That night, after driving to London from Scotland, we set down our things and stripped off our clothes, took a quick shower and climbed into bed. The lights were off and there was so much swirling in our minds while each trying to avoid the sadness creeping in as we just laid there silent in the blue gray light that filtered in through the curtains. I was still conflicted knowing she would, like all the others drift away, and how much she could be the answer and an end to this life of crisis and heartache. The idea alone frightened me, long term relationships, even marriage was floating around in my mind which was something I had never truly desired. Who was I becoming? I kept thinking. We laid in bed under a cool summers breeze. We slept close, but not as we would usually, just enough to know the other was there with a light touch. I had trouble finding peace that night knowing that we had 3 days remaining together in the UK, 3 days that could be the last we would see the other in what could be over a year if, somehow I managed to keep Violets affection that long. Violet was still in denial about how long the potential was for us being parted, or from my perspective comprehend how fine a line I was walking to survive even the next few days and the ferry to Holland.
That morning we slept in for a while, not having to race around Scotland, she had breakfast and I pleasantly had tea, the light was still coloring the sky and we decided to grab the train back to her place, pick up her car and drive south to clean my tiny little room, collect the last of my things say goodbye to my sweet roommate, who I worried would be so lonely after my departure that day. We arrived and she wasn’t there, I did want her to meet Violet and having her see the twin bed and kids room I had been living in was a little embarrassing. I scrubbed the place clean while Violet arranged my things so I could pack them over the next couple hours, then packed the car and waited another hour in hopes my elderly roommate would arrive for a cuddle and a thank you. She assured me she would be there all of that day and had either forgot or had more important things to attend to. I wrote a letter expressing how grateful I was for her generosity and letting me live there rent free through such a miserable and bumpy ride in the UK. I thanked her for her company and let her know I would return the kindness ten-fold when my winds would change. I left the letter where she would see it and Violet and I left the place I had grown accustomed to. The place where I found routine and comfort for the second time over 6 months, the longest I have been anywhere in the last 8 years. As we drove off I just wanted to go faster to escape the emotions boiling in me, I was sad to not say goodbye, but knew she would understand and appreciate all I did to help her around the house while I was cleaning that day. Somewhere the regret of not visiting Mammi in Corsica before she left us that nerve and a comparison here started to hurt as i considered turning back.
Violet drove back to Kings Cross and dropped me off and I arranged and repacked my things to their proper order with in my jigsaw packing system. Violet took the car back to her place and then the train back to Kings Cross. It was kind of her to give me that time to sort things out and put the stress of it behind me. My heart was aching, my mind in spirals and I craved the Dragon more than anything to escape it all, which would have only made my confusion worse as I was still taking valium and Ritalin simultaneously to keep it together. Finally, right before she buzzed the down stairs door, I decided to let it all go and just follow the path before me. I was living so far behind and in the future that I was losing my present, and suddenly realized that was probably the biggest obstacle I had to being happy. That epiphany wasn’t all that shocking but recognizing it kind of was. Soon she was walking through the door, cleaned up with new clothes from her place and looking as gorgeous as ever. Her eyes sparkled the pale bright green, her makeup darkened her eyes, I laid on the bed and asked her to join me. We talked pleasantly for an hour, she had a surprise for me the coming one evening that she wouldn’t yield, we talked about the pictures and how all was going to work out in the end just as it should. I told her that even knowing her for such a short time I knew in my bones, deep down that she had earned this break in her career and it would lead her to the things she desired most. While I was speaking those words the regret of losing her haunted my thoughts. She caught me drifting away with them and with a gentle and precious tone, she repeated our vow to not let the uncertainty spoil our last moments, and to make the most of them. My eyes welled up just a bit and we both agreed to let these next days be our best and sealed it with a kiss.
Violet slipped out of the bed as the valium overpowered the Ritalin and putting softly into a nap until she woke me about 20 minutes later and lead me to the bath, where she had candles lit and bath salts soaking as she guided me in and gave me a short massage of my neck and head before slipping out quietly gently closing the door and letting me enjoy the warmth and flickering candle light of what would likely be my last bath in ages, since most of the shit hotels and accommodation I could afford would have one for the foreseeable future. I didn’t know it, but I needed to be immersed in the water and silence. I was able to meditate and then let all the troubles of my mind slip into the ether. As the water changed from hot to warm, then less so, I got up and rinsed off, and went into the bedroom, the sun was dipping low and lit the flat in a pale brownish orange that gave me calm. Violet had made a little Mediterranean al fresco dinner that was light and refreshing, she had bought a bottle of my favourite Pinotage and we quietly dined together enjoying the wine delighting in the food. Afterwards, I cleaned up the kitchen, picked up my near finished glass and looked for my lady who had been oddly quiet, the door to the bedroom was just cracked open and it was dark inside. I wondered if she had given up after all the work we put in throughout the day. I opened it quietly to find her wearing a lacy teddy with thigh highs laid on the bed just so her ass stuck out enough to drive me wild.
Next to her was my camera and she said “you’re filming this” I giggled and agreed, no sense in arguing, making porn has never really been my thing, but she wanted it so we made a wild porno that night, for her vaults and to enjoy while we would be parted. Of all our nights of wild sex, that one was for the books, not only because of the camera, but because our time was short and what better way to express it than to fuck like wild animals on Molly.
Our last night we pleasantly spent playing house, holding each other close until the evening, she prepared a little meal and off we went to my surprise. She took me to see one of the last showings of Chicago, starring Cuba Gooding JR. I enjoyed the show, enjoyed being in Violets environment. I caught myself again within the year realizing that my perceived glass wall between me and celebrity was nothing but a social notion I had been victim to all these years. I could write like this, i could tell these stories, i was just as capable as anyone involved behind the scenes and shouldn't have let it hold me back for the majority of my life.
I enjoyed the two bottles of wine she had bought by intermission and how fast and how drunk we were. For a moment I could see a future with this girl, and why not I thought, all was starting to reveal itself and maybe there was some version of this story where I could end up at peace. At one point, I looked into her eyes and the world stalled around us, eyes locked in place, I could see her like I hadn't before that moment, and as the saying goes "vino veritas" and I nearly asked her to marry me, but stopped with thoughts of rings and weddings, leaving and the changes in our lives about to wreak havoc on all that we had grown accustomed to. In that moment though, I don’t think I wanted anything more except to go to space and end this decade, I desired her, and wanted her as part of my life. We drank more after the show and made friends with a salty old sailor and his wife, he had some wicked old tattoos from the 50’s that got me excited and we stayed out late with our new friends talking about nothing but drunkin british banter.
Morning came with a hangover, which turned to sex and holding each other closely. Violet was much more emotionally stable than I expected. She insisted that she take me to see me off at the station, I protested and said we could have sincere goodbye at the flat. She insisted and I feared her emotions would cause me to meltdown as well, soon we were in an Uber, I had a 5-pound note to my name and $40 on my card. She took me to the station and we waited about an hour together waiting for the gate to be announced. She grabbed me a few little snacks and an orange juice, not knowing it would be my meal for the evening. I kissed her and held her tighter than I had ever before, I told her she had made such an impact on me and thanked her for all the wonderful things she had done for me and all the things she stuck by me through. Her eyes welled a bit, she said she adored me as her eyes welled and finally, we said goodbye, I looked back, she did too. I was racing towards the train to beat the tears, and once I got in the car with the fewest people in it, I couldn’t contain it any longer. My heart hurt, tears of frustration and heartache wet my face. The uncertainty of what would happen at immigration, uncertainty of my future with Violet and her moving further from me with the chance of being swept away by the good life, a life I couldn't compete with being the traveler in rags. All the misfortune survived and hustling successfully executed to reach the goals I set for the UK, would now to be completely reset for a mere few weeks while guesting at a place I had been living in fear about my ability to meet their standards.
I got off the train and waited in a que of 500 or more people to get through immigration, where I was scanned and handed back my passport. I asked about the lack of an exit stamp and the officer said, since we are such a small port we just do it electronically, you’ll be marked with the date you left in the system. I didn’t get much relief from this as it left me unsure of what would happen if I had to return, but at least I wasn’t in the interrogation room getting drilled and searched. Ferry was pretty big and it immediately gave me peace to be on the sea.
It was an overnight journey from England to Holland getting me there, with another train to catch early in the morning with plans to be working by 11:30 the next day. I stayed up late writing and expressing all I could about what had happened in the last weeks, detailed notes that eventually I would catch up on. I slept little that night but deeply, waking up just to see the horn of Holland cresting on the horizon with the dawn.
I disembarked, went through immigration with ease and found a bus that took me to a train where I spent the last of what was on my card to drop my things at my new flat and meet the owner. The flat owner gave me the quick run-down of how it all worked, where the remotes and dishes, towels etc were. We had a moment of small talk before he left me alone. The house was on the bottom story, and about a 20-minute walk to the tattoo shop, a 20-minute commute was a dream compared to the hours I would spend to and from. 20 minutes in London was the time it took for me to walk from the tube station to the tattoo shop. I tossed my things and soon I was off to find the tattoo shop. 20 minutes lugging my gear was too much so I just overcharged my Uber account and got a ride to arrive by 11:00.
My emotional state and lack of sleep left me in a state of panic, I arrived at the shop and within 15 minutes the apprentice had my station fully ready to go and a job waiting, it had been too long since I had tattooed and it was immediately apparent that I didn’t belong there, I was completely outclassed. After my anxiety grew and the day ticked on, I had 4 tattoos under my belt and had made more money in one day than I had in the 2 weeks of work prior. By the end of the day I felt like I was being horribly dishonest thinking I could hang with these guys, so terrified with fear, asked the other tattooer about my misgivings about being there. I had only heard from anyone who had mentioned the owner that “he was a tough son of a bitch” or that “he’s the real old school and he don’t fuck around” adding to my panic. The stuff they were doing was so fine and I was used to traditional brute force tattooing. I asked my fellow tattooer if I should call the owner and tell him I was outclassed and see what his thoughts were. The other tattooer with a little skepticism in his voice said: “calm down, it’s a lot to take in and it’s your first day, I sincerely appreciate your honesty and how much you care, but you’ll be fine, we know the same people, just give it a couple days to sink in man.” He was sincere, in the way one can be having only known another by reputation and a few hours. That didn’t really help me, but somehow made it ok to not call the owner right away. I did send him a text about how fine his staff was, how much work had gone into the place and how honored I was to be there which I sincerely was, I sincerely wanted to get myself back to a comfortable level and be able to grow enough to hang at that shop. The owner gratefully responded to my texts and reiterated how much work went into it and thanked me for noticing. I figured I would give it another day, but in my mind, and keeping me up all that night was the haunting feeling that I being dishonest about my abilities to hang with the style and quality of tattooing they were doing. I would call the owner the next afternoon and just tell him I would do anything to make it right, that I didn’t intend to fuck him over, I just couldn’t tell the differences by the photos from the shop online. I would tell him that after I had endured so long a break, I really just couldn’t hang in his place and couldn’t bear to jeopardize all the years of hard work they had put in to make their name prestigious only to be ruined with me doing tattoos that couldn’t stand up to their reputation.