Goodbye Saint James

Planes fly overhead as I write this, their engines puncturing the calmness of my apartment. Living next to the airport has its drawbacks.

Last night’s booze still courses through my blood. My head is pounding while trying to recover from the five cocktails and half a bottle of Smirnoff that went down my throat. I don’t drink often, but when I do, it’s another reminder that I have no control.

Hangovers teach us how great life is. You wake up and hate yourself, forced to ask, “why did I do that?” while your body tremors and does its best to extinguish all the unwanted chemicals inside of it.

Come lunch time some, if not most of the pain is gone. It’s then just soreness the rest of the day. The legs take the brunt of the hit, slogging around until the day mercifully ends and your body has a chance to fully recuperate. It’s usually around 5 or 6 in the evening when I start feeling better.

Hours prior my life was in disarray but now the future is much clearer.

“Never again,” I might whisper to myself, but that’s only until the temptation of another good time reminds me how fragile the human condition is.

***

Earlier today Saint James burst into my room full of joy. His night was one for the ages.

“Bro, I can’t even,” I told him while writhing around on my bed in agony.

It was maybe seven hours earlier we were in heaven.

“You’re a legend,” I yelled in his ear before he embarked on another journey into self-discovery.

And as he sits at the foot of my bed, he’s nothing but smiles. It brings joy to my disheveled state to see him in such bliss.

Casey- waterfall
Dude looks so at peace when he’s smiling

Last night was the end of a long three months for the Saint and I. We began in Florida and are finishing in Colombia.

It’s goodbye to my “little bro” who has seen the pendulum of my emotional essence swing wildly.

“You have to slow down on the purple prose,” he has mentioned throughout the editing process of my next book.

I’m just trying to be one of the best.

A while back I read Kerouac’s On The Road and fell in love with the journey. Kerouac and Co. travel the country, but they never seem to hit their stride. It’s always something new that makes Kerouac sit back and wonder how his life became this complicated.

Since finishing the book, I wanted to have that same journey, the kind that each day brings about new challenges and showcases new revelations inside my soul that doesn’t know what it wants.

Be careful what you wish for.

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I finally stagger out of bed and plop on the couch. Saint James is leaving at noon. It’s now 11 A.M. Precious seconds tick by as he packs his belongings.

I promised myself that I would be sober for this moment, but history and flirtation proved too much to overcome. Embarrassment sets in as I feel unable to be there for my best friend. This isn’t the send-off I imagined even two days ago.

Tears begin welling in my eyes. It’s finally over. Three months of constant rewrites, edits, fights, and debauchery, plus a few heart-to-hearts that make me wish this ride would never stop.

“It’s about that time,” Saint James says as the clock strikes noon.

I try to order him an Uber but the app got blocked in Colombia just last night. Time to exit the apartment.

“All you have to say is aeropuerto,” I tell him as we then walk down to the street to hail a cab.

He throws his stuff in the back and then we hug.

“There are so many more chapters to write,” he says of our lives, but if we both get serious and mature those pages won’t include any more time together.

I do my best to not further emote.

It’s a long walk back to an apartment that now feels eerily empty. His room across from mine sits vacant, the window open to air out some of the residual smoke from his cigarettes.

The couch is a lonely spot now. More tears stream down my face as I contemplate what this all means. This type of pain was not supposed to happen when we met up a few months back.

All alone and empty inside what feels like a glass house, there is no one to turn to. It’s hard to stomach that Saint James and I won’t take another walk to the grocery store for avocados and ground beef. He’s not going to do any more cooking and I won’t be scrubbing any more dishes.

That’s how life goes. You’re full until suddenly you’re empty.

I rest my hands on my knees and rock back and forth. It’s hard to decide if this lump in my stomach is from last night’s booze or the sudden hole in my life that I’m too old to fill with Grey Goose and women.

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Alone I walk into the night, knowing I’m unable to come home and see a friendly face. The streets seem to move much slower. I don’t want to cry anymore but the tears want to come out. I don’t know how older people can handle life once their spouse dies.

These feelings are the same as they were when Saint James dropped me off at LAX last year. We had just finished a year as roommates in China. He was going to bike across the country, and I was headed down to Florida for something new.

Back then it seemed like there was so much hope and potential to our separation, that we would each come out of it better.

Now it’s just loneliness. Band-Aids won’t mitigate this pain. It’s time to take another long road through an abyss of self-doubt.

“What are you most excited to do when you get back?” I had asked the Saint a few days prior.

“My family, bro. I just want to be near them, maybe cook them a meal. Just show them that I care,” he said.

For Saint James, heaven doesn’t feel so far away.

For me, into the depths I go.

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