Sunday, November 1, 2015
Love, Your Little Organ Pusher.
Sometime in 2007.
Names have been deliberately changed.
I remember an electric organ that I found in the alley next to a dumpster. I was saddened when I saw it leaning there like trash. This is not trash! Why is this here? What a prize!
Me and Antonio's apartment; apartment # 6 which he named "The Tramp Hole" was less than a block or two away. I knew it would be too heavy for me to push and it would possibly become more damaged then it may have already been. So I scurried down the ally and then east to the furniture store that I knew was on the corner of US-1 and Atlantic avenue. I asked the clerk if I could borrow a dolly and assured him I would return it immediately after I explained what I required it for.
Not much to my surprise but to my pleasure the male clerk said, "Sure, no problem."
I pushed it back to the ally to pick up my treasure. I remember being so excited to show Antonio. He was skilled musician and songwriter. I always loved the piano and had always wanted to learn how to play. Perhaps we can create together, I remember thinking as I struggled to get into the doorway.
Once I had it inside the door and pulled it off the dolly near an electrical outlet, I bent down (only slightly sweaty and a bit out of breath) and I plugged it in. I switched on the power button and saw the tangerine button light up, I lit up too as I pressed down on a few ominous notes and heard it hum out loud and clear. It worked! I nearly leapt I was so pleased. So proud of myself over this little adventure. Not only for having found it, but the charismatic and resourceful way in which I retrieved the dolly and my physical stamina for lifting and then pushing the organ all the way home.
I kept thinking how happy Tony will be and how marvelous this new addition to our eccentric and humble abode was.
I waited for him to come home from his day Job at "The Sign Factory".
- A year later when we were breaking up, I made sure to bring the Organ with me as I was packing up my belongings.
He preferred his guitar anyway. -
I remember he left his markings upon it in permanent marker. On the center keys, he indicated which note was associated with which letter.
I don't remember them any longer.
He did try to teach me, in the same regimented way he was taught.
Antonio had attended Berkeley The College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts before he had succumbed to the lure of Heroin and was sent to my Childhood city in Delray Beach, Florida for detox and Rehab.
We met when he had only six months clean and twenty one years old. I was over three years clean and sober and nineteen years old. We fell in love almost instantly, I do not think he would argue this fact even after all these years have passed.
Alas, we were children still and childlike was our love.
In my Life, I have allowed men to make me feel like;
a punching bag,
admired but misunderstood.
With Antonio, I felt only loved.
I also felt like his albatross.
In the end, like most endings, He was going in one direction, I was going in another, wWe were no longer aligned.
I expected far too much of him anyway. He was a newly recovering addict in his early twenties and I expected him to pay the rent, buy my cigarettes and the booze.
I had expensive taste back then. Bombay Sapphire, to be exact and every time he would restock it and pay for everything, I never even asked him to, he just picked up where my "husband" had left off, financially speaking. I think he felt somewhat responsible for my predicament. Possibly because when me and Tony had fooled around my supposed husband came back from work early and deliberately walked in on us. He saw Tony in only his boxers and me laying naked in my bed.
I use "my" bed because it was my GrandMarys before it became mine and he had been sleeping on the couch for many months anyway.
What I think Antonio didn't understand is that I had told Max many times. for years, that I did not want to be with him. That I, indeed hated him and wanted to see other people.
Yet when Max witnessed the actual act it was as if he finally understood I was not his.
That was when he began making arrangements with his sister in Long Island to leave with my children.
I think Antonio did feel responsible, though he had no fault in it.
What Max did was unforgivable. My love for Tony was pure, welcome and totally disparate of Max's actions.
Responsible or not, He did a damn good job as both caretaker and lover, but he grew to resent me more and more with each day.
At that point, I did not know any different. I had begun working a part time job before the children left at Gizzi's Coffee, after that, Starbucks; where the hours and pay were better. I would spend the majority of the money I made on gifts for myself, mostly music from 'Badbone' and books. I never had a chance to do that before, at first Antonio was happy to see me happy and I believe more so just to see me free.
He was incredibly patient with me;
I had told him how my life had been, we were very open in this regard.
Exchanging our secrets, our fears and shame.
He knew about my mother first giving me away at twelve to Sheridan House being gone for one year then shortly after returning, sent away again at fourteen to The Starting Place, the thirteen Backer Acts, the juvenile detention center, my mother signing away her parental rights and giving me to the state at fifteen, then becoming pregnant while living in my second foster home at the age of sixteen by a man more than ten years my senior, the father of my children. He knew that I felt like a prisoner living with that man and that my two children sometimes felt more like younger siblings, I admitted to him in shame and confusion.
Despite all that baggage, He accepted it as part of the package and he loved me despite it.
which I found utterly baffling at the time.
He understood my experience was unusual and took care of me, only enabling slightly.
always encouraging me to be more independent.
I was very reluctant at first but eventually started to buy my own cigarettes and some of the rent.
For the majority of our two-year liaison, it was a fairy tale romance. We made love often and well, our skinny bodies intertwined perfectly in a twin size bed. Yet I was cruel to him at times. He wrote lyrics describing that part of me. They are the only lyrics I remember and I am not sure if this is the exact wording he used, I doubt he sings it anymore, it went like this,
"Her dagger tongue, it cuts so deep, so cold that this whole room could freeze.
She's only trying to hide her love from me my love, my love, my love...."
It was a poignant beautiful melody, the kind I loved. Sometimes the songs he wrote were more punk, in sound and rhythm
I think his talent was far too large for such a genre, and although it's not my story to tell I can't help think he would work best alone, in a studio with multiple instruments there for him to mix with his words and his beloved guitar.
Much like Thom York does these days.
I think he would flourish as an artist with that solitude and freedom.
They are cautionary tales; As was ours.
it was Antonio who injected me for the first time.
I held my left arm out and he knelt before me, with his proposal in sight.
My Right hand was held tight with some kind of love, a mutual understanding by another girl.
I was so hesitant, every time he would place the point near my virginal skin I would shrink back and clutch at my arm.
He said, "Don't you want a vacation?"
referring to my constant anxiety and sorrow.
I nodded and said goodbye inwardly.
I clenched my fist and averted my eyes to the right, where I was met with the most beautiful golden green eyes I have ever seen. I stared into Brianna's eyes and she smiled faintly and squeezed my hand as the opiate worked it's way from my main line to the opioid receptors of my brain.
All I can say about that moment was that it felt like all the fear, the pain, the excruciating weight of it all was lifted. I was warm and weightless. Suddenly nothing mattered anymore, it was no longer my problem. I felt NOTHING, save the sudden disappearance of a weight so heavy that I didn't even realize exactly how enormous the burden was until it had been lifted.
I felt angelic and pure.
I might have sprouted a set of wings.
Perhaps that is where the expression comes from.
Yes, like any heroin addict, past or present, active or inactive would say,
"I found what I had been looking for."
though I didn't know it until it found me.
As you can understand, something of that magnitude does not come without repercussions, a price,
as I have alluded to in some of my poetry and prose.
Beautiful and glorious, we creatures were.
Not Antonio, he looked like a maggot to me there on the ground. He was hideous to me in that moment as he took the needle out of my arm.
I had demonized him, made him the villain.
That was when I ceased to subconsciously love him.
I do not resent him, not anymore, I never really did.
He was just a carrier of a contagion that was looking for a host.
It could have been anyone on their knees with a needle to my arm. It just happened to be someone who I loved and trusted, very much so.
As I said, childlike was our love.
I knew I was in deep water.
somehow I knew once I gave him my arm,
I had given up so much more.
I chose Lethe and she chose me.
-Mary Catherine, Cowardice Queen