Literally Starving

“You’re not supposed to be literally starving”my friend B said to me as I hungrily woofed down half of his Reuben at Tats in Pioneer Square, his big blue eyes twinkling with a combination of amusement and concern.  I’m not exactly literally starving.  I still have a can of beans in my pantry I’ve been saving, and a whole wheat tortilla.  Still the Reuben is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten and I continue to pick melted cheese from the sandwich paper after its gone.

I met B back in college before he quit to join the Navy. He’s something of a character, a walking contradiction, and I think that’s part of what I like about him.  He’s almost the archetypal writer. He’s well read, has been all over the world, just a bit wounded.  In many ways he make me think of a modern day Kerouac.  A little wild, a little brilliant, and totally a man’s sort of man.  I re-ran into him when I was doing my Jesco gypsy thing out on the Naval Base in Bangor, and aside from one very tequila blurred night this was only the second time we’ve hung out together since getting re-acquainted.   It didn’t stop me from talking him in to picking up some much needed kitty litter and food for the Smokey Cat.  God bless big hearted men.

After the cafe and our grocery run, we kind of sit at my kitchen table staring blearily at each other and talking about whatever. He alternates between coffee and cheep beer, having just come off of duty and the sleep deprivation that accompanies it. In a kind of limbo between waking up and wanting to relax after a 16 hour long shift.  We talk about shamanism, spiritualism, and the continued quest for enlightenment, bliss, or at the very least momentarily contentment and respite from the quest.  He tells me about his son and I watch as his whole face lights up.  He’s convinced his son is a genius and I listen to the stories provided as evidence and I wonder how their relationship is going evolve over the years and I hope it all turns out well.

We talk about men and women, about the complexities of the modern romance, about our recently failed relationships and loneliness and all of the confusing parts of modern day courtship. Nice guys, nice girls, the friend zone.  I scoff. I can’t imagine B getting put into the friend zone,he’s got that kind of wounded Alpha male appeal that will draw any single ladies in a 20 mile radius out,  but apparently according to him,  it happens.

I don’t say it out loud, but internally I am aware that I still feel too raw to enter into any kind of intimacy. Not that my last relationship ended badly, just that I feel like I need some recovery.  Some grounding time.  Somehow I lost my center again, as I always do when I get involved with a man as anything more then a friend.  Too many years of “you must please your man if you wish to keep your man” training that gets all tangled up with reality until I’m tripping over my own desires not sure what I want and what he wants and feeling responsible for both of our happiness.

Still, despite knowing all this, I sit closer then I should on the back patio as he smokes a cigarette, just enjoying the closeness of a handsome brilliant, virile man.

I think to myself “This is what it feels like to be an artist. A young bohemian in a rough neighborhood writing songs and living off of belief, cd sales, and the charity of big hearted men.  The debts pile up, but poverty is only temporary. The adventure of it all will mark the rest of my life.  I realize that it’s all so much better when you stop fighting what you can’t control and just try to live.

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