The First Day of School – Part 2

Let’s keep going with Valerie for this week and see where it leads us. She seems to be a good story teller. Valerie, please take it away. I need someone else to think for me for just a little bit. This far into a story or book, there is no real way to turn back. Every part of my body is aching at this point – it’s telling me something in it’s twisting ways. Perhaps not Valerie then. Alberto might make a better deliverer of the story for me right now. He is, after all, the messenger.

Alberto Orco

It’s not lost on me that my last name sounds like Lorca. I liked it when I was younger because I dreamed that somehow the universe had given me a similar name of a poet and that I somehow would have to live up to that heavy tag. Living up to such things puts weight on you that can keep from gaining speed. You don’t just move away as fast without that heroic push inside of you – inside of me. Garcia Lorca I guess followed me around – I can’t say he didn’t. My parents, when I asked them about it, said it was not intentional to have any sort of association, but I believed that other beings and workings of the universe had more to do with my life than they did.

The new job was working out well. The hours were the same that I had worked before, but my body was aching much less that my rides throughout the city and now I had time after work to be with the rest of the people and do what they did without having to get too intoxicated to enjoy myself. At the start, it was like that. We all started hanging after work on the regular which was pretty normal for working folks. We just sat there on the computer all day looking all over the internet. Sometimes there were instructions on where to look and what to do, but for the most part we just stayed there and looked for information. Part of me felt like I was getting smarter.

Thing is getting off at 5 or 6 or whatever time I would get off meant that Lila was off work way before me, which meant that she was waiting now. I remember those days – she’d be at Cafe’ Trieste’ grading papers and sipping on the same glass of wine for a few hours until I came up and met her. We’d go to grab some Nanking Beef at House of Nanking and then walk a different route through the city, falling in love again each night until the air ceased to be heavy and just allowed us to be. Having money in your pocket with the woman you love and ordering whatever you like without that feeling of counting quarters is an amazing feeling and one that, once you have, you can’t let go so easily. It is extremely addicting. She would ask about my new job and when I tried to explain, I didn’t have much to say on the subject other than the money I was making and the information I was taking in.

“Are you happy at work?” she asked. “I mean, it doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything there.”

“I’m happy with what that job is giving me. Happy that I’m not going to have a 50 year old man’s body inside of me by the time I reach 30. I think it’s more of a career move, which means that you and I can start up and focus on getting serious beyond all of this.”

“Beyond all of what?”

“Right now, we’re falling in love. We’re creating these memories as a foundation for what we’re going to become. The money from the gig is going to allow for that. It’s going to allow us to do more than dream. We’re going to be.”

Walking down Market street, new advertisements for cell phones and computers were everywhere. I noticed some of the machines from the job, and thought it pretty damn cool that I had been using them before they hit the market. Lila had some papers to grade – mid terms and long essays, so I told her I would just lay on the couch and play records while reading the newspaper while she held up at the kitchen table into the night. She smiled and put on the coffee.

Laying on the couch and cracking open the newspaper, I felt strange looking at the article. I found that I couldn’t really get past the first two sentences without jumping to the next. I was flipping around trying to find something that could hold my attention but was unable to do so. I went through all of the sections like that – soon realizing that the only thing I could fully digest was the adds in there. I turned on the tv but kept the volume down and kept flipping channels looking for something to settle on, but it was impossible. I record hadn’t even finished playing one side yet and Lila was still in the middle of her first essay, so I couldn’t very well read those. I got up and stretched, looked through her bookshelf trying to calm down and look for title that grabbed me, but the length of the books kept me from even picking them up. What was happening? Reading a newspaper, regardless of where I was in the world and what was happening to me was always a way to find some peace inside of myself, was not there. The stillness of the room and the concentration with which Lila was reading and going over her papers was making me even more on edge. I couldn’t concentrate on anything.

“What’s wrong with you,” she asked. “Did you do a line or something at work? You look totally tweaked out.”

“No nothing like that. That place is pretty clean. No need for anything like that there. Been clean since I stopped the messenger gig. My heart is fine. It’s my eyes. I can’t look at anything direct.”

“I can’t take care of you tonight babe,” she said, crossing out a sentence and writing a slow, neat comment about to her student that would no doubt pick it up and absorb it for longer than I could look at anything.

“I’m going to take a walk – if I stay up in here, I’m going to drive both of us crazy.”

I grabbed my jacket and kissed her quick, then headed out and onto the streets. The stillness of the night out there didn’t calm me down. A group of kids were tagging up the white truck across the street, and I just watched them for a minute, trying to get a sold concentration on a happening. It wasn’t working.

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