By Parker Pickett. Photos by Andy Figueroa.
No, no no no no, get it right, get it right. It’s only these words, man, just language on a page. And I know you can hear my voice through this. Padded walls of my own thoughts, banging crazy into kinetic desires rampant in the hormonal subversions of demeanor.
How many times did you have to drag your love through mud and concrete and toxic and mutilation only to figure out that it was all a mess, a fraudulent destination, vicious circle of anxiousness and eroding morals?
I stepped out of my Indiana to figure out that all-encompassing rage of sickened freedom, freedom from you and even my own self, ragged and alarmed and weakened by loss of spirit in the impending demise of societal and political and cultural progression. And so I hopped on out of the flatlands of my sweet, sweet Indiana, on out towards that holy land of the San Francisco Bay, right after the new year 2018 January. Out to the place where I witnessed death on the streets firsthand, the place of my heroes and their excursions of consciousness, the land reaching out to the edge of the west, with love. And love, that’s what drives people to the extremes, that’s what gives them the energy and rage and spirit to defy and fight for that which they care for on the most basic human level. Human to human connections. Love, is what we call it. Love.
I was outside this bar called Saloon out in North Beach, packed house, band reveling in their harmonious excitement and that crowd was gulping down their drinks and hollering up a whooping storm of nervous energy and tight and loose and rambunctious. So I stayed outside on that lovely clean night in the alley right outside the door leaning on a wall with the streetlight singing its pure melody of liquid shine onto my peaceful attitude. I felt open, and in my openness there were these two older white men who were jolly and talking about their generations youth, back in the 60s and their hippie days. I play music, and we connected, we got on the discussion of the rock ‘n’ roll of that time and after getting comfortable with each other somehow it gets out that I’m from Indiana. Now the older of the two, he gives a raised eye towards my mention of Indiana, he got that twinkle in him. And he goes into his story.
“I was young and living in L.A. back in the day when I met this girl from Anderson, Indiana,” – coincidentally where I am from – “And I fell in love with her.
“She was down there for about a month and we really hit it off. Well, she ended up heading up back to Indiana and I was defeated about that. So, I did what I had to, and I hitchhiked from L.A. up to Indiana to find her. Suzy Auchman. I was a hippie, no job, it was the time for it, and I loved her. Well, I got up to Anderson after about a week and a half and used the phonebook to call and I met her at her house, she was living with her parents at the time.
“But, turns out she was engaged and about to be married to another man. I was devastated. But, Suzy and her fiancé took me out to dinner, I was welcomed and respected by her family and was allowed to sleep on her parents couch that night because I had nowhere else to stay. So, I slept, I woke up in the morning, I said my goodbye to Suzy and her family, and I made my way back down to L.A. And it hurt, I loved her, and it was worth it. The crazy things that we do for such a thing as love.”
I could still see the ache in his eyes as he spoke his story. I felt every bit of it. We all three chatted a little more, but it was getting late and there was this girl who I was hanging with out there who was leaving and calling my name. It was time for me to part ways from the aged hippies. The older man and I shook hands and he held on a little longer to my hand and looked me straight in my young eyes and said, “If you, somehow, when you get back to Indiana, if you somehow meet a Suzy Auchman, tell her an old friend says hello.”
I smiled, I agreed, and I ran off into the amorous night, leaving them under that angelic ring sent down from the streetlight above, leaving them to continue rockin’ in the free world.
In the course of motion and emotion spurs much commotion and devotion to the idea of destiny, of some sort of righteous end to all things, all events, all moments of existence. Free-will leads us to the next, but only by the culmination of all the knowledge remembered derived from whatever consequences we each decide to retain, as well as what truths and perceptions we each individually decide to view and accept as truths.
I do not remember the name of that older gentleman, but I will carry his truth of unwavering love. And in doing so, there is hope, the same hope he instilled in my young heart. There is great courage in choosing to love. In the face of this society and culture and politico sphere that seems to becoming heartless and void of humanity, to love is a bold act of courage. And to give love, to give to another human being that which we as an individual hold so holy and dear to us that we keep it inside our hearts our blood, to give that such love to another person is the only truth that cannot be marred by the change of times, cannot be defiled by the most destructive forces spewed from human beings, cannot be taken away and left to be buried and forgotten by those who fear the burning elation from the truth that is human love.
To love is worth it, all of it. Remember that, take that idea headlong into each day, into each battle of the spirit, into each intimate moment with this life. So says the laughing doofus, dreaming out in-between those Indiana fields, riding out and embracing pain and giving pain a kiss on the cheek to show acceptance of such hurt and ache, yet that is not the end of all joy and hope! Following a song of a sweet deluge of light, bending orange gradient towards that westward idea manifesting itself in each step taken and a hand, soft and supple, extended out to caress destiny sinking into the warm embrace of that horizon line way out yonder, over fields and mountains and cliffs overlooking ocean waves bashing incessant into this body, and in that moment there is a choice, there is forgiveness, there is such a truth as love.
Parker Pickett is a passionate writer and musician living in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Andy Figueroa is a traveling film photographer based out of Orlando. He seeks to photograph moments of life and light coexisting to create raw experiences in film.