From her parents, or her mother, perhaps the commune - she got the name Harmony. Like my unhappy friend Joy, Harmony’s name was a curse or at least an enduring rebuttal.
Harmony had hitch-hiked in from the dessert. She’d been mourning at the spot where the year before her friend had been dumped after being picked up by a trucker, raped, and killed. “She wasn't just killed. She’d been cut into pieces.” She’d been dropped in the dessert by friends who were irritated that Harmony hadn’t spoken during their three day trip to the spot. She would hitch-hike out. Strangely, the suspect in the case had recently driven his 18 wheeler into an Amtrak train, killing himself and “injuring dozens”.
“The police were closing in,” said Harmony.
I offered her bus money for her next trip. I had extra at the time. She didn't accept it.
Harmony was telling everyone at the table to “Fuck off.” Six of us were sitting under the pines, under the stars around my neighbor’s big homemade picnic table. People were creating weird cocktails with gin, Aperol, moonshine, wine and tea.
Harmony told her story of being in a disco in China. A man had appeared and gave her a drink as she danced. She knew better. She drank it. Luckily her friends saw it and put her in a cab. “Good thing. No one gives a shit about you in China.” Harmony woke up the next day in the hostel with no memory. I said “You know David Tudor says everything eventually resolves into Harmony, just the way anything that repeats once has rhythm.” She reached across the table, held and squeezed my hand. She rolled under the table. I was scared she was going to try and blow me. She touched my thigh. She came up next to me. Amid the chaos of the night, everyone drinking, we kept talking. “In the deprivation tank there was no silence only the whine of nerves, the murmur of the cardio-vascular.” “You’re the only one who fucking understands. Fuck these cunts.” Harmony swung her arm in the dark. I’d had enough. I stumbled into the woods, tripped over a log splitter in the dark, cut myself good and limped home alone to bed.
The next morning I went over to the neighbors.
N and J laughed. N said “She walked off the mountain in the middle of the night after making a big scene.”
“Fuck. This is probably the best place for her right now.”
“Not with us.”
“Not with me,” I said.
N smiled. “You two were talking up a storm.”
I was so glad we hadn’t fucked. “I don’t think she heard me.”
“She can’t hear much.” N was making breakfast. “I know that commune scene where she grew up. Too much free love, too many old men.”