Midnight Messiah Part 2 - Hashtags

2:22 a.m. May 1

There aren't many moments in one's life when the best course of action is to get into a vehicle with a virtual stranger, but this is definitely one of them. I can't remember exactly what happened or how I got here, just bits and pieces... like a waking dream. But it's the middle of the night, and getting in her car sure feels a lot safer than wandering the city streets, faded and tripping out on my own thoughts. I should have never taken those pills from someone I'd just met. #LessonLearnedNeverTrustAnyoneWithaFunnyShapedHead

“Did I call you?” I ask as I enter the old red Ford sedan.

“Ya, you did.”

She smiles, shifts from park, and drives. She doesn't say a word and neither do I. We had only met once before and had barely exchanged words when we did. I don't know exactly why I called her, or why she even came. I can only guess it was partly because at the time I wasn't myself and she probably felt it was her Christian duty. Needless to say, I'm embarrassed. The last thing I want is to be judged - especially by someone who I asked to help me with my research on religion and redemption. #Irony. The only thing I can do at this point is damage control. I know the less I say, the better; obviously the drugs haven't completely left my system, so trying to play it cool and stay silent is not as easy as it sounds. Sooner or later, when your mind has been compromised by narcotics, your thoughts bear arms and begin to hold your reason captive.

“Where are you taking me?” I ask. But before she can answer, the drug induced jabbering takes over once more. I start with my Star Wars comparative theory on how the relationship between Darth Vader and Luke mirrors the stereotypical upper middle class coming of age struggle.

“You see Darth wanted Luke to join the Dark Side and when Luke didn't, Darth cut off Luke's arms. You get it? That's like your dad wanting you to go into the family business and when you refuse he cuts off your arms. Well, metaphorically of course. You get it?” If she didn't know I was high before, she definitely does now. So much for impressing her. It's bad enough that she knows I'm under the influence, now she also knows I'm a Star Wars obsessed loser. There goes any chance of sleeping with her. #HighSchoolAllOverAgain.

When I finally manage to shut up for a second, she breaks her silence and asks, “Do you trust me?”

I nod. She momentarily turns her gaze away from the road, looks at me, smiles, places her hand softly on top of mine and says, “You're going to be okay.” Even in my current state of paranoia, for one reason or another, I believe her.

I continue my pointless blabbering for a few more hours. Finally, after driving for what seems like forever, she parks the car on the shoulder of the freeway. I can't help but wonder just how far away from the city we've actually driven. We're surrounded by trees in the middle of nowhere. She gets out of the car, quickly makes her way towards the guardrail and hops on to the other side. She stops for a moment, turns towards me and motions for me to follow. I do.

On the other side of the rail there's a narrow dirt trail in the midst of all the green. I fight my way through the bushes, branches and foliage to keep up with her. It's difficult. She's moving swiftly with a familiar ease. We eventually reach a clearing that extends towards a cliff side overlooking a small rural town. She takes a seat on the edge. Having a phobia of heights, it takes me a minute to gather enough courage to take a seat beside her, but inevitably, I do. We sit there for a while. I continue to talk, she continues to listen. Just as dawn begins to break through the horizon she looks at me intensely and asks, “Do you believe in fate? As in 'meant to be?' In the idea that everything happens for a reason?”

“When it's convenient,” I respond. Finally sobering up and becoming aware of the situation, I ask, “Why did you take me here?”

“Do you remember what you said to me when you called me earlier tonight?”

“Of course I do.”

I have no idea. At this moment, I'm practically sober and I can barely remember how I got here. So remembering anything that took place in the height of my drug frenzy is nearly impossible, yet alone something specific I said over the phone. I'm not even sure, why of all people, I chose to call her. But she ignores my response and continues as if I had answered with complete honesty - she seems to have a keen sense for the truth. #TheBenefitsofBeingaFormerAddictAndDealingWithRecoveringJunkiesOnaWeeklyBasis

“I don't think you meant to call me. When you called the first thing you said was that you loved me and you continued along those lines for awhile.” She playfully laughs. “I meant to stop you but you were determined on professing your love for whoever that call was meant for. I was about to hang up but then you said something that made me believe that you accidentally dialing me was meant to happen. You said you needed me to save you. That no one else in the world was capable of saving you but me. So how could I refuse?”

I didn't know what to say. She was right. I meant to call someone else entirely. Part of me is relieved that I had called her instead of that other person, but part of me is embarrassed - mostly because, in all likelihood, I didn't necessarily mean saving in the existential sense of the word but more so in the literal. I was in a chemically-perpetuated hallucinatory state at the time. Cats were pawing at my shoulder. Voices were in my head. I really thought I was going to die. #CocaineOxyAndGodKnowsWhatElseIsOneHellOfaDrug

The truth is, I don't really need saving – I was just high as a motherfucker. I don't have any of the intense reasons behind my drug binges, like the junkies she regularly deals with. But a huge part of me is compelled to impress her which probably has a lot to do with her short blue denim miniskirt and long legs that my eyes are glued to. #Haven'tGotLaidInaWhile I want her to think I'm profound and not just some upper middle class recreational drug user that was never molested by anyone. #ChildhoodTraumaEqualsArtisticDepth She already knows I'm a Star Wars dork. I can't have her discover that I'm also just a malcontent little bitch who's having a hard time with a breakup, and not actually the tormented writer she seems to be expecting. So who am I to ruin this moment with the minor details of the truth? So for the first time in the entire night, she's the one that continues to talk, and I'm the one that doesn't say a word. Surprisingly, my silence somehow begins to connect us in a way my earlier words never could. She starts sharing a piece of her past with me.

“You know, my father took me here when I was a kid.” She stands up, looks towards the horizon and continues, “He was a photographer. We moved around a lot. We would end up in all sorts of places, on all sorts of adventures. He told me we were chasing the perfect photograph. That it was somewhere out there waiting to be captured. One month we would be living out of a motel somewhere along the east coast looking for old shipping boats, the next, trespassing on a half constructed, seven-hundred-foot, skyscraper, taking photographs of industrial beams. Then one night we stumbled onto this place. I was ten and at the time it seemed higher than any place I'd ever been. We sat together on this same spot, watching the dawn break. That night the edge of the cliff seemed to extend to the end of the world. I remember being cold and just wanting to go back to the warmth of the car. I remember being angry at my father and finally asking him why we couldn't just live in one place. He held me and said that nothing would ever be this beautiful again. He told me that he wanted to show me the beauty before the damage is done. At the time I didn't know what he meant. I couldn't appreciate just how amazing the view was that night. I didn't notice how fresh the breeze was. How it smelled like the innocence of rain drops and wild trees. How it would probably be the sweetest smell I'd ever know. I didn't understand that being brushed by the wind and being held that high above the earth was my soul being touched by beauty. That same morning my father died of a heart attack. All he left me was his camera. From that moment on, this place became my spot – my solace. I come back here a lot, sit for hours, just looking out at the world, waiting to capture that perfect photograph.”

Old shipping boats? Waiting to capture the perfect photograph? Truth be told, I have no idea what the fuck she's talking about. But I'm a sucker for emotional scars (in all likelihood to make up for the lack of my own) and there's this feeling of thrilling tension between us that I haven't felt in a long time - a sort of shared understanding that only two kids plotting their next piece of mischief would know. I'm not sure if its good or bad but it's one of those rare feelings in life that makes you take notice of the moment, makes you feel like you're really there, like you really exist. And she's pretty fucking hot, so I make my move – I lean into to kiss her.

“What are you doing? I think you're missing the point. That's not why I took you here,” she says as she gently pushes me away. “Rome is burning and yet here you are wasting the best days of your life. Can't you see that? You claim to live in the moment, but are you really? It's not live fast, die young. It should be live fast, die alone. I used to be like you, so caught up in how fucking great everything was in the past that I couldn't fully appreciate the beauty of now. Just look at the world. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information and religions destroy spirituality. We're all so desperate to feel something... anything... that we keep falling in to each other, mistaking good times for actual substance. We're all blindly numbing ourselves towards the end of days.”

I'm pretty sure the last part of that is a Michael Ellner quote. Where the fuck do I find these girls? If I wasn't lost for words before, I definitely am now. I don't know if that was some rehearsed, recovering junkie-injected, diatribe she regularly feeds people to sway them towards a drug-free lifestyle. Some spiel about how all of us poor souls lacking in the presence of Jesus in our lives are all missing out on anything really worth living for. But her passion is paralyzing - not only in speech, but also in belief. I know I won't be attending Sunday masses anytime soon. But being up here, sitting beside her, overlooking what seems like the edge of western civilization and watching the dawn set fire to the clouds on the horizon, you can't help but see the world from a different perspective. You begin to embrace the meaninglessness of your life and the insignificance of your problems. Before tonight, I never really understood why junkies always thanked Jesus for saving their lives. But it's all starting to make sense. It's not necessarily about religion or Jesus. Rather, it's the idea of surrendering yourself to something greater, an inexplicable higher power beyond your control. That something out there greater than yourself exists.

We sit there for a little while longer and eventually make our way back to the car. We drive back to the city in shared silence. She drives me home and we exchange hugs. I don't know what to make of the evening. It's a rare night for me to connect with someone on that level and not - at the very least - make out with them. I know I should be thankful for the new life perspective she's provided me with tonight. But I'm still me - I can't just one-eighty overnight. I still need to know what she found so unappealing about me that at the height of our emotional intercourse, she decided to push me away. So I ask, “I don't think I'm crazy here, but I thought we had a moment back there? I thought we were really vibin'. What's the deal?”

“It was the Star Wars thing.” She laughs. #SuperCute “I'm just joking. Maybe if we met in a different life... I'm with someone and we're very happy together.” #ChallengeAccepted