What? What was it? The purpose of it all? To fall in love? Clearly that was wrecked for him. He looked around the room at artifacts most of which were not his. The last bastion of a wrecked life living amidst the ruins of those no longer here. What did he share from that after all. He knew that he had hurt a lot of people. Most of them now at a convenient distance of decades past beyond his reach. Thank God! How was it? Some men were beaters. They might be angry? Angry at the way life treated them so the took it out on those who gathered around them. Loved them! But he was worse, He never laid a finger on any of them. He just didn’t. He didn’t do anything because int he end he didn’t care. The came and they went and it was all the same to him. A few bad weeks of animal longing for the comfort that their physicality conveniently afforded him. Maybe a year or two of abstinence? Maybe more? Like a dry drunk whose sensory pleasure could not be in measure to his own self-respect. Each of them forgotten in a blank void that in may cases no longer even included their names. Couldn’t this be the definition of the fullest measure of cruelty? Once it was over it was like they ceased to exist or him. He could have physically killed them an they might have been more alive. It was only fifty years post that he could begin to mourn their loss. To see how he had betrayed their sincerity with his ignorance.
Now the room around him fit tight like the collar of an old faded shirt rescued from adolescence. Retrieved from an attic trunk where it might have laid posthumously to everyone’s benefit if left undisturbed. He could feel his own era close around him like a musty horse blanket. Scratchy to the skin. Not as soft as former memories would have you believe. It was all in the past now. He wasn’t a drinker. But tonight a bottle of beer from the few left in the fridge was joined by a couple of slugs of Crown Royale. The stuff only made his headache worse by making him aware of it. Something like rheumatism. Aching bones after a cold snap. Annoying but not yet fatal. He drifted now from the immediacy of a pang of instant recollection into a soothing easy sense of vague familiarity. The smell of phantom tenant’s cigarettes wafted in his direction. No one was in the room beside him. It was an old structure after all. He could relate. Go forbid if he could remember the tears that he had cause in others. That customary rainfall of emotions sorely wounded by the finality of a word. or two. It’s over. He knew, or so he thought? But in reality he went out of his way not to. Routine was both his enemy and his friend. He took sides and when he got his own internal story straight immediately sided with himself until a team of wild horses couldn’t drag any other conclusion out of his cloistered consciousness. And he was safe then to keep to the story as it suited him. He was a cad.
It seemed remarkable to him that every part of his former life was now completely meaningless to him. All the books that he had written, the artworks, the photos, the expensive devices and artifacts the sum total of which signified that he was someone possibly extraordinary, who cared. It was like living in a small studio full of empty boxes so prolific that the majority of one’s time was spent nudging past them or climbing over them. What a fool? If he thought he could exist on his own without this way station he might have walked ow the door on the spot. But he wasn’t that kind. How many once familiar faces had tears in their eyes when he had last seen them? He asked the question with the expectation of an answer would blissfully not arrive, It was a sham! The booze was kicking in. His mind already a functional blank seemed only to be responding to emotional cues. Sort of like that laugh track machine that everyone talks about from yesteryear that when artfully employed sounded more era than real! The eyes were closing on their own now. Whatever monsters that had been let loose now he was too drunk to confront. Let them romp about! Love was some vague concept now that if someone had told him it was but a fiction dreamed up by Hollywood, he would have immediately believed it. What did it matter he told himself on the silent channel. he was too old! he was over!his eyes closed and he went into a deep and stony sleep alone.