I was going to explain everything today but then I realized what’s the point? Let Yahweh or Vishnu come down and explain it all—we’d just muck it up anyway. No matter how much reason one party imparts to the other, we’d just find a way to muck it about, twist it up, and generally turn it into that disgusting regurgitated soup Campbell’s foists on pencil-skirted ladies as “Soup At Hand”. So instead I want to reminisce.
In high school there was a girl named Desiree. Smart. Gorgeous. Quirky enough to be perfect. She’s probably still all 3. I’m not ashamed to say I absolutely loved her, practically worshipped her as one god worships another (I was a teenager—all teenagers think they’re gods one way or another). At the time I was the god of dweeb. So what’d I do? I mucked it up. A brilliant friendship transformed into so much mud by social inadequacy and an excess of Dumb Male Syndrome. That’s how I saw it. She may remember me as the creepy dude from study hall. Memories, sweet memories…
Middle School: one of the best basketball players we had, tall white kid named Fritz. We were buds. Back then my neighborhood had blacks, whites, Iranians, Koreans—hell, my circle of friends was the starship Enterprise and didn’t know it. My first real crush was on this tall white girl named Vicki. She had the widest, most unfettered smile! I’m wildly attracted to smiles. The eyes might be the windows to the soul but the smile is the soul itself. Desiree’s smile could cut a diamond. But Fritz. Fritz was goofy but smart. There were about 6 of us boys. We were all goofy but smart. Azar, Fritz, me, Yeong, and I can’t remember who else. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would have fit right in with us. Fritz, though, this tall, lanky German dude who could throw a punch or get all algebraic on your ass, was different enough that I knew even then he was going places. He was somebody to know. We even matriculated to the same high school where the glue of middle school weakens and the girls have real boobs. The male mind misfires. Instead of remaining friends with Fritz I mucked it up. Simultaneously way too interested in girls and way too afraid of girls. Sorry, Desiree. A bud-ship demolished by neglect.
Jump to college. The one person in the world right now whom I would love to see above all others, one that taught me so much without ever trying, one whose smile was as close to Jesus Christ as I’ll ever get, the one who was undeniable proof that men and women could be great friends without getting their privates in a pent-up lather: Atefeh. Sweet, funny, incandescent Atefeh. Beauty, brains, poetry…what else does a young man need of a college friend? We worked in the same on-campus library (if you can call what I did “work”—I believe this is where the seeds of the Glorious Revolution were planted in me). She was the desk receptionist and I was the person who hung around the desk receptionist until the supervisor’s customary stroll-through. Unofficially I got paid to learn about Carlos Castenada, the value of poetic thought, eschewing fear for truth (wound up having a college fling with Desiree’s best friend although I didn’t know it when I met her and she didn’t go to our high school; college is where I learned the howling irony that is life), and learned that conversations looking eye to eye built things. If Atefeh showed up at my doorstep today she’d have an immediate place to stay; if Atefeh said I was the only compatible donor for her organ transplant I’d start drawing dotted lines on myself. Atefeh was so very cool, even when she was telling me about her boyfriend. For some reason I want to say his name was Steve. There are 2 tangled trees still on the university campus that I call the Atefeh & Steve trees because that’s what she called them. What happened with Atefeh? Time. Other interests. Other employment. Excuses. Ultimately I think she left the country. I’ve never looked a woman in the eye and felt such a sense of loss as I did when I hugged Atefeh goodbye. One more muck up for the road.
What do we hold on to? I look around and I see ghosts that by all rights should be alive. Behind and through them I see the house I have, the job I have, the solitudes I have, even the wife I have who, after over 4 decades of me being on this earth, has managed to teach me to be the man every good woman needs a man to be, and I wonder if I am truly where I'm supposed to be. Yes, the song goes “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be,” and I agree that it is just that easy, but at the same time we can’t deny the ghosts. They’re in two places at once: where they used to be and where they’re meant to be. Spending life that way in the flesh tends to muck things up. Plus flesh adds the wrinkle of where it wants to be. The 3 dimensional world becomes 6. So much knowledge, so much wisdom, so much of everything that is essential and beautiful to us is given to us everyday. Is presented with a smile. Is imparted with a glance. Is hoped for, materialized, then allowed to depart to our detriment. So much of life is bollocks and muck up while tiny violins trill in our ears that what does it matter if I explain everything today?
I wonder if I truly could? The Grand Unification Theory. In fifty words or less.
I could try. Or I could be coy and end
with an ellipse