Sunday, July 24, 2011

Salvation Diary 48

"Salvation" artist, Amanda Milke

August 17 Saturday Day 340

I woke up at eight. I heard people cleaning outside of my room. I couldn't go back to sleep so I arose.
I took my notebook and went to the lobby to try to write, but for some reason it was very difficult to do so. My head seemed to be filled with fog, and people kept coming to me and asking me questions.
Tom Rotsch came in to pick up his doll house from the hobby shop. It's really a big doll house, the second largest I've ever seen (old "Get Smart" joke). He came with a friend to take it to Richard Bennet's.
Tom seems to be doing fine. He told me that he had one rough day (tempted to use cocaine), but got through it, and has maintained his sobriety. That is tremendous news! He's been doing some freelance carpentry work, so he's making a little money, and his friends are being supportive.
Thank God! I was really worried about him.
After lunch I finished writing for a while and walked over to Music Plus to pick up the weekend's videos. "Misery," and "The Freshman," with Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick. Both had come out during the week. Both very good, but only if you like movies about shadowy Mafia figures, crazy farm ladies, and Komodo dragons (Burt Parks singing "Maggie's Farm" is classic!)
I just had time to make it to the park before my afternoon shift. A little Stevie Nicks (I'm secretly in love with her you know), and my absolute favorite Beatles (John Lennon) song, "Hide Your Love," came through my Mickey Mouse headphones.
After a quick shower I went with steady determination to work. The first order of business was to alert our new desk man, Columbus Davis, of my impending telephone call from Cathy. I told him that if I wasn't at the desk when she called to frantically page me, send troops out after me, fire skyrockets, do something, but get me to the telephone or else I'd have to shoot him.
So after dinner I went upstairs to have a nice unauthorized cigarette and brush my teeth. When I returned to the desk Columbus told me I'd have to shoot him.
"Why?" I asked.
"She called, and I told her to hang on, and Hendrickson wanted to key to four, and before I could call you, I checked and she had hung up." He was terrified.
But what choice did I have? I shot him three time with my father's German luger. Nine Millimeter.
After the body was taken to U.S.C. Medical I sat in my office and pondered this curious state of affairs. Why hadn't I gotten her phone number to begin with? Isn't that how it's normally done? And why hadn't she called back?
I continued to puzzle over this until about eight o'clock, when Cathy called and told me this had been her first attempt. I immediately signaled Rockoff to call U.S.C. and give Columbus the message that it was alright for him to come back... after he healed. Then I talked to Cathy for about fifteen minutes.
She was still having cat problems. Upon bringing her female cat (Spotty) back from the vets (after having been fixed), the cat instantly began fighting again with the male cat (Pee Wee). Ever since Thursday she's had to separate the two and this has caused her great consternation. From my own experience this type of behavior is unusual for cats who have previously been "buddy-buddy" for three years. Cathy's own veterinarian was of no help, telling her she may have to give one of them up. Cathy didn't want to hear that, and she's naturally upset (she hasn't been sleeping well). She's continuing to hope that time will rectify the situation.
I offered to postpone our date until things got somewhat normalized, but she said that she'd done about all that she could do, and staying in all day wouldn't help her much.
Such wisdom! And she's so cute too!
So tomorrow's on. I suggested some places we could go to, and we came up with the idea of visiting a botanical garden in Glendale, close to her home. She said she's been wanting to go there for a long time. I suggested dinner afterwards.
I wished her luck with her cats. She said she'd pick me up at two. Then we said good night.
I got through the rest of the evening as fast as possible. Columbus didn't make it back before curfew, so I A.W.O.L./A.C.O.ed him, poor bastard.
I dreamt of possums again.

August 18 Sunday Day 341

Wow! What a day!
It began ordinarily enough. My alarm went off exactly at 8:00, and I woke to some off the wall rock song I'd never heard before. I also heard Robert Vasquez rummaging around in the bathroom (he always hums when he's rummaging), so I stayed put in bed until I heard him clear out ten minutes later.
I showered and dressed.
Chapel went very smoothly. The Major is on vacation for a whole month, so everyone felt relaxed and cool. Clarence Orion, just returning from his own vacation, sang "Down by the Old Rugged Cross." His voice has a nice, low, soothing quality about it.
Cathy was to pick me up at two, so my options for the morning were open. I debated whether to go to the Sunday Morning A.A. meeting speaker meeting with Ron as I normally do. I'd have about half an hour before Cathy arrived. Or I could spend the morning fucking off, and be thoroughly prepared for my big date.
I did neither. Instead of going to the meeting, I had good old Robert drop me off at the mall so I could do a little shopping.
I bought a new shirt, being dissatisfied with all of the others I already owned. Then I hit one of the two bookstores they have at the mall and looked for a book about cats, hoping it would give me and Cathy a clue to Spotty's bizarre behavior. I found one that might be of some help and bought it. Then I walked back to the residence.
After taking a little nap I dressed casually, donning my brand new shirt. At 2:00 I was standing in the parking lot with my cat book and sport coat looking rather suave, and ready to go. She arrived a few minutes later, and we were off.
"Oh how sweet," she said, when I showed her the book. We drove into Glendale, to the Decano Gardens, an arboretum she had wanted to check out. The day was sunny and warm. I began to sweat a little while walking up and down the hilly terrain. She's a marathon runner and in great shape, and did not perspire. However, she told me she was out of shape, but it looked great to me.
And we talked. Walking through the sun drenched gardens we discovered each other. Usually on a first date (unless I've had a few) I feel kind of awkward, not knowing what to say and generally making a fool of myself. But not today. She is a great talker (as I've previously expressed), and she helped me along, putting me at ease. We talked about how I got where I was, and we talked about how she got where she was. I loved listening to her. She was very honest and direct, and the story of her recovery, of some dysfunctional relationships she's been involved in, and her alcoholism, to me appeared nothing short of heroic. I admired her as a beautiful woman, and a a human being. I didn't believe I'd met anyone quite like her.
Recovery is wonderful. Good things do happen.
And of course, how could I have not been in love with her ("It's so easy to fall in...)
I didn't tell her that though. Women don't like to be told that your in love with them on the first date. A woman told me that once.
We left the gardens and drove to her house to check on her cats. She lived in a lovely little guest house, nestled in the foothills of north Glendale, near the border of La Canada and Tujunga. It was a single room with space for a king sized bed and bookshelves in one area, a small living room branching out to the side containing a sofa, coffee table, and television. An adequate kitchen, bathroom, enclosed yard.
And two cats.
Spotty and Pee Wee.
Spotty (the trouble maker) was in her carrying case as we came in (not that she had any choice in the matter. She had been locked up in there all day). Pee Wee, a big calico, was prowling around.
Cathy was truly worried. The fighting between the cats had made her very nervous, making her lose sleep.
"Do you think I should let Spotty out?" she asked me. "I mean, maybe by your being here, it will be a distraction and they'll be too worried about you to fight with each other."
I told her that she'd have to let Spotty out sometime, then prayed that they didn't instantly attack me.
Spotty, a white female with black spots, crept out of her cage, crossed the room and sniffed at Pee Wee. Pee Wee gave a short hiss, then both of them ducked underneath the bed.
"That's the closest they've gotten together since she came back from the vets." Cathy was cautiously pleased.
The cats behaved themselves for the rest of the evening, not once trying to tear themselves apart.
Or me.
Thank God!
Soon we went to dinner, discovering a quaint little Mexican place nearby. A couple seated to our left began to burglarize our conversation, raving about what a great restaurant it was, and the quality of the food, and on and on. When the man began reminiscing upon certain wines he liked, Cathy and I both cut him off then continued our pleasant conversation. She wimped out and ordered an enchilada verde, while I, always the bold explorer, tried something I'd never had before, an enchilada mole (an enchilada with a very spicy chocolate sauce), which was very interesting at first (it sucked), but soon tasted, and looked like, pond mud.
Afterwards we returned to her house and watched some T.V., while continuing to talk. She asked me if I needed to get back to the residence soon.
"God no!" I told her. "It's nice to get away from there."
"I imagine it must be," she said.
I mentioned that for the last eleven months I had not taken a single overnight pass.
"Are you going to keep trying for a record?" she asked, and smiled.
"No," I answered. Then I reached over and kissed her. She kissed me back. I liked it, so I kissed her again. She kissed me back again. I continued kissing her (what used to be commonly known as making out), and she continued kissing me back, for at least eight or nine pages of frantic (and frenzied) kissing.
Then we played Scrabble for the rest of the evening (not really, but our respective mothers may one day read this).
She was so cute! And loving. She's was very warm and cuddly too! I felt so good to hold her.
We slept next to each other all that night, sometimes holding tightly to each other, sometimes not. I never felt so wonderful.
It made me forget all about the news we had seen on the television right before we went to bed.
On the other side of the world, Mikhail Gorbachev, probably the most important and influential figure in world affairs of the century, had been disposed in a bloodless coup as the chief of state of the U.S.S.R.
The hardliners have the country again.

August 19 Monday Day 342

On her way to work Cathy dropped me off at the corner of Glendale Blvd. and Broadway. Two minutes later I was picked up by the 181 and taken to Pasadena.
I was a little tired. I checked in with Robert when I got to the residence, to let him know I was still alive.
"I had you down as A.W.O.L. there for a while, Joyce. Then I remembered you're an employee."
I had a nice cup of coffee with Mr. Schimmele and the rest of the janitors before going upstairs to my room.
I tried to sleep, but it would not come to me. My mind was in overdrive. I relived the events of the previous day, over and over again, and was constantly preoccupied with what I would say to Cathy when I called her that night. I suffered fantasies of a delusional nature for the rest of the day... what our next date would be like, how our life would be like together, how many kids we would have, where we would retire, things like that.
I couldn't stop thinking about that kind of stuff. My mind was abuzz.
I was insane.
And can you blame me? There I was, this awfully lonely, very nice ( although not genuinely) and deserving fellow, who has been starved for affection for like the last two years or more, and then I met this girl who proceeds to turn my life upside down with her charming and penetrating wonderfulness.
What a sap!
My mind would not let me stop thinking about her though. So I got out of bed and went to the movies. I saw "Terminator 2," again, to get my head back into reality.
I couldn't sit still, and left about half way through the film. I was in a sad state for the rest of the afternoon. My head was in a cloud of anxiety and low key panic. I had no appetite. I did not eat all day, just chugging coffee and smoking a lot of cigarettes.
I hardly said a word during relapse prevention. All I could think about was Cathy and the call I would be making to her as soon as the meeting was over. I prayed that during the day her two cats had not slaughtered each other, and she had not returned to her home to only find flying fur, blood, and claws, thus spoiling her mood (what a selfish asshole I am).
When the meeting finally ended (ironically our topic had to do with recognizing relapse warning signs, such as, relying too much on others, breakdowns in daily discipline and routine) I walked over to the train station on the far side of the park for some privacy, and called her.
She let me have it right between the eyes.
Oh, our conversation was gentle and low key enough. I first asked her about her cats. They were still alive, but there was some fear that Spotty may be sick. The kitty was acting depressed. I told her to call the vet if it kept up. She asked me about my day, and I honestly related what had happened and my state of mind, expecting that she would enjoy the fact that I continuously thought about her (what a fool!)
But she was silent. And when she began speaking again her words came slowly and were well chosen. Essentially, she told me to get lost. That she had enjoyed our time together, and was glad I spent the night with her, but my attitude and voice must have set off some feminine alarm in her cute little head, and she began talking about her past relationships problems, and that she was just beginning to learn about being herself, and being independent, and that she felt that maybe for the first time worthwhile and comfortable in her own skin and did not wish to compulsively jump into some "relationship" and risk becoming enmeshed, and losing herself once again.
She told me we should continue to date. What she wanted was to act slowly and responsibly on a "one day at a time" basis, and see how things worked out.
You could tell how madly infatuated and swept off her feet she was by me.
But I found myself agreeing with her. My head cleared up instantly and at once I felt a hell of a lot better. What I could not understand was why I had not thought this out for myself, why I had instantly leaned toward mindless meshing and confused chaotic entanglement.
Because I was so lonely. What a sap.
Obviously I needed this lovely brunette short person with great legs, this thirty two year old woman of the world, to show me functional reality and how it worked. I'm glad she did, because I wasn't liking myself while thinking obsessively about her. I disliked not being able to keep my mind on what was going on during relapse prevention.
So thank you Cathy H. Thank you for setting me straight. Thank you for giving me back to myself.
And back to my loneliness.
Poor, poor, pitiful me.
Someday, somewhere, if it's God's will, I will find the one.

August 20 Tuesday Day 343

This morning I woke up feeling sick and insecure. So I went to work and began wielding perceived personal power unmercifully, which cheered me up right away. I A.C.O.ed twelve guys, put thirty on the Saturday work list, and threatened to write nasty notes to the mothers of sixty seven men.
No, not really. The men probably wouldn't mind being thrown out of here too much, but if I started writing notes to mothers they'd turn on me.
I plowed through the morning shift. Got everything done, and done well. So by the time my shift ended I wasn't feeling insecure anymore. Just sick. Kind of depressed, and not wanting to do anything. I get that way sometimes.
I was tired of watching mindless television, tired about hearing about Gorbachev (I voted for him you know) and the coup (which seems to be falling apart rapidly), tired of reading. I didn't even go down to see what Jill was wearing when she came in at 6:05 for her 5:45 group counseling meeting.
I did get hungry though. After "Star Trek, the Next Generation," I went to the canteen and consumed a cheeseburger. I happened to linger by the desk long enough for Jill to finish her session and come out. What a knockout! Absolutely mind boggling. And of course, she's a very nice person. I like her. I wish I could get to know her. I've known her for eleven months and haven't a clue what's beneath that cool facade.
Tonight she had a smile for me, which I needed desperately.
It's nice to have such a lovely, strange, tardy, and wonderful woman in my life.
I'm a fool for them.
I returned to my room to catch, "Halloween II," on television, starring Donald Pleasense, of all people. This film also helped to cheer me up. There's nothing like a good slasher movie to top off the evening.

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