Spring break was an isolated meditation. I lost myself inside a book about Buddhism. I read about how desire and want cause trouble. This defined by the Buddhist concept of Dukkha. My translation is summed up like this: want and desire leads to shit. A shitty feeling. An anxious toxin within the gut that tears away the mucus on the stomach walls.
I was one week of Spring break over Tyler. My straight crush. I had practiced not wanting by going for walks and paying attention to the sounds around me. The sites. Being mindful. Spring had transformed campus. The trees blooming and booming with white and purple petals. Impermanence. Everything is changing, reincarnating, cyclical.
“Jacob.” A voice from behind me hollered.
Tyler stepped off the public transit. I turned around and there he stood, a fresh bowl hair cut, some classy glasses which matched his red and black plaid button up. The goon had his bus buttons undone up top and his white chest reflected the sun! Still no hair. He wore a pair of light colored blue jeans with a stylish tear in one knee. Sexy as always. Stunning as usual.
As he crossed the street and swayed his way onto the sidewalk all I could mutter was, “Nice hair cut.”
Luckily he didn’t jump my heart and make it stutter like a broken car starter. I have been able to exert control over my biological machinery. Either that or I have actually moved on.
We made our way back to his dorm. Tyler bounced precariously next to me with his usual uncertainty about life. But he was aware of something.
“Wow, campus has greened up and everything was blooming.”
“Yah! It has been nice to watch it all turn over.”
“You were here when it all changed! You witnessed it all! Experienced it.”
I asked him how his week was by stating, “My spring break went by fast.”
“Yah. So did mine. I was pretty lazy. I smoked a lot of weed.” he said!
I had already known this was the case. I had checked his Facebook frequently over break. He had new pictures of himself with his eyes dark and he looked ten miles away. I could see inside his head a daze. The world around him a haze. His eyes staring into the web cam on his lap top. It didn’t bug me at all.
I politely opened all the campus doors for him as I listened to his melancholy voice. I would open up my life for you. Quickly we ascended the stairs and walked to his room to drop off his back pack.
“I’ll be right back. I need to change into some lighter clothes.” I said.
I went upstairs and put on some tight short shorts. Too short I decided. My legs were white without hair. I had shaved over the weekend. If I could portray my feminine side to Tyler; maybe I could convert him. Before putting my jeans back on, I flexed quickly in my dorm mirror checking myself out in my underwear. I smeared deodorant under my sweating armpits and popped on a tight white shirt. My pecks and percolating chiseled six pack vaguely showing through the thin. I hopped into my jeans and damped my wrists with some aftershave. Not that I needed to impress anyone.
We met out in the stairwell and headed back outside. I complained about the construction of the flower garden outside my building. The incessant violation of my ears every morning. The sound of a fierce chainsaw meant to cut through brick woke me up every morning during my spring break. Sleeping in past nine in the morning became impossible.
“And being that they are men, they can’t even pick the right color to match the rest of campus. Men don’t generally understand a fucking thing about art or aesthetics.”
“Yah, you apparently don’t understand how to do this properly. And I get it. Let me take over.”
He was helping me with my rant as he flicked the end of his cigarette. I barely notice the scent anymore. The tobacco in his room smells real good. Like cherries. Burnt cherries. Baked somehow! I wish I could recall more about our academically presumptuous conversations. Our drifting thoughts in egotistically intellectual and condescending digressions. I wish I could speak of these details forever. Of French philosophers I can hardly pronounce. Vague concepts I only pretend to understand. I must do an excellent job of pretending.
“Do you know what I mean? You get what I am saying right?”
So we talk about worms.
“It smells kind of funny out here.” Tyler said!
We were meandering through Midway St. Paul walking down cracked concrete sidewalks aimlessly. Maybe we’d sit down at a park where I could stare at him some more. Listen to him more.
“Yah it’s been nasty and weird out after it rained. There’s been a lot of odious odors outdoors lately. I try to be poetic around him. It ends up being a pathetic waste of creative energy.
“I don’t like odors. But scents are nice.”
It was a cute and fast quote dealing with connotations.
“The nasty scent from the earth defrosting sucks. It’s like all the mud, grass, and worms. . . Eww. I hate it when the worms conglomerate congregating in a cess pool along the gutters and in puddles. And when they dry up they’re like crusty croutons on the cracking sun baked sidewalks.” I was using alliteration. Stuttering over my speech.
“I sort of like worms. I use to keep them as pets as a kid. I think I’m weird for that.”
I laughed, “That’s funny you say that. I think all kids do that. Maybe?”
“No, I haven’t come across anyone else who has done that. I use to put them in flower posts as pets and bring them inside.”
“I use to have worms as pets too. I would get yelled at for getting mud on blankets. My grandma would scream at me to get the worms out of the house and never to dirty her blankets with such despicable creatures again.”
My grandma and I were very close growing up. Spending hours picking green and spindly weeds from her two country sized gardens. The dirt hot. The water bottles sweating. A flood of memories engross me and for a moment I am not really paying attention to Tyler. I am torn apart between the recent rejection of my grandmother after coming out. But she still invited me to the family reunion. I almost say something to Tyler about this, but he is likely tired of me talking about it. I wonder if I could ever bring him along to the family reunion? Like me, he wouldn’t fit in. It would be despicable. Like keeping worms as pets.
See, we were meant to be together. Both of us had a love for worms as pets for children. Both of us have a talent for successfully convincing others we understand dense theoretical concepts. We both don’t believe in God, but God took away both our fathers. And we both are eccentric eclectics who are aspiring to be geniuses and misanthropic philanthropists.
“Come on Tyler, Baboons are bisexual. The Greeks had sex with their same sex buddies. Can’t we just be together forever and adopt baby worms together and make sure they have plant pots and blankets to keep them warm? We’d make great worm parents wouldn’t we?” – I should have said.
We stop briefly at a park. I recall talking about our aspirations as teachers as intellects as bums as. . . However, I was more preoccupied with his skin that glowed in the warm sun as we sat together on the cold concrete bench. I admired his ears. I never have visual access to his ears. His distractingly long blond hair use to cover it but now he had a hair cut and I, an ear fetish. A small soft ear. Curved without strange lumpy impurities. I stare with a devilish desire. How delicious they would be to taste.
“Sorry, I don’t want to take up the whole conversation overbearing it.” he abrupt my trance.
I shrug my shoulders and shift my attention to his red liquorish lips.
We talk. Small talk. We head back to campus and I am still in a trance through our walk, through the time we spend in the music room as he pluck the strings on his guitar. I sing about giving up on boys. It’s a blur until there is boom boom sauce.
After our walk and our time playing in the practice room, we are very hungry. Campus cafeteria isn’t open and we are forced to resort to Super America convenience food. We muse through the aisles at chips, cookies, frozen pizza rolls, cheese sauce, and I find the subs I like.
“Are the subs any good?” Tyler asked.
“Yah, I usually get the larger one and it lasts me about two days. I think they are pretty tasty.”
“Hey, this sub is made with boom boom sauce.” Tyler says laughing to himself and smiling!
“What? I mean, come on! How can you not go there? Let me taste your boom boom sauce.” I laugh and sing jokingly.
We laugh at it and Tyler decides he wants his boom boom sauce sub and we purchase our sandwiches and head back to campus to sit down under the library. I couldn’t stop cracking boom boom sauce jokes. And Tyler couldn’t stop chuckling at the obvious humor.
I could reminisce in my infatuation with Tyler forever. And I want to for eternity. I quickly forget about everything I have read. Desire = Dukkha and the word Dukkha has to have the same etymology as shit. So I tell Tyler about Dukkha and I make fun of it. Tyler enjoys random knowledge. I read about these things so I can impress him. Because I want to impress him. I love the fact that he listens to me, he likes to talk with me because we click in ways others don’t. But I know, we will never get to 3rd base. No boom boom sauce. But maybe that is where quirky friendship needs to remain. Somewhere in the middle.