So, January 2020 was cozy, full of love, giggles, family cuddles, delicious Thai food and probably too much voddy sodas, but hey: life was good. I had an album. A concept. The tracks all had names. The album had a name. It would be All The Things. And that would be it.
Of course, actually making any progress proved nearly impossible. I had been out of the production scene for 10 years or so, I was still using Ableton Live 7 (lols, current version in 2020 was 10), and musically, I was completely barren. Couple that with the fact that my new family seemed to be taking up more and more of my time, and I seemed to actually be less and less inclined to spend any of it away from them. I loved my little ladies. My emerald eyed English rose, the tiniest dog ever, our home. The energy we had together, the laughter, the warmth that home exuded.
January 2020. So what if I’d never finish this album. So what, I thought. I like my life now. I like being with my family. After years of wandering, I was finally home. I was in the running for a top gig in DC that, while nominally still involving ‘assistant shit’ (technical term for my job), would take me to California and Seattle, Washington for meetings, and offer a genuine path forward. Ah, the land of opportunity. 20 years of struggle after moving here from Dubai in May of 2000. My woman, my pet, my home, my future. Screw the album. Life was good.
On January 29th, 2020 I went to sleep with her arms around me, her head on my chest (where it was every night), dog snug next to us, thinking to myself: 2020 is gonna be incredible. I’m the mothafuckin’ man.
June 20 2020: I wake up, but I no longer have the bright green eyes of my love to greet me. My dog isn’t going berserk on the bed. There is no gourmet cup of coffee waiting for me as I come out of the shower. My home has been emptied. Of me. Of our memories. Of our love.
The future? The future turned dark. That job? Gone. Taken from me after the recruiter found a 4 second video on my YouTube page of a unicorn saying “Fuck You HR!” Confused? So was I. You see, I had uploaded said YouTube unicorn video to cheer up an ex-girlfriend way back in September of 2019, after SHE had been passed up for a position. She was the one that created the the unicorn clip using something called an animoji, an amusing and I am sure highly useful feature on the iPhone, and I had foolishly uploaded it to YouTube. “Share it with friends and family on social media”, I said. “It’s you saying FU HR but you’re a unicorn! Hilarious and adorable”, I said. Rather foolishly, in hindsight.
HR thought it made me unworthy of the role and ‘incompatible with the values of the organization’. An organization owned by the founder of eBay. You know the one where you can buy everything from the shaving mug used by Adolf Hitler to Stormy Daniels’ panties (I hear).
All The Things became nothing much at all. My entire world turned dark. My love, my best friend, no more my anything. Mostly my fault. Mostly her fault. All around me, the world was burning. More than ever. A poor black man, a white cop, a knee on a neck. 9 minutes. A death. Protests across the nation. A President so committed to ‘law and order’ he orders riot police to fuck anybody up that gets in the way of his little photo op outside St. John’s Church, Bible in hand: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”. 7 months later, he incites a rabid mob to sack the Capitol, but this time tells the perps: “Go home. We love you.”
Deaths. Deaths every day. An invisible microbe. A nation in denial. The rise of the anti-science, anti-vaxxer, conspiracy theory mob, the Proud Boys, an out of control right wing media, an inept administration, a sheepish Fauci, and we the sheep: The American people waking up every day, and not knowing if they would still have a job, if they would still have a life. So much anger. And so much death. You didn’t see it. But it was there. The evening news told you about it, in between commercials for the latest Dairy Queen frozen heart attack. Death was in the air. Anger was in the air. And at some point, the flames became large enough that they engulfed my home. They engulfed me.
In hindsight, I blame myself. You see, the love of my life had some rather shall we say ‘alternative’ views on things like the minimum wage, the economy, black activism, the pandemic, viruses, evolution and er…microwaves. Slowly, it dawned on me that the COVID 19 plague, if we weren’t careful, could consume us too. Not directly: we were both as healthy as Arabian horses, and stayed indoors through most of March and April. No. Not directly. But the virus would ‘kill’ us in another way: it would infect our love and weaken our bond. It would divide us, expose our political differences of opinion, some being so extreme as to be seemingly irreconcilable.
I won’t lie to you. I failed. I ran out of patience. I gave up. I let those differences push us apart. I was verbally abusive. I was the knight in shining armor who no longer wanted to wear it. It was heavy. I could never take it off. I could never be vulnerable. Because of who I chose to love. Because she chose not to change. And because I pushed her to. So I failed. We failed.