Chapter 12: Little Blue Rock
One of the things I had liked about the Gypsy was the way he embraced the mystic. He told me a lot about astrology. He and Ananda both told me my Saturn return was approaching... I am still not really sure what that meant.
He also said it was okay to carry a token to keep you grounded. "I carry a little blue rock in my pocket."
"Really? Let me see."
Indeed, a little blue rock.
Shortly after our encounter at the birthday party, I started to feel comfortable to go to places where I might run into Spectacle again. I did not have any intention. I told myself I was attempting to act like an adult. But one night he approached me, "You wanna come back to my place and smoke some pot?"
"You don't smoke pot."
"I used to- I do sometimes. I have some," he offered. "Let's have a shot."
That shot was followed shortly by another one. "I'm not going to be able to drive, if I drink this much so quickly."
We compromised that we would continue drinking, and he would drive us back to his place in my car.
Back at his place again, the same thoughts ran through my head, What are you doing here? Are you fooling around with this guy again? Didn't you already figure out that he was wasting your time?
But I was there, and he was rolling a huge joint in a cigarette machine.
He had bought a car since we last hung out. He was making progress. It was sort of encouraging.
I never lingered in his place in the mornings. This morning I considered it. While I pondered, he was checking the clock.
"You have somewhere to go?"
"A dentist appointment..." he yawned. "Would you give me a ride? Then I could stay in bed another thirty minutes."
"I thought you have a car now?"
"It'll take as long to park as it will to bike there."
"Okay. I'll give you a ride."
He pulled me towards him and took full advantage of the extra time in bed.
As I dropped him off, I revealed it had not been on my way. His dentist was towards my apartment in the burbs, but not towards the clients I had scheduled for that afternoon. This did not seem to sit right with either of us, my going out of my way to do him a favor. We did not discuss it.
That weekend we attended the same camping festival. I do not recall whether he even said hello. At some point, I spotted a girl with him and swore I heard, "She saw us." I thought it was the girl who had been flirting with him at the birthday party.
I told myself, Don't be paranoid. It's none of your business anyway. Stop being so egocentric!
I was preparing to move to the city. Spectacle was playing drums for a band at the local coffee shop venue. I went... Many friends were there, including Mr. Mister and his girlfriend. I was only slightly self-conscious having them for an audience as I enticed Spectacle to have a beer with me at the after-party bar.
I was nosy enough to ask him if he had been involved with that girl. He said no. Somehow I did not trust him, but I told myself it did not matter. This was not a relationship. It wasn't even a friendship really.
He seemed reluctant but obliged. He was far less reluctant to follow me back to my apartment. Part of me wanted him to see it. "It's about to all disappear. This place isn't going to exist anymore. It's weird," I told him.
We sat on the carpet talking a long while, playing with my cat. Spectacle was surprisingly fascinated with her. I thought maybe we would have a completely platonic night, when he suddenly pounced on me... Why else would he think I asked him to come home with me...
As we curled up to sleep in my bed I caught him speaking with a sincerity and openness that I had never encountered with him before. "This is a nice bed. A nice apartment. Why would you give all this up?"
"I've been driving too much, in and out of the city. I lived here with my ex- It's just time for a change."
After that Spectacle stayed at a distance for a while. I joked with myself that he was avoiding the possibility that I would ask him for help moving boxes and furniture.
The entire move I had the Gypsy on my mind. During our mystical conversations I confided in him that I was playing with tarot cards, trying to learn to read them.
"Please don't ever include me... Most people don't realize it, but tarot cards cast spells," he warned me. "Once I let some random guy- who totally had no idea what he was doing- to try to read my cards. It fucked with me for years."
"What? That's terrible."
"Eh, it's okay now." He had this way of brushing everything off, this patience.
As time drifted, away from him, a dark curiosity came over me. I studied briefly online and books. Then I laid out a three card sequence; The Fool, The Wheel of Fortune, and Justice.
In my new apartment, late one night, I suddenly could not resist the urge to call him. He answered, "Hey, how are you?"
"I'm sorry. I know I'm not supposed to call you... I just-"
"It's okay... We... broke up."
I was astounded, "Really?"
He caught me up on some of the details.
"Do you still have the little blue rock in your pocket?"
"I do... and a couple days ago, I added a little pink rock too," he laughed, "It's funny to hear from you now."
"Well, I... I know you told me not to... but I sort of used tarot cards."
We were entertained with our rituals and our presumption of their effectiveness.
In the next couple weeks, we would visit one another's homes. We could go on a few dates. He would attend my gigs in the city. During our time apart, his father had been in the hospital. When he came home, we visited him.
He told us the story, "I was having chest pain for five days. I was chewing on baby aspirin. We talked about it, considered letting it happen..." He squeezed his wife's hand. "Then we decided we still wanted a little more time together and did something about it." He laughed, "They were pretty aggravated about all the aspirin at the hospital. Said if I kept that up, it might have killed me before my heart did."
...Despite our new found freedom, we did not rush into a physical relationship. I said I would probably need to wait a long while until I would be ready to have sex with him, maybe months... maybe a year.
"Or we could wait until we got married," suggested the man who had been engaged to almost every girlfriend he ever had but not married once.
"Or that," I agreed.
He stayed with me the night before I left for FFest. I awoke next to him with two strange feelings. The first told me to have sex with him then and there or never. The second told me I would not be seeing him in September. I withheld the first feeling, ignoring it. I told him about the latter.
"You don't want to see me in September?"
"I just... don't think that it happens," I sighed. "Time is having its nonlinear way with me. I don't know what it means. I'm just telling you."
"Gypsy, can I take your rock with me while I'm at FFest?" I shyly requested.
"Which one?" he took them out of his pocket.
I paused, listening to hear my inner voice answer, trying to not rationalize either choice. "The blue one."
"Ahhhh..." He placed it in my hand.
"Well, if you had asked for your rock, you'd want to be free to be on your own while you're away... You asked for my rock- So, you can keep me with you, and I can keep you with me."
I considered this a test I had passed. He helped me load my camping gear into my car, and we said goodbye.
At FFest I intended to keep my cell phone turned off. However, by the time I set up my tent- with help I had recruited from a still smitten Felix... who had also been the friend who volunteered to help me reassemble my furniture in my new apartment- I was turning it on again. A flood of messages; some from the Gypsy's number. Some from an unfamiliar number. Some in the first person, some addressed from his supposed ex-girlfriend... Calling me a whore, telling me that I wouldn't come between them, accusing me of fucking him.
My heart sunk the distance of the Empire State Building elevator shaft. I dragged myself back to Felix and asked him to sit with me. He watched me turn into a puddle of despair. I realized was taking advantage of his good nature. I should have put up the damn tent myself or asked someone from my own campsite. I told him I would be fine, thanked him, and left him.
Despite my choice of rock, which I kept with me the entire time, I was on my own for FFest. I tried to keep an open mind... an open heart... ready for whatever was coming.
Who showed up was Victor... But I already told that story. (http://echovictory.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-price-of-admission.html)
When I returned from FFest, I rushed to find out what was going on. The Gypsy told me that his girlfriend still had a key to his apartment. She came in and stole his cell phone for several days. He insisted all the messages were from her, even the ones that sounded like they were from him... The ones that had crushed me the most. The ones that said, "She needs me. I made a mistake."
I did not know what to believe, only what I wanted to believe.
I insisted upon coming to his apartment... There we spent a very awkward and strange night, the three of us. Her continuously convincing me he was with her. Him trying to find ways to help her. Me in the middle, literally. I slept between them on the futon that was his bed. In the morning, she awoke to find his arm around me. She said nothing but ran out to her car for her pills.
"This is not good," he said. He put the pills aside and suggested we go out for breakfast.
The three of us walked up to my old neighborhood coffee shop. As she and I conversed, I realized that we had a lot in common, like we could be different versions of the same model. She wanted to be an artist. She had gone to school to study art... But she still was not confident that she knew her style. She expressed fear of absorbing too many influences that might affect it.
I talked to her about finding my voice, about learning to perform and embrace my authentic self. She seemed unconvinced. I realized that in her eyes, I had been born with self-confidence, that she considered the imaginary line I had crossed impenetrable.
...August 31st the Gypsy met me in the park, where we had often played guitars. I asked him to help me complete a Reiki School assignment- to write me a love letter. It did not have to be from a lover, just someone in my life. My girlfriend, Leigh wrote me the second one I was required to request.
Under the moon I cried without tears, "I used to feel like I knew we had time together... now I can't tell if it already happened. If it's over."
September was a big month. I had a big gig coming up, and my bassist was out of town, on tour with another band. My mind wandered to Victor. I sent him a message asking him to fill-in.
Charlie came over and the three of us rehearsed for an hour... as I tried conform my strumming rhythm to Victor's bass playing, a strange magnetic attraction began to pull me towards him. It whispered the word, Stay.
When we had finished rehearsing, Victor and I began engrossed in conversation... and Charlie was be included, much to my chagrin. Leave, Charlie. I'm talking to Victor. But he would not budge until I said goodbye to Victor. I locked the door behind both of them.
What am I doing? I am on hiatus... no dating, no booze, no drugs, no meat... Sober, single September.
At a Reiki practitioner function I met a woman who was reading tarot cards. I asked her, "How can I stay on my path? I keep taking detours! I just want to progress forward. I get distracted. I have so many interests. I don't know how to prioritize them, what to focus on."
She initially took three cards, "This one is everything you want, your garden. It is in your future." The second card, "What do you see int his card?"
There was a haggard homeless-looking woman helping a helpless-looking man, bandaged around the head, with one leg in a cast, his arms leaning on crutches. "Uh... I'm not exactly sure." That's me, taking care of some stupid man who can't help himself, anchoring me.
"That is your detour. That is what you're trying to avoid."
"Ah. How do I do that?"
The third card, the ace of wands, "You've got this. You are on the right path already."
When she could not find a way to convince me, she flipped a forth card; a valiant knight on a white horse, sword drawn high into the air, "You're going to get to your garden by cutting out the bullshit. Change is coming. Just start cutting things out... If they are things you don't know you need yet, don't worry, they come back," she answered.
I pleaded with her for one more card... The ten of pentacles. "Well that doesn't make any sense," she sighed.
"What does it mean?"
"It's supposed to mean you already have everything you need."
Then it all clicked in my head, "No, that's perfect. That's what I've been hearing, somewhere, somehow- I got it. Thank you."
...There was a large bowl of donated and abandoned rocks by the door. I paused, cupping the little blue rock in my hand. I was not ready.
I biked around south Philly. I stopped at several hair salons to try to cut my hair, but no one had time for a new client that day... What to cut...
This particular gig was a big deal... It was the one my family was finally attending. My brother and his partner were coming from Washinton D.C. with college friends. Even more important, it would be the first time my dad would see me perform... My dad- who sits at home watching public access television music shows from Nashville and Bronson via satellite. Finally he would see me perform with my band!
I was running around on bike, trying to juggle responsibilities of making the gig run smoothly, have dinner with my family, put on a nice dress, makeup... and I was fairly stressed out, wishing I had not sworn away alcohol for the month.
We were the third of three bands... by the middle of the second band's set, I began to worry whether Victor was going to arrive in time for our set. I wandered out into the crowd to greet my guests... Then I saw my family's table, "Where's Dad?"
My brother grimaced, "He didn't feel well after dinner. He stayed at the hotel."
I held back the tears as I ran backstage to squelch the impending anxiety attack. As I entered the hallway from the front, the back door opened, Victor entered, "Hi. You're here."
"Of course," he smiled.
Okay, Universe. I hear you. I do. For now, just help me pull it together long enough to get through this set. Please.
After the performance, I mingled with crowd. I felt empty. Victor was packed up with his bass strapped to his back... But he was lingering. He isn't going to say anything, if you don't. "Victor, you wanna go hang out?"
"Sure. Where you wanna go?"
"Well, I'm not drinking or smoking... It makes me quite boring. We could go to my place."
We stayed up until nearly four in the morning, just talking, on my living room floor. The magnets were still there. I tried to ignore them. He was so talented and knowledgeable... Mustn't ruin this opportunity by getting involved with him. There is so much to learn from him, and we know too many of the same people to get messy.
I decided to spend my last weekend of September in NYC with friends. It would be good to leave Philadelphia. I attended a Reiki conference. Then I met Ann and her husband, slept over on their floor. The next morning, I had a missed text from Victor, asking me to a band BBQ. I was glad the decision had been made for me.
The remainder of the weekend I spent with my old college chum, Dina. She lived in my old neighborhood in Queens. "Let's go for a walk and stop by the Hindu temple. It's some sort of holiday, and they give away free food!"
"Free Indian food? Yes, please!" I agreed.
What I knew about Hindu gods and goddesses was largely limited to a week of high school history class, but recently I had watched a Bollywood movie that introduced me to Genesh- The god of destruction. If you prayed to him, he would destroy something in your life to create an opportunity for something new. So, when the woman watching our shoes at the door of the temple explained the celebration was in his honor, I simply said, "That's crazy!"
"No!" She snapped back, offended, "It is NOT crazy!"
I smiled at her, "No, no. I didn't mean it in a bad way... I mean, that's perfect! Like I'm supposed to be here right now!"
I went in and talked to the gold jewel-encrusted Genesh, put money in his offering box, "Okay, Genesh. I'm ready. Do what you gotta do."
When I returned to Philadelphia, I received a Reiki session from one of my teachers. She asked me what was on my mind.
"Well, I have been doing a fast this past month... for September. Now that it's October, I don't know where to start. I haven't been drinking, smoking, dating, eating meat..."
"You've been depriving yourself... Why?"
"Because I wanted to be able to hear my intuition."
She paused, closing her eyes, as though she was consulting her inner voice, "You need to listen to your heart. Be nice to yourself. What is it that you really want?"
I felt tears already forming, "I want... I have always wanted... a partner. Someone who understands me the way I understand him. Loves me the way I love him."
...During the session I entered a deep meditative state. I saw myself with the Gypsy. A voice explained to me that I could be with him- Then I saw his girlfriend there, on my other side. This was the way to be with him, with her, with them. Then my mind wandered away from worrying about the Gypsy anymore... After the session, I dropped the little blue rock into the pile by the door.
When I checked my phone, I had four missed calls, two waiting text messages. One was asking me to be a featured act at an open mic that night. I excitedly texted my band members, "I know it's last minute, but if you can make it- It'll be a good time and free drink." Included in this list, although he was not a regular band member, was Victor.
He was the only one who showed up.
.....After not drinking for a month, it did not take me much to get tipsy. He drove me home afterwards. He played my guitar and I improvised vocals in my living room. Sparks. Fireworks. We went for a long walk. For a moment, as we paused in my neighborhood park, I thought he was about to kiss me... But he got carried away discussing politics and the approaching election. The moment passed. As he said goodbye, when it was nearly dawn, I felt the magnets... and this time I could see he felt them as well.