Aix En Provence | 2014
I should’ve stayed in San Francisco.
Elvin,I could write a letter about love or a love a million different ways. I choose this one: messy, incomplete, and, I hope, full of heart. Because I mean (and meant) every ounce of it.I heard it once when I was roaming the streets, about a girl, that if you can’t fall in love with her, then you couldn’t fall in love with anybody else. I heard it again through the different faces I came across in the past two years — the years I’ve been with her — and they have their own versions, but all of them, have learned to love.When you first meet her, you have these ideals and expectations. The constant sunshine that peeks out from the theatre curtains of fog, and smoking bowls and eating bowls of clam chowder. (These bowls are made of bread! Who’s the genius that came up with that? And then brought it to Santa Barbara at Buddha Bowl?)After the first six weeks, you sort of understand how she works. How she manages her time from carrying people from place to place, or how she manages to make a day beautiful, no matter the rain or shine. And after the first year, you realize it like anybody else does, whether it be one weekend out of fifty two or New Year’s Eve, that you could never have found a more wonderful place in your heated heart or in your watered eyes. What I mean is San Francisco. What I mean is a place you could never imagine moving away from. The start ups, the people, the culture, the old city the beats saw to the new city with its Lyft and its new app where you can have people order take out for you, and deliver it to your work or home.But after leaving her. After saying bye to all of those who’ve shared this open affair I’ve had with her for the past two years, I’ve realized something more, Elvin. Sitting at my bedroom desk here at home in Orange County, with my laptop screen illuminating my face, having my heart race every time headlights flood through my shutters, waiting for a text that’ll pull me out of the house, and when I’m actually out, I’m bored, and want nothing more to be back in my bed. All these things were a kind of love that I missed, that I didn’t realize I had when I left, and came back to it. At the bottom of stuffed drawers, and in the back of my closet, I forgot the love my parents brought me up with. I appreciate and thank them for teaching me this love that I didn’t even realize I brought to San Francisco. Did I teach San Francisco a thing or two about love? I’d like to think so. I like to think I left something there.But then I remember San Diego, and my first time there. Where I discovered literature outside the small chain of Barnes and Nobles. There’s this bookstore there next to a Buffalo Exchange that holds a quarter of my library at home. At least once a summer I go,and pick something up. There’s some kind of love ingrained in this relationship I hold with San Diego.The same goes for Los Angeles, an hour away from my home. Where another friend I met in SF came from, when I stopped by her hometown Koreatown, lunching at a Yellow House cafe. And where my best friend is studying at UCLA. Where we saw Grimes, and Justin Vernon, a week from each other. Where I had my car towed in the Jack in the Box across from the Amoeba record store, and where I almost got my car totaled in an accident that happened in front of a hookah place all because I stole an Empire of the Sun poster for their latest album (or so I’d like to think). I have you know this all happened in one night, with two of the best people in my life.And let’s not forget about Santa Barbara, where the boys are always looking for trouble, and where the girls are most pretty. The fantastic parties that follow a domino effect, on a single street. Where the mollies are just as good as the ones in Orange County for those who dedicate their entire year’s savings for EDC. Another good friend goes to school here. (And if you ever wanna know what he’s like, listen to Wolf Like Me by TV On the Radio).And I realize, now, that it wasn’t just San Francisco. It was all of California. I understand why Joan Didion spent most of her literature. nonfiction, and life here. It has something to do with the sunrises and sunsets. It has something to do with how different each county/city is completely different from another. It’s got something to do with love.You’ll have the best affair here with a state like no other, if, only for a weekend.That’s California for you, Elvin. I hope you see it sometime with me. You won’t ever regret it.Love,Nathanp/s: I remember this girl from high school who I used to make movies with, that had a sweet sense of style and always smelled of an unmade bed and baked cookies. Whenever she had a bad day, she’d let out her Charlie Brown sigh, and say, “Today might be a sad day, but at least it’s a sad day in sunny California.”pp/s: follow rad Elvin here
It took a year to complete but it’s finally finished. Check out my short film “SUBURBIA" written by Nathan Truong and starring Joey Mulock, Jake Thorum, Julia Grace, Nathan Truong, Taylor Conk, Jordan Abapo, and Sehyun Kim. Huge thanks to all these guys for helping me on the project. Also thank you to Ronald Lee for letting me borrow his camera, and Maryanne Vargas for helping me with the sound. I couldn’t have done it without you all. ♡
The sunset outside your window is a billboard.
Made by the best of the best.
I. San Pablo Ave.
II. Moss St.
III. Larsen Ln.
I used to wait by the window before you came home at 5 PM. Promptly. When the garage doors roared, I rushed out to hug you. My best friend told me he used to do the same thing with his sister except they hide behind a corner and jumped out and to scare him. At the age of six, my ex-roommate used to sleep on the stairs, and have his family step around him whenever they moved up and down. These were all rituals from our childhood that I missed.
I strolled through the Yucaipa park grounds to find sons and daughters play with their fathers. I imagined smiles to match the laughters echo behind me, and smiled myself. You know, it’s not hard to imagine smiles on people’s faces, not even yours. I found myself at a chain-linked fence that looked into the parking lot of a storage company. Behind it was a purple sky that I watched fade to black over the hills. We never talked about skies together. I wish we had.
Is there a time difference between life and the afterlife? Well, whenever you get this, I wanted to share you the last line of one of my favorite stories:
"What’s going to happen to me, dad?" he asks. "What’ll become of me?"
"You’ll be fine," I say, because sometimes it’s a father’s job to lie "Don’t worry kid. You’ll be great."
Thanks for lying to me.
p/s: Above, I found solace in each one of those windows. They never belonged to me except for the last one.
When I think about Santa Barbara, I think about that David Foster Wallace quote about frat boys hung naked from dorm balconies. I think about what my roommate said about modern anime and manga and its fixation on escapism. Ultimately, I think about my own morality and mortality.
But you can’t be too sad for too long. There are pretty girls who
wantneed sexto be held just as much as you do. There’s the gym to compete with male masculinity and female desires ( because we have to impress that one Brazilian girl who’s into biting in order to know what her heart feels like). There’s dank to be smoked to Mac Miller instead of Mac Demarco. It’s fucking IV, they say, and we want towe must be as glamorous as a Sedgwick.
From across the street to the car, It wasn’t the echo of her black heels on pavement, or the way her auburn hair bounced with every inch she carried herself under the amber streetlights, or how she saw right through him with empty eyes when she opened the passenger door. It wasn’t the, “Hurry the fuck up, Jordan.”
It was the first time they met at that Bruin frat party with their backs pressed against walls. It was the way their words stumbled out of their mouths, and how they bent down to pick them up because they cared enough to hand-deliver their pasts and presents with shaking hands.
It was, “I remember you held my hands still because you saw they were shaking,” when they lay under white comforters shaded gray with the blue morning in a Santa Barbara beach house they rented out for a weekend. Their thumbs ran over their swollen lips and their toes made the sheets whisper. It was the condom he crinkled in his wallet when searching for bills to pay for their afternoon ice cream that dripped onto their lips which they smeared off with sloppy kisses.
It was the third time she sucked at his lips and clawed at his back in the women’s handicap stall. Her mother was a couple doors down in a coma. It was when she strained tears into his shoulder, but she had cried all the tears from her childhood scooter boo-boo’s and her teen angst pillow talks. All her blues left her brown eyes, and pocketed themselves into the bags under her eyes. It was when she what-if’ed the possibility of feeling every emotion possible, and that every following emotion was a lesser form of the original. It was when they were in their thirties.
It was when they were in their twenties, living together, occupying the years with numerous arguments over the open toilet seat or the unreplaced toilet roll or the shitty parking in the garage so that when either of them squeezed in between the car and their cardboard boxes of junk, dark smudges appeared on the sides of their suits and dresses before work. It was the numerous times they thought about ending the relationship. It was the numerous times they felt unfulfilled, and how, “one person cannot fulfill all your needs.” He said that. She believed it, even though she denied it. It was the numerous times they were stuck in traffic thinking about the future. It was the rare times they would wake up in the middle of the night scared about death..
It is the youth and embarrassment they feel even when they are sixty. It is the daydreams they wish to live, and the physical bucket list they privately stored in their imaginations, noting whose idea was who’s in each other’s grocery list handwriting. It is the way they see themselves in their son and daughter, and how they see their son and daughter in their sons and daughters. It is the dust mote moments they will later regret not appreciating when they happen.
“Hurry up, Jordan,” he hears again. And he does.
— It Seemed Like A Single Moment Brought Her There, via (shotdownartist)
”..and when he arrived, in the present, it would seem like it had been a single movement that brought her there. Did existence ever seem worked for? One seemed simply to be here, less an accumulation of moments than a single arrangement continuously gifted from some inaccessible future.” - Taipei, Tao Lin
And I wonder how I got here, and how I’m measuring 2014. In the number of times I’ve missed you? Or the number of times I’ve smiled? It’s a little of both to fill the planetless space within me. “Where are you?” catches me off guard, and I answer, “Where am I?” Oh. I’m in Mac Demarco’s Salad Days album. I’m Tao Lin’s Taipei. I’m in Childish Gambino’s brain during his interviews.
Queen Anne, Seattle