By Hassel Velasco
Currently working on: “Sessions”
Currently Listening To: “Tell All Your Friends,” Taking Back Sunday
Currently Reading: Killing Yourself To Live, Chuck Klosterman
And In The End...
I've avoided writing about this next topic for a while, as it's one I don't necessarily think people like reading about. To this point, I had substantial evidence that the topic didn't exist, or it just wasn't for me. In the first season of “Mad Men,” Don Draper describes love as something ad-men created in the 1960s to sell pantyhose, and for the longest time, I believed it. Los Angeles didn't do much to flip the theory on its head.
It wasn’t until recently that I met someone who proved Don Draper wrong. She changed the way I thought about the dreaded subject. I started falling for her, and I knew I was in trouble. The hardest part about falling in love is putting your entire being in this vulnerable chariot, handing over the reigns of your heart to someone, and trusting them not to crash said chariot into the walls of the Coliseum.
You see, I find becoming lovestruck and being in a relationship is a lot like fighting in the ancient Roman arena. Life, for the sake of this piece portrayed by the Roman hierarchy, puts you in the Coliseum against your will because you have no say as to whom you fall for or how you do it. You're forcibly placed in this battle, often naked and unarmed, with other suitors as you fight to escape with your life. Love strips you bare; it’s the beast tearing you apart as the crowd cheers every attack. If you're lucky, you succumb to this terror, you let the beast have at your very being, and you indulge in the pain of every bite.
You could also beg for mercy, and let life put you out of your misery before love sinks its razor sharp claws deep into you. I had been avoiding this scenario for as long as I could, but I found myself entering the arena again, yes, naked and unarmed, locking eyes with the beast and hoping it wanted to devour me as much as I wanted it to. However, I learned that there's no use in living a life without love, there's no point in living if you're not willing to be vulnerable and be eaten alive. You don't really live until you're ready to die.
So, with this city as a canvas, we painted a beautiful piece over some time. I began to think things could change and began thinking about this city differently. Things looked brighter and Los Angeles somehow seemed smaller. Chuck Klosterman once wrote:
"We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It's easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven't even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else."
And fortunately, or unfortunately, for me, I found her. I found that person to redefine and challenge everything I've ever thought about on the subject. To put it a different way, I found this one bowl of chicken pot pie, which happens to be the best chicken pot pie I've ever had. And regardless how many different chicken pot pies I have, every single one will compare to this one, and every single one will fall terribly short.
So why write this now? I don't have an answer for that other than my need to put into writing this experience. We reached the end of an amazing road, but before we parted ways I had one last great Ted Mosby like idea. If you knew you were getting your leg chopped off tomorrow, would you spend your last day being sad or would you take your leg out for one last spin, do things that you otherwise wouldn't do?
The answer was pretty simple for the both of us. We went to a movie, we went bowling, we took one last trip to Disneyland, and then later in the night struggled to say goodbye to each other. I held her in my arms knowing this was likely the last time I'd do it. I held her hands and let her know how important she is to, not just me, but also the world. Saying goodbye is not my forte, and who knows how long this emptiness will last.
As for this city... As for Los Angeles…
This seems to be the cherry on top of the ice cream that was my life here. With a lease coming to an end and my inability to find a new place, it's maybe a good time to bid the City of Angels a fond farewell and head home. Maybe it's time to start a new chapter in my life.
And to the person who changed everything, if you happen to be reading this, nothing will change how I feel about you. You are by far one of the most amazing human beings I've ever met and you have an incredible life ahead of you. I hope you can find what you're looking for and I hope you're happy. I hope things turn out for the better and I hope I someday read about the wonderful things you're doing and the people's lives you'll impact. You deserve the world and I hope you get it.
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
Maybe The Beatles were wrong about that one…
As for me, I don't know if this is my last post from Los Angeles. “To Live And Write in Florida” doesn't have the same ring to it. Is “Flo-Writah” taken?