I left that week. I had Ruben’s notebook by my side every mile of that journey; I read his poems over and over, envisioning him sitting at his coffee table at his house, papers strewn about and empty cups sitting quietly, brushed aside and forgotten. There would be an empty Loko can or 2 somewhere in the area, papers under the table and a few comic books piled on top of each other on a side table near his sofa and maybe a few of his choice books. Of course, this may very well not be at all what his house looks like, but the possibilities are endless; I’d never been to his house, so I simply imagined what I thought Ruben’s living room would look like based on what I knew about him as a person.
As the miles dragged on, I began writing my own poems in his notebook. The first poem I wrote was actually written the last night I saw him. Both guilt and sorrow brought about this poem; I felt that it was somewhat wrong to basically force the words “I love you” out of someone just to make myself feel better about leaving, so I could somewhat imagine that somehow, maybe he did. So, for your reading enjoyment, and only because I happened to still have this poem in my email history as well as an example as to how my poetry had changed over that period of time:
“I love you.”
Tainted words forced on by a child
“Lie to me.”
“I need it.”
And then the waiting
The anticipation of some sort of satisfaction
Because you said it.
You meant it?
Like I’m 12 years old,
Demanding sweetness to save me
From my own bitter taste
That won’t leave my tongue.
No, not even close to enough
If it was the satisfaction
Nowhere near what I was looking for.
You were right
Why ask for something knowing it isn’t meant
Rather than wait until it is.
Am I begging you to break my heart?
Of course not
It helped right?
Helped me hold back tears
You weren’t supposed to see.
That I didn’t want you to hear.
I was wrong.
And now all I have is a reminder
That someone here is a liar.
I just can’t remember who,
Was it really me?
Okay, I lied.
But I can say I heard it
At least twice.
Little bastard child literally begging for a lie of love
Eating up the words
Like I couldn’t swallow them fast enough.
Like Claudia & Louie
Like the butterfly and crow
But who’s chasing who?
I thought I was the butterfly,
But now I’m just confused.
Who are we?
And what are we doing here?
And why can’t you give in to my temptation?
And let me drag you with me
Straight to hell?
I’ve got a dark alley and a big secret that says:
You’re the only guy I’ve ever thrown myself at,
So why don’t you take me?
You looked like you would miss me
Or were you just faking?
Mistaking me for a woman
Not just a girl, not just a baby.
Take me back to virgin times
And say that you’re my first
Say it’s not the worst thing I could’ve done,
To fall all over you and become 14 again.
Never tasted those lips
Or longer for the pleasure, pressure
Of those fingertips.
Become what I became,
Love sick and falling all over you.
** [explicit] **
And, you know, I’ve only ever loved it the way you say it.
** [explicit] **
Abandoned child clinging to you
And seeking just one word in desperation
Willing to do anything
Just to hear you say it.
Let me mark it on my list of firsts,
My list of wrongs, my list of worsts.
I broke my own heart
So I could blame it on you,
It just, didn’t work.
So I’m just a broken-hearted kid,
And now I don’t know what to do.
*As any genius can probably tell, those aren’t really explicit words I’m covering up in the poem; it’s obviously my real name. I would have replaced it with my screen name but it really wouldn’t have sounded that good so I omitted that too.
As you can probably see, I still wasn’t that great of a poet at that time either. What I learned from the poets affected me the most after I had left them because that’s when I had the time to really absorb all that they had taught me. Without Ruben to focus my attention on, I turned to other things, but this is significantly later in the story.
It was while I was leaving when I sent Ruben one of the first pictures of me he ever got, a picture of me in a blue butterfly shirt after my aunt had taken me to get a haircut. I’m obviously not going to include that photo here, but will allow you a look at what the whopping 2 messages between us said. Bit of an update, I had been complaining about how much I hated the trip so far, and how much I missed him. They are as follows:
Me: I sent u a pic of my new haircut.....u MUST gv me an opinion! i want to kno the truth cuz that lady did it nothing like wat i asked....i still liked it though :)
Ruben: I know its shitty, I know its grueling, but it wil get better, youve gotta make itbetter...I do miss you...didnt think i would miss you this much!
Ilike your new do by the way,and that pic you sent me...you can see how much more youve matured...
and hoe delicious you look now....hahahaha!
The fact that he misspelled the word “how” and accidentally wrote the word “hoe” should hopefully have no bearing over your opinions of him, me, or this whole incident. Like I said, I’m trying to edit these messages as little as I possibly can. I don’t want to be the one to leave anything out.
The reason I’ve included talking about this picture I took of my new haircut at the time is because it was one of the first I sent which would lead to a whole downward spiraling situation which is what really makes up the entire mood of this story. This story isn’t here to make anyone look like a bad person; it’s to express what happened and what went wrong in a relationship that never really should have happened. And this is one of the things I cannot stress enough. I was 16 at this point; he was 35. You can obviously see what went wrong here. Things like this are not supposed to happen in normal situations, but the terrible fact is that do…more often than some people would like to think they do.
I’m not blaming Ruben entirely for what happens in this story; I know that I’m about as much at fault as he is. While I’ve probably skipped some scenes here and there without meaning to, this story is just about as true as it gets. I want to give you all an idea of just how this whole situation was for me; that’s why I’m being as honest as I can possibly be about it. Feel free to ask any questions you’d like by commenting on my page; we’ve still got quite a journey ahead of us…
My next post will be a bit of a summary of the next few months. It was September when I left the city; September 7th (to be exact) when I last saw Ruben. I can almost skip my way through to after Christmas because I’m almost completely sure that my readers don’t want to sit here and read the most boring part of the story which is the messages between Ruben and that were somewhat less than daily….