November 2007—My Girls
At the end of an almost perfect day with Maisie, we watched the sun begin its descent past the horizon, bathing the rolling hills in a gentle apricot light. The rosy sun on the skyline reflected in her eyes, bringing out her warm, pink cheeks.
She and I were sitting in the two chairs that occupied my mom’s cramped but comfortable balcony enjoying a cigarette. Being on the third and top story, we could see the painted hills around the luminous lake and the distant patches of tiny red and white lights that made-up downtown.
“It’s so pretty here, I love it,” she said with a smile, which only lasted a mere second before it faded into a descending, blank stare. “I don’t want to leave tonight.” She pressed her lips together, then lifted her eyes back up to meet mine.
I had thrown off the thought of her leaving every time it had come up. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to another loved one.
“Just stay here. I’m sure you could stay with me at my mom’s until we get our own place,” I pleaded.
“You know I can’t. I’ll try to come back, I will. And I’ll see if my friends want to, too.”
It seemed like an impossible task to pull off. Her friends I didn’t care about as much, or at all, at the moment. “I’d like that. But, you know I just want you to be happy wherever you are.”
It was sad but true, she had to go back to her home in Oklahoma City. I had little hope that I’d see her anytime soon. Perhaps this being the last. We continued to sit there dreaming of a world in which we could live together and be happy forever and after. But the world doesn’t ever work that way. Not for me, at least. It was a mere pipe dream now.
Just as I had, she had also been kicked out of her sober house—along with Hannah and Brianna. When she had told me the appalling news, I couldn’t help but laugh at the story of how it happened, which could’ve been straight out of a TV sitcom. However, my heart would become a pierced pincushion at the thought of what was to become of her after.
The three of them had gotten drunk in the witching hours of their house while everyone else was in a dead sleep. Then one of the girls had the great idea of adding corn chips and salsa to the drunken mix.
The next morning, their house mom found salty chips all over the place and what looked like thick, chunks of blood everywhere. All the women in the house were already worried as to what had happened that night with all the noise the three girls had made. Thus, the bloody salsa had everyone sickly shocked. Three breathalyzers later, they had each gotten the boot.
I somehow forgot the fact they were blatant addicts and alcoholics, just as I was. Once alcohol enters our complex system, there’s no stop to the stupidity and damage we are capable of doing. Not to mention, the complete loss of the word “consequences.”
I was living with my mom at the time, which wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was going to be. Brianna, Maisie, and Hannah had come over most of the week—together and individually—where we’d see movies, walk downtown, or hang out with a few of my friends. All the while, listening to the new music Brianna had got us into playing.
Brianna was hip to new music. She’d show us great bands and artists before anyone knew who they were, like calling out who would be the next big thing. She and I got along better than anyone else. She was the only one of us who had a job in town, so when they were all kicked-out, she was the only one with the means to stay. As for Hannah and my Maisie, they’d have to go back to their hometowns.
Hannah was a mere three-hours away from her hometown of Dallas, so she left with an easy “Goodbye, I’m sure we will see each other soon.” While Maize was another story, coming from another state.
Her friends from Oklahoma drove all the way down to meet us in some ghetto part of town that I’d never been to before—but would see much later on.
One of them, a girl with bright blonde hair with huge bangs obscuring her face—I had recognized from Maize’s MySpace page—opened the passenger door of a tiny blue car. However many of them there were, they were all crammed inside the car like clowns. The blonde came up to us and took Maisie by the arm.
“We’re taking our bitch home,” she exclaimed.
“That’s rude,” I said back, though I don’t think she heard; it had come out like a whisper. Had I added more force to it, I probably would have broken down, leaking drops from the rain bucket hiding behind my eyes.
It was all I could say without yelling something I’d regret or start crying. Sure, we had a brief moment to hug each other and say goodbye, but it wasn’t enough for me. I needed more. And with that selfish thought, she was gone.
Brianna not only had managed to get a job here, she’d also found a boyfriend. Some guy with long curly hair. That’s all I knew of him. And that may not even be right. I just remember “Poof!” and she was gone.
A few days after Maize left, I got a job at Target, working the sales floor, and had also synced back up with the grapevine of my peers. They were all into a new social media site “better” than MySpace, which I had been familiar with. I had already succumbed myself to this site, learned the language to build it up, and refused to give into and learn a new one.
However, it was through the old world wide web of word-of-mouth I had heard a room in some friends’ house in south Austin was available. It was the same friends—Tanya and Jane—I had seen while I was in my addiction, shooting dope with Scarlett the night she cheated on me. They had known about my using and told me I could stay with them if I was off of heroin. A simple deal to make, since I had no urge to use—also, no means of getting it, unless I called Scarlett, which wasn’t going to happen.
Tanya, gorgeous, tall and thin, whose facial features matched that of a young Brooke Shields, loved animals. Her parents technically owned the four-bed and 3 ½-bath house, which was notoriously named “The Zoo,” for the number of pets living there—8 cats, 6 dogs, 2 birds, and a partridge in a pear tree. Not to mention, she also owned a dog boarding company, so add five or eight more random dogs each day. Plus a reptile house housing dozens of iguanas, snakes, etc.—don’t forget the 5 humans living there, as well, all living together in harmony. That was her dream and she nailed it right out of high school. I always admired her ambition.
I’d known her since third grade. I actually had a small pack of girlfriends when we first moved to Lakeway. Our parents would drink together while us, kids, would hand out and play truth or dare. I could be myself back then. I was just a kid and had no worries. However, Tanya and I were a year older than the others so we didn’t see each other in school much. It was in middle school when everything went under in my head.
Both Tanya and Jane were laid back and beautiful ladies. They smoked a good amount of pot daily, out of pipes, never bongs or joints—I don’t know why. They smoked about as often as I smoked a cigarette; well, at least Jane did.
Jane had shared Tanya’s beauty, perfect height, and had her own celebrity features, which reminded one of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Yet, Jane’s hair had been kissed by the sun a dozen more times, bringing out a lighter shade of a rose.
They were both Buddha-lovin’, jam band-listening hippies. As hippie as one could get growing-up in a community full of rich kids with nothing better to-do. They weren’t snobs though, at all. The complete opposite. Tanya had a considerable amount of love for both animals and humans and Jane had dealt with a loved one’s death early in life, thus, they were who they are: two compassionate and collected sisters—not by blood—living life. And they invited me back into their lives. I am truly blessed to have their friendship.
Tanya’s boyfriend of a few years also lived there, sharing the master bedroom with Tanya naturally. And then there was Sam, who had sat behind me while I first got drunk in history class. She shared the same qualities as the other two women in the house, making them three loving sisters.
I shared a house with three attractive and amiable young women. I drank, but stayed away from any hard drugs—with the exemption of the occasional ecstasy and cocaine-fueled nights.
Another attraction of the Zoo was my room being on the other side of the house, away from the other bedrooms. Outside, you couldn’t tell that it actually was two stories. Inside, on the far end of it was a living area with a hidden staircase leading o my room which had its own bathroom attached. Only the residents and a few others knew of my hidden staircase, too. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I had privacy in a house that was known as being a zoo—not because of the animals, but all the humans who came over everyday to hang out.
Life was good, and then it somehow got even better. But then, it all had become too good to be true.