It was more than half past and he had just returned home. The sun was a quickly sinking orange ball looking to cool itself into a darker hue as it plummeted in slow motion to the horizon. He had returned home and was trying to take off his Sunday garments. They weren’t much. Yet he howled in frustration overtime he pulled an empty hanger from the closet only to have another garment in close proximity fall back out. Two steps forward and one step back. This pretty much summed up his life. The bartender where he ate was the one that he was least likely to see. She was a small slender bodied big titted thing that was well on the way to wearing out of the nervous sphere of male attention some twenty years or so behind him. He could easily imagine that when they were released at night they fell out as readily as his old pathetic rags had out of his closet. At least her belly was warmed! The day had been another tight wire box of last ditch plans and mild disappointments. There were some that had spit their hate mail in his direction. And others who after a pleasant afternoon at the movies could not wait to eject from his old sedan’s passenger seat. Life’s possibilities were leading to the final movement. A summation of all the incidentals that he had accomplished with a major chorus of everything that he hoped to finish, but somehow never would. The ‘humpty bumpy’ of a schizophrenic neighbors all encompassing bass suddenly erupted into deep hear massage. Like some comical version of an aged white Viet Cong trooper in accompanying black socks, he sat back viewing the Sun’s final fizzle.
The reading of his work had transpired. Or rather expired. His dirty little secret being that his vision was going and each eye saw thing differently. Bravo some metaphysicist might have theoretically applauded! The simpler situation was it was hard to maintain one’s place with the requisite theatrical verve. It didn’t matter. The woman that had put the whole thing together hated him. Of perhaps more rightly she couldn’t stand the sight of him. The meeting called by her the previous Sunday had demonstrated that fact as he noticed that like some trained actor, his was the camera that she scrupulously avoided looking directly in to the lens of. May be she felt she had made a mistake? She had a big degree and a real paying job. He just had the semblance of pitching his work continuously in paperback. Traipsing about following venues both large and small most times accorded the recognition of a long dead ghost. The rest of the readers in her good graces he sent off with a very frigid brief hello. Had his reading really gone that bad? Maybe her education had given her the power to decipher the mountebanks from those considered legit? Maybe too that the kind of fruit his era was selling was now considered rotten? Damaged cargo from a freighter waylaid too long from land?
Yet, here he had been this evening. A calendar week to the minute after her first and seemingly last ‘hearty handclasp‘. She had come in last moment to that underground romper room supposedly hosting the big draw but populated with simple non-paying mortals and humble readers. it was the same woman of the same mixed signals. Seemingly energetic and fully empowered bubbling positive energy about her like an overbought searchlight. But emanating a very narrow beam that seemed to race past what was not in immediate clear focus. The finger pointed at him. And though he was ready there was the distinct impression that he was being ejected first to discard him quickly? The introduction made him appear a toolkit rather than a writer of words. Vision being what it is at that point of advancing age his manuscript was clamped high and tight. The microphone there but inconsequentially ignored. The totter and pause that sufficed seemed a bit overboard but not to the point of incoherence. The others read and with conviction. As usual he was content with gnawing his own slice of humble pie.
His benefactor had set herself up as the last one to read. All her efforts at adjustment of microphone stand and easing easel leading up to the moment. She began with what seemed more an exposition on the topic of motherhood . How odd to them that like a ferocious looking beetle overturned he began to see her softer side. The lithe appearance interrupted by some soft unwanted girth come of the heralding of age. She stumbled em optionally on between the economy of swiftness and the precipice of demonstrable emotion. This ballet of tremulous emphasis threatening to release emotion. Ho different she looked now as if transformed a bit from that brassy hard shell nervous creature to someone begging for connection with her son. The initial cursory explication had mentioned the ferocity of divorce. It seemed increasingly clear that she had been its target as opposed to the other way around. Nothing could be more brutal and wounded than a woman dropped suddenly from several stories of marriage down harshly to the ground. Feeling, no doubt somehow like life’s inevitable refuse. It was obviously hard for her to bounce. He watched as unselfconsciously as he could from a corner afar. Trying his damnedest not to cough, rub his nose or lick his lips as this might be considered in her current frame of mind, a slight. The thought crowned him at that instant. She was a woman cowed! The fear of men she considered as immobile as marble brought her terror. She dare not look upon any of them lest their indifference strike her evermore viciously to the quick.
Maybe that was the key to a larger lock? That so many women like her felt becalmed by the vagary of inhospitable winds distorted by ignominious politics of a very parsimonious time. Love ran out quickly from the current legal portions doled out in ever smaller vials. Too much time at work, too much time spent on the behalf of the kids! Was one doing the right thing? Or was I raining sociological orphans? Career identity slapping up against the notion of family like hapless tugs beset by a typhoon. Did her son love her? What did every mother wait daily to hear? What did every woman need to feel? The sand had run out recently in her hourglass. So sad to feel so embarrassingly naked in the midst of what one supposed was a world cured with that fiction known as ‘normal’s‘! It was all too obvious as afterwards when he had handed himself over to a lip lock with the older gentleman whose premises hosted the event and she hung conspicuously around. It wasn’t love that was expected. But what the next move might suggest in terms of some kernel of possible respect. It didn’t say much for the current state of society to see a woman driven so. He looked her straight like an arrow. She returned both left and right with a deflecting glance. How sad he thought? But that after all was the way this cockeyed world had as of late become.