Crush Boy just left for a five-week American tour with his band. They kicked off the tour in San Francisco, and CB snuck me and my dearest buddy, Sara, into the show, then afterward me and the dudes cruised around in their van, in search of the last open taqueria.
After a couple of previous hang times, I felt totally comfortable around CB’s band mates—it was easy and fun, and they seemed to accept me. They even insisted on buying me a taco. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but that made me feel like I must be at least someone important to CB, for his buddies to make an effort with me.
They all came back to my place to crash for their last night in town. As we crossed the bridge to Oakland, they were all excited about how they were already OFFICIALLY ON TOUR, and I knew that part of CB’s mind was already on the road. But we had a really pleasant night, just horsing around and being stupid, as I like to do. I was happy and wrestling and a little drunk, nowhere near tired until he fell asleep hugging me.
In the morning I woke to the sound of his band mate playing guitar in the living room, and I got up to have some tea with him. An hour later CB was still asleep, so I climbed back into bed but couldn’t fall asleep. I picked up the book I’ve been reading—Patti Smith’s Just Kids. Every single person I know has been talking about this book since it came out two years ago, but I’m glad I waited this long to read it. It’s the right moment in my life for it. The library book is full of dog-eared pages, marking passages of transcendent beauty and psychic relatability, like this one, which I read while lying by Crush Boy’s sleeping side:
I was hopeful he would be my boyfriend, but as it turned out, that was an improbable expectation. I would never serve as the source of his inspiration, though in attempting to articulate the drama of my feelings I became more prolific and I believe a better writer.
Jim and I had some very sweet times. I’m sure there were downs as well, but my memories are served with nostalgia and humor. Ours were ragtag days and nights, as quixotic as Keats and as rude as the lice we both came to suffer, each certain they originated from the other as we underwent a tedious regimen of Kwell lice shampooing in any one of the unmanned Chelsea Hotel bathrooms.
He was unreliable, evasive, and sometimes too stoned to speak, but he was also kind, ingenuous, and a true poet. I knew he didn’t love me but I adored him anyway. Eventually he just drifted away, leaving me a long lock of his red-gold hair.
I sighed and shifted toward CB, and examined his sleeping head. I touched his long, tangled, golden hair with the back of my hand, noticing the red tones woven through.
Who knows what’ll happen next; I’m not sure either of us knows what we want from the other past today. But I do know that on that last morning, I was happy for him to go, and so sad to see him leave. ♦