from Chapter One
[two]I was clutched by an angel. My angel wanted to have sex with me when I was sure that nobody on planet earth wanted me. It was the worst day of my life. I was even thinking about suicide, but my angel swooped down and saved me.
Wait, before you say anything, I want you to know that I’m with you. I barely believe it myself, and I was there. It couldn’t have been an angel. It was some kind of mistaken identity. Angels don’t have sex with guys. If they did, it wouldn’t be the kind of angel we should associate with. The only kind of angel that would have sex with a human is one of those “fallen” angels. I mean, I’ve been through all those arguments. I agree with the damn arguments, but I was there. I know what I saw. I know what I felt.
It was a horrendous day: the fifth anniversary of the death of Carlos. Five years had passed since the day that I had gotten blotto on rum and Coke. Carlos was out of his gourd on beer and kick-ass hydroponic marijuana. Carlos and I never fought because we tried to be spiritual. We meditated together and could sit for hours staring into each other’s eyes. We never used chemical accelerants during the week because of school, but Carlos was an expert on ways to turbocharge our weekend adventures. One weekend we might do fresh-picked psilocybin mushrooms, and we’d spend the next weekend on mescaline. Carlos introduced me to psychedelic drugs in college, and he usually preferred those to street crap. For some reason, he decided to do beer and marijuana. I don’t like beer, but don’t tell me that I’m going to be left out of the party. I got out the rum.
We were painting the living room until the fight started. It was my fault. I decided it would be a good idea to put semigloss onto a lampshade. It looked good to me, but Carlos went out of his mind. He said the lamp had been his grandmother’s. That was why it looked so out of date. I told him that he’d love the update. He told me that I was out of my fucking mind. I told him he was an ignorant wetback. My wetback comment pretty much did in the rest of the day.
I knew how to curse in Spanish, but he was rattling things off so fast that I wasn’t able to keep up. Carlos threw an ashtray at me. I threw his stupid lamp back at him. I remember hearing mariconada andcabrón, neither of which you usually heard pass the lips of my lover. Maybe I had crossed some invisible line, but there was no going back.
We were down on the Gulf Coast, and he knew the area. He had plenty of family, but I didn’t know much more than the house and the city limit sign.
Carlos was so angry that he shook as he screamed at me in Spanish. He grabbed his keys, and he stomped out of the front door. I heard him start his motorcycle, and the wheels screeched as he raced down the street.
He didn’t come back that night. He never came back, because Carlos was killed when a drunk driver ran a stop sign. We were drunk and stoned, we fought, and Carlos was killed by a drunk driver. He was riding with no helmet, of course. It was the five-year anniversary of that day when my angel showed up.
It doesn’t get worse than that, right?
Bullshit. It gets worse. Carlos and I dated all through college, and we were setting up our life together. We had dated for years, and finally we were out on our own. Our nest was coming along, and we were ready to ride into the sunset with our picket fence and Lhasa Apso. When he was killed, we had lived together for three days.
Three fucking days as a couple after dating for years. We got drunk and stoned, and you add a motorcycle and another drunk driver to the mix.
One more thing: it was Labor Day weekend. Everybody else is off being happy, but I have an entire holiday weekend where my stupidity is laid out before me. Labor Day weekend. Yeah, I always feel like swimming and cookouts on Labor Day.
Okay, I’m done. That’s the whole story.
I got sober a while back, but Labor Day is still there to raise its cruel head. Some stupidity just doesn’t go away, and I carried that awful, horrible day with me. Sometimes I can’t forget or forgive. I remember.
My angel appeared on Labor Day. It was the fifth anniversary of me killing Carlos with our drunken fight.
It was bedtime, and I was coming in the back gate of my apartment. My Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor said that I was having a rough go of it. “Rough go” seems like a clinical way of describing it.
Sharon knew all about Carlos, and she had seen what Labor Day did to me in the previous years. This year would be one of those major milestones: five years. She suggested that I take myself out on a date to my favorite Chinese restaurant. It was supposed to be a “date” with myself, not just supper. It was great until the fortune cookie. When I opened up the cookie, the little piece of paper was blank.