser ass out of my haze

Yes, I’m totally screwed up and I know that I can’t make my bed very well         Who’s to say if I can even imagine what it would be like if I actually had the Eden I wanted to create

I can’t taste this anymore when I think

We leave the hotel and you drive. I keep trying to figure out why it is strange that you’re driving. Maybe it’s because we hardly drove anywhere over the weekend and I still imagine that everything is walking distance. I need a new shirt.        So we start the night out going to Target so I can get something to wear in the morning.

We talk at Target and I listen to you talk about everyone - and I keep wondering why I am here         I    ’m so far out of all this             I was not there for all of the moments                 I wasn’t there for Yankee Trader or Mac’s on Sunday night                     I wasn’t there for so many great moments and I feel as if I shouldn’t be included in these things                 we talk about Bart and my fears subside

From there we go to R Thomas and walk up in the sprinkling rain. We sit and chat a little, just simple words, more of the conversation 

        maybe this is the start of the conversation ?

I can’t describe you. You remind me of so many people I’ve known in my life but I can’t see them at all in your face It makes me angry to know that I’m such a self-absorbed dolt - I don’t think it matters

There is so much to talk about in this place, so much to say.  I want to see who you are, see what’s going on in your life, get your opinions on the weekend and the weather                     but I don’t know what else we would have to talk about other than the weekend and the weather and writing- why do I feel as if I know you? I want to tell you a few of my adventures since I’d left Columbus - everything in my life is equated into the terms of a story - this experience is  ....  this story is the one where Jared wipes potato on the glare screen         the one where Jared moves to Columbus     the one where Jared makes out with the officer on the dance floor        the one where Jared attacks the possum             the one where where wherewhere  -

-  is it possible to have so many adventures in such a short lifetime? Why is every event in my life an adventure? Why is everything an episode?

I want to know you better, to get inside your thoughts for a while, get some ideas to understand why I feel like I know you         why do you seem to know me?
Am I selfish in this?  Am I just a hoor? Am I hogging the conversation?

I’m Feeling guilty that I didn’t pay enough attention to YOUR stuff and YOUR ideas and feelings yes, I knew you- but I’d never really sat down and read YOU.

Do I understand what friendship means now? Am I still lost in the whirling crowd at Bart's?

How did I stumble into this again?

It’s after eleven and the air is cool and wet and still. I sit there and drinking dark sweet tea while touching the tips of my fingers to the sopping sheen on my glass, heavy drops fall to the table. Garlic beans and Quinoas get colder and colder. I have to set down my fork.

I ask you “does fictionalizing one’s life make them an incredible liar?”

The look on your face was so strange; as if I’d accused you of something

                        and it was me who had lied, wasn’t it?         Why can’t I stop feeling like I’m lying whenever I start to type?     Do I want my life to be so interesting and funny? Do I need to keep all of my best stories, my revelations and tears, in anecdotes? Where are all of the people anyway? Where is the crowd now? Why don’t they just turn and walk away instead of trying to make me smile?

I stop feeling fucking inadequate because she sits looking at me as if she feels guilty about something. I stammer and try to make sure that she understands that I’m not talking about her            why would she look         guilty?

The food is getting so much colder and I’m trying to ignore it, I look down to see the dip and the hummus and the curry Quinoa, I try to slip in a bite between words and feel silly when it tumbles down my chin. I don’t want this distraction so I grab my tea and take another sip. I can still taste the leftover sugar…

I knew I was in The South, why didn’t I ask for unsweetened tea?

I can't stop doubting my worthiness for friendship? Why do I doubt my ability to put thought on paper? what color can I turn my eyes?

You look up and stop me from talking

Jared, I’m...” You drop the bomb and I’m numb and open mouthed - I can feel my feet tingle and the blood flow to the end of my fingers I want to laugh and I feel blurry around the edges         who am I now?         I’m trying to sort it out, I’m trying to think of the things that I said.     I’m trying to comprehend what you just said             “Jared, I’m…” trying to comprehend this         “Jared, I’m…" trying to remember snippets I’ve written         my god         what do I do with it all?             I feel like a liar     Jared, I’m-“ I feel like a liar - “Jared,     I feel like a liar, Jared I’m - feeling one of the biggest emotional shocks I’mI’mI’mI’m…

I’m not going to eat anymore. I don’t want to talk with my mouth full and I can’t stop talking now. I need to talk and I know you now. Things you’ve said have touched me and brought images into my head - pulled them out of me- these words completely change my perspective.                 “Jared, I’m…”         I wanted to know what it was like to throw myself into this place and I realize that I know you! I'm here, I’m speechless, I'm happy.    Two faces have merged into yours - I watch a friend materialize out of thin air and I don’t want to stop this …I could never figure out why I felt close to you so easily.  

“Jared, I’m…” wondering if I’m making a tablespoon of SENSE in the greater meaning of the word and I lean my head forward and feel the table shift under me.

     wow             I’m being reconstructed 

Where do I go now?

I’ll try to read you like a book now         I think I like the fact that you told me the names of some of the chapters             I have so many favorite titles             I need to sit down with you and a hot mug of coffee to string together all of the parts that I missed         I’m pointed in a direction that makes me want to write about the cracks in the road and the jot down bits of flaked paint at the white line    

I want to write love letters to all of my friends

I don’t want the conversation to end.  We talk about everything...  we define The Conversation...  you tell me words I’d thought were with someone else. I tell about the simple message that I want to turn into a poem     or a story     we talk about me replacing ellipses with spaces between thoughts    would that work?         I talk and talk and talktalktalktalktalktalktalktalktalktalk            Until I’m miserable and have to use the bathroom - I sit in misery for a long time so I wouldn't  break the roll of the conversation.     I finally cannot hold it longer and excuse myself to run to the bathroom. 

There is a large mirror that takes up the entire wall and I don't see it until I turn a little and I mistake my reflection for another person.  I'm so shocked and distracted that I let out a yelp and physically leap into the air.  My reflection and I laugh at each other. 

I don't lose the irony that I believe my reflection to be a stranger in the same room. 

When I return we are aware of the time at last.  We realize that we can’t keep going.

I keep imagining my life as a long string of stories, of coincidences, of characters that move in and out like some bizarre, dysfunctional novel. How does this happen to me? How is it that my wishes come true? Why is it that so many times in my life I feel blessed? By Whom?

We leave the restaurant and walk down the steeply sloped parking lot to the car. My mouth is tired from talking but it’s good. I want to hear more, I realize that my initial thoughts were so wrong         How do I have a conversation with a muse? 

How do I cope with the fact that a friend can pluck out words that inspire me so easily? I’m blessed.  God, I love my friends.  Is there really anyone in my life that I don't feel privileged to know? No, I don't think there is.

We stop at the front of the hotel and I stammer for something to say that might be meaningful or important and I fail.  I say goodbye and that seems to work.    My week is filled with awkward hugs in the front seat of cars and this hug goodbye is no different.

The car pulls into the night and I walk slowly back into the hotel and press the elevator button. I hold the shirt I bought from Target in my hand as the doors open. When I get back to my room I eat the rest of the food in silence, then sleep.


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