Impressions of Pacific Beach:
Walking home from Tiki (funny how easy it is to think of this place as home, although I will probably never be here again), I turned at the blue-lit record store on the corner. A kid came out, coffee mug balanced on pizza box. He locked the glass doors, mounted his long skateboard, and began his commute home.
Trendily dressed kids too stupid to know better are lined up around the block to get into one particular bar.
Going down Fanuel between Garnet and Grand I meet a pack of Wednesday partiers. The girls stink of tobacco and factory watermelon.
At Tiki tonight I said goodbye to Tiki Dave, Bad Bobby, Bevins, and Connecticut Bill. “You’re not just going to Yo-Yo again are you?” asked Tiki Dave. He had me there. It is quite possible I will have to pass back through this town one more time before I am free of my former life. That is completely my fault; in the time I’ve been here I could have done all that shit. I just wanted to write instead.
Connecticut Bill probably won’t be here two years from now. I don’t expect Bevins will be here either. Bad Bobby, I’m not so sure. But I said goodbye to each, not knowing whether two weeks or death separated our next meeting. There are only a couple more goodbyes to go. Tom and Melinda I might see again, but we have already handled goodbye gracefully with the assistance of obscene amounts of alcohol and a little bit of karaoke. Any last meeting between us will be the last finger wiggle of a complex farewell handshake.
When I wrote earlier of Vegas, I said, “The ties from my past, reasserting themselves while I am in San Diego, will be burned away.” When I read that to Amy, she said, “You’re going to forget me!” She didn’t even wait until I finished the paragraph. I think she knew better than I did what I meant by those words. I am leaving people behind. I know I will never see some of these people again. But as correct as she was about the meaning, what she said was completely wrong. There will be no forgetting Amy.
I am still grappling for the right term for our relationship. During the booze-soaked karaoke fest I started to read the paragraph about how there was some deep spiritual force that had disabled the windows of her car. I was pretty proud of that paragraph. I had hardly gotten started when my audience drowned me out with “Ooo! Jerry loves Amy!” There was enough alcohol in the air that there was no point protesting; I simply put the computer away without finishing. And just what bothered me about that accusation? Do I love Amy? Absolutely. Do I love my big toe? You bet. The greeks came up with a bunch of words for love: agape, eros, and all that shit. If there is a word that combines my paternal, fraternal, self-destructive, and tingly feelings toward Amy, it’s probably in some obscure criminal code that has never been applied outside the ozarks.
I suppose I could make up a word, but it would take me the rest of my life to define it.
So: Goodbye, Amy. I move to a simpler life. A life where the words I used and feared as a child still apply. I hope I haven’t embarrassed you with all this, though I’m sure I have. But know that I am proud to be your friend, proud to know your secrets, and proud of you. That, more than anything else, defines my love for you. Damn I hope I don’t have to say goodbye again.