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(A repost originally posted May 10, 2009 on a previous blog. Sometimes life imitates art)
The older we get the more complicated life seems to get, or at least we tend to make it more complicated than it has to be. It used to seem so simple from where I sit now but when I think about it really wasn’t so simple back then in fact, in so many ways it was so much more complicated. Survival on a daily basis was the really important thing in life. But even with that at the fore front I seemed to still have time to think, reflect and write. Yes even back then as a troubled kid I still wrote almost daily. Write about how I felt and that overwhelming desire to escape I had every single day, to where I did not know for sure. I figured maybe just to the Pacific Ocean, Venice Beach where life seemed so sane and simple. At least from the pictures I saw and stories heard from well-traveled relatives.
My thoughts bring me back to a song, an old favorite. At the risk of dating myself to those who might consider me the only slightly older more mature guy, neither of which I feel nor really act like, I’m a bit older than that. I will mention the song ‘Into the Night’ By Benny Mardones. Feel free to look it up if you’re not familiar with it and read on. Yep, a little known fact about me to most except to those very few who were extremely close to me is that I am somewhat of a romantic. Slightly sad and demented but a romantic nonetheless. There are those very few with whom I’ve shared more than one sleeping mattress in the park or the seat in the car for lack of anywhere else to sleep after a night of carousing. Those are the very few who know I am without question a hopeless romantic and old softy from way back. Laugh if you will but by no means should you confuse me with being square.
My whole life has been about contradictions that much hasn’t seemed to change. Back when I was a teenager when most were in the prime of their innocence I was anything but. Innocence evaded me and probably for good reason, he didn’t want to get corrupted. Even back to my earliest childhood memory I recall the light switch in my mind was always on, waiting, watching and obsessing. I think I came by my cynicism honestly. I have been accused of a lot of things in my life but being innocent was never one of them. Still, even though the innocence of my youth passed me over for greener pastures way too early in life I still searched for it time and again. If I could not have my own I told myself, I would live vicariously through another’s. Even if I had lost mine, I still truly believed in it. That was possibly what kept me going in life and kept me smearing ink on the paper. I believed that if it still existed in people in the purest sense those were the people I wanted to be around. Others innocence had the effect of balancing out my cynicism. Even now I have to believe that not everyone is as jaded as I am. They can’t possibly be, otherwise humanity would have long ago suffocated. I wasn’t alone out there as I had no innocent friends so I knew I had to find some. From that time to this day I have for many reasons consistently sought out a breed apart from myself. That search has played a huge role in my life particularly in the area of romance although its reach has extended into even the most purely physical of my relationships.
As a kid most of the girls I knew were no where near innocent. In fact many were far worse off than I. But there were those few who I knew who would always hold a special place in my heart and then there was that one that I knew who I would never forget. The special ones fell into a few categories. The first was the girl I never brought around my friends for fear she would be corrupted and her innocence devalued. I wanted to keep her for my own to just simply enjoy time alone with her, an oasis in the desert away from the madness of my life. She was the one who although she was already hanging around the crowd was far less suspicious of life than the rest of us, and that quality attracted me. The trick was to keep her protected from the dangers of life and I believe she knew this, at least I like to think she did. She was the girl who possessed the ultimate innocence, she was also the one who also had really smart parents. The same parents who forbade her from dating, hanging around or generally being seen in public or private for that matter with me or my friends. Of course I liked her the most because I could not have her, but boy did I like her.
Yes there was that one. The one I was never anything more than a friend to and never imagined I would ever be any more than that back then or ever. The one you never really forget. After our brief moment all we ever really shared were polite hellos, small talk and mutual people in our life. Oh, and yes, those mutual stares on occasion knowing full well it would never be. I think back to the scent of her hair, her smile, her voice and yes her innocence. Then as most do, you part ways sometimes abruptly never having the chance to say goodbye. Once or twice in life you cross paths on your road, if even only for a short period of time, then life steps in your way again, sometimes in ways you never intended it too. Yet somehow you never stop remembering that person, you might even catch yourself smiling when the thought of her comes to mind. Ah, but that thing called life and circumstance has changed you both. The road map of your lives have taken totally different directions.
As fate would have it you meet again. In a dream or at least you think it is. Your mind races with wonder, can you re-capture that smile, that look, that smell, that want, but life is too different now. Maybe you have too many responsibilities and obligations or maybe by design none at all. I tend to fall into the latter category. The forbidden comes to mind, like that Biblical apple just within reach though you know how bad it is for you. Once again, I have never been accused of innocence and for that matter forsaking the forbidden. At a certain stage in life you have more questions than answers and you wonder, what is right or what is wrong or what does it even matter? Do you go through life wondering or reach out and take a bite of that apple? If I fall and fail at least I tried. If I try and I succeed, ah, then there is a whole other set of rules and obstacles to confront. At this point in the game nothing is certain, but then, it’s never really been at any point in the game I guess. So you reach for it and it takes you away, where it will take you no one will know. So dreams are shared, potential plans arranged and you begin to think you may be on to something.
Life is never that easy and it usually has other plans for you. You’re a little older and there is a whole new set of rules and we will see how they will be played out or just simply ignored. I’ve never been one for rules either. Surprised? Yeah life gets in the way again. Or maybe I get in my own way. I have a habit of doing that from time to time. Maybe the one you never really forgot was unattainable to begin with and no matter what one does she will never be, or maybe not. What I have found to be true in life so far is that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. But is what we want that badly worth risking everything and then some for a chance at something you weren’t sure ever really existed in the first place? Maybe not. Only time and the choices we make will tell. It could be nothing but a school boy fantasy or it could be everything we ever dreamed of.
I have a theory that the older we get the stupider we get. We are wisest as children and maybe at our prime as teenagers but of course are stifled by the ones who deem themselves the wise ones. We grow up and realize half of the crap they fed us was all wrong. Yeah, generally speaking those who proclaim to be the wisest are usually the most misinformed. When I think back, I should have just gone for it back then. What did I have to lose?
But all is not lost. I did manage to fulfill the dream that a scared, lonely, unsure kid once had. A dream to escape. Escape what likely would have been a short life weighted with misery and regret. I did finally make it to that beach on the Pacific Ocean, the one I dreamed of all my young life. Though it is not always simple and sane as I imagined or hoped it would be it does look like those pictures in the magazines I obsessed on as that kid. I did escape and I never looked back. I still think about that one I never really forgot. But nowadays, I think about her while looking out over the Pacific Ocean, and I catch myself smiling.