“The Pope resigns, comets fly over Russia and you’re leaving?”
– Feltern, March 5th, 2013
Cloudy skies stretch across the horizon overlooking the riverbank facing Richmond, illuminating the stretch of water with brief glimpses of the setting sun. For a moment, there’s a thought of reconsideration and in the minutes that follow thereafter I begin to question the realism of my venture. Will I lose my baggage and identification? Am I going to be robbed blind out in the open? Will my money run out before I reach the halfway point of my trip? Will housekeeping attempt to talk me into converting to Christianity? I blow out smoke from my lips and crush the menthol beneath my shoes along with the thought of turning back. My decision becomes final.
With all my baggage packed, bills settled and insurance covered, the last night I spend in Vancouver proves to be a short one. There’s barely any sleep throughout the evening as my mind conjures up both fantastical and impossible ideas to the journey ahead. Twisting and turning until odd hours in the night I manage to cover only a few hours of rest. In the morning, I head to bank and look over my accounts one more time, eliminating any possible complications that might spring up while I’m away. Already my phone erupts with a stream of message and notifications – apparently my goodbye letter reads in itself like a suicide note. Admittedly I’m amused by this.
This immediately is followed by a most peculiar incident. As I’m leaving the bank I run into a familiar face, one that has up until recently has become strained in terms of friendship. It took a bit of courage to call out their name in the first place and the polite smile that forms on their face is a cordial one. People don’t forget past transgressions easily. It took even more courage to piece together the words and apologize. The feeling that followed was a sense of closure, trivial in the eyes of most, more significant at such a period of time. By the time they drove away, I couldn’t help but notice that my hands were trembling from this fateful encounter because after all its never too late to apologize. The act itself requires more strength than a person can imagine. The outcome, on the other hand, must simply be considered enough.
It was my original intent to leave the house without alerting the omnipresent eyes of my beloved mother but hauling an overweight suitcase is far from being discreet. She holds the door open for me with a smile – the kind that goes against her maternal protectiveness and instinct, betraying the concern that is written in her eyes. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she’s worried about my welfare and ignoring the absence of my departure. We talk for a minute and after taking a photo or two, I drag my belongings down the street and leave my home behind. When she embraces me, I almost decide to reconsider and forget this psychotic nonsense; the subtlety of her final gesture reflects her inner strength, providing only the calm assurance and comfort that only a mother can provide. I turned around and set foot out the door.
That evening I met up with not only an old friend but also a former play partner of mine. There has been a number of those throughout the time I’ve spent in the community. Things were also much different then but rather than going into the memories of bygone days, we both decide to make the most of what time I had left in the city and avoid revisiting old feelings. It proves rather difficult provided that I’m still checking her out at every turn, reminded of thoughts best kept private.
The immediate excitement that she conveys upon checking into my room is described best as uncontrolled hyperactivity. In a matter of minutes, the once pristine arrangements of my suite is rendered into chaos and disarray, resulting in a maddening fit of wrestling and manhandling. Too late, the whole affair came at the cost of housekeeping. For fuck’s sake.
Amidst mild flirtations and a dinner buffet, we spend time talking about the future. In comparison, the outlook of things between us both is dramatically different; here, back home, the outlook of things is correlated towards the regular scene activities. Outside, towards the world beyond, I am left alone to do as I wish.
Between our mutual friends, most have gone their separate ways, another memory of a distant time. Times change and at the same time, the people change with it – a process that periodically has left a gap in my own perspective, longing for things that have been long passed. It becomes immediate that despite what past transgressions and causes for both our mutual departures from one another, my thoughts return towards a time wherein the outside world was long forgot, spent in quiet hours of deviation and dirty activities. In that regard, I cannot help but miss her presence, let alone the same amount of trust and admiration once held by one another.
She shows me a bruise or two from her previous session and whether or not she knows it, the absence becomes more immediate, turned towards a reminder of once having been the cause of such things; that lost privilege, that through the callous disregard for personal limitations and self-absorbed needs, has been lost in time. I am therefore reminded of the need for attentiveness to others, something that has been the catalyst for most of the distancing between friends and partners alike as of late.
Sure enough, towards the latter half of the evening, this point is brought up despite some degree of hesitation, the response of which is one direct yet meaningful, honest but harsh. In that having lost myself to the activities we both once partook on, the trust in my responsibilities had dwindled to a point of no return. There had been noticeable changes since but more than anything the hope of repairing these wrongdoings is slim at this point in time.
Words, no matter how careful we choose them, have an affect on others and the presence of physical markings are small compared to even absentminded mentions of my other exploits. The feeling of superficiality emerges, followed then by resentment and weariness to these things – an evident fact denoted by the spitefulness of her tone.
I am reminded then of my previous encounter thus outside the bank that very afternoon. Both the weight of personal actions and words, despite the contradiction of intentions, had left the taint to the aforementioned friend as well. I felt an overwhelming urge to smoke at that point, troubled by the realization of what may have been repeatedly addressed before in the past, falling to deaf ears. How long have I been blind to the concerns of my beloved peers? How self-absorbed then must my behavior have seemed.
There isn’t any fault in apologizing but apologies can only do so much, the truth behind good intentions must be seen and accepted by others. At best even that may be ignored yet the finality of it is to try your best at least, no matter the outcome of it. Only then perhaps can a person find forgiveness in others and perhaps even for themselves. However, I’m beginning to digress at this point.
The trip became much more crucial then, not for the sake of escaping or seeking refuge, but more for the sake of understanding and providing clarity through the interactions of the world beyond. That evening, along with the crazed noise levels of my intoxicated neighbors next door (I’m looking at you, Room 621), I lose sleep in light of our reflections. My old friend is not blind to these things and after much coercion I make my way into bed. I wake up with aching joints and a bad temper the following morning.
“Take care of yourself,” she says with a smile, having dismissed any further attempts to get her undressed. “Also your breath stinks.” I pop a mint as I glance over my luggage. After a pause, I press towards leaving a parting gift and she returns the favor in the form of a noticeable bite mark on my nape. Really, that’s how kinksters say goodbye these days. I see her off aboard the skytrain and check out. Gathering my luggage, smoking over the backdrop of the morning sun, I board the bus to Tsawassen.
Next update: Wherein yours truly makes his way across to Victoria, makes conversation with a seagull, and contacts the fetish community therein.