To Mirabelle with Love

Hippie Coupleby Bill Henderson

Hola, baby. It’s been a long time.

Read about you the other day, baby, going to Washington with your husband and all. Very cool. It’s nice to know you’re still alive after all these years, and that you weren’t ruined by me, by us, by our big awesome summer and all that weird shit we did up there in the hills. Thumbs up, baby.

Bizarre, isn’t it, remembering the way we lived. Like how we were squatters and all — and in a friggin ruined Hollywood mansion! Think what mindless balls it took to crash in that dark, moldy old wreck with the rats and memories, condemned, no plumbing, no electric, yellow police tape and all. We lived it, didn’t we, baby. We were all that and more.

You know, baby, I’ve been thinking and thinking, replaying those days in my mind, but it’s like an old movie that keeps breaking and getting put back together again, each time a little bit different anymore. And then one day you can’t find the story. That’s partly the reason for this email, is that I can’t find our story.

All these years I’ve been trying to remember things in a way that makes sense. I spend whole days going back over things you explained to me. Like how I was The Fool and my rune was Blank and my palm was fucked-up but awesome. And some days you were the Empress and others you were the chick that holds the lion’s jaws shut. And one particular day I’ll never forget, when the sun stayed up all night and we slept in the grass and you kissed my palm and said I was bound to do something big, be somebody really really great someday. Remember that? So I guess I’d better hurry, baby, right?

Some things I’ll never begin to understand, but it’s okay. Do you remember teaching me to fly? And how to defeat attackers with only the power of my thoughts? Remember how we made the earth quake at night? Holy shit, we jacked the world by its axis! Did we actually do those things, baby?

Remember “the others?” How some days they hid and wouldn’t speak to us? I still don’t agree with you that they were ghosts. I’ve thought about it a lot and I’d say more like antimatter people. Remember how we thought we’d created them? We just weren’t sure why. Guess that’s a nut we’ll never crack, but what the hell baby, we were young, right?

Say, did you ever hear the story of the day you left? Yeah, that day, baby. That god awful screamer of a day. The day I said those things to you, things no woman should ever have to hear, and you gave it back to me just as hard, cutting me over and over in your little accent, in French, in English, cut, slash, this way, that way till all I could see was my life in blood red darkness? No, I didn’t like what was going on inside my head that day, not one bit. I’m sure you remember how I turned away in the middle of it all and took off up the stairs. That’s where the story ends for you, right? But there was more, baby, a lot more and here it is:

I got to the top landing and vaulted straight over that gap where the floor had fallen away and it was a straight shot three stories down to the basement floor. I never even noticed it, just went over like a high hurdler, and kept going. Up, always up. I kicked footholds in the walls to get to the roof, and didn’t stop till I had scrambled out on the widow’s walk. I would’ve gone even higher if I could’ve because it was closer to heaven. High was good and pure and I was desperate to find an altitude high enough for my thoughts to peel away and disintegrate.

The glass in the widow’s walk had been gone forever, so I went through one of the frames, then stopped myself before stepping off into the air, I pulled up and balanced on the ledge, toes half on, half off, swaying, looking down at the chaparral. A Santana was blowing that day–what a view, baby, I’m sorry you never got to see it. Mulholland and the hills beyond. Catalina clear as a jewel. LA stretched out all flat and smoky, planes drifting in real slow like dragon flies, and behind me,The Valleys, then blue mountains as far as you could see.

I couldn’t go out like that, it’s not in my blood. Although I have to say–I just might’ve done it anyway, baby, if I’d known the truth. But you should know one thing: when I climbed back down, something was different and I felt it. I was back from the end of the world, and flooded with new energy, and I had only one thought in my mind: that thought was you. I knew I would make it all up to you, I knew I would love you good forever and ever. Clambering down those walls I was a man on a mission––to hold you in my arms, to tell you that nothing would ever again be like it was, to show you the future and how awesome the rest of our lives would be.

But the joke was on me, baby, wasn’t it? You were so gone it was like you’d never existed. Not even a trace. Legend.

I bet you never heard the punch line, either, baby. How late that day, in the purple hour, the whole beautiful wreck, our Hollywood mansion, started rattling and shifting and bucking, literally, I swear to God. Then it heeled over into the canyon and went down, down, down like an ocean liner on a dive to the ocean floor.

I ran into a hippie once who claimed the whole damn property, the house and estate, once belonged to a silent movie star, Rudolph Valentino, and Valentino had ended up raped and burned alive there by some cracked-out weirdos. The place was cursed, the hippie said. But years earlier, when Valentino was still young, he and his posse had huge parties on the lawn, where the most famous people in Hollywood would hang out for days, drinking and toking, balling in the grass, watching the sun slide down into the ocean. Kind of like us.

That day, though, it all went over the bluff, gone in sixty seconds, and yours truly with it. Man, what I wouldn’t give for a video of that.

Baby, did you ever hear of a story called “The Fall of the House of Usher?” Awesome. I keep reading it over and over, can’t put it down. The writer, Edgar Allen Poe, had to be some kind of stoned genius. I think I could read every story he ever wrote, but I doubt I ever will. How many are there, do you think? Probably too many. I’ll never have the time. I used to have a “someday” list I kept, but this will just have to go on my “never” list–the things I’ll never do. Or never do again.

I think I’m finished, baby, my season’s over. Everyone’s gone, and I’m finally knowing in my bones I’ll never, ever do anything like these crazy, beautiful things we once did. Nothing ever happens twice, does it. Yeah, it’s that simple. Like, there’s no way in all eternity we’ll be able to have that summer over again. Not that we’d want to–and don’t get me wrong, I don’t, of course. But we couldn’t if we did, see?

And yet–kidding now, but–wouldn’t it be awesome for a day? I mean, say we had a couple of those transformation tanks, like in the movie “Avatar,” and we could crawl in, go to sleep, and wake up on our planet again, up in those same hills, just like we were back then, young, stoned, fearless. Seriously, wouldn’t that be a trip?

Well, just a thought. One of those thousand million thoughts I have about things that’ll never be, stuff I’ll never understand, stuff that maybe even never was.

Mirabelle (love writing your name like always). Mirabelle, Mirabelle, Miri. Little Miri, my girl, my heart, my life. I promise you I don’t want you back, I swear it, and I swear I’ll never ever bother you again. But I need to tell you about this one thing, baby, this state I’m in all the time now, because only you would get it. It’s as if that old Hollywood shambles of ours just fell down yesterday and I went with it and I’m still pinned under it at the bottom of the canyon where it all piled up forever, and the others, if there ever were any, have vanished, dissolved, run into the cracks, whatever. I’m alone down here and I’m stunned, I’m trapped, I may be dead. There was this mega rupture that ended the universe, but the sound it made can’t carry over the years. So I’m just waiting in the quiet, in the dark, waiting for the truth to flicker up in my face, but something keeps telling me to forget it, nobody’s ever going to find me. Ever.

You feel that way, sometimes, baby?

Love you forever.

Leave a Comment