A skin shedding
Tears unraveling from her tightly bound book
If only a man
Or situation could
Arouse freedom in her.
I’m free! I moved out. I can’t believe I am writing it. Everything from the last 8 months has been so hard. Wait, take that back. Since last August. 10 fucking months. God damn. I survived. The case is basically over. I hope he serves time. I didn’t have to testify.
My body is falling apart. I’m single as hell and happy about it. I have no job which I left to pursue the art of rest. In the process, just these last 30 days, has been…
you know a story is going to be boring when you write “has been.”
The truth is, no amount of sex with disappointing men, or exciting life changes, or beautiful pictures, will take away this moment in which my dog softly talks in his sleep… gently woof woof. He is on my bed. The fan is on. It was a hot day. Two days ago I had a colonoscopy.
Funny thing, I’ve had 3 colonoscopies now. 1 sigmoidoscopy. 1 endoscopy. That’s crazy. I can’t event tell you how many biopsies. I always get some sort of “mild” or “lifelong condition.” Change your diet, go exercise.
I did, I have.
I just finished watching a profound documentary. Wow. It rocked me to my core. Cancer. Death. And his name was Andy. Just like mine.
My Andy died when I was 18, only one month into being 18 years old. First semester of college. He was 58 years old. He would’ve been 69 this year. He was the funniest man I ever knew, and probably also the most complicated because of his alcoholism and bipolar. Born in Hungary, and as illogical as all Hungarians I have met. No, Andy was by far the most illogical.
The last time I saw him alive he was walking with a cane at my high school graduation party. He leaned in my ear and whispered something. I can’t for the life of me remember. I didn’t know then it was going to be our last conversation. A few short months later he was gone. His colon cancer spread fast.
I could eulogize him and talk about how he affected my childhood in the most positive way, and how his death completely changed my life forever.
I went to a concert sometime between November and December that year, post-death. I went by myself, I did a lot of things by myself in that time period, the beginning of my grief. I saw a boy standing in the middle of the floor by himself. I went up to him and we talked the whole night. We walked all over NYC. His name was Andrea, from Italy.
My Andy’s name was Andreas.
Andrea (Italian) had such magic to him. I knew. The next semester I studied Italian and the next year I moved to Italy.
Those experiences were all so profound. The crazy female roommates. My part in that. Beautiful women abroad (my Brazilian French angel, my second kiss with a girl). Learning a new language is terrifying and humbling.
Travel tip 101: Anxiety, fear, depression go with you wherever you are.
Dancing in discos. Dragoon (10% alcohol beer. Two will get you sloshed). My international boys who I partied with like it was 2009. Because it was 2009 or 2010, some shit like that.
Then I met Davide. I also met Stefan. At about the same time.
I was at a bar with my French girlfriends. I noticed an Italian man, dark and handsome, staring at me from across the bar. He stared so intently. Finally I went outside for a hand-rolled cigarette. He joined me and we didn’t stop talking until 4am. His friend was with us, and we rolled a hash joint before he dropped me off at the NYU compound* at the top of the hill. It was a wonderful, blissful stoned wine tipsy existence.
*I wrote NYU compound but it was truly a renovated villa from The Renaissance. Yes, the 1500s.
I lived in Italy from August to March. When I met Davide it was January. From December to January I partied my way back to New York to California up to Washington state, to Canada* (forgot my passport, oops!), back to California, fly to London, to Italy. Yes, that was all in 6 weeks or less. I didn’t mess around with my winter breaks.
Remind me to tell you about that trip to *Canada, with MDMA, two NYU boys, lots of weed, and lots of beer. No, there was no sex but I did get to make out with two guys at once on a dance floor during the height of my ecstasy high. And one of them was gay. Yep, anyway.
Back to Italy. I fell for Davide. But then I met Stefan a week later at a NYU event. He told me he was in a relationship then we went out drinking hard with my friends Jaja and Coco. At some point in the evening the alcohol reduced all of our inhibitions
We didn’t need alcohol to cross that line. Be honest.
We held hands. Our friends said goodbye. Kissing became passionate lovemaking and so began a torrid affair. His kind, gay Italian roommate told me Stefan was really engaged, not just in a relationship. Wow.
I was so angry. For some reason that made it so much worse.
But I needed him. I had no self-esteem. I had no self-worth. Between my hospital stay for physical illness, plus three emergency room visits- there was Davide and Stefan-
And Andy was still gone. I could travel thousands of miles and no matter where I went, there I was. With a mess.
So I left NYU for a year. I went back to my hometown in California. I worked my ass off at 2 jobs. I rode a bicycle to get everywhere, I did not have a car. I was working with doctors and acupuncturist for my stomach. They eventually found a cause for my illness. When I felt healed enough, I had a oneway ticket back to Italy and I took it.
Before I left for Italy I had to break one heart. AC and I had a beautiful summer together. I think I really loved him. But I didn’t know what that was. It was healthy, it felt good, I loved him, but I didn’t know how to say any of that. I only knew how to say goodbye because I was in so much pain from Stefan’s betrayal, for my rape the previous fall in Amsterdam, from Andy’s death the previous year.
That summer with AC was beautiful and I couldn’t appreciate it. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t left. I had dumb excuses for leaving. I was afraid.
So I went off to Italy, and it was a love to remember with Davide (pronounced Dah Vee Day). We are still in touch. I believe he could’ve married me if he wanted but that didn’t happen.
How much love- how many infatuations, how much alcohol, so many drugs. Who was hurt, was I one of them?
The movie tonight made me cry and that’s all I know. Be here now. Sit with these emotions from the last 10 months, from the last 10 years. I am grateful I have made it to 28.5 years old and that every day I have a chance to live well. My story is unfinished. I am 3 years sober and so many things left to do, including sit and be still in this moment, like the actor Andy did in the documentary before he died a beautiful death with such clarity and radiance. And pain.
Dear Universe: thank you for this expansion in my life.
Dear reader: good night.
Dear self: don’t believe everything you read. Or think. You are enough. You are not a NPC. You are One.