At the Delano with Lou Reed and This Girl

Another story of times past.

A few years ago I reconnected with an old friend from my school days.  This girl…. this girl. Sorry. Let me get through the intended story first.

She was dating another old friend of ours from back in the day who had a few connections in the movie industry. This meant one day I ended up attending an after party at the Delano Hotel in South Beach.

When I was a kid I stayed at the Delano once with my mom and her friends from Jersey. It wasn’t such a fancy hotel back then when I went. I remember a room that needed to be aired out and a couple of cockroaches  as well. (btw I never realized that was spelt cock-roach and now I can’t unsee). Anyhow, the hotel was eventually remodeled and these days the Delano is pretty ritzy. When we went in, a bouncer had to check our names at the elevator before we were let on.

I stuck to this girl through the party while her boyfriend made the rounds. At one point her and I went into the bathroom. And here’s a pet peeve of mine, the girls in the bathroom switched from English to French when we walked in. My friend looked at me and switched from English to an eastern European language she had been studying while traveling through Europe. I had learned a few phrases as well, but not enough to understand what she was saying to me. So god only knows what she was saying but I responded with things like “this is my first time here”, “It is 1 o’clock”, and “this hotel is very beautiful.”

I tried to match my tone of voice to hers. And as far as I know we got away with it because it’s a pretty obscure language all things considered. We continued on that way for the rest of the party. Lou Reed from the Velvet Underground was there. At one point we were standing next to him and he looked over really confused. So did a few other people, but hey Lou Reed noticed me so I don’t care.  I wonder if he spoke the language or understood enough to realize we made no sense.

This girl. We’re two sides of the same coin. I always felt when I was with her that we were a juxtaposition. She expressed all her emotions freely no matter how many people she may have alienated. I spent those same years mute and hanging on the words of Allan Moyle. Her eagerness to help made her fall victim to many people who took advantage of her. I don’t trust anybody. And so on, and so forth.

Sometimes I wonder if in another universe we’re together, wrapped up in each other and facing down the world side by side. But I don’t think so. The pessimist in me thinks it would’ve turned out similar to another story I’ve already told. Our entwined history filled with too many thorns to move on completely.

There was too much I wanted out of life when I was younger.  Experiences I thought I needed to have in order to say that I had lived. That isn’t a regret. I’m glad I went through them. There’s not much more I need to cross off a mental bucket list. I feel now that I am sated. Satisfied with my experiences with only a few regrets, the price of one more lesson learned, and gladly paid.

So I came to tell the story of being at a party with Lou Reed, but then I remembered this girl and I had to pause, because she’s the better story. And yes, we’re still friends even though she lives far away but we still remember each others birthdays, no Facebook notification required. But the story of us isn’t something I think I can accurately put into words. I loved her and I still love her.  Our friendship now reminiscent of high school as she rages against the machine all over Facebook and I silently Like all her posts.

And when you’re dancing and laughing and finally living, hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly

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