Tag: love

dancing about architecture

Two years ago, my best friend went to sleep and never woke up. His remains were not found for two days.

This week has been on my mind for ages, a huge obsidian block in the middle of my springtime, a chasm of sadness that I know I must navigate each year. I dread it and yet it feels important to me to do it – as if I had any choice. Of course, I would much rather have Frank here.

So I’ve been really apprehensive about this week’s arrival, counting down in my head the events leading up to his death. Today he was at Gregg’s. Today he talked to Maria. Today he is decomposing. It’s kind of horrifying and brutal to contemplate and I’ve worried about its ability to stop me in my tracks when what I most need to do is keep moving.

The week approached like a tidal wave, inexorable and crushingly destructive, and I braced myself for its impact. This year, maybe, I would keep my head above water.

And then, against all odds, a series of events stacked up that have caused this week to become what I can only describe as spectacular.

Several weeks ago I won tickets to see David Sedaris do a reading here in town. He’s one of my favorite authors and our budget just couldn’t justify the cost of the tickets, so I was moping. And then I won them on the radio, and off we went, and it was exactly as funny and interesting as I hoped it would be. We waited in line for an hour and a half to have our book signed afterward. We arrived at his table at 11pm, near the end of the signing, and the first thing David Sedaris did was welcome me to his golden okra chest. And then he laughed and wrote that in my book. And then he offered me some of his fried okra, and I’m actually kind of sorry I declined because I was freaking starving and that looked like some killer okra. And a love for fried okra is among the most Southern of my Southern qualities. Then, David Sedaris astutely observed that I’d dragged Seth along, but that he was very patient about the whole thing. He asked if we were married, Seth said, “not yet,” and David Sedaris whose whole name must always be used as far as I’m concerned asked why the heck we weren’t married yet. Then apologized for being awkward. Then asked again. And we stuttered out some excuses and he kind of leaned back and, even though David Sedaris doesn’t know us from anyone, he said something like, “You guys are good together and I can tell you’re going to make it.” It was completely awesome and we thanked him and told him our dirty nun joke, which he rewarded with two of his own dirty jokes, and we were on our merry way.

That alone would have made this a great week. But then Tuesday came, and you guys, Tuesday was seriously badass.

Old 97s were in town. I freaking love Old 97s, I’ve never seen them live, and the minute their new album dropped I told Seth that this meant they’d surely be touring and I felt Charlottesville was a likely stop and that WE WOULD BE ATTENDING NO MATTER WHAT. I mean seriously, they hadn’t even announced a tour yet and I already knew there’d be a Cville date. Because I’m magic. So Seth was like yes, whatever, and then the announcement came and I squealed louder than I did when Mom surprised us with New Kids on the Block tickets in 1990. EEEEEE OLD 97S!!!

Then we looked at our budget.

We were broke broke broke, broke as a joke. We kept putting off the tickets in the hopes that our next paycheck would have more wiggle room, but alas, car repairs and vet bills and optometrist visits just blew massive holes in our “discretionary” fund over and over again. And since I’d won tickets to David Sedaris, I wasn’t eligible to win again from our local radio station. So I moped.

On Monday, the morning host on our station of choice posted a thing on Facebook telling people to email him if they wanted a chance to meet Rhett Miller. And within 30 seconds I think I had written a novel-length plea and fired that bad boy off to Brad. A few hours later, he responded: we were in! We’d been put on the list for a private acoustic studio session with Rhett. I figured it’d be a good consolation prize for not getting to go to the concert.

So Tuesday afternoon rolled around and we headed to the station for the session. I hadn’t been to their studio before and expected we’d be with 20 or 30 people on folding chairs outside the booths where the sound engineer and the artist would be. Imagine my surprise when we and 6 of our newest friends were ushered into a very small studio…and Rhett Miller was a foot away from us.

He played three songs and bantered with the hosts, and it was completely awesome to be up close for the session, which you can listen to here. We hadn’t been told much about what would be allowed, so I didn’t think photos or signings or anything would be cool. But they were!

After the session, we got to take photos and a professional photographer was in taking photos too. Rhett signed CDs and such for us, and then he asked us if there were any songs we’d like to see on the setlist. HOLY CRAP! I asked him to play “Murder (or a Heart Attack),” one of my favorites. And he wrote it down along with the other suggestions. We left the studio basically floating through the air, and the minute we hit the parking lot, Seth and I were like, “okay, now we have to go to the show.”

We made a quick huddle and an agreement to skip groceries this week and get by on Ramen and PBJ, and I ran down and bought the tickets.

That night, we drove to the concert through a torrential thunderstorm, and when we arrived, we snagged a spot on the front row. Seriously. I told you this week was freaking awesome, didn’t I?

So we’re on the front row, along with some of our friends from the session. And the band comes out on stage and they are exactly as awesome as I thought they’d be, and Rhett Miller actually recognizes us from the stage and kind of waves and raises his eyebrows at us while he’s playing, and we’re in the front row at an Old 97s show and Rhett Miller just waved at me from the damn stage and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die of the awesomeness.

It was way better than that NKOTB show. My parents were right about them.

So hey, is this long enough yet? We went home, and we were happy and half-deaf and exhausted. And then yesterday I continued the awesomeness by giving a guest lecture on arts fundraising at the university.

Today is kind of what I think of as The Day, when it comes to Frank. Today, he is gone. And I miss him still, and I will always miss him. But I can’t help but notice the timing of this fantastic, surreal week I’ve been having. Frank had a novel in progress he called The Architecture of Coincidence. Despite a general lack of belief that he and I shared, this week has been different for some reason. And I’ve wondered if maybe, just maybe, there is an architect after all.

3 Comments April 14, 2011

may 1 will be a brand new day

Let me tell you something about April. April is an absolutely pathetic crackwhore of a month smeared in dog poo and covered in parasites. If April were a person, I would kick April in the face repeatedly until every single one of its nasty, rotten teeth fell out, and then I’d pull April’s arms off and beat April to death with them. I hate April. April has most certainly been the worst month in what, prior to April, had been looking like a pretty terrific year, and at the rate we’re going, April 2009 may very well be a frontrunner in the contest for Worst Month of Lorie’s Life, Ever, No Matter What. April sucks and I hate it and I won’t miss its ugly-ass face one teeny tiny little bit. In case I haven’t been clear here, I fucking detest April.

With that said, there’s one major reason I’m alive and sane enough to witness April’s inevitable demise, and that reason is a 6’3″ software engineering, video game playing, insane philosophizing, adorable, wonderful, superboyfriendy package of awesomeness named Seth.

Even the most good-natured, generous, patient, supportive person on earth would probably struggle to be a consistently excellent friend to someone who’s had a month like I have had. I would not wish this month or the fallout of this month on anyone. But it has to be especially trying when you’re asked to drop everything and be there nearly constantly for your girlfriend of only a few months, who is mourning a man she loved before you and recovering from surgery on her dominant hand all at once. That’s a test no relationship should ever have to face, much less one in its relative infancy. All of a sudden, I found myself both physically and emotionally incapable of the independence I cherish, and to my great and pleasant surprise, Seth planted his feet and has been absolutely, unwaveringly here for me.

It wasn’t a surprise because of anything his behavior up till now had led me to believe. It was a surprise because I truly had no idea what to expect, and because I’m used to trying to drag myself through everything on my own. My family and friends have been great, too, but it’s been Seth who has literally been right by my side all month. He has helped me get dressed and make food and clean myself when I couldn’t do it on my own, and he’s helped me work through the first loss I’ve experienced of someone very close to me. He’s been incredibly patient and kind and has been able to anticipate everything I need and give it to me without giving me any indication that it’s a strain on him.

If you know me well, or have been reading for a while, you know I try to find lessons in all the crummy things that happen. This has been pretty damn crummy indeed, and I’m still figuring it out. But one tiny bright spot in this hellish month has been the increased closeness I’m feeling with Seth. I’m not sure we would have gotten so much closer this month if all had been smooth sailing. My hand is much better now, but my heart and soul are still in need of a lot of healing. Luckily for me, I know he’s not going anywhere.

6 Comments April 30, 2009

Frank was always better at titles.

One of my best friends on Earth, Frank Lauro, died suddenly this week. I wrote the following for a forum where we were both active, and I’m sharing a version of it here too.

Frank was the first online friend I ever met in real life, in the fall of 1998 when I was a sophomore in college. We had communicated casually for months in a chat room devoted to movies on AOL, and on the day I got kicked out of the room for cursing, he IMed me and offered to pass my messages to the room until my timeout had expired. I had no idea that making profane comments about the Ohio State Buckeyes would lead to the most enduring, most important friendship of my life.

One of his favorite stories was about our first in-person meeting. We’d spent dozens of nights on the phone from sundown to sunrise, and finally decided to meet near campus for lunch. I realized when I met him that he could be a psycho killer and spent our entire meal in a state of fear so profound I could barely swallow my food. But my sense of self-preservation is such that when he offered me a ride to my dorm, I said yes, and got into the psycho killer’s car all alone.

I soon learned that he’d kick a dozen puppies, skin them, and cook them into some cayenne-heavy spicy-as-hell dinner before he’d ever hurt me.

Frank was into Batman because Batman had no superpowers. Batman just fucking did the right thing. Frank lived his life that way. He would hate me for saying this, he would try to argue me down, he would swear I was wrong and insist I had no basis for saying this, but his ass isn’t here to correct me and I’m going to tell you: he would step in front of a bus for the people he loved. He would sacrifice his comfort and safety to stand up for people who could not stand up for themselves. He would end a conversation, a relationship, or a job if his own ethics were compromised – and his ethics, I promise you, were stronger than any of ours.

He introduced me to Pulp Fiction, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Usual Suspects, This is Spinal Tap, and tons of other movies. He introduced me to Thai food and Aimee Mann. He was with me when I first visited Sears Tower and the Brookfield Zoo. When I suffered from clinical depression so severe that I nearly did not survive, much less finish my degree, he was there. When my sister nearly died in a car accident that claimed three other teenagers, he was there that night and through the long months ahead. He was always there.

We dated for a long time, and then we stopped. And then we dated again, and then I moved away. And then we dated again, long-distance, and then we stopped again. The distance seemed too great. Our obstacles seemed insurmountable. But I loved him from beside him, and I loved him from faraway. I always loved him. I love him still. The web that holds my soul is woven through and through with hundreds of his threads. There’s only one problem. The strongest thread of all, the one that tied me to him over the distance and the years and the obstacles, the one I thought would never break? That one snapped yesterday, and I’m having trouble staying tethered to anything right now.

He and I were equally sensitive, I think, but I mystified him because he had developed a nearly impenetrable skin and I had none at all. He told me often that if the world was a fight, I kept going in with both hands tied behind my back. He pushed me often to be stronger, to stand up for myself more, and I did it because of him. Everything about him was stronger than I will ever be, but I have the courage and the strength to write this because I loved him and he taught me to be just a little tougher.

I didn’t know how I was going to write this, but I knew I had to do it. I knew that he would want me to. He read my website and my prose and my shitty screenplays, and he always encouraged me to keep doing it. He swore I would be a published author one day, and he’d be pretty disappointed if I didn’t write about him for you here. I could keep writing this for paragraphs, for years. I could write until your eyes burn out from the strain of the reading. But he’d want me to stop here.

I will miss him for as long as I live.

8 Comments April 18, 2009

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