i can't remember how i met darrin. friends of friends. he'd been gone, away for a long time and just returning. everyone was happy to see him. oh, look who's back from the dead, ha-ha. i guess you could say that darrin and i ran in the same circles, but for the most part he'd always been somebody that i was aware of, talked to a few times.

one day in spring, i read his writing.

darrin told tales of europe; traveling from glasgow to the u.s. of a., holding a guitar case, on a street corner and drunk punters heckling. i watched him watch jesus boarding the train to work. he wrote about being on the dole and talking about LSD and myopia and the NASDAQ and the fate of the universe and friends late for lunchtime appointments. through his eyes, i saw waitresses with bad french accents and windy days down by the reservoir. i admired his craft, raw and mesmerizing. even today, i can't read his prose without pains in my chest, for lack of oxygen.

i was slowly sinking.

we began talking, darrin and i. long conversations going into the night. i found comfort in just hearing his voice and in less than a week, a connection had formed between us. strangely finishing each other's sentences, each other's thoughts. we were always on the same wavelength.

one night, i confessed my feelings. a long pause. he replied, "i was waiting for that." i told him, "it was hard to get it out." i couldn't breathe.another pause. he finally admitted to feeling the same way, because i knew him more deeply than anyone. "it's like souls touching."

we were in love, or at least the closest to love two lonely people could imagine. darrin used to say that two people like us were black holes, sucking each other in. it was beautiful and terrifying and wonderful. we talked from dusk 'til dawn, planning to get married in scotland and tour the castles. plans for two children: a boy named felix and a girl named siohban. plans for having picnics in the park with egg sandwiches. he told me about being hit on by gay men in restaurants and working in an art gallery and staring at strangers at bars and lying, drugged, on dirty floors with friends.

time passed. unfortunately, darrin sank deeper and deeper into the mire he'd created. both of our schedules were crazy and we started drifting apart. I was working for an internet start-up and he was working during the day, and acting on stage and managing a band at night. we made plans to see each other for a weekend, in july, but fate conspired against us. the only way he could make it was to drive insane hours in the middle of the night because he had to be somewhere else. and i was leaving the state soon.

we argued for the very first time that night, about money. i wanted to buy him a plane ticket. he refused. i pleaded. he was too proud, i think. i got mad, begged him not to drive so far. darrin said that he would see if he could borrow some money. i asked him to call me the next morning so we could make plans. he never did.

he stopped talking to me. moved. stopped returning my phone calls. turned off his cell phone. no forwarding address. gone. they say technology is a wonderful tool, used to communicate. he was unreachable, cutting himself off from everyone, even me? the person he supposedly loved? in retrospect, i should have seen this abrupt departure coming, but love blinded me at the time. he became a hermit, shutting himself off from the outside world to think, to study, to ponder and to be reborn. but without me.

it took me an entire month to let darrin go. when i finally admitted to myself that he was causing me more heartbreak than joy, i cried an entire afternoon away.

i used to be the kind of person who would fall in and out of love in a heartbeat. but i've learned not to give myself away so freely nowadays. My heart is more timid, my head more cautious. i guess that's just the way things go.

but, sometimes, darrin pops up in my head, usually late at night when i'm drifting off to sleep. i'll see his smile or hear his soft voice in my ear, when i'm tucked up in bed. (god, do i miss him.) i always smile and remember how beautiful he was, seeing his face as i slowly nod off.

i can never remember if i dream.


Monday, March 12, 2001


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