Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mushroom Cake


Dedicated to Philip Seymour Hoffman
This is not post about that. It's the final instalment of the Hart trilogy and it just seemed right that I should write it today as I texted him the news that Hoffman had OD'd.  In case you  might have been wondering what happened in my holiday rom-com caper. Was it Hughes or Solondz who won in the end?  It's deserving of a post regardless. 

As Hart sat across from me in a certain restaurant where in the past, it's soup had been so delicious it made me giggle, he said, "This makes me so angry." Grinning from ear to ear he took another bite. 
"Fucking mushroom cake, I mean c'mon."

I got it. Fucking mushroom cake. How can  I write to describe a taste so wonderful it makes you angry? I can only write of the feeling it gave us. The knowledge that all of a sudden all other food that had been put on our lips in our lifetime was simply mediocre in comparison to what possibility had just been shown to us. The inescapable fact, that as you swallowed, you were one bite closer to never tasting it again. Yet you are forced to keep taking bites because it is so extraordinary. Realizing that one of the most sensual moments of your life will only be a memory in a matter of minutes. Angry Joy. Simultaneous emotion. Wonder and loss. Painful in its fleeting. 

It was a week of angry joy really. I knew the risk. That seeing this overly romanticized ghost from my past was playing with matches. My worst case scenario, I imagined, was if he were a bore. Or an asshole. Or just plain irritating, and I would be forced into politeness when all the while counting the minutes till he left.  I never imagined angry joy. Who imagines that? Who imagines a feeling of complete comfort and familiarity, like you remember it from some distant dream coupled with that kind of lust you only feel the first time you touch somebody? 

"I haven't slept as well since I was a 7 year old, " he said and I agreed. Feeling weird. Knowing as I slipped my hand across his chest and around his ribs to nestle on his shoulder blade, curled inside an armpit, head on chest, listening to his voice, that I was living déja vu. Knowing too, that this was in a bubble. 3 more days. Trying to imprint smell and feel,

I could write about the week in detail. I would like to keep every little part  written down somewhere so that I can go grab one when I wanted one. Already the week is fuzzy and unreal, with only snapshots of moments sticking out anymore. I feel too oddly protective of them though, to write them here. It's not that they are secret, it is just they wouldn't feel the same to you.  I will sum it up. Bed, joints, music, skin, words and food. Focus. 

On New Year's Eve, his last night in town, we stare at each other annoyed and dumbfounded that Jim Henson was the only famous person we both ever cried for. Like mushroom cake, words don't describe the meaning of coming to realize this perfect bite is about to be the last bite. Perfect connection at the moment of loss.
"Fuck you.. " he smiles at me
"Jim Henson. You asshole, " I shoot back at him.
"Of course it's Jim Henson. Fucking Jim Henson."

He went at 5 in the morning, An early plane back to the other coast. We are rooted in our distance by kids and work. It is our reality so we chat and text and he is my friend. I sent him a mixed tape of angry love songs, my tribute to Hughes. It felt like Hughes while it was happening, but it ended like Solondz. The irony of having perfect fit taunt you from an impossible place. Funny and dark and sad. No real start or end, just an excerpt. Out of context. But so well written and directed.