Chapter Twenty Seven
It all happened quickly, almost as if some higher intelligence took control of Zev and shoved him in a different direction. He didn’t have to think much about it. There was no other choice. Zev bought the yacht from the old man and drove to Oxnard to give him cash. The old man was friendly enough. He was going to die soon and he figured it was time for him to get rid of his beloved Sammy. Zev made a mental note to change the name of the yacht. The old man took his time showing Zev around the yacht. He walked with a hunch and a chronic rattle. Zev was a tall man. He had to slightly bend inside the yacht. He could feel the strain on his lower back. The kitchen seemed to be the only space where Zev could stand tall inside the old yacht. There were two downstairs bedrooms and a bathroom. The old man told Zev that the toilet sometimes stunk when you flushed it. But none of it went out into the water, which was good. All fecal and urinary matter would get flushed into a large container beneath one of the bedroom’s beds. Every week or so Zev would have to pay someone to pump out the waste matter so that the container didn’t back up and overflow. It was a real mess when that happened. The old man would give Zev a number of a pump out person. It was just part of boat life, the old man told Zev. The shower worked well.
The old man asked Zev if he would be driving the yacht and Zev told the old man that he had no idea how to steer his own ship let alone another ship. It was meant to be a clever response. The old man didn’t get it and gave Zev an awkward smile. Zev felt like telling the old man that he was going through a separation from his wife. Maybe the old man had something comforting to say. Instead, Zev told the old man that he intended to live on the yacht and not take it out to sea. He would use it as a kind of houseboat. The old man told Zev that that was probably a good idea since Sammy was old and unreliable but would float forever. The old man had already moved all of his things off the yacht, so the yacht was immediately ready for Zev to move in. Zev told the old man that he loved all the large windows that looked out onto the water. And he loved all the redwood paneling and how nicely it had been preserved. The old man told Zev that he loved these things about her as well but it was time for him to go. Every relationship must end, nothing lasts forever he told Zev. Zev wasn’t yet ready to accept this. The old man was happy that a younger man was moving into his girl. He thought they would be a good fit and he gave Zev his blessing. Zev gave the old man the money for his yacht and the old man told Zev to take good care of his girl. Zev assured him he would. When the old man left, Zev noticed he forgot his reading glasses. Zev tried them on, felt a strong magnifying effect and decided he would use them for reading.
Zev sat down on the yachts built in couch. He looked out the window at all the boats and water and space. The sky trailed on forever. He felt a sadness in his chest but he knew that this was the right thing for him to do. He had to move out. Living with Amy was going to kill him. He didn’t want to move out. He didn’t want to lose his house and the company of a beautiful woman. But everything was bad. He was falling to shit. He didn’t even care if his underwear smelled anymore. His finger nails collected dirt. He took a deep breath and could smell the oil from the engine which was under the yacht’s floorboards. Zev looked around the yacht. He was going to live here. It was quiet. He could hear birds and seals. The ocean was far away and he could smell the sea air coming in through the opened windows. He knew that the grief that would come from moving out of his home and away from Amy would be strong. It could be strong enough to kill him and the serenity of living on a boat could help him survive. Zev smoked a cigarette and noticed one of his neighbors looking at him. Zev probably looked like a freak to all these people who wore flip flops and shorts. But like Zev, all the people who came to live on boats wanted to remove themselves from society.
After exploring the area around his yacht, Zev drove back to Silverlake later that afternoon. What should have been an hour and a half drive took almost three hours. Zev didn’t care about the traffic. He smoked cigarettes and listened to Roxy Music. Some of Brian Ferry’s lyrics reminded him of what he was going through. Zev thought about how he would tell Amy. Would she be upset? He didn’t care what she thought and he didn’t care if she felt like he was going to be leaving her hanging with the house. He needed to go. She didn’t want to be with him anymore and she was dating Arthur. To hell with her. He needed to go. This is what Zev Bauhaus kept telling himself as he crawled along in late afternoon Los Angeles traffic. Zev thought about how there were too many people.
When Zev arrived back at his Silverlake home he felt sadness overcome him. This was not his home anymore. He was leaving. The fact that the front yard and the inside of the home were a mess didn’t bother him. It wasn’t his problem anymore. But it felt strange how something that once felt so much a part of him was now just a distant and meaningless thing. When Zev walked into the kitchen he noticed Amy quietly sitting at the kitchen table, typing on her laptop. She had just added purple highlights to her black hair and she was wearing a color of lipstick Zev had not seen before. Zev thought she looked pretty. Amy told Zev that the essay she was editing was horrible and she had to do too much work on it. Zev didn’t care. WORD meant nothing to him. These literary magazines attracted idiot writers like Arthur and Zev wanted to have nothing to do with the trendiness of it all. Zev looked in the refrigerator and drank from an opened a kombucha. He turned around and faced Amy. Amy was annoyed by Zev’s cigarette smell but she continued to smile. She told Zev that he should remember to drink water. Zev didn’t believe that she cared about him.
Zev sat down at the other side of the table. He didn’t want to get too close to Amy. This caught Amy by surprise since Zev didn’t often sit down at the table when she was working. She thought it was strange that Zev hadn’t mentioned anything about how messy the kitchen was. Zev didn’t care. He told Amy that he was moving out. Amy stared at him. She was perplexed. Zev was moving out? Was it really happening? She had been convinced that Zev would never be able to leave. She didn’t know how she was going to get him to move out. She couldn’t kick him out even though the home was legally hers. But she was hoping that Zev would find a way to start his life over again someplace else. Zev of course wasn’t aware of this. He thought Amy would be very sad to see him go.
Zev told Amy about the yacht. He told her about the color and condition of the yacht and he told her how much he paid for it. He told Amy that he needed to do something different. The life he was living had been killing him. If she didn’t want him, he would go. Amy wanted to tell Zev that it wasn’t that way, but she abstained. Things felt like they could be beginning to go in a more positive direction. Amy had never known anyone who lived on a boat. She had never thought much about it. Zev was accustomed to many comforts. How was he going to tolerate living on a boat at the edge of the sea? Amy didn’t think it was a good idea to shut his studio down and quit painting but it wasn’t her problem anymore. She loved Zev and she wanted him to do whatever was going to be best for him. Zev told Amy that he was going to move all his stuff out within the next day or two. Amy asked if she could come visit him once he got settled. Zev felt a pain in his gut because Amy wasn’t resisting. He hoped she would. Zev remembered the old man saying nothing lasts.
Amy struggled to get to sleep that evening. She thought about Zev moving out. Would she have enough money to make it on her own? Should she have Zev pay half the bills? Should he still have to pay for some of the houses expenses? What about their credit card bills that were in her name? She also thought about how she knew that Zev liked Oxnard. Living there might give him some peace and quiet away from the world of art and culture. She knew how hard their breakup and her ensuing affair with Arthur had been on Zev. She felt bad for it and probably would feel bad for it for the rest of her life. But she felt happy that Zev was making a move. It was a good thing for both of them.
Zev rented a small U-Haul truck the following day and filled it with some of his things. He took his Eames lounge chair, record player, speakers, records, desk, desk light, Pendleton blankets, plates, bowls, air filters, pillows, clothes, books, radio and anything else he thought he might need. He also took pens and paper for drawing. Zev didn’t have to burden himself with the move. He could have bought all new things. He could have paid people to move his stuff. But Zev wanted to save as much money as he could since he imagined he would have to give Amy half and live off the rest for a long time to come. He had no idea what he would do for an income once his money ran out. He hadn’t invested in stocks and he hadn’t bought any property. He didn’t want to play that scumbag capitalist game. The money he had was the money he had until he ran out. He assumed he could just auction paintings if he needed to but he really didn’t want to have anything more to do with the mainstream art world.
Amy was nice enough to help Zev move his stuff. They didn’t talk much as they passed each other in the front walk way. Zev was stoned and kept to himself. Amy asked him various questions and Zev gave brief and mumbled answers. Amy knew that Zev was not happy with her. She only hoped that he wouldn’t end up hating her. She was sad to let him go but was looking forward to having the house to herself to live in. Zev had been a miserable man to live with and she felt like she was breaking free from his negative energy. Amy made them some bacon sandwiches for lunch. They ate quietly. Would this be their final meal together? Once they finished loading the truck Zev took a final walk through the house to see if there was anything else he wanted to take. He saw Amy’s $800.00 camera which she never used. He stuck it in the bag he carried. She would never know it went missing, Zev told himself. Besides, she was taking his home from him. It was only fair that he should get the camera.