The Story of An Arkansas Atheist Pt. 7

Perry’s optimistic suggestion aside, anyone waiting for the “hippie chick” to show up will be sorely disappointed by whom I did meet. This wonderful evening in “Crazy Town” crossed my path with several people that covered every adult age from all walks of life. The woman on the porch, whose name I forget, working in local public radio told me after hearing this blog’s title, “I think someone was talking about you the other day.” I felt floored and denied that it was possible. She reassured me over the jam session behind me in the living room it was truth.

The music was so loud and the interactions so personal, I felt like myself again. I stuck to the outside mostly. The kitchen already held as many standers and minglers as Crazy Town’s fire code would allow, so I wandered the porch talking to old acquaintances I hadn’t seen for years, friends I hadn’t seen in months, and there, amidst the conversations I look to the doorway and catch the eye of a gorgeous woman in a black hoody. Her jaw length, tightly curled hair framed her face perfectly even though she had tried to put it back, but hair like that can never be truly contained without lab equipment. I’ll never forget this hesitant moment, when we held each others gaze as lovers do for a first time. The moment passed as we both kept mingling without speaking to one another in that moment. The party kept on, and the cheap domestics weren’t doing it for me any more. Whiskey. I began a search for Richard because “I know that mother-fucker has got some fucking whiskey somewhere.” I scouted the outside of the house without a successful location of my target. Inside the house I soon found myself trailing this black-hoodied beauty down one of Richard’s hallways, both of us calling his name before finding him, together, in the den (back room speakeasy stylie). She asked him for toilet paper; I think. I asked him for whiskey. He pointed her to the right spot halfway down the hallway as he lead me to the northern most cabinet in his kitchen. He opened the cabinet up and pointed to the top shelf liquor; the liquor within was not top shelf ironically. Yet, after a few moments of consideration cheap whiskey suited me just fine. Tall whiskey sours (lemonade and bourbon) became my drink for the rest of the night. After waiting for a second turn at the drum set which wouldn’t come until I had no business playing, I wandered a bit when I ran into my darkly-clad woman and made true contact for the first time.

She had an armful of silver cans. I suspected alcohol so I asked, “Watcha’ got there?” To which she replied, “Razz-ber-itas.” I may have said “woof” or something to that effect. We began to talk about how I didn’t like them. It came out that her and her roommates didn’t either, but they had some so they were gonna drink them. I approved of this strategy.

Soon the sun was setting and the party was in full effect. It came to many of our attentions that Richard had built a large pile of firewood inside of his fire pit, as well, it also came to our attentions that a fire should be started. This is where my love for Hilary Brady Morris begins.

I didn’t feel like being on fire marshal duty, so I had put myself in audience to the fire building process. Hilary and Richard were looking for gasoline, I think, to start the fire. A truly redneck way to start a fire pit. Once the fuel had been supplied, the fire started, and everyone’s attention drawn to the bright orange plasma, Hilary started to tend the fire almost immediately. I realize that a gasoline lit fire needs very little help to become grand, but it is still impressive how she was on point as soon as the initial blaze had turned to the secondary form of fuel, wood. She began “dancing” around the fire replacing logs had fallen into the core blaze or rearranging the wood if there were pieces not doing a good job of perpetuating the goal. This lead to me saying, “Whoa, you are an efficiency master.” Understatement of the night. We kept talking around the fire. At one point I used the term “retarded.” She asked me not to use the term. We jockeyed about the way I used the word, which was to describe the prevention of advancement on a topic which eludes me, but I understand the PC-ness of folks. This is a good time to pretext a bit about Miss Hilary.

Through the evenings conversation I would learn that she already has a Masters Degree in Music/Musicology (boom). She already had a Bachelors in Music (schwing). She has traveled to Nepal to do field work for her Doctorate, more than once. She’s a local yocal, like me, yet she has immediate family in Ireland and has visited them. She has lost both of her parents. She identifies as a professor and a teacher, but she had been off-track from the academic career for over a year. This is a woman of the world, tragic and lovely.

Others started hearing our enthralling, drunken-fire-pit conversation and desired her attention, so I wandered off to go find more booze, wait on a drum turn, and talk at others. I met her roommates, which have a story of their own where my art has a rather large role I’ll get to in a short while. Talking to them for a while and the others who had drifted into our conversations, I return to the fire with a new drink to find the woman I had offended/connected with earlier. That may also have been when some new party goers arrived by ATV. Entertaining, but nothing compared to the connection with another. I moved through the party addressing homies new and old as they asked, caught up with, and commented on the deep, complex things I end up spouting off about in social settings.

I kept scanning around, but she wasn’t within the light radius. The drove me away from the fire pit in search. When I found her, sitting on the porch with one of her rommies and a fellow in some classic redneck gear: tight wranglers, tight shirt, cowboy boots, and cropped hair. The conversation I forced myself in on ended up being the girls asking him to come slaughter chickens at their house. This chick is unreal. Soon we all moved back to the fire as a local wine aficionado showed up late carrying magnums of red wine. I’m sure it was good; I may have even taken a swig. I ended up sitting on the wood pile near the fire pit after engineering a throne out of logs. Eventually, the exact memory is beyond me at this point, I disengaged and meandered back into the soirée. I found Adogg, the roommate’s son, an aspiring musician, on the bass and decided to play some drunken music with him (he was not, I was) which I would later hear at another fire pit session meant the world to his mother. This is when I had been given the opportunity to hear the story about how I was connected to the roommates via art.

Apparently, her and her partner had a relationship but were reunited at a Cover of Darkness show, my show, sometime later. They have been together since. My poor brain spun at the chances that a show of mine had resulted in a platform for family—amazing, unexpected, and incredible. This is when I think Hilary really took notice of me. She began to hover around the conversation. I found the right level of drunk to interrupt the roommate’s story more than a few times by loudly whispering, “She’s so pretty.” I got told to focus on the story at hand, and that if I wanted anything to do with her I had to get through the roommate. “Okay.” I listened well (horribly). After hearing all that and emptying another cocktail I went back in for another, or maybe I didn’t get a drink. Nothing from that trip survived memory processing, until I went back outside and saw people moving toward the parked cars, and then I heard the fight. I literally hit the ground off the porch running.

I, to this day, do not really know how the combat began, but by the time I arrived Richard was pissed, and Hilary and her roommate were in the grass a dozen feet from their car. There were tears and passionate pleas of heartache coming from the two in the grass. A better look revealed that Hilary perched on all fours pinning her roommate down at the shoulders. I slid into the grass like a base runner next to the roommate and grabbed her hand. I began talking about how I understood. A look to Hilary let her know that I could help. The conversation momentarily turned to the comfort of her roommate with me being there, and in a moment which still flatters me, she said I needed to stay. I continue consoling while Hilary waded back into the party to begin social damage control. I don’t remember the words I said with any detail, but my theme of composed anecdotes and the communication of a familiar feeling seemed to work. I do remember telling her, “I have been the one… laying in the grass alone… in tears, ashamed… so angry.” I communicated that I didn’t want to let her be alone in the grass. She gripped my hand as if she were clinging to life. Realizing this put me where I wanted to be (for some fucking reason, maybe a sense that I could really help) I agreed to leave with Hilary and her crew to keep the peace and pass out on the couch, or whatever. *wink* This is when Hilary first needed me. She whispered to me in the car ride home that she needed to hold my hand, as she deals very poorly with violence and anger. I seem to remember the car ride home being fairly light in mood and conversations were filled with some laughter. We got back to their house and the rommies were settled away, but there was another of her children, an adult female, sleeping who awakened from the commotion of coming inside and agitated further by tales of the fisticuffs. She asked Hilary for a ride back to her apartment in Fayetteville. I agreed to ride along. I learned little over that car ride other than the young lady is an artist and that Hilary likes to drive too fast and play her music loudly.

Yet, this was a great moment. What I learned is the love Hilary has for her music. She continually asked me if she could play me something else; I continually said “yes.” I listened to every track. I enjoyed every track. I could have asked to be dropped off at my spot, but I am way to veteran to make that mistake. We made it back to West Fork when she told me I could sleep on a couch, or, I could sleep in her bed as long as I didn’t “try any funny business.” I replied, “that’s okay, I’m not very funny.” (I don’t even know if that is true. I have the memory, but I still don’t know if I said it or only thought it. I may be that clever. I hope it’s true) We did not have sex. We did wake up in a fierce cuddle, as I caressed the magnificent form beside me, pressed against me. I risked some kisses on the neck and shoulders which were responded to with coos of pleasure, as we drifted in and out of consciousness throughout the morning. Once we were awake for the day, we spoke some about the quality of sleep and the iPhone app she used for sleep quality tracking when I quickly kissed her on the lips. Nothing gaudy. She replied, “that was against the rules.” I shrugged and said, “I don’t know if I’ll get this opportunity again, took a shot.”

This is the beginning of something amazing. Perry had nailed it. I had found a cool chick to spend the night with, but would his caveat of “or longer” apply? Not even he could know how those next thirty-six hours would impact my life.

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