Larkin: “I’m moving back to San Diego in a few days.”
Me: “No, Larkin, I don’t believe you. You would never abandon me. You just like to see me cry.”
I move two feet forward to embrace him, and he does not resist. Yet his arms remain at his side.
Larkin: “I am leaving you, Zeke. I have to.”
Me (weeping into his dark gray nylon windbreaker): “I can’t take this Larkin. You’ve put me through so much! I will never meet another man who makes me so happy as you have.”
Larkin (pushing me away a bit to look into my blurry eyes): “Yes you will, Zeke. He will come along soon after I depart.”
Me: “Perhaps he will. But while he might make me feel loved, no way will I know the joy I have with you. Please tell me you’re just testing me.”
Larkin (with a sigh that belies his deep affection): “I have given you the keys to true friendship. Please regard me as Your Kind Teacher who has opened your soul to a brave new reality.”
Me (looking up at him with great yearning, and a tug on his sleeve): “That is not right, My Beloved Dragon. Again I tell you: no one shall ever touch my heart so nobly as yourself. I cannot live without you. I may not die from heartbreak, though I probably will. But I will surely be so miserable that all joy shall leave my world, once you are gone.”
Larkin: “Please, Zeke. I don’t have the depth of love you seem to hold for me. And for this, I am most sorry.”
Me (gazing up at My Beauty through a wash of tears): “I could never hate you for tossing me to the wolves. But loneliness seems to be my lot in life. I’m 63 now, Larkin, and I could never put so much devotion to another, only to have him dump me in a year or two…or three, or four, or…”
Then I break down and fall onto His Own Darling Self, and he embraces me with a sweetness beyond what anyone else in the universe will ever know. He bursts out in tears that flow down my head and onto my face. What was a light drizzle upon our present encounter has turned into a downpour. I am drenched and shivering but do not care…for under any circumstance no matter how unpleasant the clime, I prefer above all else to be here in his arms. Forever.
Larkin pulls back in obvious grief, wiping his wet face as he speaks: “Look, the plane departs in three hours, I must go! I’m sorry Zeke, but I beg you: please keep the faith, another will soon come along to ease your heart.”
I look up at him, his glorious visage that I may never lay eyes upon again. Drink from the well of his friendship, then abruptly turn away to march home. Halfway down the block I turn ’round to see his cherished form diminish into the sunset. I go home now, to write this in nonstop weeping.
The days come and go, but each afternoon I maintain my vigil outside Twin Peaks Tavern…not believing for a moment he’s really disappeared from my world. But his Wonderful Lizard Self does not appear to delight my heart and give such blessings upon this trembling soul with a smile, a nod, a wave of the hand, or even a single “Aargh!”
“He is gone, Zeke!” speaks a small voice in my mind. Which I refuse to accept. So more weeks pass into months, yet my beleaguered spirit remains steadfast in its devotional watch over TPT each and every afternoon. In spite of the know-nothing bums that populate Jane Warner Plaza, and the cold-hearted queers who wouldn’t give me the time of day even if I asked.
I do not long for another handsome and kind fellow to sweeten my difficult life. Though of course I am not opposed to this, and wish it would occur to give me some sort of brotherly solace…but as usual, it never manifests. Though I have sent four letters so far to My Ultimate Heartbreak, he has never writ back…and I am afraid the day will come soon that my latest letter will be returned with no forwarding address. Just like what finally happened with My Randolph.
I see Larkin’s ghost each day, imagining us still together. It’s all I can do every time, to keep from collapsing in heartache right there in the public arena. Returning to my room gives little solace, except to further imagine being in my buddy’s embrace while enjoying a Scooby-Doo cartoon.
“Oh my dear Larkin,” I weep most every night in my hovel’s simple bedding, “I miss you like Romeo misses Juliet…only a gay version thereof!”
My tears are the only comfort I know any more: my appetite is gone, I eat a plain fare of oatmeal for breakfast, something cheap at Howard’s Cafe, and a simple dish of brown rice and sauteed veggies for dinner. And always no matter what, I expect to hear Larkin’s voice all of a sudden, over the phone or calling me from across the street or down my block
I cannot believe his glorious mug no longer graces TPT, nor that our sporadic badinage that lights my heart like a Bunsen burner, is no longer. He is the most brilliant ghost to ever haunt my waking world…and sometimes my world of sleep, too. An occasional dream gives me hope: we embrace and he tells me what a good friend I am, and will soon return to be with me always. He says I’m the finest human being in the universe, and is so very blessed to have me for a lover.
So one afternoon, after almost five months since our tragic departure, I repeat my vigil at TPT as I’ve always done every single day. The playful image of a dragon crosses my mind, in memory of the magic of our friendship. It walks by me from across 17th street and winks at me before entering TPT. I then espy Larkin through the plate glass, chatting up and hugging the elderly patrons there, delighting as usual in his most unique kind of camaraderie.
“I’m imagining this,” I speak aloud to myself, and rub my eyes to make the mirage disappear. But it does not.
Larkin glances at me, smiles and waves a friendly hand. I collapse to the concrete in tears of joy, and bury my head in my arms, thanking Goddess over and over again. He is suddenly crouched over me, showering me with many kisses and sugary hugs.
“I’m really sorry, Zeke, to have put you through such an ordeal,” he explains with copious tears.
But before he continues, I stop him, look up into that magnificent Celtic face and declare: “Larkin! I understand. Just shut up and hold me!”
And he does exactly that. Some minutes later he pulls me up off the sidewalk to escort me into the tavern. And introduces me to all his friends, and the bartenders:
“This is my great love and soul mate, Zeke!” All suddenly becomes pin-drop silent in the bar as he continues: “No finer man exists on this planet, or on any other. He is the greatest happiness of my life. I’m the luckiest man in the universe.”
Thus ends book 3, and begins a new and eternal life of love…for me, for him, for you, and for everyone else that exists, ever has existed, and ever will exist.
From: Zeke Krahlin
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 18:25:14<br.
Subject: Re: Well, this suddenly blurted out from my fingertips…
On 2/10/14, Eleanor Cooney wrote:
It’s as if you’re channeling a parallel dream-world, which is striving to become the real world! The more detailed your vision, the more you create a portal for that dream world to find its way into this world and become as real as the rocks and trees! }}
This is how Larkin’s kindness (and tough love, obviously) affects me. Though I think there is already far more truth in it, than my creative power. After all, /he/ is the one who created many of the scenarios in my trilogy “Free Me From This Bond.” But get this:
Now I’m having visions that he is a commander for a fleet of star ships from the Andromeda galaxy. Oy vey!
So my final book in this trilogy will end with a chapter or two, that is a continuation of these Andromedan saviors which are first mentioned in the final chapter of book 2 (“Please Don’t Eat the Daisies“).
I feel very much like the main character in Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Lathe of Heaven.” Only with a gay spin. :P
So, instead of these star ships arriving 10 years from now, they’re already here! Double oy vey!
Upon reviewing this piece for any typos or minor improvements in the dialogue, I noticed that at first Larkin says he’s moving to San Diego a few days from now. But further down he says that his plane will depart in three hours.
So initially I figured I need to correct this discrepancy…but then an invisible hand halted me, said: “No! That is but one hint Larkin is pranking you, that he really will /never/ leave your side!”
It also reflects the zaniness of our friendship, that we are both sort of scatter brains. It made me consider any /other/ clues that he really has no plan to disappear:
He wept profusely in the telling…indicating he /does/ love me at least as deeply as I do him. There is also a chapter in book 2 where he plays out a similar scenario that he is departing for San Diego. But as it turns out he comes back to me a few moments later, tells me to pack my bags, we only have a short time before the jet leaves, and I’m coming with him.
But why /did/ he put me through this ordeal, where I suffered many months for lack of his presence? Here is the answer AFAICT:
This difficult experience was part and parcel of my necessary spiritual growth into perfection. Larkin was simply following orders from The Woman Upstairs.
I love the schmaltzy melodrama of the tale, nonetheless elevated to a plateau of divine friendship.
Of course, soon as the redaction was complete, I printed it out and snail-mailed it off to Larkin. One diem before I sent my Valentine’s Day package prepared two days prior.
My life is blessed with a Great Love, and I am but the witness.
From: Zeke Krahlin
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:35:14
Subject: So I’m hiking 5 blocks up Noe Street…
…about to cross Duboce when guess who’s marching up the same byway in my direction? Larkin! I stand gazing upon his dragonly visage as he approaches.
He looks up, kinda smiles but not quite, puffing on a Winston (well, prolly /not/ that brand, I can’t see that close…anywayz, varying a character’s brand of cigarette keeps the plot moving, reader be damned). And he comes close to me then passes.
I address: “What should I call you, Detective Kelsey or Commander Kelsey?”
His back now to me as he moves beyond my little world: “Either one’s okay.”
I retort: “You command a vast /fleet/ of star ships from the Andromeda galaxy; I got you figured out!”
Still, he does not turn his face to bless me with a mischievous grin, rolling eyes, or even a dismissive wave. Then he crosses, never looks back. I want a hug so bad! I am fervently put out, ready to pounce on him…no one on this fukkin planet needs a hug at this moment, more than yours truly! But I remain anchored to that corner and watch him diminish. The moment he steps onto the opposite sidewalk I call out:
“I love ya!”
I then cross Duboce and walk a bit west, in order to continue watching him grow distant towards Market Street. Not once does he turn ’round, and then the N Judah arrives. So now I sit at the horseshoe counter of Howard’s Cafe, typing you my latest missive. (“Missive,” ha! That”s my Elizabeth Anna Horsington peeking through.)
“That was another setup,” I concluded to myself while boarding the light rail transit. “He knew I hadn’t seen him in four days, and I was feeling pretty down after watching those gay-bashing videos out of Russia. I also felt bad because he seemed to lend /no/ support for my tobacco shop face-off.”
A trio of double seats emptied soon as the N Judah stopped at the exit end of the tunnel…Carl & Cole streets. I mused further:
“No, don’t think that, Zeke. Larkin has his reasons for not defending you sometimes. May be that he knew I could handle it on my own. And I did: got that letter to the editor published. (Also received a hateful email.) Or perhaps he checked out my story by visiting the establishment himself, and settled the score. Whatever.” I continue:
“Since he’s a mind reader he /felt/ my anxieties, decided it’s time once more to cheer me up with his presence, albeit brief (and “brief” seems to define the essence of our encounters over 7 years). But I’ll be damned if that wasn’t a setup! Like he was waiting in the wings as I approached Duboce Street, then popped out stage-right to surprise.”
And that is /exactly/ what it was, El, I’m sure of it. Maybe I should’ve hollered a few more bon mots as he vanished down the sidewalk, like:
“Hey, my fly’s open. I’m brandishing my bodacious wanger just for you, buddy!”
“Look darlin’, I just ripped out my heart for love of your sweet friendship. My hands are bloody! I need instant surgery, and you’re the doctor!”
“What, still no hug? I’m gonna have an aneurysm! If you keep this up much longer I’ll have to be rushed to the ER and be resuscitated from chronic hug deprivation. And not just /any/ chronic hug deprivation, but chronic /Larkin/ hug deprivation!”
Well, ya gotta be quick on the rebound to parry with Uber Dude Larkin…what else can I say? Okay now, back to my carrot cake and coffee, and some Twitter hell raising.