A Certain High

Sometimes it’s as if I live life for life’s sake.

Every moment feels like another hit contributing to my high.  And through the troubles, I appreciate being able to eventually come unscathed.  It’s not that I look through life through rose-colored glasses, it could not be any further from that.  And sadly it is not always friendships that keep me going as well; I have had my share of cynicism and self-doubt.

The high-speed blur of my life, I’ll instead describe as yearning for perfection and completion.  I make up my mind quickly and strike out to accomplish as fully as I can what I need to accomplish.  Sometimes that makes others view me as excessively carefree and opportunistic.  But then, I will ask, why not seize opportunity when it presents itself?  And so, I have learned much, obtained much happiness, yet have also suffered in same kind.  What I feel makes me different is that I force myself to learn from mistakes instead of being tied down by them.

I admit I have my own indulgences in this imperfect world.  My lust for life that sometimes borders on hedonism, the stimulation of experiencing that carries me, the joy of laughter that accompanies happy times, and the deepness of self-introspection that brings us out of self-imposed seclusion.

This year certainly personifies all this as it comes rapidly to a close.

As I look out of the window of my 21st floor suite at The Peninsula, I can still feel the rustle and bumble of Times Square still is strong in the heavy New York City air.  In less than 24 hours, I’ll be on an airplane over the Atlantic, en-route to the eclectic mish-mash that Paris could only be.  A chapter falls behind me, and another is opened.

I wonder where I will go next?

Raindrops

The car’s German heart hums in a bel canto aria, accompanied by the rustling of tires carving into the highway.  My hand rests on your lap between the shifts, and you’re scratching the back of my neck, even though you know it completely mellows me out.

The rain pitter-patters coyly on the windshield, before the wipers scurry to chase away the offending droplets.  We have no direction to go, yet it doesn’t matter today.  The skyscrapers keep us company, towering along both sides of the 110, seemingly bowing over to shelter us from the rain clouds.

It’s days like these that I wish would never end, when things seem to fall into the right places.

Tranquility

Her hair peeks at me shyly from under the covers.  With a smile, I pull the remainder of the covers around her, as she sleeps on.

The Sun is bright this Sunday afternoon.  Outside the balcony, I can see the leaves quivering slightly in the Santa Barbara breeze.  The streets wind along, spelling out an indecipherable soliloquy that embraces a still drowsy city.  Opening the glass door gingerly, as not to upset her sleep, I step outside, the slate cold against my bare feet.  With a sigh, I plop down on the deck chair, sinking deep into the cushions.  The breeze caresses my warm cheeks, brushing my hair aside.

It makes me remember the previous night, running hand-in-hand, yelling at the top of our lungs like children through the empty streets.  “1-2-3” she yells before jumping onto me.  Surprised, I instinctively cradle her under my arms as she chuckles under her breath.  She leans up, kissing me on the cheek, before letting out a sedated sigh.

There were those times, where we sat solemnly on the swing under the willow, the drooping branches swaying as gently as we rocked back and forth.  The good times, I guess, where only the blood coursing excitedly throughout our veins took care of the talking.  Her spring time youth had a way of mollifying my tendency for rigidness, making the edges of my lips crease with smiles.

She understood my deepness without really understanding it.  Once upon a time, I thought myself a White Knight.  Once upon a time, I could save the world.  Once upon a time, I cared much more. I don’t want to save anyone.  I don’t want to change anyone’s life.  I don’t want to be a giver, without being a taker first.  In a way, I’m content with the here and now.  The future, they say, can wait.

Movement

His dark eyes don’t betray him.  The trials throughout the years have dulled their brightness some, yes, but there is still a certain intensity about the underlying gaze.  He still lives his life one tank of gasoline at a time, the product of a restless mind and soul.  From one place to the next, peace seems to be elusive, one step ahead of him.

But there are a few places; the lonely beach bracketed by cliffs, the hills above the city, the quietness of the mountains, carving lines down a windy road, that somehow bring solace.  It is here that he breathes easily.

There’s this thing he learned in years since gone, and it’s that the slow life is worth living.  Good companions, good food, the laughter and chatter that whispers into the night.  The rustling of the fireplace, that seems to sing a quiet lullaby for a troubled soul.  Throwing his head back, accompanied by Steinbeck, Ellison, his lips slowly musing to Ginsberg and Plath.

He prefers small groups, intellectual conversation, art and soul moving literature… perhaps a production here and there, things that the fast moving life of Los Angeles often leaves behind and forgets.  As a child, he had a penchant to approach total strangers, striking up conversation with simple, open-ended questions such as, “what’s your life all about?”  From these multitude of people, he’s learned a lot about life; his views stitched together from bits and pieces of his experiences.

But still, a deep realist, there is a certain understanding of how things should be, and how things are.  Somehow, for all the travels spanned across 44 countries, there’s still a feeling of loneliness in the world where not many people take the time to reflect on even the most mundane things anymore.

So there he is, alone by the beach, the crashing of the waves deafening like a rising concerto grosso, there is real peace.  Perhaps one day he’ll share this with a beautiful woman, but for now, he prefers to rise and fall alone.

She pt 2

I’m not a fair man, I know.  Sometimes I might take more than I give, but in it all, I hope she still knows I care.  I carry myself with this I DGAF attitude that sometimes puts others off, yes, but it’s the only way I know how to push aside the wrong things in life.

I’m romantically laconic, using that loaded word sparingly, and even then, uneasily.  I shy away from PDA, at times walking briskly one step ahead, as if I was trying to escape.  Affection and emotions cause me to tense up, widening my eyes wild with the next chance to bolt.  And it’s not that I don’t care to be leashed; I would prefer it to calm my endless wandering, as long as it’s a long leash that still gives me the freedom of movement.

I feel a bit sad that she might never see the high times that identified my early 20’s, because now I don’t care about those things anymore.  The last minute flights to Europe, just because I wanted to show a girl Paris.  The nights out dancing at a top floor nightclub, overlooking the city.  Swimming lazily in the azure waters of Costa Rica.  No, these things, the money and the who-has-what don’t matter to me, anymore.

But I can promise I’ll care in my own way.  It’s those small, seemingly insignificant gestures that light up my eyes and make me come to life.  We’ll share a deep understanding and introspective view of Life.  And I’ll value the tiniest of moments that others often overlook, quietly understanding her thoughts before she has to tell me so.

And when the wind is calm and quietness surrounds us, I’d still be astonished by her inherent beauty.  How her hair falls on her neck, the slight curves of her body, the subtlety of her light perfume.  Or maybe the corny way she laughs, because with it, her dimples seem to have a life of their own.  And, I think, sometimes words don’t need to be exchanged; most of the time, a smile is enough.

I hope she’d be willing to work as hard as I will, because I know I can’t do it alone.  To build something together that can be quantifiable and measured.  Maybe it won’t include riches, or fame, but those are meant to be afterthoughts, anyway.  There might be men who want the perfect trophy wife, the women who want a Prince Charming that doesn’t exist.  But me, I want to build something great, together, from nothing.  People tend to get caught up and want the prepackaged, and forget that a foundation of mutual respect and understanding is often more than enough.

Everybody seems to have a bulleted list of what they want in the other now, so this is my own.  Yes, the woman that haunts me in my dreams is different from those average girls out there.  She is a real woman.  Honest, encouraging, the firm strength behind my inherent weaknesses.  She’d bring class but won’t forget the sass.  But sometimes I wonder, does she even exist these days?

To the Future

Maybe it’s the fast pace I push myself through, maybe it’s my lifestyle that requires constant stimulation, or the high-strung life of consulting for the last 8 years.  I don’t know.  But Thursday night was a breaking point.  Over a bottle of Hennessy XO and Perrier, the music and crowd just seemed to fade out around me.

For the first time in a long while, I feel so burnt out.  Truly, deeply exhausted.  With my feet up on the couch, I wiped a bead of sweat off my brow.  Leaning over to my friend, older brother, and mentor, the words seemed to come out with difficulty.  “I’m ready.”

For someone who has been in my life for the last 15+ years, I’ve watched him mature with a marriage and children, as he has watched me establish myself in career and life.  The consequence of being 15 years apart in age, I guess.

He knew what I meant, though the words exchanged between us are always short.  Maybe, it’s enough.  Maybe it’s time to settle down, and start something more meaningful than the endless wandering, traveling, friends, women.

I cropped my hair short again.  Looking into the mirror, my youth is still undeniable.  But behind my boyish looks, the wrinkles are creeping out at the corners of my eyes, and the strands of white hair are starting to look a bit too comfortable perched above my temple.  I’m 26.

It seems just yesterday that I was the shy 5 year old kid that tagged along with the older guys.  21 years have really gone by fast…

And in this time, I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends to replace the ones who turned their backs on me.  Continual success in my career in an area that I enjoy.  A chance to see the world, again all over, and then some.  Countless memories engraved into my heart, mind, and soul, both good and bad.

I’m ready, to settle.  I think I understand how to, now.  I’m prepared to open up my mind again, to soften the harsh outlook on relationships that developed over the years, jaded not only from my own experiences, but from those of my friends.  Maybe all a woman needs from me is a chance, and it goes mutually both ways.