It was the dawn of the new year.
I put down Kerouac’s On the Road¸ grabbed a beer and headed to the writing room.
A massive pile of white papers covered my desk. Some had notes and pieces of poems scribbled on them; others were simply empty, hungry for my words.
I sat and drank my beer in silence.
The booze always put me in a certain mood and helped get my juices flowing.
I started to reflect on the past year: I was still a poor alcoholic man without a job, struggling to write a few decent words to pay the rent. I still had no woman, and as soon as my brain hit that thought it relapsed into flashbacks of all the times I drove women away. Whether it was pure madness, money (lack of it), my bad looks or poor career choice, I couldn’t hold on to a single one.
So I was about to enter a new year in pretty much the same state as the year before – 365 days were clearly not enough to fix me and change my ways.
I couldn’t help but think it was all related somehow: the alcohol, the writing, the inability to secure a decent paying job, the trouble with women…
I looked at the bottle sitting next to me. It was still half-full. I drank it all in one gulp and slammed it empty on the desk.
Well, shit, that’s another year I won’t get back.
Then I started thinking about the past year, and the years before it, the choices, the decisions I’d made, the people I’d met…
And it brought me back to my high school prom night. I was still just a wimpy kid back then, with a face ravaged by acne.
I remember that was the first time I ever liked a girl. She was a classmate of mine and we’d sat next to each other the entire year. I wanted to ask her out for prom but never found the courage to.
I viewed this whole thing like a new experience and approached it in that manner – kind of like when your teacher assigns you a new project and you don’t know what to expect from it from the get-go.
Anyhow, it was prom night and we’d both managed to go without a date. I remember spending the night staring at her, admiring her black long dress, her shiny heels, her makeup, every possible feature of her face, her eyes, her smile, her hair…
She took to the dance floor with flair and confidence and let loose to the music. In truth, I can’t remember what songs they played that night because I didn’t really pay attention to the music at that time.
I only had eyes for her, and every time she twisted and twirled I felt a strange gurgle in my stomach.
By that time, I’d already been introduced to alcohol and had become well acquainted with it. I kept swallowing drink after drink to get rid of that gurgling in my stomach, but then I started feeling it in my gut.
As the night wore on I’d already been drawn to the sad reality that talking to girls wasn’t as easy as working on a school project (which, by the way, wasn’t something I found easy either) and had renounced all hope of approaching the girl in the black dress.
It was as challenging as trying to figure out how many stars were in that black sky that night – but I didn’t really care about the stars. What I wanted was gracing the earth in front of me, causing my stomach to gurgle every time I caught her eyes looking my way.
By the end of the night, the music was the only thing that kept going. Everybody was drunk and tired and sleepy and sick.
I found a quiet spot in a corner and took my drink there. I sat on my chair like a defeated and hopeless man waiting for a miracle that may never come.
But then, I felt a presence near me. With my faint eyes I directed my gaze and saw the girl in the black dress smiling at me.
‘Can I sit next to you?’ she asked.
And she did. We sat there quietly, next to each other, and at that moment I felt our worlds touching, our universes colliding even if our bodies weren’t.
We sat and enjoyed the silence together.
At that point, I was still sober enough to entertain a few thoughts, and chief among them was wanting to grab that girl by the neck and kiss her. Or at least, tell her I wanted to kiss her.
I felt my time was running out and I was wasting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to act with the first girl I truly cared about. So I dug deep to try to find that bit of courage, that surge needed to get the job done…but my acne-ridden itching face and my boyish looks barricaded my efforts and reminded me I was still too soft, too innocent for the real world.
I wanted to ride my luck but the universe was there to keep a close eye and remind me whatever was granted by higher powers could also be taken away by them…
And so the night wore on with me still chasing that impossible kiss in my dreams. But the girl in the black dress did open up to me about her past, her troubles, her fears and her hopes and dreams and that was when I’d let go of the boy with the acne-stricken face and felt I’d taken my first steps into the real world.
I still think about the girl in the black dress…she’s still the only woman to ever give me gurgles in the stomach.
She was also the one that paved my way into the messy world of women and the complicated hookups and relationships that followed and complimented my abusive drinking so well.
She’s still the closest thing to pure that I ever encountered and let slip away in my life.
I also remember that prom night as the first time I seriously considered becoming a writer…after the girl in black invited me into her world and made me a part of her stories.
It was the first time I ever felt the power of storytelling, the way it moves and affects people. It convinced me everything that couldn’t be sought in life could be stripped and jotted down on paper, notebooks, computer screens and told and read and heard.
In a way, that prom night was the beginning of it all. It was the crossroads that led me on this messed-up path toward a world of words and madness. It led me to abandoning society and governments and rules and jobs and working hours and high pay and job security for self-enrichment and peace of mind. It led me to times of struggles and bar fights with women whose names I may or may not recall…
If life were a spider and the days its web, then this would be the starting node for mine; the beginning of an intricate and difficult entanglement with the outside world through bad booze and cheap women.
And only through writing am I able to jump back to the source and relive it all.
I was back in my writing room. The desk was still overflowing with white paper sheets. Some were empty and others had some words and pieces of poems scribbled on them.
It was the dawn of a new year.
Another year with no job, bad looks, bad writing, booze and cheap women.
Another year without the girl in the black dress.
I got up and grabbed another beer. Then I started working on some poems about purity and true love.