© 1993 Shawn Vidmar


“You always get yourself into these situations.” States your father over a grilled chicken breast. “You’re too nice. You need to learn how to discern between the good guys and the bad. You need to grow up.”

You nod in pathetic agreement as your father swallows his bite of chicken. You wonder when this meal is going to end. You want to order a beer, but don’t think it is appropriate.  You wonder if he is right. You listen to his advice and wonder if he has ever made any mistakes. You suffer through dinner, work out a deal to repay the money your father reluctantly gives you, you get into your car, drive away to the sanctuary of your new, cheap, apartment. 

You left the mountains you love because of the Hippie. He played your hand without your consent. The Hippie, with his cool blue sky eyes, dark tan from Key West, and sun-bleached, blond hair styled in surfer's contemporary casual. He drifted into your life, happenstance you interpreted as fate. He was going on holiday, he needed the street in front of your house to leave his car, his possessions, his life. It could have been anyone. You were just drunk enough to say yes.

Upon two weeks after his return. You tell you best male friend's wife of your love for him.

"Who?" she asks.

"Him..." you point toward the unsuspecting hippie looking for something in his car.

"Why?" she asks.

"I dunno. I'm writing again." You think of the story in progress. You are using him as the main character of the medieval novel you have constructed. The fairy tale where the beautiful princess doesn't get the prince, the hardworking maid-in-waiting does.  "He makes me feel." You blurt. 

Remembering the hazy, lazy, lackadaisical days spent under the blue lights as the couch enveloped and consumed you. Twitch was social and make his rounds 'til all forgot whose turn it was and you all saw the electrons exploding in the sepulcher air of the locked house. The dense smoke of it ass, seeping into your very being. You would all sweat slightly the scent of Camels, incense, and Twitch.

You recall faint memories of slightly dirty kids trying to make sense of life while precariously balancing on the edge of the earth. All the while ignoring better judgment, ignoring the voices of society, your parents, your friends, yourself. You had lost your ballast and were slowly spinning, drifting into an outer orbit to the rhythm of the red lava lamp,  and Blind Faith singing, "Can't find my way home." 

Being lost was familiar because home is where the heart is, but somehow you had lost that vital organ. Buried deep in the pit of your stomach you forgot how to feel as the pot took over your body and froze off your emotions. You had felt too much when the last one left and had grown weary of the pain. Yet you realize that feelings are not like a faucet, and it was impossible to turn them on or off. So you build a dam of drugs to insure you won't fell. And you would dance with the devil daily to make sure you were alive. For you could only feel life when staring at death. But somehow, the dam broke, and here you were, sitting on a wooden step, confessing your feelings to your best male friend's wife, over a beer.

You watch the Hippie teaching two male friends the art of juggling the 'devil sticks,' which he would manufacture. The boys are oblivious to your stares. Your best male friend's wife opens another beer, you both sit on the steps, drinking in silence and gazing at the boys. "We have the same birthday, you know." You have interpreted this as kismet. 

"Be careful" mumbles the wife. You ignore her. What does she know about impulse, fate, love? She trapped her husband with a baby as he was walking out the door. 

You and the Hippie drive home later. You perform the acts he desires, he passes out, you lie there next to him, simply glad he's there. You wake up late. He's already been to the liquor store for breakfast. He'll go into town soon under the pretence of looking for a job to pay you back the money you've faithfully lent. You know loneliness drove you to him. Like a moth, you blindly force your way into his life.

"I'm going to the next show." He garbles while eating Fruit Loops and reading Calvin & Hobbes.

"Where?" You know the Grateful Dead are currently nowhere near Colorado.


"Oh, how long will you be gone?"

“Couple a weeks...Three at the most.”  

"I see." You drink your cooling coffee. Wishing he'd ask you to go, knowing  he won't.

  “I have a friend there.”  

“I see.”  You know the friend is a girl.  The girl he’d been to the lake with.  The girl who languished on the beach as he gasped for air, having swum out too far.  The girl who didn’t hear his cries as he held onto his old leather football for buoyancy, kicked his way toward the shore, toward her, finding God along the way.  You know they would've made love on the beach when he’d finally reached it, tingling with life. Her name would have a cosmic ring to it because her parents are original hippies.  

The Cosmic girl would use words like, 'groovy,' 'neat,' and 'far out.'  She would be thin and waif like with small perky breasts, long fine hair, a small mouth, and large liquid eyes.  She would adore every minute with the Hippie and not chastise him for any action.  She would love the way he moves his lips when he reads and that can barley spell his own name.  They would smoke pot with her parents.  She would know where to get tickets for the sold out concert.  She would find all of the drugs he desires. He would call you from her house.  

You listen as the Hippie requests to use your car to drive to Minnesota.  You sit on top of him and ask what on earth you would have to gain from doing him a favor of such magnitude.  He smiles, not understanding all of the words you used, and tells you how cool he’d think you are.  

In secondary school, you learned never to lend anyone anything you would be upset if they broke.  You give him the keys anyway. Your best male friend is jealous because he never got to drive your car and he never dared to ask. 

Your best female friend thinks you are a fool.  You believe her.

You call your best male friend after too many drinks, sitting on the mushroom colored rug at five am.  “He hasn’t come home.  He doesn’t love me.”  


  “The Hippie.  The rock collector.  The Deadhead.  The drifter.”

  “Oh...” shaking the annoyed sleep from his voice.   “What’d you expect?  He’s all of those things.”

  “I’m afraid of what I might do.” 

“Like what?” “Glass, razor blades, windows.  The pain, the blood.”

  “Oh Christ....go sleep it off.” 

“O.K.”  You hang up, already sorry you called.  You remember the previous conversation with the Hippie.  You doubt it even occurred.  The bed is big, you are cold.  You decide to take a shower, sober up, have a cup of coffee, wrap yourself in an old blanket, and watch the sun fight it’s way into the valley.  You leave the house that sighs as you walk and go outside. You try to shake off the mist collecting on your shoulders, in your brain, within your heart.  You do anything but keep laying in that California king size bed, alone. 

He leaves you with his car, full of clothes, full of problems, empty of petrol and oil.  You stand watching the cars speed by your house.  You see the startled stares of the people passing in the cars who believed they were going through a ghost town.  

The sunlight balances on the line of the shadows, melting the light frost. A Foster’s Lager beer truck veers off of the road, avoiding an invisible obstacle.  It almost rams the Hippies car.  The squeal of the tires as the driver slams on his breaks and gravitates toward the blue LtD is ominous.  You and watch with amazement mixed with horror as the massive truck stops, centimeters from the blue Grateful Dead mobile.  You stare at the truck, the car, and the driver in disbelief.  You don’t know whether to be happy that the accident didn’t happen or not.  Wistfully wishing that it had for the benefits of free Fosters.

The Hippie calls you from Minnesota.  You know it is the Cosmic girl’s phone.  You don’t bother to ask.  You tell him you have reconsidered.  You tell him he better come home.  You say you will report the car stolen in one week’s time.

You have overstepped your bounds.  He delivers the car and vanishes in his own. You are angry at your best male friend because he’s male, and he’s happy with his wife. 

You are angry with your best female friend because she was right, the Hippie is a loser. 

You will see ghosts of him wherever you go, but you never speak to him again. You will catch glimpses of him out of the corner of your eye, just vanishing around a corner, just driving away in someone's car, just ahead of you in the lift line at the ski resort.  You know the way he walks.  You know every move his body makes.  You know where he hangs out.  You know he will be at the next show.  

You wish you could see him when you are doing well, having a fine job, a nice outfit, an attentive boyfriend.  You wish you could knock him off center for once.  You know he has replaced you.  You know it was easy for him.  He leaves you with a two thousand dollar debt.  You are broke.  

You will painfully have to ask your father for a loan.

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