Thursday, March 13, 2003

Cloud 9 Day!

That's where you go with the intention of drinking away the rest of your lives together, the Cloud 9 hotel. You agree to meet when the one of you who went on the wagon falls off again. One of you always leaves the other behind at the Cloud 9. That way, while you're struggling to pull your life together so you can die with something more tangible than shame in your pocket, in the back of your mind you can believe that there's someone back at the Cloud 9 sprawled in a comfy chair trying not to put the bottle down because when it's set on the end table it blocks the HBO.

So you left the Cloud 9 and you found a new man, a successful man yes but an unimposing man, who believes in you and wants you to go back to school. (He quit drinking a while back. He believes it can be done.) He filled up your bank account with the seven thousand dollars you need to cover your tuition check and enroll in classes this afternoon. He's a good man, but unfortunately, seven thousand dollars is enough money for a head like yours to pretend seven thousand dollars is enough money for two people to live off of till the end of their lives if they just don't step outside the Cloud 9 hotel.

So leave the messages for the man you left behind. You never try to get a hold of him at his home or office or anywhere else that might imply he tried to go on without you. The message you leave says you'll be at Cloud 9 in two days. You leave a message at the Auto Detailing garage run by his friend. You leave a message with his attorney. You leave a message with Jen the cashier at Arthur's where he eats his breakfast. And most importantly, you leave a message at Cloud 9. "Tell him I'm on my way," and you hang up before the desk attendant can say no one in the registry by that name.

And when he opens the door you'll see his face and you'll know instantly one of you will run off again, and the only reason to stick around is to find out who it's gonna be. But you'll step inside and you'll sit down on the bed and spread out the cash you stole from that nice new man. You'll undress and he'll pour for you both and you'll sit across the room from each other naked, glancing at and away from the money on the bed, taking sips from your glasses.

He'll be there waiting for you. He always is. Just like you've been there waiting for him when he was the one leaving the messages. There was only that one time in 1998 that he didn't show up, but there are a million reasons why that was a totally different situation.

Happy Cloud 9 Day!