My trip to Los Angeles has been everything I expected. I am so relaxed, zen even. I came to visit my good friend, Lane Bostick, and I found him in an unusual state. On the night of my arrival, he receives me with a bottle of wine and weed. I don’t smoke except around him. It feels natural. We indulge in the deliciousness of the Cabernet Franc and let the weed open our minds. We naturally gravitated to discussing our current endeavors. Lane is opening a restaurant next month and that is where all his energy and focus is going. It is more of a distraction than anything. You see, Lane just got dumped by his girlfriend, Lydia. He was madly in love and never saw it coming. Why is it that we never see it coming? From what I have seen, a woman can be quick to disengage. After various trips to Texas to visit Lane’s entire family, Lydia, after a trip to visit her sister in Nebraska, suddenly feels that it is time for her and Lane to break-up. How does that happen? From what I can tell, when a man introduces his whole family to the woman he is with, it is because he sees a future with her. Lane saw himself with Lydia. I would speak to Lydia whenever we were together and all she would tell me was how much in love she was with Lane. As you can see, we were all fooled. If you’re so in love, so devoted, why break?
She calls Lane and asks him to move out of their house. She tells him that when she comes back, she does not want to see him there. And just like that, Lane’s boat is rocked. Everything he planned, his pursuit of opening a restaurant, his future with Lydia all take a drastic blow. Not to mention his heart—dynamited. Lane goes through everything at once. He needs to find a place, money, furniture, a new life, all in less than three days. What seems impossible is done. He then moves into a nice apartment in Silver Lake and starts his new life of being single. He has hooked-up with women already and has reinstated his passion and drive for growth.
By this time, we finish the bottle of wine and he pulls out some Amaro. Amaro is a digestive liquor made from herbs and spices originating in Italy. It tastes like medicine and it is a bit syrupy but the indulgence is nice. After he tells me his story, I remark with “I’ve seen this movie before.” We both laugh and can’t quite fathom nor understand how it is that we both went through similar situations. I too saw myself with Frances and with the quickness, it was all gone. The difference between Lane and me is that I am a year deep after the relationship and Lane is down a couple of months. Lane moves on more quickly than I do.
I ask him how he feels about the whole break-up and separation. He says he is angry. It sucks. It takes a lot for a man to focus on one woman, especially when you live in Los Angeles. But he did, and he loved her. Turns out, Lydia started dating someone else immediately afterward. The whole shebang. Just like that. We discuss furthermore and evaluate the situation.
Out of respect, we come to understand that she was respectful enough to end it with him and date other people rather than date other people, while she was with him. So, for that, we cannot hate her but that does not mean we should like her. I too went through the same thing. After Frances broke-up with me, she dated someone else—that hurt. Lane is now entirely focused on his restaurant. He has this drive and passion in him that I have never seen before. Lane is remarkable at getting back up after being thrown down. I recently spoke to Frances and I asked her why we broke up. She said, “Isn’t it obvious? You have so much potential and you are doing so many things. If we were together, would you have moved up to Oakland, go to school and do everything that you are doing now? I was holding you back. Alfred, I am now the happiest I have ever been and it seems like you are too. We both needed to separate to achieve what we’ve always wanted. I knew that I was never a priority in your life. Your priority was to write, your family, but not me and I could not bear that. That is why we were so problematic. I would fight with you and create problems because only then you would drop everything for me. I hated not being a priority in your life.”
Once she said that I understood. I do not hate her and it seems she truly did care for me. I mention this to Lane and he agreed. He knew the story before I even finished it. He tells me, “Alfred, we go through these cycles. It’s growth. We cannot plan for growth. Growth just happens.”
He calls this growth cycle the three-and-a-half-year cycle. Which, ironically, is about how long I was with Frances. He explains that we meet people to achieve a certain stepping stone on the path of our lives. He tells me that Lydia was a step for him and Frances was a step for me. Life is funny that way. We are both on a clean slate right now. He is busy with his restaurant and I am busy with my writing. We taste some more Amaro.
Per this cycle, people enter them but we must remain focused and always bettering ourselves. Moving forward, never regression. I ask him if he would ever get back with Lydia. He says no. That would be a regression. We must continue forward, there is always something better. Always. A better you, a better her, a better life. During this time of single-hood, we must hone in on our goals and grind to achieve them. Lane believes in my writing. He knows I can do. I know I can do it too and the first step to achieving this was becoming single. I learn so much every time I spend time with him. We are very much alike. We both have large goals, impossible even, but then we reflect and realize that we are closer to them every day that we move forward. We must move forward.
After tasting more Amaro, we enter a phase of drunkenness. We sit back in silence, stoned and drunk. We take a deep breath, exhale. I am sure life will progress for us. It has no reason not to. And so, Lane reaches for another swisher and packs it. We light and breathe in. Again, I do not smoke but with him, it feels so natural. The smoke fills my lungs, I cough and exhale. I lean back, place my head on the pillow and wait for another day. Another chance to move forward.
Moving forward takes a lot of courage. The process of disengaging from the life you knew into a life of unknown and discovery is not easy. Ever since I have met Lane, I have been inspired by his motivation and drive. Lane is a great friend and he has always been there for me. He has this way of perception and he views life in such a realistic and clear way. It truly is remarkable. Lane is two years younger than me yet he is so wise. Perhaps he has lived more than me, that must be it. And that is where I am now, living among other goal achievers. The world is full of possibilities. It is time to live my life. The closure I wanted has come and now I am at peace.
James Franco once wrote, “…and as we got older, I did things in my life and she did things in hers.” That’s exactly how I feel.
By Derrek G
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