The Chase


Source: AVIA BavARia via Wikimedia Commons

An homage (part 1).

If I’m to get back to Mulholland, I have to revisit the specific night three or so weeks ago, during which I began the initial entry after a glittery canyon ride. It was 2 AM. I no longer remember where I had been. But en route home, I had detoured to Mulholland Drive, my slinky, dangerous co-conspirator, the soother of my before bedtime screams.

When I finally walked into my apartment, my ex-boyfriend was asleep in my bed.

It sounds worse than it was.

Certainly in light of the Perfect Man. But my ex-boyfriend is my best friend. And since then, the Perfect Man and my best friend have met and approved of one another.

My best friend lives in San Francisco, and when he has business in Los Angeles, he stays with me. We were last a couple nine years ago. People don’t understand our relationship. Why don’t you just get back together, they say. We don’t need to; it’s that simple. We cherish what we have: all the good and none of the bad — there’s love, mutual guidance and laughter, but no expectation, disappointment, or encroachment. Since neither of us is brain-damaged, we’re not giving that up. In this case, the only difference between a best friend and a boyfriend is, you don’t have sex with your best friend.

Remember my first Martian dating post, where I said I wanted to date a born rock ‘n roller — not as in musician, but in spirit — a guy my own age with the vibrancy of a cat on catnip? Well, I already know that guy. I lived with him for five years. We shared a house in the hills. It’s him, the guy in my bed, my best friend. You might have met him as T. in A Love Letter, but from now on, we’ll call him Freezer. And to boot, Freezer has honor, integrity and uncompromising honesty.

While we were a couple, Freezer worked from home and was deeply engrossed in his job. But during the five years we lived together, not once did he fail to get up from his office chair any time I went out or came back, to walk to the door and look me in the eye for a proper goodbye or greeting. It’s strange, the actions that affect us. For me, this bit of consistency in etiquette spoke volumes about his character, because it was unplanned and instinctive.

Freezer and I road-tripped all over Costa Rica, the Highway 1 from California to the tip of Oregon, and the Amalfi coast in Italy. It’s always oceans with us, the vast beauty of possibility and lands beyond.

Freezer is the only man to date who can get me to stop feeling sorry for myself.

“Don’t be such a sissy,” he says with a dimple and twinkle, and I can’t help but laugh at the gall. And then he’ll flop his big arm around me and pull me to him like I’m tiny and in need of toughening. He’ll tell me he believes in me and remind me how well I do — in life — any time I apply myself.

Why break up then? It’s murky. He’ll say it’s because he wanted children and I didn’t. I’ll say it’s because he took me for granted (except at the door!). And he’ll say he took me for granted because he’d given up on us since I didn’t want children.

It was nine years ago when Freezer and I broke up. Not too long after, we said we’d be each other’s back-up plan if we were both single when he reached halfway between two momentous ages. And then we quickly agreed, no, scratch that. Instead make it when I’m at that particular age. That would give us three extra years since I’m that much younger. I am incidentally, two months away from that semi-momentous birthday. Halves, twos, threes. I throw in all that math to detract from the alarming sum of my age.

You know who finds Mulholland as spellbinding as I do? Freezer.

He came and picked me up in his sporty new TT a few years ago when he still lived in Los Angeles. He wanted to show me how well it handled. His tall form barely fit in that sleek little machine that wanted nothing but to grind road. Mulholland Drive was our natural destination.

It was around 7 PM, neither day nor night, that bleak blue-grey hour that’s warmed only by company and headlights. There were remnants of rush hour cars escaping freeway traffic and cluttering Mulholland instead. Freezer was impatient. We wanted our road to ourselves. So Freezer, whose instinct is always to protect me, on this occasion partook in his one act of recklessness that involved me.

Mulholland is a winding, two-lane road, one for each direction. Between the road’s narrowness and its blind curves, there is no room for legal passing. Your only hope is for the slow driver in front of you to pull over so you could drive on.

The TT, Freezer and I were behind two cars stopped at an intersection. It was a less curvy section than the rest of the road. As soon as the cars ahead began to move, Freezer took it upon himself to pass them both. He swerved to the left and crossed the forbidding double yellow lines while headlights sped towards us from the opposite direction. With the delicious sound of gears shifting under his charge, the TT did not disappoint as it slipped through a snug opening between oncoming cars and those we passed.

We were back on the right side of the road with no cars ahead — just in time for a police car to turn on its siren for us. We hadn’t noticed it in the line of cars behind us before Freezer began the pass.

Freezer’s brain fast calculated that we could outrun the cops. He sped up. Meanwhile, my brain replayed all the real-time police car chases he made me watch on local channels. The ones that always ended in disaster for the pursued. Destruction, humiliation, incarceration. The only thing I learned in fact, from those numbing, plot-less, testosterone-aimed programming is, you never attempt to outrun the cops.

But Freezer had concluded that the cop car, starting off three cars behind us, had to wait for all the oncoming traffic we had squeezed through to clear before it could give chase. My jaw went slack. We are so fucked, I wanted to say. But I didn’t want to distract him and have us accidentally drive over the cliff. If I was going die in the crash landing of a flying car, I wanted to be behind the wheel, not in the inglorious passenger seat!

We outran the cops.

My long-haired, bead-wearing, surf-speaking vegan ex-boyfriend — yeah, I held off on that description for effect — who had worked his ass off in the insurance business enough to buy three houses, had taken the first left that came up. It was a steep downhill into a residential area. The coppers weren’t far behind; the sound of the siren kept us clued in to their whereabouts. Clearly they had taken the left too.

Freezer made several turns into a blessed maze of hill houses until we found ourselves in a cul-de-sac. Although the sound of the siren wasn’t coming from the last streets we’d taken, it was in the vicinity. We couldn’t risk turning and leaving the cul-de-sac. So Freezer parked in front of what appeared to be an evening open house. There was nothing to do except grab a price sheet and walk inside the three-million dollar home for sale.

Freezer who hadn’t read the price sheet said:

“I’m gonna say, 3.2.” Before we had settled on our own house in the Hollywood Hills way back when, our Sunday pastime had been visiting open houses. His dollar guesses were never far off. Holding the price sheet in my hand, I stared at him, dumbfounded.

“What? Am I way off?” He was deadpan. He knew I wasn’t thinking about the price of the house while gaping at him. We burst into laughter. Freezer had outrun the cops!

I wasn’t so much looking at him with new eyes as I was thinking, Are we this lucky that we still get to have each other? Is this cake? And I get to both have and eat it?!

I have the thought every time he comes to town and stays with me.

On the night I came home from my lone Mulholland excursion, while typing away on my computer, I glanced over my shoulder to Freezer sleeping in my bed.

When he gets into a relationship, we won’t have this anymore, I thought with sadness.

But I was determined not to be the one to break the spell of our unconventional friendship, even though I had started dating the Perfect Man.

And then it occurred to me: I might be a better friend than girlfriend. (to be continued)

Cathartic Monkeyism

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  1. Paul · · Reply

    Yahoo! Love it! Of course, in public I would say it was dangerous, crazy, illegal, thoughtless, and stupid. Tsk Tsk. But there are those times in life (the exceptions) when you choose the road less travelled deliberately because you know you can. The Dali Lama said it best (to paraphrase): Study and understand the rules well so you know when and how to break them. Every now and then circumstances conspire to allow exceptions – keeping an eye out for them can add a lot to life.

    Freezer sounds like a cool dude (pardon my age showing) and an excellent friend. That is special. In my observation there are only a few situations where women feel completely safe: typically with a loved one or at home. This adds a third, portable, safe environment. It must feel very comfortable. The possiblilities are endless.

    Excellent writing, as usual GG. Inspirational.

    1. He is definitely both of those things. Yes, the possibilities are indeed endless, and I can’t wait to tell you the rest of the story.

  2. This is great:

    “The only difference between a best friend and a boyfriend is, you don’t have sex with your best friend.”

    So you’re saying that best friends aren’t really supposed to have sex? (Oops.)
    I knew that!

    Well it’s good to see you again and I tell you, Freezer sounds like a hell of a man. No doubt, the daily “hello” and “goodbye” at the door would have stayed with me also, and yes, it’s the little things that touch us the deepest, I think. (For me, anyway.) Great read. :0)

    1. Well hello! Long time no see… I’d imagine anyone can do whatever they want with their best friend, as long as everyone’s game / single / on the same page, no?

      1. I would say so. And if that doesn’t work, there’ always the cavewoman club. ;0)

  3. lrconsiderer · · Reply

    Saving the description was a nice touch.

    Freezer sounds like a gentleman. And you don’t sound like you’re old enough to be falling into a back-up plan, two months or no two months.

    1. Regarding your last sentence — if only…

      1. lrconsiderer · ·

        Pffft! Speaking as one 17 year old to another, I’m all about ‘can’t WAIT to be 41, because then (surely by then…PLEASE by then) I’ll have my shit together, and have halfway of a CLUE what this is all about’

      2. And why 41 and not say, 39?

      3. lrconsiderer · ·

        Because 41 is IN the 40’s. You’ve had a year to get used to them, and lots of life experience under your belt and *should* be ready to be a somewhat competent, grown-up human being. I hope. But I kind of think that everyone wings it, all the time, in which case 41 just SOUNDS like an age where people have their lives under control…

  4. Haaa! Now THAT brought back some memories! I lost count of the number of times I was chased in my 20s, geez, we even had the cops follow our entire entourage on our wedding day! Great writing, GiGi, I might hafta to add Mulholland Dve to my To Do List when I come over for Sturgis next year.

    1. Your whole wedding entourage? THAT’s a story we all want to read! If you’re adding Mulholland, be sure to add Decker Canyon. Trust me, it’s one of a kind.

      1. I don’t use tags on my stuff so I dunno about searching my site for anything but look for a post last October called Wedding Day Hues, it should satisfy your curiosity.

      2. Thanks, I certainly shall…

  5. cedrixclarke · · Reply

    I love the line: “When he gets into a relationship, we won’t have this anymore, I thought with sadness.” It says much about Freezer and about you. The regret has a flip side though. Maybe you will gain a new friend when he meets his Perfect Woman. Or will she be threatened by you? All relationships have tiny deaths, and are often reborn to something different, neither better or worse. It would be a shame to lose that relationship, but it’s one of the branches of the crazy tree, isn’t it? (will also note parenthetically that I do enjoy vicariously living the parts of your life that you share with us. I look forward to every post)

    1. There’s no fear of either of us giving up the friendship under any circumstance. But of course, like you say, tiny deaths occur all the time in relationships and they become something else. I think T. (Freezer) has too much consideration to expect his potential-love-to-be to have the same unconventional notions as he and I do. With that line you like, I meant mainly that he would no longer be sleeping in my bed.

      It isn’t that I lack consideration for my potential-love-to-be, but that I have an obstinate amount of patience to make my case.

      At the same time, though I haven’t quite gotten there, this crazy tree is leading to the exploration of whether I even belong in a couple relationship.

      I’m so glad you enjoy the posts!

  6. Oh this was so much fun! I loved this story. And I thought it was really effective the way you held off with the description of Freezer. I’ll admit I think my picture of him was different, but I’m not sure exactly what it was. Definitely not a hippie type. What an adventure. Not everyone can say they outrun the cops.

    1. That duality is part of what makes him so interesting — the chill beaded dude with serious business acumen and work ethic.

      And yes! I think outrunning cops is probably not all that common. I can’t say I’m at all sorry to have had the experience…

  7. Outstanding, as always. You’re building an excellent story here, and I cannot wait for the next entry.

    1. Thanks — I’m overjoyed that you’re following the story!

      1. With bated breath.

  8. maurnas · · Reply

    Have I mentioned how much I love the way you write? Yes? Oh well, let me say it again.

    I have a similarly muddled past with my best friend. And his new girlfriend is very understanding of our friendship. I hope Freezer’s next one will be too.

    1. Thank you for telling me again!

      So are you friends with your best friend’s gf too now?

      1. maurnas · ·

        I’m working on it. She’s a little hesitant and I don’t want to pressure her. But she doesn’t try to interfere in my friendship with him. Which is nice.

      2. All three of you sound exceptionally civilized and modern. I love it.

  9. Mike Vogler · · Reply

    I read the entire post as always. Brilliant…as always. I don’t have anything eloquent or clever to offer right now. But, I wanted you to know I’m still here. I like being here. A LOT. Hopefully that speaks volumes to you about your writing, Gunmetal 🙂

    1. You’re lovely Mike, thank you.

  10. […]   In Part One, I described what it was like to be in New York on the eleventh of September in 2001.  I wasn’t just a New Yorker, but an Iranian-American one, and I was couch surfing between my family, friends and the old apartment I shared with my ex-boyfriend, A.  Before the eleventh, I was already anxious to get back to California and my budding relationship with Freezer. […]


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