Really my friends, the ruinous road trip started even further back, in 2008 to be exact, when a Unitarian attempted to match make me with an artist. Her award winning work was stunning in a Gothic kind of way: pencil renderings of staggering brilliance which she tucked behind sofas in her mother's home as if she was ashamed of them. One work in particular, a bat and butterfly mating was the most eerie and brilliant of all. Yet, it hung nowhere.
She gave me a tour of the backyard where several bird houses adorned the trees, far too close together, territorially speaking. Apparently the mother grew frustrated with the lack of feathered tenants and jammed each hole shut with wooden dowels and other similarly shaped items. Refraining from psychoanalyzing the obvious, I followed my date out front and watched a sailboat come closer and closer to shore. She waved to someone in a dinghy after the boat was anchored . A rather stout man climbed up some steps after docking across the street. Barely greeting me, he dragged a long, snakelike metal cable around a corner, apparently some part that prevented him from sailing sufficiently enough. It didn't take much to sum up the situation. He had been to Antarctica once, for no apparent reason according to my friend. Perhaps some polar vacuity he took on there contributed to his asocial behavior.
One night, the artist and I agreed to meet. Upon her arrival near a lake and a transplanted grove of pine trees, I rolled down the window to greet her. She said nothing and handed me a pickle cut in half. In it were embedded three flower stems with the rutilant, fragrant blossoms fully intact. The pickle could have been one her mother shoved into a birdhouse hole from what I could gather of it. The flowers seemed fresh enough though, perhaps plucked from the backyard garden. The security lights made the unusual gift glow in bleached neon.
I placed the flowers in the drink holder in my Malibu and we headed for the shore of the lake only a few yards away. Alone together, with only the wind to accompany us. The pine trees, she intuited , were sad because they were not native. An inexplicable bleakness descended around us. Weighing only 90 lbs, my date contracted in response. Now the bleakness became isolation, a kind of disconnect I'd never before experienced. Even while alone. Waves lapped the roots of Basswood tree but even that could not make us speak.
"I'm miserable." I said, standing up and brushing the grass off my jacket and pants. It felt like some kind of alien presence surrounded us, a cold monitoring, perhaps using the pickle as some kind of GPS device. Most likely, it was bleed through from the Anthroposophy she was so deeply involved with or more likely Human Design of which she used to determine that I had no emotional center. It could have even been the Gene Key workshops she so faithfully attended and which enabled her to nail the spiritual purpose encrypted in her own DNA. Or the channelings she went to in Fargo. Or the Adderall she was on. But most likely it was the Unitarian whose father once owned the park land, thousand upon thousand of acres of it, that caused the disturbance we both felt.
She gathered up her blanket and followed me sheepishly to the car. She looked as if she were blaming herself, like what we experienced was something straight out of her artwork. I got in and rolled down the passenger window intending to throw the pickle bouquet out onto the parking lot, but instead handed it back to her and sped away. I had never done 75 mph on the curvy park roads before but felt I needed to before I morphed into the progeny of her bat and butterfly, never to be hung in a gallery have you, but forever stashed away somewhere dark.