Jumping Off of a Cliff: A Love Story

Being Honest About the Past

Okay.  Okay.  Okay.

Since you all have been emailing me, the ladies especially–I’ve been getting hundreds of emails just so you know (Hundreds!  I tell you!)–it’s probably an appropriate time to write about that college roommate of mine.  This story has been mentioned in past posts, and my mentioning it so briefly in the last post has everybody up in arms.  In order to appeal to my female readers, it is in my best interest to write about this.

It’s either talking about love and relationships as opposed to blogging about interior decorating, shopping for the best deals, raising kids, shopping and clothing.  All of which I don’t know shit about, so I figure we’ll take the lesser of all evils.

All of my roommates–there were six of us living in that suite in Blodgett Hall on SUNY Oneonta’s campus–had their special qualities… this is except for me.  Switching extremely from one major to another meant that I would have to stay an extra semester and drop my secondary education major in order to graduate within 2005.  The super semester was a living hell by definition, and my roommates did not make life any better.  I did really well that semester, but partying and pitying were both prominent.

This has nothing to do with this post, but there are a few things I need to get off my chest.  Due to excessive seasoned college student partying, I gained weight, because that’s what beer and booze will do to you.  Being depressed was already apparent, and partying made the depression excessively worse.  I resorted to cutting, but suicide scared me.  I turned into a skeptic asshole and burned some bridges.  The last party that the roommates and I had took the cake;  I ran down the street, a couple of streets actually, to see friends and fellow alumni; they were in town that weekend.  I was gone for maybe 45 minutes. and I returned to the apartment–I cannot bring myself to call it home or Hell for that matter–to see that my previous roommates were leaving since they were asked to leave; the rooommates’ friends and our mutual friends were staying, but my separate friends left because the roommates were tired.  Needless to say, I called the current roommates indolent and every name in the book prior to putting my fist through the wall (and almost Zach’s head).

If it weren’t for Zach, Matt, and my former roommates and our circle of friends things probably would have been much worse.  I am forever grateful to have them there for me, and for our keeping in touch.

Hey, if you cannot be honest with your writing, you shouldn’t be doing it.

Now that a little blood was shed, “c’mon get happy…”

John Cusack in Say Anything
John Cusack in Say Anything (1989)

The Cast of Characters:

The guys, who were my roommates, were the greatest.  With the exception of one Long Islander, all of us hailed from the upstate Albany/Schenectady, Syracuse, Hamilton, and Rochester areas.  I may be speaking in the present tense about these guys, despite not hearing from the guys constantly, because legacy holds on and lives true.

The Long Islander has the biggest personality out of all of us.  I didn’t know how to take the guy at first, and you’re not going to get along with everyone 100 percent of the time, but we lived on as friends.  He said grace, gracing himself with the sign of the cross, before every meal:  “God is great, God is good, thank God for all this gosh darn food.”  He defines the fact that everyone should walk around with a smile on their faces, because it cheers the soul up constantly.

The guy from Fairport lived with us for a semester before graduating, but I lived with him in the past.  He was/is the perceived angsty one of the group, but he is probably one of the most interesting people I know.  He’s artistic, well-read, and individualistic.  If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have been interested in Boysetsfire, blues and jazz, Kerouac, and there probably would be a lack of honesty on my part; Rochester kept me in check for my own good.  Who else do you know that biked across the United States?

I lived with Schenectady all four years, so you all should know him by now; if you don’t you should be ashamed.  I’d go into everything again, but that will only give him a big head.  I’m kidding; he’s genuine  He’s Superman, and it’s awesome to have lived with a person who was a complete stranger for so long.  Patience and understanding and everything that surrounds the friendship for these years–that’s what it is all about.

Hamilton, the outdoorsy one, was my roommate roommate that year; he’s the most soft spoken of the group, an honest (yes, I apparently have lived with only honest people) fellow, who kept the music playing.  We had a lot of inside jokes, including pet names, and one inside joke that stands out is “Butterfly Kisses.”  He/We listened to Beck constantly, and this was when Guero was released.  Hell yes.

Albany moved in after Fairport graduated; and he is the kept the music flowing.  Being the vegetarian of the group, the same vegetarian who enjoyed eating a slice of sausage pizza from Dominos in the dark common room of the suite, he was always lighting up the place with quirky humor.  A funny story between us:  there was one young woman we both were interested in at separate times in our college years.  She had an on-again/off-again a thousand-times-and-back-again boyfriend-back-home, and somehow I found a gap and opportunity to make out with her.  Albany did as well a half of a year later.  It didn’t bother me, but it was more entertaining.  I high-fived Albany for it, who was shocked that I wasn’t upset.  “She is just so beautiful… and… and… I don’t know.  Her lips were so appealing… It was just so tempting, and there was an opportunity… She is an amazing kisser,” he said to me (along those lines).  I know, right? is how I responded to him, and then I reminded him on how frustrating that situation was so it was best to distance oneself.  He agreed.  A muse is what we agreed to refer her as.

Norwich and Rochester were two other roommates of mine, who I must make reference to.  They did not live in the Blodgett Suite, but they were awesome roommates, graduating before the majority of us.  Norwich and I would beat the hell out of each other with flip flops.  Rochester and I would duel with electric guitars; he’d get on my nerves with Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and I would throw some “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (The Darkness) to annoy him.  Both of us would only play the intros.

Now, last but not least:  Bethlehem.

The Story… Finally

But I haven’t talked about the vulgar quote board/beer banner that we had.  Sigh.  Oh, fine.  Moving on, I guess…

It’s tough when your roommate looks like the child of John Cusack and Steve Perry of Journey.  In the grand scheme of things, this is what we like to call a win-win.  Bethlehem probably could have had any woman he wanted… he eventually did.  He is a kind-hearted soul, who my parents sometimes favored more than their son; whenever they’d show up to drop something off or pick me up, they would ask where [Bethlehem] was.  Of course, he picked up on this, and would ask me how my parents were doing and speak to them on the phone.  That’s aside the fact.

Bethlehem and I would talk about love, and his concern would outweigh my issues.  Not only did I listen more because valuing our close friendship was important, but he was pure of heart.  Where I had asshole bones in my body, he did not.  When we lived together, he was a sophomore, so he was still fresh into the SUNY Oneonta college scene.  But he was in love.  The young woman in question was part of his group of friends, so he would see her often, but–like any young man head-over-heels for a woman–it was hard to self-assess one’s actions.  His over thinking came out in words to his fellow roommates.

“She doesn’t like me,” he would quickly state.  The period would stamp down with the force of those falling rocks in Super Mario Brothers.  The statement would come quite often, and it would occasionally be preceded or followed by:  “This is shitty.”  We, because this was not just me–we were a strong army of friends supporting Bethlehem–kept assuring him that he was over thinking and that he simply had to be himself.  Bethlehem, at heart, was/is a charmer.

Of course, like any romantic comedy, there were other men he was leery of.  “Dude, she likes that [fellow] guy.  This isn’t worth it.”  There were the times where it was said, “She’s going to date [fellow].  I know it.  It shouldn’t bother me, but it does.”  “Of course, we assured him, “and it should bother you, but put yourself out there by simply being yourself.  Don’t push.”

I remember thinking/hoping/wishing/praying that this better work out or else I was going to be pissed.  He deserved this relationship.

First kisses are the best.  They truly make or break the pursuit.  You feel IT or you don’t.  When Bethlehem got the first kiss, he described it as nothing short of amazing.  He was stepping on clouds everywhere he walked.  The rest is history, and he never doubted since the kiss.

I’m sure they have had their issues, but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s not any of our businesses.  We all have issues and dilemmas that we work through.

Since 2004, Bethlehem and the woman of his dreams got married, and they are recently parents to their first child.  Romantic comedies do happen in real life.  It’s a give and take with reality, but it’s definitely possible.

Yes, guys, short love stories aren’t so awful after all.

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