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Here's the beginning of the book. An earlier version of this piece appeared on the blog briefly. It was the first thing I wrote that made me think *oh*. Maybe I could write a longer story.
During that summer in California, I wore shorts and t-shirts a lot. I watched boys measure steroids in the next room at the place where I was staying. Buy and sell them and measure steroids. I played Blur, mainly ‘For Tomorrow’ – I must have heard this song at least a hundred times in those few weeks. During that summer I decided to stop shaving and to grow my hair. I took long walks on my own, well, what meant to be long walks but I always came back within half an hour. I kissed several girls; I’ve lost count exactly how many. One night that summer I went to the local shop wearing what I thought was a solemn face and a hooded top and shorts and old deck shoes, and I wanted the strangers that I came across to say that I’m down. I bought two cans of Coke but the guy at the till mustn’t have been paying attention and he didn’t notice the sadness in my style and instead he read ‘Ralph Lauren’ back at me from my hooded top and he smiled. During that summer I finished reading several books, none of which were new, all of which I had read before. I let a stranger jerk me off in a car park and I tried to learn the lyrics to a Hole album, though I forget most of them now. I went to parties about every weekend, some of which I was invited to. During that summer I spent most of the time worrying that I wasn’t 16 and I would never be again. I decided that I should never read books more than once, because I’m running out of time and there are too many books that I still want to get through. That summer my best friend told me over the phone that I would never find love, I would never be happy in a relationship. I snapped back – thoughtlessly – that I’ll find many relationships and he said: ‘exactly’. I hung out with many prostitutes, some of whom were open to me about it and some of whom weren’t, and for those ones that weren’t, I pretended that I didn’t know. Early that summer I found my favourite spot in the city, some park bench overlooking downtown LA, and sat there alone on several occasions, watching the view and planning to bring somebody I cared for to sit there with me one late evening before I left the city. For one reason or another, this never actually happened. I lost a lot of weight again, mainly because I usually forgot to eat, plus I never worked out anymore, and I went to a lot of concerts; I paid for most of them. I went out to several clubs and I kept taking drugs, yet more ferociously than before, though I always turned it down when somebody offered me Es or MDMA on some dancefloor somewhere, regardless of how fucked I was on GBL or GHB or ketamine or coke, because I never wanted to feel euphoric, ecstatic, happy. These were still dirty words. It was a Sunday morning in a club during that summer when some guy walked up to me and told me that I looked perfect, then asked me to close my eyes. When I did, he kissed each of my eyelids softly and went away. I didn’t react to this but it made me think of my Father for some reason and I felt sorry for him. Sorry for having me as a son. During that summer it got really hot and it reminded me of summers in Greece when I was growing up, and that usually made me more upset because thinking of a wasted youth and the passing of time is the quickest way to kill my spirit. I drove into the desert several times, usually in the evening, taking girls with me that I was dating at the time. We’d park on the side of the road, leave the music on in the car and sit on the red, dusty rocks surrounded by darkness. On a few occasions other cars sped by, filled with drunken young boys who would yell out of the windows as they drove past. All those times I kept quiet. During that summer I tried to cut out sedatives for the first time, but that only meant reducing my Valium dosage to 10mg every 48 hours or so. It was years later that I was able to sleep consistently every night without any pills. During that summer I lay in the park every other day and got sunburnt and although I could have done this with friends, I usually did it alone. During that summer I realised that I would never live to see my late 30s, because this existence isn’t sustainable really, no one can survive it, but that didn’t upset me, it didn’t bother me that much and I decided to be practical instead, so I started making lists of things I wanted my friends to do after I wouldn’t be around anymore. During that summer, I started researching jobs that I would never apply for, ate lots of cheap ice cream and shot up for the first time.