Growing Up Every One
This is now a description of learning to hear, see, and feel all repeating that each one always is making of the whole of them. This is now some description of learning to hear, see, and feel all repeating that each one always is making of the whole of them.
On and on in the 1990’s. New drugs. Pre-sixteen, I’m the kid with the good time.”
Words by Doug Smith photos courtesy by Christopher Gleason & Rogan Hardy
Here we are & Im rolling my tits off, someone’s blowing me up & the air’s so thick with smoke you could cut it with a knife. Five or six others there with me, & I’m so high, & the shutter-vision makes them undelineated— all bright neon trails & laughter & smoke.
“What the hell is going on?”
My father is standing there, in the space between the kitchen and the den, between the double-wide louvre doors.
“Douglas, what in the hell is going on here?”
. . .
After the appointment, I walked out of the bedroom & onto the balcony for a cigarette.”
Huge marble tiles made up the floor of the apartment on the thirty-ninth floor of his building, the exterior of which was a textbook example of brutalist architecture (I didn’t know that, then). On the way to the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door, I see Ben Smith’s “The Red Dot”, strangely macabre, and something stirs inside me as I pause in the hallway to look at the painting. Elton John’s unit (two story) is below. Years later, I would see the elevator lobby on his level when his assistant got into the elevator I was in. It was a dark red hallway, with a Serrano piece in the center. Serrano, who suggested, by way of depiction, that if god is indeed in everything, that includes a ninety thousand gallon aquarium filled with piss.
How do you like Him now?“
I slid the glass door, surprised by how heavy it was, and went out onto the balcony. I lit my cigarette, and looked through the window into the living room. There was a painting, rendered in the style of a cartoon: a blonde with tremendous breasts and a trim waist beside a man. There was a dialogue, depicted as it would be in a comic, with a tapered end that expanded into a white, box shaped field above the respective speaker.
“Whatcha wanna do?” The woman asked
“Let’s just lay here and see what comes up,” replied the man.
I’m sure that in my life, prior to several months before, I hadn’t ever imagined anyone would ever pay me to have sex with them; but if I ever did imagine it, this scene, this apartment, was the last thing I ever would have envisioned.
I turned around and looked out over the balcony. From the thirty-ninth floor, the city below looked tiny and far away. I thought of where I was:
- Doug Smith
- Park Place Building
- City of Atlanta
- Fulton County
- The United States
- The World
- The Milky Way
- The Universe
But what was after the Universe?
There had to be something, but only god could think that thought. I tried to think what a big thought that was, the thought that contained everything, and beyond that, and everywhere, and everyone. But I could only think of god, and it made me feel very tired and made my head feel big to think that way.
I looked down, and from that high up everything looked so small.
. . .
He didn’t speak a lick of English.
“Aparca en la calle y bajaré buscarte,” I said. He was wearing a black bandana, and a black paper mask covered his face. Pandemia.
But his eyes….
“Esta bien si no me quito la máscara?”
“Esta bien,” I said.
We went up to the apartment.
“Estoy cerca.” (Urgently)
“Quieres que saque?”
He grabbed my shoulders and turned me around. He had removed the mask and had pulled the bandana down over his eyes, and he got down on his knees.
“En mi boca.”
I came almost immediately, all over his face.
. . .
My flight was in two hours. ‘You should have done this last night,’ I chastised myself, exacerbating the internal downward spiral to the level of frantic desperation.”
The sweat was beading on my forehead, and formed droplets, which began to run down my face. I hate this goddamned place with its infernal fucking heat and the goddamned flies I don’t have any fucking time goddamnit I hate this, all of it….
The monolithic nature of feeling— all visceral emotions, their phenomenological quality of was, is, and always will be….
Our lives are so many fleeting eternities; and for a man, as it turns out, forever isn’t really very long. In those moments of self-directed rage, I saw it thusly; but nothing is perfect. Years later, looking back, I know I loved that place unlike I have ever loved anywhere. I loved my life there, in Costa de Orro, in the heat, with the Barallitos three-star, & Pitorro, & the ocean bathed in moonlight in my backyard, & Ojo del Buey, & Yara, & Nicole, & Janet, our neighbor, and our veranda, and him.
I don’t remember our conversation in the car. Some vague apology. Some remarks, even more vague still, about plans concerning where and when we would rendezvous back in the states. “I’ll call you when I land,” I promised.
He helped me unload my bags from the car onto the curb at the airport. “I’ll see you soon,” I said. We leaned in, and he kissed me. I loved him. I felt his hands on my waist, and was aware of the people watching. I felt him watching me, as I walked toward the automatic sliding glass doors at the entrance to the airport, and I felt when I moved beyond those doors, when he could no longer see me.
It takes a long time to figure out love. And it has been a long time since I walked beyond those doors at the airport in San Juan. Now it is too late; but I know now that I love him, that I always loved him.