Imagine Me

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Pretend you have just heard the news your best friend, in England, is coming to America again, this time, to attend film school, and will drop by to see you again, though you live clear cross country. Then, one day before his flight is to land in a nearby city, pretend you get the news over the phone that he and two friends have been killed in an auto accident somewhere outside of Paris. Pretend you have cleaned up the house with the fine tooth comb, especially the guest room just minutes before.

Now pretend also you are screwed up with drugs. Not illegal drugs, but the kind moronic oh so above we cockroaches doctors have prescribed. That your head has been screwed with these drugs for, at the time, over 12 years. Pretend you are sleeping one hour a night. That you write forty, at least, pages of sheer gibberish every week. That you read at least fifteen books a week. That you sleep one hour, if lucky, a night.

Pretend you are in hell. Pretend also a doctor raped you some years before all of this. Pretend you are around others as little as possible. Pretend you have this friend in England, who came to visit for two weeks, two years before the auto crash. Pretend you are waiting desperately for him to call you so you can drive sixty miles to the airport to pick him up. Pretend you have been friends with him for nine years.

That you and he met through a letters column in Fangoria magazine. A magazine for horror fans. Pretend you get a letter from him about your letter to the editor about the great character actor, Dick Miller, who is a favorite actor of his too.

You have never heard from anyone in a foreign country. You turn over and over the brown envelope with the Avion Air stamp on it, and the hand written letter, so beautifully perfectly formed.

You begin corresponding. Each writing long letters. And then one summer, you and he have been talking on the phone by this point, he says how would you like me to visit? And you eagerly scream oh god yes please. He says he can stay only a few days, since the trip to America really is for talking with a film director in California, but it works so well for us, he stays with you for two weeks.

Pretend you have only had two arguments with him through the mail long before he visited and they were smoothed over easily and forgotten. He calls you on Christmas Day because he knows how you associate that always with England. His accent was beautiful. He opened a whole wonderful world for you. Pretend this is a story, as it is meant to be, but it is also true. You hear the news of his death from a mutual friend. You are stunned beyond redemption. You are so full of aches, you feel like your bones have been replaced with tons of painful doorknobs, slamming at you from inside.

Then the dying starts. The crush. It was, let’s say, on your birthday you get the news. The birthday he was to celebrate in person with you. You have sent each casino şirketleri other books, horror films; he was dazzled by cheap horror nasties he could get here that he couldn’t in England. Just rank grade Z stuff with his favorite actor for some reason, John Carradine.

Pretend that the drugs take you over, so much that when your mother dies, you can not even speak to anyone at the funeral home. You just stare at them and try to formulate words, but the mind does not work. It feels, best I can describe it, frozen in the middle and with terrible heat at the top. Then because you are sick at mind and heart and feel the drugs have killed you already, not to mention the memory of the rape, imagine you fall in love with your dead friend, because he is dead, because you were so looking forward—then pretend you mourn him by watching the funeral of Princess Diana on TV…that at this point, your world crumbles like a paper sack. That it is always winter, when you used to love winter and autumn too, but now they are of death.

You almost die three times. In the next February, late, you dream you are in a car with him, he is driving, and you are close by his side. Pretend you dream he has crashed into a bridge support, that the car has gone into a lake or river and you are with him. You are drowning with him. This is no dream. This is real. Home. Safe. No sad memories. Then your cat, Lally, who was to horribly die some years later, jumps on the bed to wake you for food early morning.

Pretend it happens again in March, for no reason, other than you feel yourself going outside your body; you are sitting on the couch, a warm March afternoon, and you want it more than anything for you can’t see how you can go on with this much more. You have taken every second of his visit with you and have dwelled there in it. You have surrounded yourself with his letters and his presents of books, brown paper with string round them and the lovely British return address and the gift one Christmas of the actor Peter Cushing’s autobiography, autographed by Mr. Cushing, whom we both adored.

You are too frightened however to die. You rush to the book racks and find a Joe Lansdale novel and begin reading it as fast and as hard as you can, until you feel your soul going back into your body. You hate yourself for being scared. You hate yourself for being disloyal to your friend. When other friends of yours, few in number, say disrespectful things about homosexuals, not knowing your little secret, you tell them off or you dismiss them and you lose almost everybody this way, and it’s all because of defending him. You cry with two kind friends. You have now made him trump your first and forever love, Joel, because it was going to work out—your friend and you were going to have a relationship-you could finally find someone to touch—really really touch.

Pretend you dwell in a dark corner of time. Pretend this and casino firmaları the drugs and the rape no one believes, pretend you live in constant darkness. And worth it because you are doing it for him. People are kind. Till they think you have gone on too long with this. You love the writer Joyce Carol Oates, and with her story “Will You Always Love Me?” you think she has produced her finest miracle—she has written story from your bones outward—this is more than a story with characters and plot with which you identify—you have never had this feeling from reading another writer’s work-not ever. It haunts you. It IS you.

You begin praying again. A sonofabitch doctor, after he finishes humiliating you, takes you off the wrong drugs and puts you on worse drugs. That lasts for seven months until two nurse practitioners hear you out, and prescribe the right stuff and every day you find your mind coming back and coming back and you shall love those two women forever more and hate psychologists and psychiatrists and wish a special lower form of hell for the lot of the egotistical holy mothers.

You learn to be angry all the time. You learn to turn to the shrine of your dead friend. You push Joel out of your mind, when you never ever thought that could possibly happen. You remember picking up your friend at the train station, that late First of September night, and his round rimmed glasses and his energetic movements, and his lovely voice, even when shy, diffident, still outgoing, still inclusive of, of all people, you, and later on how he looked like Harry Potter and you associated every British movie and novel and TV series with your dead friend. So, you had to throw them all out of your mind because you would not usurp his wanting to be part of that too, and it made you feel ashamed to be alive.

You started cutting yourself in earnest, in those times. Really letting the blood flow from your arms. You had felt young till all of this. You were never to feel anything other than older than you would ever be, all your life.

On the day of his leave-taking from his visit, you and he had a pizza from a place that gave away balloons. You and he kidded as he blew it up. You said hey, let me send this by ship to England, just to see how long it takes. You both laughed. You laughed so much and felt so good those two weeks. You and he stayed up all night talking and giggling and…

So you did mail it by ship to England. The balloon arrived to him almost two months later, still mostly inflated. You have to stay away from especially Fangoria magazine, because that is how the both of you met. But one August day, you saw a copy of it, this was 1999, in a grocery and decided you might like to read it again. When you got to the book review section, there was his name listed for compiling a new book about Italian horror films.

So it began. The shock. The anger. The fury. The dread. The betrayal. güvenilir casino The feeling of total and utter stupidity. And being conned.

All he did, you see, was to ditch you. So that a mutual friend, no longer my friend as before this, tried to ease the pain by saying he had died in an auto accident. So you began trying to find him. You met so many nice people on the web sites for horror films since he loved them so much. You met some asses as well. But mostly you met people, some of who went out of their way to help you, and finally someone found him. And you got to speak to him and he was like always on the phone. Your mind is screaming ask him, ask him, ASK HIM WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED…but you don’t because you don’t want to know and you want to be friends with him again. And you apologize for bothering him and apologize, goddammit, godfriggendammit—you say you are sorry for bothering him. And you really feel sorry, too, for that.

So he got to ditch you this time by email. New form. Same routine. Only this time the cruelty was unendurable. And left your bones shaking in a sack. And you emailed him the most hurtful email you could. You told him everything. You laid yourself and him open..and of course you know he never read it. You try this for nine years and see what anger you have stored up inside you. See how calm and pleasant you would feel.

Don’t contact me again, he had said in the summer of ’91 and don’t contact me, again, in the autumn of 1999, and that so much more horrible.

Now you pretend you have spent all the last seven years recovering from these things You have your memories and dreams of Joel back in head and heart, and thank God for him. Let’s pretend this you is me. And that is so. For it is. And it is so.

You pretend you have lived with this upheaval since the late summer of ’91 and you tell me what you would do, how you would survive all of this utter crap, then you try to be a shaken hurtful terrified angry man who has been lied to endlessly during the nineties, even more than I’ve told you so already. It actually got even worse.

So you be me and you tell me why when the Human Rights Commission calls you for a donation and when they can’t get any money from me, they hang up before I have a chance to breathe, you tell me why I should care in the least, because much of me still lives in the charnel place. It is a real and existing hell, you ask me why I am I hanging on? And I will tell you this. I am stronger than steel. I have endured the fire and what was all that stuff about really?

Why does a person who used to be young and funny and easy to be around and somewhat popular, one fine day learn he will have to fake being himself, will have to fake being a human for the rest of his life? Like a horrible burn victim will have to cover the scars as best he can and pretend they are not there.

You tell me what the hell I’m still doing here. I have no earthly idea. I am only here to say, I have survived to tell the tale. And there it is. I look at the pain of it now, from the outside, looking inward, instead of the other way round. That is, I suppose, the saving grace of the thing.

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