Aztec Yhessin

August 2000

[ 07.02.00 - even in my twenties, i can still rave]

I'm having a hard time staying up 40 hours at one time, and there is this persistent and annoying knot in my right shoulder that didn't seem to be there before. This is a new thing. Last thing I knew I was in pretty good control of my body, and could abuse it any which way I wanted to.

I didn't wake up in the morning short of breath, or with my lungs hurting because I could always smoke as much as I wanted to, and I could easily get away with it. The words heartburn, indigestion, and acid-reflux had no meaning to me. And I never realized that there would be such a short time between then, and having to find my own money, because at a point I had to stop asking my father for twenties to blow on a Friday night.

Fireworks were more exciting. I remember when I wasn't allowed to light them myself, and I just sat back in my kiddie lawn chair in my parrot shirt, and watched my older brother light them and then run away. He was 27. That was fifteen years ago. I find it invigorating when I'm running away from mortar tube after mortar tube, tripping over the lawn chairs, and the barrels full of flowers, and wondering when my head got so far away from the ground. I hardly ever get turned around quickly enough to actually watch the thing go up and explode into its starburst of lights.

I spent the last couple weeks at the park. Almost every day. Okay, at least 4 out of 7. Mae and I used to go up there on semi-warm Spring days, and we'd spend 5 hours sitting on a bench, making people passing by on the river fishing wonder if we were sane or not, and then we'd talk about where we were going to be when we got older. Pictures we were going to take with our little snapshot camera, trying to delude ourselves in creativity-- movies we were going to make with our Hi-8. Web sites we were going to design with notepad.

We'd spend countless hours looking at the twenty-somethings walking around us, and try to imagine us being that old. It didn't seem like it was possible. We'd reflect on years gone by, and the crazy things we'd done. Playing with relationships, experimenting with sex-- and walking on thin wires while we watched our closest friend fall into the depths of heroin addiction.

Mae left today for Ohio. School. Worked herself to the prospect-- and that little snapshot camera that took so many frozen laughs has now been replaced by a several-thousand dollar piece of professional equipment ready to tackle the world and freeze moments that will mean something to others-- and won't just sit in one of the many albums sitting on a shelf in my parent's basement.

She called me from her new apartment. Said she was on a search for an air mattress because the floor was much too uncomfortable. Her cat was screaming in the background, wondering where her back yard went to-- her seeming miles of hunting ground for birds, vermin, and strawberries.

What happened to the Taurus? Goshen, Indiana. 3am trips to buy pot-- and drinking Woodchuck. We didn't have to get up the next morning.

Pad's getting married. Some French girl that he met in acting school in Los Angeles. He used to sit in my basement, and we'd talk about how someday, we were going to be famous, and laugh at all the people with their potbellies, and their diet-pill habits who made fun of us in high school. We'd dream up movies and write screenplays, and hold little shooting sessions-- because what we had created was way better than Clerks or Chasing Amy.

He called me yesterday while he was on set wrapping up a film that he's been working on for the past several weeks. Him and Ally get married in about 4 weeks. I remember being at his place three years ago, almost to the day, trying to get him to stop crying because his high school sweetheart was sleeping with his best friend. He was two years older than I was at the time, and I wondered how he had so much control and confidence when driving on the freeway. I had only been driving a year.

Where's the Taurus?

Jyn rented a house two summers ago. Six months younger than me, and I three years wiser, we sat on her front porch having post-highschool parties for the entire month of July, drinking Honey Brown, and talking about the bad times in '95-- missing Jeni so much that we could hardly breathe. It seemed as if her and I had spent the entire night before talking on the phone bitching about our families-- while she was looking out the window toward the house Jyn would rent three and a half years later. Her father will never touch another shotgun.

Jyn stopped talking to me once because my girlfriend at the time was denouncing me to nothing more than a sex-crazed 15-year-old who couldn't get enough. We couldn't imagine being old enough to buy our own Zima, and psycho Eli turned into a religion freak a few years later. She's born again, I feel like that part of me died--

and Jyn moved away to Lexington to work with horses so she can pay for school next semester. She calls me or writes me every once in a while. She talks about how we see dead people, and how she still has dreams about how we're all going to be famous, and how Pad looks like Tom Cruise-- and how just yesterday--

we were talking while driving around in the Taurus.

I was once accused by a misfit little wanna-be Wiccan girl of raping her. Although the situation passed, at the moment of the accusation, I was sitting in my basement watching porn and drinking Woodchuck with a young boy sporting green and white dreadlocks. He stood there as close as he could to the TV, wondering if little wives and girlfriends left in the morning, bidding adieu to their boyfriends and husbands- See ya later honey, I'm going to work to get boofed- we still haven't found the answer. I think we've stopped asking.

Years later, Pad and I sat on Jyn's front porch smoking cigarettes and wondering how in the Hell Ryan could be laying in a hospital bed, his dreadlocks shaved, tubes running into every orifice, and his family sitting nearby wondering if he'd ever wake up. All I could remember was driving around, trying to find people to buy Woodchuck-- a lot of miles were spent that way

in the Taurus...

Kristin and I really were 5 years old once. We'd chase each other around her living room after getting home from a.m. kindergarten. Seeming as soul mates from the first, if she caught me I'd try to wiggle away but never really wanted to evade that peck on the cheek. Her mother would be in the kitchen preparing something, or screaming at her father, but we still sat in our little fort underneath the stairs in her basement and made up stories and drew things on the paneling with Day-Glo chalk.

It's hard to imagine her life when she was in Texas for those 6 years.. dreaming away her days, and trying to find herself without hurting herself in the process. She failed- it seems rather surrealistic as we sit there in a restaurant and people refer to the scarring on her right wrist as looking like someone wanting to end it really badly and even knew how to do it the right way..

It'd hard to imagine the years she missed. Returning in '98, she never got to meet

...the Taurus.

I look at the fireworks exploding above me, and get that awakening sensation of burning every time I light that fuse and run. My favorite flannel shirt smells like sulfur and ass, and I wish I could still fit in that little fucking lawn chair. My parrot shirt turned to shreds in 1985, and I traded in my Hi-8 for a 160-pound 35mm camera, and I stand on set calling shots and harassing the director about pressing on.

A good part of my heart belongs to the past, and friends-- some belongs to me, half is sitting in the palms of a girl who lives with two miniature lions 6 miles away. A cup full is arranged in a backpack amongst books about Psychology and Ethics. A sliver is hanging on a string around the neck of a talented artist who lives outside Sacramento.

I met a boy last week that challenges everything I ever knew existed. He sounds like me. I hope he slows down.

Jyn sends me news clippings from Lexington about feature films casting, and Pad sends me dailies on Super-VHS. I sit and bicker about anything possible with a boy skilled at interpersonal communication; I get first looks on web sites created by a genius.

Jeni's obit has never left its hanging place on my wall. Reminds me never to let go, like all of those other bastards who wouldn't stop crying at her funeral.

Sara's strung out someplace downtown-- she frequents the methadone clinic. Marie stands 7 months pregnant, and looks at me wondering whatever happened to Laurne.

I'll drive to work this week without my lumbar support.

I should have never let go of that car.


Aztec Yhessin [aztecyhessin@141.com] lives in South Bend, Indiana, and is yet another 20-yo-bi-dude who's really lonely. Can you tell? He loves to get e-mail from strangers, because all of his friends are getting married, having babies, or too busy shooting coke in the back room. As well, he strongly believes we should all just take a deep breath, and move on. You can visit him on the web at http://www.freespeech.org/aztec.


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