The bottle of Maker’s Mark was next to dry. Perhaps a shot left? It’s distinctive aroma certainly wasn’t! He was ever adverse to it. Yet he craved this brand in his Manhattan’s? Maybe that might some up his current attitude about so many things? Life for instance! The whole idea of repeating his mistakes appalled him. And that is what his inner desires seemed to demand? The vow to continued poverty a ruse. That accompanying vow against the continued romantic company with women equally tenuous. Both tenuous propositions over the long term. Yet one still needing the opposite of the other to be enacted. Love was after all no longer a solo performance on a street corner. It needed accompaniment. A good time involving dinner and some drinks at the very least. In this time of feminine liberation it was clear that some things never changed. He inspected the bottle and replaced it on the cart in the corner. Year’s end had as always left him pensive in a seemingly permanent state of solitude.
A late afternoon Winter sun was now preparing to take its leave at barely half past three. The shadows that it cast being a signature of so much now long past. You could look out the window and see the light stir and in the next moment begins its imminent retreat. He felt similarly anxious about his own prospects. The past year had not done him any favors. In fact it might have dealt him a final blow had his outlook have been the same as even four year previous. That might have been when he had given up his recalcitrance for realizing that the future was just another part of the useless game that he’d long been embarked on. The same one that was taught in an all so unsubtle manner in schools. Fame, fortune and family. Winning big without any help from the odds as presented by the state lottery commission. The pendulum of the wall clock neatly ticking off seconds like a bartender methodically shaving orange zest. A drink about right now sounded like a good proposition. The penalties were stiffer than the alcohol however. One drink could find him awakening suddenly several hours after falling asleep with his heart pounding. Not a good sign. Congestive heart failure? The family curse.
He had sure drunk his fill in times past. Enough to fill a railroad car it seems? Not that he was an ‘alky!‘ He could hold his liquor like a camel going for months without a drop. But something else was driving the angst that occasionally my desires ran splashing themselves across. The world was tightening around his neck and more prominently around his temples. A permanent headache! The realization that truth was a tumor to this world. A world that sought to suppress the facts but eliminate anything that has a truthful ring. Another year was threatening with the malice of more of the same old same old except even more so! To question is to engage in thought crime! Completely unacceptable. Then he knew that he was on to something. “Happy New Year!”, he thought to himself.
What difference the fifties from the millennial twenties? Fantasies were about love, not the total destruction of every imagined adversary? Listening in an inner antechamber of the mind of Sinatra crooning from echoing the fifties. Signature one phrase neurotic nonsense melodies of three word repetition blotted from waking consciousness. Love and romping about to find some lovely partner. Not who might shoot who? Who might screw who? A mythic Tin Pan Alley time when falling in love with another and fostering a hope of the same was not considered a crap shoot. People had a lot more guns but less inclination to use them! Unworried save in some Mickey Spillane epic! That old entertainment that those before didn’t understand back then but forever love now. A childhood filled with songs to be heard again and again and again! The mists of night descending. Fucking Obama shows up at his parent’s house in 1963 instead of the President Jack Kennedy. One of his parents all too eager to show off the son’s computer artwork. The personal computer not having been invented yet. That character Obama strutting about the place like some vainglorious foppish popinjay. Queen Bee out of drag screeching about in a irritating nasal Gayish twang accenting every sentence.
The vocals from the music were ethereal. Here he sat lonely and alone resting easy within the dirge-like quality they offered. A fantasy of bygone hopes. Ones that inferred that the spirit would somehow find its way back into the safety of the surety of the past to those good times that had once drawn out life like a flame encouraging a moth. The Huron symphony. How sad? But the tiny flame left within still flickered hopefully. Expectant that somehow in some way that he was not yet forsaken. Nor too long forgotten. That at the fall of an eleventh hour grain of sand there would still be a future of happiness awaiting him. Some place where another someone indeed did still care for him. The prospect of love palpably rediscovered filling his heart like some empty glass retrieved by cool clear sparkling waters. The emptiness surrounding him recoiling into light again at that thought.
He sat naked on a dirty undershirt perched with legs up and crossed upon a cocktail table. An element of the longstanding family inventory that now stood by default as part of the remaining legacy of his inheritance. Solitude no longer being an exceptional condition. Nor the result of some brief interruption in an old ritual of ongoing congress with old lingering friends. Solitude was now a lifestyle that offered insulation from change. And safety from challenge. His routine fulfilling the task of providing enough of a diversion to make any condition palatable.He could view images of others on the airwaves and ponder and postulate and judge the meanings behind their inner contents from this safe distance. The more extreme the better! Men that found themselves at the limits of their physical and psychological tolerances. Women that for some strange inexplicable reason willingly embraced self-destructive roles. One’s that if unsupervised by the camera’s presence would have surely degenerated into something even more deadly. A rote style of ultimate surrender performed in stop motion pantomime. One that reminded that chaos in real life events could be deadly. Forms of masochism that were in themselves untranslatable in a world of sunlight. A form of steel plating to gird one’s loins against the dangerous vagaries of life’s sorrows? To him embroiled in advancing age, anything that could raise some distant possibility of feeling to momentary intense emotion however recreational needing to be enacted. An institutional shared pleasure with the professional cadre of exhibitionist fringe whose pictures he poured over in detail searching for the possibility of real emotions.
Perversion coming not in some typical sense of random action to stimulate animal reaction through repetitive stimulation. But in full abandonment to the inner self and conjoining within to a supposition that this frame of mood centered of mythic main character in plight and peril might reveal a palpable truth. One running afoul and coming in an abandonment of things considered real in favor of a well-staged fantasy. This form of repetitive self-inspection forming a convenient shell to remove all realities. Everything being acceptable in this faux play of every possible plausible circumstance to get one to believe if even only for one instant that there was empathy. A useless art that he had long ago let fall into total atrophy along with the rest of humanity. The radio hummed and mumbled holiday music posting its non-stop rhythmic chant. His own self-ministration in consort keep time stroke by stroke by stroke. How strange that these apparent two-dimensional soulmates had no limits? No pride or vanities left to salvage in their fully reveal? But a eager readiness to abandon all reputation or the possibility of encountering physical harm? All for the privilege to exhibit something about themselves better left unseen to distant, anonymous, and most likely indifferent eyes? To submit fully to abstractions that placed them solidly in the category of someone lesser. All to spice up further travel in a willowy glade of advancing age where one had inevitably had begun to lose all their eternally youthful charms? A postmark on eternity! The reservoir of hormones depleted to a pathetic level of empty where once they have once been mightily coaxed. To objectify themselves as a compliant ego bereft empty thing not deserving of respect so opposite of what they would demand in daily life.
He sat there safe in the blanket of a surrounding stillness. Exploring the caves and caverns of others in this perverted way. Reigning supreme like some frustrated omniscient obsessive Sardanopolis. Trying to find this ever elusive pleasure of un-involvement. The superficial trappings of fastidiously exhibited perfection in shape and dressing occasionally offering the discovery of an exception flaw. That rare piece of irreconcilable sand that over the course of life had driven these creatures to such excess as to overcompensate in such self-defiling ways. No pleas for mercy intended in their despair! Each tableau presenting a further fall from conventionality straight into endless perdition in soul and spirit. Hoping to find an ultimate limit in final excess. A way for some to demand of those never to be seen that this particular object of their chronic voyeurism was incapable of being hurt of debased by their unwanted attentions any further! Every avenue thus explored, leaving no doubt that their exhibition of undeterred fortitude was indeed flawless. The world of distant disconnected shadow play and the faceless crowd watching each willing victim overcoming all the vagaries in real time unpredictable consequences. Unrepentant humanity looking off to their own fatal mortality while the object of their momentary desire stared back blankly without flinching and laughing in the face of an inevitable demise. The radio was now moaning in its soft dirge of continued melancholy of instrumental musings. Low register minor and diminished chords accompanying the catalog of frozen facial expressions now upon the screen. No sexual transmigration possible. Simply just a sigh as a member of an initiated fraternity of the irredeemable human kind.
The next day would re-impose its will in daily routines and expected roles from which there were no variances allowed. Anything pertaining to these secret identities of self to be put aside and hidden deeply once again. Safely masked from any public view. All those many unresolved sides that once could never find an answer to? Questions that one dare not let any other know that they had asked. The climb back from the lower regions of self into a reluctant but necessary fate. The rules of the prevailing game having consequence on all sides. What sort of discussion might one have with one of these distant kindred souls he wondered. The toys once more put away. And less, if not little else, to show for it. “All Come Yeah All Faithful!“, suddenly blaring in the background. The standard religions of man not offering much more than a communal sense of being lost but in good company while being so. The great organ within the church pouring forth its fundamental building shaking tones stirring all to a spiritual mutually shared climax. A hope for something better and more eternal than this persistent emptiness of simply being. The holiday now nearing it’s conclusion. It’s symbolic representative idols now flown back to their lairs for another year. A realm of sleepless dreams in coma-like rest the only lingering option ahead.
The room was still dark. A gray milkshake coverlet lay upon all covering the heavens. The time was debatable. He turned to his side so his old miserable bag of bones would find some small degree of renewed comfort. The covers immediately above him displaced enough t allow a sliver of cold air to tumble in at an open seam. His shoulders now crowned by its light touch he stirred from sleep. The flash of so many possible episodes of nightly travels lost to the sight of shadow play around him. It was morning. Christmas morning. The worst Christmas morning he had known. At least he supposed so. His dark droll manacle unlit by the trappings of the holiday. He had left the parts and pieces unpacked in a locker far at the other end of the hall. “No Christmas this year.“, he mumbled as he thought. No time for sentiment either. The old clock radio confirmed his fears. barely fourteen minutes to seven. No sounds from the spaces above and below and beside him. It was Sunday and the great calendar of the progression of days that those ancient Romans who had found it necessary to take note of such things said it was so. Commerce overcoming chaos. At present his degree of participation in such things was nil. About all that could be said was his bills were paid for the month running up to the transition new year. The great wheel of mankind spinning round in an endless cycle of financial responsibility and lack of ownership. It was not always so.
He could recall his childhood in bright flashes of images and sounds of both random and crisis prone pivotal events. The measured drums of the death of a president juxtaposed and a bad paper cut. The sound of his young cousin and the bathroom door yanked open. The grinding whirring gears of an all new plastic push button spring loaded battery operated missile launcher before a white flocked tree smothered in tinsel. Behind it all that Mid Century ranch house that had come and gone like some celestial barge in the mind. Christmases celebrated after then took on a more distracted tenor. Hard earned money freely spent on measured trivialities. Packages to be exchanged of various goods both expensive and cheap hidden cloistered within the garb of raucous patterns of shiny tinfoil reflective wrappings. A fresh killed treetop or a garish simulated version of same now as a center piece for the muted displays of gratitude through that mini marathon of an all too brief hiatus in the holiday season marking the cycle of another year’s end. He supposed the earth was lingering still at the farthest point from that all too powerful jealously glowing orb? How like society this celestial spoiled ‘look at me‘ type kid to spin it so carelessly around and around. As if on the end of a string risking some unexpected collision one day with another equally casually spun star? All these northern hemisphere rituals or rebirth seemed at the core of same so barbaric. The coming procession of death defeating for a time what one had recently come to know as everyday. All to be replaced by the birth of something else that would be in most essential details absolutely no different. Another year grayer. Another year a little more tired. Yet no farther ahead now than when the bloom of youth had been in force over the prospect of contemporary wrinkles. Time it was said was our father. But there seemed to be no mother to be found? The coming year cast as an infant. But fated just as surely to be defaulted eventually into similar circumstances some three hundred and sixty days plus hence.
He struggled a bit to re-assume the comforting mantle of the heavy edge of woven cloth reflecting his own waning heat. Laying in a fetal position his present tense appreciation of life a cold stove frozen shut feeling of the the dead of Winter. The heat was on but the windows seemed inefficient in keeping the drafts occasioned by a stiff wind from having their presence noted. The snow had commenced just after the sun had taken its place in the heavens. It illuminated the veil of gray that stood in for another day for that ever more rare quality known as a blue sky. There wasn’t a soul to be found on the streets as the crystals congealed in their slow tumble from the highest heights of the cached heaven. Gradually white collected upon the roofs and streets and lawns below. No other lights appeared to relieve the lake of well muted colors. Not sad as a sight so much as empty. He knew some would be out by late morning or afternoon. Movies. Mostly those that tied to replace the spirit of Christmas with a cynical contemporary cleverness. Mouthing a stilted appreciation of history as learned on screen like children playing with toys that have substitute for a stilted approximation of the cold hard realities once so evident in those former days. His head was full of them. The ones that had shuttled through his own time. His own era. The tree was after all a symbol of the ongoing progress of family. Of an ongoing lineage. Something that he personally was unable to produce. Moving slowly out from under the covers it was evident that he was persistent in his slowness. That reticence for the approach of the minute hand chasing its shorter stouter companion. Appointments and places to be ever causing a feeling of mounting apprehension as if he was ever the inexperienced pilot in danger of overrunning the runway. A feeling of sliding on icy ground towards the edge of a precipice.
It might have been a simple case of claiming that he had missed something along the long and twisting path that the highway of life had offered. But he had supposed and dined and enjoyed more than most. Many hello’s matched eventually by the casual nature of eventual loss. Some polite experiences of formal farewells. Others simply by way of uninterrupted long absence. The loss of a personal phone book. Of battery power, or the change in communication vendors. Occurrences that though sad to think of in some cases had become expected. The ebb tide of interests in the collective fantasy of the world as wrought by man no longer inspiring as they once had so passionately been. The destination that loom ahead seemed to demand answers that less and less he seemed both unwilling and unable to supply. The body demanded sustenance and shelter and put up a mighty intrusion into one’s thoughts if not satisfied it was true. But the soul that hid behind the heart was no longer able to be fed? He suspected that existence was only an illusion. An unquestioned vanity. And perhaps he was only a transitory projection that lingered for whatever time that he was aware of same. Yet their was a ‘but’ bestowed. A selfish wish to know all. The comings and goings of all these various events that populated the sum total of each bygone year and what was the point? What was the use. “Mere existence?”, he suddenly questioned. All the celebrations? What were they for? The simple salutation to some larger chaos for the privilege of consciously knowing it was so? “What thanks could he offer?“, he slowly thought, “To this endless gray waiting world?” And there was the rub!
It supposedly was Christmas? But one would have never known it by what was no longer posted on the airwaves. Nothing but conflict and commercial exploitation that itself no longer bore any semblance to peace on earth and good will to man? The strange bit of turning and twisting history that led to such outdated sentiments nearly extinguished publicly. Now it was becoming a Police state gyroscopic love fest! A virtual crowd mentality 24/7 shout fest of hostility and angst by a collection of anonymous voices many of which were machine contrived. There were no longer any saintly grandfathers because there was no longer an extended family. Not even regular fathers! Electric key chain technology was locking off large areas of mega urban multiplexes creating a serfdom based upon imposed castes. Strict control would be be exercised by manufactured scarcity in food shelter and information maintained universally by and AI brain. Humanity would be nullified as far as its individual potential of independent souls. A technologically adept organization of Satanic principles reconfigured in a pyramidal corporate barony. Where was the true Santa? The legacy and dream of a wish for peace and charity of the spirit. One that did not relate to some watered down version of every man everything? A twisted mockery of home and hearth but of vast barracks filled with disenfranchised peoples as convenient on demand baby maker resources for the aims of an elitist tyrannical totalitarian state? No reindeer in the sky this year? Just the merest trappings in base colors whose real origins said more for barbarity and greed then for dropping the hostilities built up by rote propaganda and the spreading of cultural uncertainty than anything useful to the positive advancement of humanity. It is a shame to wake up at the lowest ebb of the orbit of this place to find one’s faith in humanity so bitterly tested! So many willing fools from every side and every angle practicing the same stultifying blasphemies instead of mining the inner pool of the ongoing mysteries of themselves. Safety in numbers an illusion. Poor Santa! His Christmas as simply been given a pink slip before its time and told not to show up anymore. I for one am sorry to have seen it go. The memory of what it once was will remain in my own heart forever! The rest can have their 5G, “Hail Satan!”
It seemed to him sitting alone in his chair as the minimal light of the slowly rising gray dawn began to rise. It seemed that a ll the pay dirt had done played out. Days long passed unable to be recollected any further. Just one big blur. A buffer to all those things that meant something but that dared not be remembered lest they remind one that there was really no hopes left for the future after all. Another holiday season. Ten days left ti the twenty-fifth of the month and Christmas. The long pause of the sight of the museum of his family’s ancient artifacts all arranged exhibit style in a clutter about him. The gifts of long ago, some of them. Grown worn int the imagination having faded from the immediacy of want and desire. Who could imagine them now at center stage in a store window or holiday catalogue as being the most special? Too many others had come in the intervening years to take their place. All that was left was the material husk of what had long ago left. That fantasy of the promise of eternal perfection. The cotton grayness had risen now to appreciable luminescence. A milk shake state giving nothing away beyond several shades of an indeterminate lackluster blue. No definition beyond a few casual streaks to distinguish it from an intervening cotton blanket blotting out the universe of stars. The solitary sights allowed being the many dwellings of others locked in the rising metronome of early morning traffic. “Played out.“, his mind recited.
Some trivial diversions tried to cut in. The fact of his being days late on some bill. The requisite changes needing to be made for a job. All incidental crisis of no real consequence to replace that tempo of what had once been the drama of living. Involvement with the difficulties that other lives presented. Unfairly or not. Involvement with the hope of finding that perfect something that an inner lodger far within demanded. But would never spell out. Only hint at. Old roads and highways on the way to nowhere chasing the Sun both early morning and at the frost sign of the Sun’s daily fail. All those first spur of the instant ‘first’s‘ shared with someone else that one barely knew but hope to know more. But through the circumstances of choice and choosing the safe same old on had scrupulously avoided. That magic instate then quickly removed out of reach to form an imaginary mental point of worship to be added to the eternal untarnishable shrine of what ‘could have been’. But wasn’t!
Now of course, equally bereft of what was. And seemed never to change. But one day on the flip of a coin had changed. And now never could be indulged in again. Empty. Nothing left either way. Nothing to look forward to and nothing the way it once was. The forever in-between being his current place of residence. The chair he was sitting at had holes now. Evidence of the last acts of recent years. Of its membership as the prime actor in a final curtain call sealing off that span of time one could delineate as the past. The singling out of that period by the marker of the two deaths that stood out above all the rising number of others that once could mentally celebrate but had grown tired of doing so. Would the ceremonial tree with all the old artifacts of times past be recovered from the darkness of the locker down at the other end of the hall? All those handmade ornaments that presented the same of holiday guessing game. Trying to relate when other hands fashioned them in more hopeful times when hope was something that still sprung eternal. The spot on the small Florentine credenza was still taken up by the same old big gold leaf painted plaster lamp. It’s lampshade oversized yellow and dusty. No place to put it when the switch would have to be made. Taking one old item out of its accustomed place to temporarily replace it with another making this cluttered overburdened space even more so.
Not much to look forward to in the stillness of this ongoing pall that the paucity of the present tense with all its shortfalls and list of limited expectations growing shorter would present. The light above from the day restrained by the pillow gray formed a concentric wave. Like on that a large pebble might make in the idle of a pond but overhead. The universe above had sent its message and it had drifted by unheeded. The snow from the night before had gotten tired of the many roofs and had climbed down to rest upon the myriad of lawns below. Waiting for a hint of midday Sun. Hopefully to appear. Listless and impatient. Hopefully to evaporate away.
it was a pleasant sunny day strolling down the sidewalk at the edge of the beach by the water. The adjacent bike path’s traffic was slowly buildings with weekend ‘Tour de France’ aficionados many of whom who seemed to confuse occasional pedestrian traffic crossing their path as some form of momentary personal vendetta. Approaching the meander of the six lane highway to the other side of the ritzier section of the city’s center the Brahman section of the beach came into view. I knew that I was out of my depth strolling down this part of the beach. One that was unofficially reserved by some unspoken fiat for those in full flower of youth and wealth. And here was I nearly four decades past same taking my time at a pace that was annoying to all constituents of that age group! But there were no stanchions along the path to keep the riff raffia out of their zone. And my pittance of tax money was a good as the massive amounts that many of their parents declined to pay so rather than cross over under the tunnel below the big highway to an adjoining side street I rallied forth at the exact same slow maddeningly pace obliviously taking in any and all surrounding me as if it were part of a circus midway. And for someone such as myself, as I have said, being a multiple of three times the age of nearly all those before me nearly in the buff and vainglorious exposing as much well-tanned buff flesh as possible I am sure I was just as problematic. If not in the eyes as problematic as the occasional appearance of one of their parent’s in swimwear that might have exposed all the most unwanted bulges that their well-tanned sensibilities would have been fearfully abhorrent of. The current day’s propriety of this region not tolerant of an Michelin males or Pillsbury dough people.
One section demanded that all who dare not risk life and limb challenging the eminent domain of the nearby velocipede superhighway had to descend via an old crumbling concrete stairwell to walk amidst the well-heeled Lancome Bienfait buttered bun skinny thong-habited indigene. Granite ‘six pack‘ torsos supporting swollen biceps silently hard at work to garner temporal admiration within the surround of diffident maiden flesh. Their own ample Venus de Milo marbled chassis sporting sparsely covered surgically over-inflated boobies lounging like seals on the expanse of the low waist high sea wall. My own tiny, oft forgotten, ‘Johnson‘ becoming a tad nervously restless at this enfolding spectacle below I courageously descended. An navigational hazard appeared in my peripheral vision sitting somewhat draped on the treads ten steps down. A young man with his physical form lounging Etruscan couch style indifferently taking up a good part of the real estate nearly blocking egress into the teaming youthful morass below. My efforts to be covertly as circuitous as possible bruised by his verbal interjection. “Would you mind giving me a hand?“, the Apollonian face spoke in my direction. As if uttering some obscure stern quip from the more erudite unexplored postings of a lesser know ancient Greek poet. I looked back at him with trepidation as I had managed to circumnavigate his obstruction with what I took to be an extraordinary degree of stealth. What inordinate rule of the Gods had I transgressed to bring forth an utterance. Then I turned a bit and noticed that his lower limbs were quite thin and limp. His sunglasses armed continence directed its fire my way once again “Would you mind giving me a hand?” I stood there dumb as an ox. His appearance was no less than any other of nearby Narcissus. In fact, given the level of vesture and accompanying the Hublot chronometer and Roman Paul neck chain it might have been easily said that his was more than a few rungs above. “A Lift . . . in the literal sense!” Obviously considered an ox by this young man. Something though in my own private conversation informed me that this was a challenge of sorts. Not some saccharine issue of what might have been considered Good Samaritan gesture. But a challenge on the level of laying down a gauntlet with the corresponding probability of a dueling scar or worse. An act of retreat signifying cowardice. I didn’t consider that I might possibly fail to be able to lift him up. Surprisingly, up in the air he went and my back after many years of wear and teas held. I now served as pachyderm.
It was a strange career where though I was publicly scorned and privately invisible my talents at discretion and still adequate arms brought me into unimagined circles as this young gentleman’s man’s man in public. A role that I had once scorned but when actively taken on led to unofficial wealth and access to a portion of the world that I had vaguely heard of but never really knew existed. In some strange way I became the focus of a certain calling within the atmosphere of general decadence that this young gentleman traveled. Perhaps his own perverse nature as a millennial in wanting to be seen carried into venues by an aging ‘baby boomer‘ whetted some inner private fantasy of his own? While perceptibly considerable as ‘Gay’ in tastes to a casual outsider, agnostic to all things overtly sexual in practice focusing more on the regal exercise of power rather than real world participation. The demonstrated example of which led to a certain ranking of young attractive females in the environs approached were likely to approach who were willing to enthusiastically advance their desire to off participation in very forward offers of offbeat sexual gratification. Ones where I was tasked as their centerpiece. For me in those times of my scheduled performance in ceremonial entry and ultimate egress it was like reliving my own licentious young adulthood. A special status that for a while was entertaining but in light of age, stamina and reason soon became too problematic. I found myself comparing the levels of perversity’s engaged in. And to some degree found a fellow traveler in that regard from the behavior of my benefactor who only allowed himself to be engaged in an abbreviated version of some offbeat calling when it involved him ‘riding int he saddle‘ as opposed to serving as the conveyance. Humiliation having been foisted on him by the fact of his physical condition but not by current avocation to continue it through physical lip service. It was odd that like some Vaudeville performer of yore when found off-stage he treated me with a certain silent unspoken respect. An essential to his act that as it seemed to garner the affection of each audience he would not deign to tamper with or defame. The lesson that time and a variety of extraordinary experiences soon providing was that the human race as a single species was indeed a strange animal. And like any other animal in an unsure and chaotic universe had to be unscrupulously tamed and kept under tight control lest it eventually lead to the demise of it’s master.
It was a subject that he didn’t like to talk about anymore. He’d been in love with her in high school. His first love. Or really, he couldn’t make that claim. She’d never been in love with him. Never in the mood to reciprocate the assumption of passion that he felt duty bound to perform. Too many Saturday afternoon Hollywood scripts! In any case he played the good companion and bit his lip through all of it until he had had enough and couldn’t take anymore. He could still remember that night when he had obliged her with his car. Taken her on a trip to north of the river at the center of town. And she got out on a corner by a hotel and yelled and screamed and raged at the indifference of her absent father. He would only care to recall that last impromptu ride with her across the state at night with his dwindling hopes renewed only to be dashed when the final destination brought her to the bed of what had once been up to that point his friend. It wasn’t long until he put two and two together and realized some things about divorce. Thirty years after. Some nine years after his own divorce to that bright flame that quickly burned out. Now he wondered what would have happened had his first infatuation had indeed thought about him that he very occasionally was reminded not to indulge in thinking about her. Solitude was its own disease. An addiction that one picked up when it was just too damn tiresome to connect anymore. It wasn’t her. But all the others in-between that he continued the thought with. The ones that in some masculine way he replayed the that ongoing disappointment. Something along the lines of being denied the opportunity when it really meant something. And piece by piece getting small parts here and there when it no longer could. Those movie scripts came in handy after the fact. He became so addicted in the intervening years. A mental closet to keep his emotional Pyhrric victories. But now there was no love left. No fiction of love like an eternal flame to fan. His moth knew enough to keep close on certain occasions but stay clear. What if he realized that those women who were so skilled at overlooking you in youth might at the end of their year be capable of wanting to know you once again? Know you when it was safely too late when they had felt that they had lost everything else. Devalued currency. Confederate money.
“Worthless if not damaging!“, he thought. He couldn’t believe in the emotions of women anymore. They seemed to have no faith in conviction themselves. There physical beauty that once suggested some mighty universal power of creation and constancy abrogated by the fault of being just as human and just as lost as he had turned out to be. Two minuses not easily making a plus when forced together contraposed. That linear function of being linear and male not wanting him to go off the highway of what he supposed life would be from this point one and risk more rocks and gravel. He could not imagine the terror he would face if two of the earliest showed up pen night at his door? How hard and vulnerable it might make him. Crazy enough to contemplate murder? Or some form of emotional suicide to end the past. The worst part being the realization that he had given up and he was just mortal. That things had not gone anywhere since. In fact they had descended into the convenient desert of emptiness. The story that lingered on after the greater story of “One day!“. “One day.“, when he would finally fine that perfect one. The one that if he could have been honest along the way he would have known never existed. And for that fact, never could. It was all a crapshoot. People died on you after letting you down in every way possible for years. It didn’t lessen that time bomb of fidelity and attachment that ticked on within. So . . . That other world of the emotions that he had left in others. All the unrequited hopes that he had generated by the promise of his indefinite presence in their lives. Their fantasies and not his . . . Who’s fantasies meant more? How pathetic to think that any of them, especially the first one in that long line, might be thinking of him this very same night and wondering how it might have turned out otherwise? One day long overdue and now judged D.O.A
“Thank God!“, he thought in that empty room with all the lights turned off. Thank God that he was now buried in the blanket of failure. As if that would have made a difference either way to one or two that might have had some real heart behind the effort. How sad and pathetic was life. Is life! Fire and brimstone! “Did cavemen and women have such convoluted existences?”, he thought? It was dark and he lay on his bad hearing the fading melodies of the old melodrama making its way from his mental auditorium back out to where such things go when they seem long forgotten. It told him that women were not clowns or villains or even emotional refrigerators that waited patiently at one’s pleasure. It remind him if that which he did not want to know. That he daily avoided. That all were pathetic or vulnerable whiteout that other. Rusty wrecks with engines, cars without wheels. Going nowhere for yet another day farther past where they should have been. With that someone that they so successfully avoided but should should have been with. The irreparable lesson of life.