continuation of 'A Week Of Hope' - read this first before you read what is written below.
When I made it to the other side of the complex, I found a listing of car owners, and there I found her name and her room number. But I didn’t know what it meant. So, the first person I ran into was a skinny, blonde guy, and I asked him if he knew where Hope lived. He directed me to her room. At last, I thought, I’ve found her. I knocked on her door. There was no response. I knocked again. No response. So I wrote a message on her board: “I want to be near you. I want to gaze into your eyes.”
Not knowing where to go next, I decided I would try and find Joann, knowing that she lived nearby, in the ‘Karma’ complex. As I ascended the stairs, I heard the laughter of people congregated in a small living room, around chips and dip and cake and board games and INXS playing on the boombox. As suddenly as I ascended the stairs, Joann appeared around the corner with a beer in her hand, and we hugged and she whisked me into her room and gave me a beer.
We sat down in the messy room she shares with her boyfriend of six years, Colin. She sat on the floor, I sat on a chair, and we ended up talking for a few hours about music, mostly. She gave me a copy of her self-produced album, complete with handmade packaging. It was beautiful. But then we listened to her Awry CD - with handmade packaging, hand penned and uniquely made by Shara herself. We talked and listened to Awry for some time, until suddenly there was a knock on the door. It was after 11pm, and when the door opened, there stood Hope. She came in and wanted to know if we wanted to go the party at Debs (another co-op.)
We got our stuff together, Hope threw on her coat and we headed out to her coat. Joann had already drank five beers. When we arrived at the party, it was quiet, and people were standing around a keg of Labatts. I ran into Chip and talked to him for a bit. I asked if anyone knew where Sigh was. Someone told me he was asleep in his room. I asked where his room was. Someone directed me to his bedroom and I opened the door quietly. I could see him asleep on the top bunk of his bed. I turned on the lights. He was unmoved by the light, and I walked up to him and saw him peaceful, beautiful, his eyes closed and his mouth drawn slack. He looked beautiful. I walked out of the room and turned off the light.
Someone turned on some music, at which point, I decided it was time to dance. Somehow, I managed to drag Joann and Hope onto the dance floor with me. They remained dancing for ten minutes and went back to their seats and sat near the keg, talking with people. Meanwhile, I danced for 20 or 30 minutes at a stretch, working up such sweat that I took off my green wool sweater, and danced in only my bra. When I was too hot and tired to dance any more, I decided to go outside to the porch to find a cigarette I could possibly bum off of someone.
When I opened the door, instead of finding a cigarette, I found a boy sitting alone, and not talking with anyone, but he had a blue handblown bowl filled with weed that he kept refilling. He ended up offering me pot several times during the course of the night. But of course, I danced so heavily last night that I barely even noticed the high from the weed, rather I was drenched in the high of ecstatic dancing. I stayed out on the porch, accepting weed from this boy, and talking first with Jensen, a beautiful boy that looked like some pop-rock star from the seventies. He could’ve been Peter Frampton. He had that long, curly hair that fell in front of his face, and that perfect, seamless face, those large, gorgeous lips, and he was quiet and reflective too. As he passed me, I asked him for a cigarette, tore off the filter, and began smoking. We talked about a few things. He told me he’s studying religion at school, but he has no idea what he wants to do with his life. In the middle of talking with Jensen, Eric Rubin came up to me and specifically addressed me regarding Sigh.
Rubin wanted to know if Sigh and I were dating. I told him no. I told him that I am not attracted to Sigh. That I can’t imagine being physically intimate with him. He told me that I really needed to reinforce that with Sigh, because he thought that Sigh was deeply, headoverheels for me. But just yesterday, I told Rubin, I talked with Sigh and asked him point blank: ‘are you in love with me?’ He said no. He said he just wanted to know me and be open with me. That he doesn’t know me well enough. He told me he does think I am very cute and sometimes he wants to kiss me. But I felt we came to an understanding - that we had it clear that we were just going to be friends. But Rubin seemed to think that it wasn’t enough - that I needed to make it explicitly clear with Sigh.
I talked with Rubin about other things - told him about the Abandoned series, asked him if he was interested in performing. (He’s a brilliant actor - he performed a monologue a few weeks ago that completely blew me away.) I asked him to write his own monologue - to challenge him to that much at least. But in the middle of talking with Rubin, I overheard a familiar beat coming from inside the dance room. It was “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. I immediately abandoned them and ran into the living room and broke it down until the end of the song. I don’t know of any other song that does that to me - I can dance to it every time I hear it. It makes me so excited. It makes me want to dance infinitely. I was crazy on that dance floor. When the song ended, I looked around the room for Hope, and she was nowhere to be seen. I walked into the dining room and found her sitting next to the keg, and as sweat flowed down my red face, I came up to her and touched her knee and said, “Why weren’t you out there dancing?” (She’s an extremely talented breakdancer, and we bonded over our love for Superstition.) She said: “It’s just nice to sit here and talk with people.” “Yeah, okay, I understand.”
And then she broke into it and said: “Kaite, I need to talk to you. I read your email today and I saw the note you wrote on my door, and I like you but you’re really overwhelming me - you’re coming on so strong. I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure if I feel the same way.” I understood. I felt sheepish. I told her I understood. I promised I would behave better. We had a few awkward moments of silence, until I was distracted by music that needed to be danced to, and she was distracted by conversation with someone else.
The rest of the evening was spent in the dance room, topless, and dancing to a variety of tunes: most notably were some sixties soul love songs, a doors song that made me feel intertwined with jim morrison’s soul, and a beck song in which I danced like a robot crouched down next to the ground. I dance really strangely, as compared with everyone else. I get in my own universe and I don’t really know if I make others uncomfortable or not by my self-encapsulated dancing, but I don’t really care. All I care about is dancing. I alternated between sitting songs out and dancing with complete reckless abandon. Most of the time, I wore only my bra and my pants.
And then something happened. I noticed Hope was in the dance room, a few feet away from me. During some song that I would’ve loved to dance to, I decided to watch her instead. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. She was the only one I wanted to gaze upon. I think she felt my eyes on her. She came up to me, and lifted me up off the couch and we danced near each other for the rest of the evening. And when we were too hot and tired to dance, we sat on a windowsill, with the window open and a cool breeze coming through. She mentioned something about her smelly sweat and she sniffed herself. And then something beautiful happened. I asked her if I could smell her armpit. She lifted up her arm and I caught a whiff of her sweetness and then she asked to smell mine, and she said it smelled good and warm. We talked about deodorant for a minute and sat - meanwhile the stereo had gone out and the music was no longer playing, but the dancing hadn’t stopped.
Then the next most beautiful thing of the evening occurred - between fifteen of us, strangers and friends, all dancing together in a sweaty room, we clapped and stomped and yelped and kept a great rhythm going for 20 or 30 minutes, just using our hands and our feet and our voices. The room throbbed. The music changed and adjusted, as it was spontaneously improvised - but the beat was always steady and syncopated in joyful claps. I offered my voice as rhythm. Others danced and it almost seemed that it would never end. I thought we might keep dancing and clapping until time ended. But we didn’t. After maybe 20 or 30 minutes, it disbanded, but we applauded each other and laughed afterwards.
Hope decided she wanted to leave in a few minutes. We sat crouched on the ground near each other and talked until we stood up. It was all very intimate. I put on my sweater, pulled on my coat, wrapped my shawl around my neck and grabbed my leather purse. Before I left, I sat down on the couch for a few moments near Sigh. His face lit up and he became so beautiful and so adorabale that I honestly wanted to kiss him. His eyes glowed with radiance. His lips perked up. We hugged and made some silly, awkward goodbye. When I rediscovered Joann, she was completely drunk - to the point where she was flailing and dizzy. I, on the other hand, felt completely at peace, I felt clear and lucid in my mind, despite all the sweat.
We walked to the car with a man named Gary - the four of us; Hope, Joann, Gary and I got into the car. On the way to the car, Gary and I talked about silly things like how Gary’s are stereotypically either gay or a geek. Gary is a very sweet, beautifully delicate faced boy, with a high squint of a voice. I asked him if he was gay. He said: “Well, I’m bisexual.” I asked him if he was a nerd too. He confessed that yes, indeed, he was a geek. So he fulfilled both stereotypes: he was a gay, geeky Gary.
We also talked about conversations and how for him, the perfect night with a lover is hours of conversations followed by kissing. We agreed about conversations as the way to eros. It made me think about Jeff and our marathon conversations of yore.
As it turned out, Gary lives in Heiwa House, which is this extremely progressive, vegetarian cooperative on Miller, just a few blocks away from downtown, and very near to the food co-op. It’s the only place in town I’ve imagined myself moving to after I leave Linder, the current place I live. I asked him if there were any vacancies. He told me there would be a vacancy in September. With excitement, I howled, “Really?” I knew, immediately, that I had to have that room, that I would live at Heiwa House. He told me that everyone that lives there is a progressive hippy-activist type. There are people in their twenties, thirties and forties there - even though the house is comprised of only six people. Apparently two of them are married and they have a two year old boy named Zev. As a result, the house is decorated with baby diapers and teethers. Sounds good to me.
We dropped off Gary and on the way to my home, where Hope dropped me off, she showed me the house she is going to live in next year. She and seven other people are buying a house on Ann Street and they’re going to turn it into a co-op. We drove by it, and it’s a beautiful, old victorian house. It’s in perfect condition. It’s blue and beautiful from the outside - and only about a ten minute walk from Heiwa House.
When we arrived at Linder, I gave my goodbye to Joann. But I held Hope’s hand for several minutes, as my left hand rubbed her short hair playfully. It was a sweet sharing and I said goodbye, walked up the stairs, and got on the internet, when I made the declaration on my livejournal that I am going to stay in Ann Arbor for another year because I care about people here. And it’s true: I do. I am staying in this town because of the people, not because of the location or the weather. I won’t stay here forever. But another year won’t kill me. In fact, I’ve even thought about calling this place my home town and putting down roots here. Who knows.
And then I crawled into bed, and I didn’t crawl back out of bed until 1pm in the afternoon today. Life is beautiful.