When I was about 11 or 12 my parents divorced. My dad moved out. Eventually since he worked with American Airline, he moved to their main airport, Dallas/Fort Worth. For quite a while I flew there every other weekend. I got to know Fort Worth really well. After a few years he moved to Miami. I was there the week that Hurricane Andrew hit. It didn't seem so bad until the next day. All the trees over ten feet high were on their sides. I forgot the name of the little island we used to go to all the time. I think it was called Boca Raton(I might be getting it confused with another island). I loved it there. A beautiful island just off south beach with a cool lighthouse and a quiet beach. After the hurricane that beautiful island was practically decimated. Today it doesn't look so bad. But I remember thinking how fragile nature could be. A whole island. Beautiful one day, completely destroyed the next. Before that day it had withstood decades of storms.
But Dallas was first. I remember it was around '88 and I would stay up late and watch Saturday Night Live which was live because it came on at 10:30(because of the time zone). I remember how it felt staying up in bed listening to my walkman and seeing the strange town lights outside. Feeling a city I didn't know. The way the world felt. The clothes we wore and the styles. The kind of music that was out(B-52's, Salt And Peppa, Tears For Fears, the last hurrah of hair metal, the cool indie music of the time). It had a feeling. Almost a taste. I have no idea even how to share that. Maybe if I ever make a movie in that time I can do something to get that feeling.
Then, just as now, I had feelings for girls. I had one in particular that I liked. I remember thinking as the airplane left the tarmac that every second is taking me farther away from her. I remember seeing the san ramon valley where I live and thinking, she is somewhere down there. She is within my vision right now. And I still can't see her.
I would land in Dallas, look to the sky, it's billowing clouds that seem to reach so much farther then the clouds back home. The sunrise(I'd often take the red eye flight saturday morning or friday night). The colors, so many more than at home. Dallas was flat. Later it was Miami. Which was more flat. You could see the sky stretch out in every direction for maybe fifty miles. It was so much bigger in these places.
Those clouds, that sky, it was mine. Everyone I knew(aside from my dad) was living under a different sky. Their clouds looked different. The blue that they saw was a different hue(being thousands of miles away and a different time of day). Everywhere I looked, this all belonged to me. No one else shared it with me. It was my world. My blue sky.
I went away one summer when I was 17. I had a pretty steady girlfriend, but I was in love with this girl who I had seen the last few years. Usually around town or at local concerts. We would always look at each other like two children across an empty school yard. I had finally spoken to her the last few months. She was the hot goth chick and I was the lead singer in a band. And there wasn't a lot of those around at the time(now there's plenty). We were nothing alike but perfect together. I was just obsessed with her(I'm that kind of guy I guess). But I still had my girlfriend and I was going on vacation for like three weeks. I came back to find my goth chick had kind of dated my good friend and my girlfriend had broken up with me. Both of these turned out to not be a big deal and with my new cache as lead singer to a band I had psuedo groupies. I went out with one of them and then unceremoniously dropped her(and I'm not proud of that) the moment I started hanging out with the goth girl. We started going out and that lasted for many years, till about after college. But that was the happiest years of my life. I did the impossible. I got the girl I wanted above all others. These things happen.
All my time living my different life in Miami and Puerto Rico that summer had left me with nothing when I came back. Luckily I was able to pick things up again. But it did solidify my fear of having my own place, alone, with no one to share in the highs and lows. Just my own blue sky. Ever since I have a really hard time being alone and single.
I went on a cruise the summer 2003 with my mom and my sister. One day it was completely clear out. I went out on deck to draw. I looked out. The ocean was one uniform navy blue color. The sky was it's deep blue reflection. Everywhere I looked, it touched the ocean. No land. A desert of water. It was my sky. I had a hard time believing even fishes and sharks would be out this far. Just a bunch of people on a boat. And I only knew two of them. I felt alone. I felt like all this space was crushing me. I looked away and decided not to see the emptiness.
I started watching Roxanne with Steve Martin on Netflix on Christmas. I thought about how this was the movie to watch if you've ever had a muse or some one who inspired you. And I liked it. I loved it when I was a kid. But it really put in my face that this whole thing was kind of a little bit too Cyrano de Bergerac for my taste. All this stuff I wrote in this comic and blog. And I got mad at myself. I didn't want to talk anymore. I didn't want anyone to know my inner thoughts anymore. People don't share those things because other people hurt them. And I got hurt. I obviously didn't want to. Cyrano doesn't win the girl in real life. But we all know I lost whatever this was. We all know I didn't get the girl. Or any girl that would satisfy me. Whenever I met any girl I liked recently, I mean really liked, she was taken. I became a friend. And I think, I can't talk about this girl, or having a broken heart because one will never talk to me again. Wouldn't I feel better if my failures were only known to me? Maybe.
The movie I watched the next day was Breakfast Club and Alley Sheedy says something like "When you grow up your heart dies." I didn't want my heart to die. I didn't want to lose hope. I didn't want to give up on one of the only three things I want in life(to do a comic and to do a film would be the other two and I've done both independently and pretty soon for real). I'm the kind of guy who makes things happen. Who can do the impossible. Weeeeell, except get a girl I like to like me back. That is harder than anything else. Maybe it's impossible for me. So I give up. I let my heart die. I disappear into nothing.
I look at the sky. I look at the vistas around me. I see nothing. I want that beauty back. I want that person who brings it back. Who brings the color to the flowers. Who makes the sound of waves a symphony. Whose simple gaze at me is like an x-ray blessing. Who makes me smile uncontrollably.
I have a lot of great things happening in my life. The friends I hold close are the best ever. I have a publishing contract, interest in my movie, interest in my other very big project. But...I just DON"T CARE. Right now I am looking at the very real possibility of having lots of money, versus being broke. It's literally a roll of the dice. And I do not care either way. I share all this with no one. I go to sleep alone. Every once in a while I'll wake up from a dream or maybe just have a certain mood and I imagine there is someone next to me. I don't know who. Just someone I would love. And my arm goes over there, and the bed is empty. My life is empty.
I told my sister that I might pull an Ambrose Bierce(look him up, at least I'm not planning on doing a Hemingway) and if I did I would keep in contact with only her. I can't look my friends in the eyes and pretend like I like another minute of this shithole place. I have potential jobs that would take me away from here. I can just disappear and never be heard from again and still do what I want somewhere where no one I know will ever see me again. That is where I'd have my own blue sky to make my place in and maybe find happiness. But...I don't know.
My heart is what fuels me. Not money, not attention, not compliments. Just expressing my heart. I'm not looking for sympathy. To me, sympathy is like excuses. It don't change shit. I know my friends care. I'm looking for something that friends can't provide me.
Right now, I am sitting at home on a wednesday afternoon writing this. There is no one I like. No one I love. Not for many thousands of miles. Her sky is not my sky. Her clouds are her own. I can look and look and I won't see what she's seeing. I see my own blue sky. She sees hers. She shares it with someone else.
I have my lonely little view. The hills wedging me in. It looks like the end of a tunnel. Uncertain, indistinct light blinding me. Filling me with nothing. Empty. Dead. No joy. I'm still driving towards that emptiness.
But I am longing for the sky I used to share. The one I want to share again.
Our blue sky.