I didn’t remember his name. I don’t think he remembered mine. He said I looked like Adrian from Rocky, so he called me Adrian throughout the night. I had never seen the movie Rocky, but I assumed he was simultaneously putting me down while hitting on me. Wasn’t Adrian suppose to be like a dweeb or something? Whatever. I’ll take it. I called him Rocky to validate his flirtations. He didn’t resemble anything like Sylvester Stallone. He was 5’7, blonde, fit with small biceps. He was probably in his late twenties although he had an older vibe to him. An older vibe or even old age was a necessary trait that I needed in men in order for me to trust them. And not just with my vagina, but even with a smile. Because with that, came my imagination and my heart. Rocky had large, captivating hazel eyes that when locked with mine, triggered a longing. A longing for an exquisite fuck? Or was it more than that? His eyes told me he was sad…like me. He, too, had been hurt by life. I could tell he had been through some shit. Or maybe it was just the druggy glow in his eyes from lack of sleep that I was reading into? Either way, Rocky seemed like a real find at the after-hours Thai restaurant I frequented.
The restaurant, if you could call it that, was less known for their Pad Thai and more for their decent blow. It was known as Thai Angeles located on Hollywood Boulevard less than 10 minuets from my house. Hmmm…I’d like to think a Thai Angel was protecting me during that time of my life. It was a hole in the wall dump, where I felt completely out of place and completely at home at the same time. It was like a house party where you could stagger from one dimly lit room, to the hallway, to the next. There was a secret upstairs where a plate of cocaine would be passed around a circle. A Hollywood Tribal tradition of has-been actors, writers, and felons. It was mostly men, smoking cigarettes and vigorously scratching their noses and licking their gums. There was the occasional misfit, high-school girl sitting amongst them. Of course I saw myself in her.
You’re not going to get any parental love from these men…only an accelerated drug addiction and an UTI. Trust me. I wanted to tell her that, but I didn’t. I don’t think she liked me. She seemed like a scared feral cat, territorial and distrustful.
“Bethany and I cuddle at night. We only cuddle. You’re invited.” Hawaiian Mike would say in a tone like Mr. Rodgers. His arm was around Bethany, the Dr. Marten wearing high schooler. (Read ACTING CLASS blog post for more about Hawaiian Mike. He was the main Los Feliz/ East Hollywood coke dealer).
“Oh, that’s nice. But no thanks.”
If I was 19 I would have said yes, but I was a ripe 24 year old. I knew there were other options. Sure I had an affinity for ugly, weird men, but that night Rocky was giving me attention. And he was actually hot!
“One time you should join us. It’s really nice. We only cuddle.” Hawaiian Mike reiterated before taking a drag from his cigarette.
I politely nodded. Bethany’s eyes darted away while putting her fingers to her temple. She looked embarrassed and obviously did not chime in with the invite.
Looking at her made me depressed. My heart dropped. I wasn’t sure whether I took pity on her or myself. I thought about all the times when I went to bars by myself in New Orleans. I was her age. Not even legal to drink, yet there I was alone in a crowd of saggy testicles with a dead mom and a sexually abusive father. Searching for something…something I couldn’t even put words to or identify. This feeling I was always chasing that I could never grasp. So I latched on to everything and everyone. Any drug. Any dick. Any donut. Anything that wasn’t me. Have I changed? Was that still me? Am I still like that high schooler who does sad and shameful things? No. I had a cute guy, my age, calling me by the wrong name and clumsily flirting with me. I wanted to find Rocky to feel normal again.
I went downstairs and saw him ordering another drink. Red wine served in a coffee cup.
I cleared my throat. He turned around.
”Adriane! Where have you been all my life?” He handed the bartender cash, and then faced me. He was wasted, but so was I.
“Oh, I’ve been here. Well, upstairs. But I might go soon.”
A lie. It was my way of seeing how much he liked me.
“Do you want to go back to my place?”
It was exactly what I wanted to hear.