A trailer sized motor caravan that all had arrived in had then just as quickly disappeared. In it’s place was a twisted wheel deprived frame dragged up high in the air by a container crane. The story leading up to it equally absurd in it dimensions. An effigy of a failing life gone unexpectedly off the tracks into an unimaginable sense of twisted fate. The sin being one of exploration in that latter point of life when prospects disappear and fast moves forever always inadvertently go awry. Perhaps what had occasioned if might have been the fate of an acquaintance at the local bar? A big guy named AL. An old dry soda biscuit dry humored billy goatee bearded rascal whose best days might have been seen in the jungles of Southeast Asia long ago in youthful manhood. Someone from that ‘tough shit’ universe who carried his innocence wrapped tight in shards of broken glass to be broken open much later in life. Only if the situation allowed! He had taken a spill landing against a table and chairs. When the blood could no longer reach as high up as his head causing him to unexpectedly pass out. That big heart having gotten even bigger in his chest impacting into his lungs and sealing up the envelope of the little matter of his continued mortality. A routine known all too well at that age! The family legacy hit home having slowly arrived over decades. The last few years leaving a big house to play in to an empty audience. Now the wheels were gone and the buckling aluminum whale supported above by the derrick was high out of reach. No way to return to that former place, that for lack of anywhere else, was called home. That lingering impulse of change of state to go from someone perpetually landlocked to freebooter on the highways leaving only an uncertain limbo. The lingering past and prescience of possible future gone before the immediate ‘here and now‘. That big redwood trunk of that man felled laying on his side. A bloody napkin freshly pulled off from his temple still too cogent to duck recall.
The big box store occasioning these tale still seeming fresh in the first years of its life’s cycle. The setting for that motoring behemoth parked up the lane so that its occupants could easily depart towards its main entrance. Old and generally stiff of the joints, it was a customary courtesy afforded without question. Much to my surprise and shock of those remaining within the vehicle it suddenly became apparent that the establishment had been sequestered by too eager a crew of motorcycle paraphernalia attired Satanists. A coven of bored Middle Class stalwarts that had formed a pact among themselves out of a lifetime of boredom to lay down ritual mayhem on the easiest most accessible place where innocents could be found. This cavernous well-lit environment a place of possibilities for violence perfect in parameters of containment and a potential to inspire terror over a substantial number of inadvertent victims occupying it by chance. The caravan’s arrival coinciding with a perfect near completion of the first phase of their murderous riot. Loyalty keeping those left behind int he vehicle from immediately driving off. That pulsating animal impulse for self-survival quashed out of some vague noble impulse. A foolish thing experienced over a matter of minutes of indecisive discussion of pro’s and con’s before the pirate crew mounted an exploration of the caravan’s insides. Their first ignoble act being to throw a ninety year old colored woman out of the side window impacting the pavement and breaking her neck. The poor old soul caught in the midst of trying to pull on the pants of her equally arthritic husband who lay pathetically weak and prone upon the carpeted hallway’s floor.
It seemed to be a very unfunny joke to denigrate anything deemed ‘white‘ especially if it turned out that the orator was classified as being a ember of that group. An adaptive form of dialogue equally viscous as practiced by progressive immigrant Hitler minded Hebrews all nestled in the midst of the audience. One evidently taken up the burning torch to their perennial ‘straw men‘! Ritually victimizing others as scapegoats for their woes! The historical crutch of arcane magical numbers of the craft in six and nine and eleven ever summed in their math. Those same perpetual discontents living by an ancient time weary code of an ‘eye for an eye’! And eternal task of vengeance handed down to successive generations to be leavened upon the descendants of enemies justifying the tibias perpetual mentality of constant deceit. The entire world outside the coven, a mortal enemy. Human nature defaulting most to group and to ground in applying ignoble customs. The big fat Italian on stage entertaining the select group about him in what appeared to be constant self-depreciating dialogue Sex! Blacks! (whores!) All manner of ‘no go‘ women topics! His patter sallied about the safe harbor of what seems to be conventional Saturday morning conversations ‘German-ness‘. The legacy of an era of vitriol fanned by a ‘half and half’ race mixer President. Who in the Hell knew ‘whom‘ he really was? A hero or demonic saint? The divided land. Self-Isolation by the telling of the tale of the Springfield Race Riot of 1908. Who would dare to give anything less than a dispassionate account? Persistence and empty liquor bottle. These disparate groups switching roles but continuing on essentially just the same. “Who created them!” “Who enforces them?” Who has any respect enough for anything to surrender their God given power without a fight? The man that no one wanted. He was tried and tasked and tried. And when he thought about it. He was also so very much alone. The pirates only being a figment of his ailing mind.
He awoke. A nervous shaky feeling pervading his upper back running immediately down the length of both his arms as if he were in electrical contact with something heavier and more metallic. It might as well be something to do with him? A carry over perhaps? The tingly tingling sensation feeling now descended into his lower back as if some electricity was constantly discharging its waning potential slowly from him back into a state of equilibrium. The space beside him in his bed was empty save for wrinkled sheets. The previous two that had inhabited it so long before him. They were now gone. Long gone and in the grave. It was still all too easy to see them slumbering unawares within this space. It had started out as their own! Decades passing where he was just some occasional visitor. Sometimes a squatter and ever a guest. The day was forming itself up just outside his window. Massing in strength to mount a rising illumination. One that began to seed flickers of light into a sky. Graying the ground from the grip of darkness lurking below. An utterly still and silent animation transitioning two realms, one to the other. Each instant suggesting that one had been switched off sometime in total darkness to hearken benefit for the other. The readout on his personal assistant stated the dead of Summer and the midst of August. A light touch of warmth fading quickly from the top edge of twisted covers. Now pulled back slightly and left open suggesting something in seasons ahead being much colder. What would the weather be today? Uncomfortable and sweaty and hot like last week? This last weekend having been cool like the middle of Fall. The light feeling of unheated air dancing upon his extremities extending down to his knees then halfway up the front of his thighs. “Circulation?“, his mind ingeniously pondered.
He pulled off his over worn black nightcap. Slinging it back over his head and set about rearranging the covers back to their nighttime convention. Imagining that he could prolong the night in order to compensate for the raw sensation that had deprived him of the full measure of needful rest. The disorder of the nights disturbing dreams defaulting to random misaligned images without hope of plot or drama. He lay back again in a flood of excuses. The impressions left by the fading visual imprint depositing deeper more lasting impressions that like some form of ultimate penalty would be levied for the coming day. An hourglass of sandy bothersome grit running out. He made an instantaneous sweep of the arm pulling off the covers once again. Unexpectedly rolling to the side onto the carpet to swiftly venture forth to the ‘jakes‘ of his kingdom. Fragments of dream rattling about his head. “If they weren’t recovered“, he reminded himself, “Then they would be lost.” And he would have to walk around the rest of the day under their burden. Trying to piece them together from loose threads suffering that nagging feeling that he had missed something important and telling about himself. Something that might hold a key to ending this current époque of stagnancy. There they lay like random bits of broken glass, sharp and pointed in his mind’s reflections. So much certainly like other ones of a previous vintage that he could barely recall being related to other more random experiences unearthed from many years back.
The world awaited out there. An apple to be plucked. An immovable lodestone that needed to be cracked open.
It seemed that it would be a fight to the finish? All dignity aside. Two dogs wanting the same bone. Barely any meat left for one. The dream offered little solace and it was the dead of night once again. The sky lay upon the cage like and over washed purple cloth spread upon a birds cage. No sound of snoring but a clock’s steady tic to and an icebox’s hum. Two weeks now of waking up to this skittery weak feeling drenched in sweat. A stomach full of carpet tacks. Little to say for another nugget frugally spent alone. The dogs seemed lucky! They had the diversion of each others dedicated company. There were worse things than mayhem! Maybe than even a perpetually stomach? There was being completely and totally alone. Even the most miserable of all the dregs mankind so unrepentant to the sting of the whip must tremble at thirty days in the hole. What could they do with three-hundred time three? It was so easy to hallucinate a passing auto defaulting to the distant call of a listless wind. The hum of he icebox pump now angry attempting to eradicate that. The heart had swollen up hard against the internals and the lungs ached as if a ball of cotton was heavily lodged and mucous soaked descending slowly like the clog of a sink. At least the hard inflexible unstoppable galley slave beat had not begun. The system had turned to rust. The only current pleasure being a slight caress of cold upon bare skin. The dichotomy of mild extremes diverting all the rest from total domination of all things thought to be real.
A slight and subtle crack of the the neck just below the back of he skull as the head was leaned back hard into the chairs cloth cushion. Inky dark night interrupting the clear view of the same old ceiling so blatantly apparent in day. There were lives going on beyond its barrier as well. The head changed direction and the same mantra sprung out from hiding again. The building was alive with strangers. People that for the most part one never encountered nor even occasionally heard. Strange characters that would pop out of a door on occasion making both parties nervous and generally defaulting to some insincere play of easy familiarity. All parties ready to go back to the myth of no sign of life for an eternity of miles all around. To step back into one’s own threshold! And return to the conviction that they were hopelessly and totally without possible alternative to remain being alone. Trust in one’s fellow a rusty misguided key too long unused to have any trust in its ability to unlock any real hidden store of boundless felicity. Whose fault was that? Forgetfulness was the referee right now that sent all parties back to their corners until the bell would be rung. But the question coming t mind being, “Would it ever?” The shadows of one’s own existence seemed safer portrayed by paper thin phantom’s flicker long ago recorded. Every line pure and purposefully misstated as by the reigning script. The reason for any hesitation in this world of these long past phantoms being their delivery and the comfort of familiarity that it brought one. Something ersatz human that one felt that they could depend upon time and again. It was starvation otherwise.
The sticky rubber of flaccid skin upon skin. A certain rising sense of mild clamminess from muscles set too long in the awkwardness of a body over-saturated by the effects of inactivity. Seemingly astounding how an excess of flesh imposed such dilemmas? One might have thought that the satiation of an empty gut at rare intervals was a healthy thing? Instead some demon power utterly perverse demanded otherwise. This was a land of suffering and it had always been so. Transgressors who believed otherwise were always sooner or later brought back down to earth if they believed otherwise. Social pressure and an inbred jealously that allowed only the single notion that insufficient bread and fishes be shared universally with all. Leaving only the possibility of a lingering taste in the palate that inflated one’s desire for more. Those that wanted more. That took more. Most likely to suffer the worst. The crack of the head sounding again as the nape bounced a couple times against cool invisible cotton. A reliable stiffness evident now in the neck. Sleep was now coming on as both the approximation of a night of heavy drinking and a rising burden weighing down the back. Soon, so very soon, it would be time to rise like a penitent to revisit the rack. A strange recycling barely detectable whistle war whooped as if the squeak of an old outdated wooden chair creaking under the excitement of someone to patently obese. The continuous protest of a canine? Perhaps one of those unseen distant dogs that had lost the contest for that bone?
So many time I find after a particularly extensive internal drama spent under the covers in the dead of night that I find myself delivered back into the embrace of my bed once again several ours short of waking. Not any particularly random time but so very often, that exact time of 3:45 AM. On the same exact fraction of an hour being when some six years before my own beloved father drew his last breath on earth. No what makes me wonder is that my being a legacy of his genes and no doubt his eventual ailments of affliction of the heart that make it the most likely reason written on one’s toe tag. It seems curious that I should so naturally be brought to consciousness again and again at this exact time. Small tiny sharp stabs to stage left anterior just below my own thorax. Almost in some strange way as if I had been called back to that habitual place called waking reality. One in my shoes could easily speculate that this phenomena is not exclusive but shared with many others. So much so that after rising from the warmth of rumpled covers into the persistent reigning cloak of darkness I have resorted to the web to in much to some level of surprise that this precise time of night is said to be the hour when the devils come out to dance. A fact that has one’s inner self occasioning imagery from Disney’s classic of demonic ancient tribal rites, “Fantasia.”
My own road to this awareness complete with palpitations of an aching chest beginning in the still cogent memory with some vague scenario commencing on a farm where I had been handed some vague assignment to work with a woman at what I might have described as an inmate of a ‘hen house’. The downtrodden collection of sheds and barns, stables and smithy all gathered around a central court focused upon a raised platform serving as stage. A convenient coven for the faithful of a small congregation of earthy looking females playing both main performers and primary attraction to the audience of themselves. Myself now outwardly the inescapably noticeable Caucasian male sticking out in naked view like a big red sore thumb before this aching distill crowd. And as such, my opinions considered as being completely unacceptable. But in that contemporary humble guise of as a simple respectful ‘cucked‘ male quiet mindful of their ire barely tolerated as spectator. I sat beside an old female friend named Sharon who in her own usual way seemed forever diplomatic in avoiding awareness of such obvious schisms. This universal war on the topic of male potency as heatedly conducted each tongue successively carrying equally sharp barbs dripping with venom. Time and again, the overzealous spittle of biting little speeches boiling over to outwardly condemn all things evil as being defaulted to a failure by that element of ‘man‘ within ‘mankind‘. It all seemed so silly to me in my silence. The presentations, one after another, evidencing an all too obvious inherent weakness of internal character within each of the speakers in their barely concealed lack of any internal self worth. “How odd?“, I thought on the fly sitting there. That this sort of mutual Achilles heel was so blatantly shared and evident within this group? And being so easily interchangeable among them like some form of emotional currency acceptable as a form of unquestionable communal wealth within their dogmatic Feminist realm? One particular verbal arrow loosed my way daring blood as the speaker expressed he venom in a particularly loud fashion. The spoken projectile striking home bringing forth an immediate knee jerk vocal response in kind from me. “RACIST!”, my own voice rang out loudly over the throng towards the speaker. Barely a murmur within the crowd was detectable for the next moment. But then a wave of expected mumbling struck like lightning through the entire crowd. One in a fashion that one would expect to evidence in a stormy wind cutting forcefully through the un-plucked sheaf’s of wheat. Its virulence disrupting the entire field in a wasteful shower of unharvested grain. It was now time for me to exist this farmyard in order to carry out this vague mission. The unspecified collaboration of a sort with another party involving the collection of facts on a topic that might be of possible interest to the general readership of an unnamed local publication in seeding an article of passing generic interest.
I didn’t look to see if another woman was parked on the the bench seat next to me as I exited in my big blur and white outdated sedan. Relieved to be away of such unwholesome irritations, I headed down the expected stretch of road that unexpectedly identified itself as a place and proximity not too unfamiliar to me at all? Some place claiming ownership in my own routine vernacular as not being, “so far from home.” The segment of highway just beyond the intersection offering a shock in the specter of a cathedral-like malevolent vision of several city blocks crammed full of old derelict buildings. Ones so hoary to my first glance as to judge the lot as being completely abandoned over centuries. A second cautionary glance affording a stark impression of their having collapsed upon each other in such a manner as one might expect of wax dripped haphazardly over an extended time by gravity onto tightly packed votive candles left too close over a long night. The red dirt street splitting into a matched set of lanes diverging to either side of an undefined median. Both completely unpaved inching upwards over a steeply inclined Hell of well-worn ruts and muddy potholes that seemed nu-navigable to the eye. Most incredibly of all in the midst of this inhospitable environment families of suburban tourists rambled about unperturbed as if amidst some form of holiday carnival attraction? My own course forward already plotted by inattention in crossing the intersection I carefully ambled my vehicle up through this gauntlet as carefully as possible. These roughly tumbled lanes betwixt derelict structures inhabited occasionally by boutiques of the sorts of barely stocked store one might expect to find serving as commercial way stations in those bleak economic deserts of inner city black ghetto neighborhoods. Large German shepherd dogs were in evidence everywhere. Their universal popularity within this marginal municipality possibly as a form of general warning. These quarrelsome looking beasts roaming about the streets with a brash arrogant independence suggesting a communal sense of barely contained menace. You could hear them constantly growling from within your car’s tightly closed windows. As if each was marking out its own territory vigilantly stalking some potential target to quickly harass. Their collective demeanor surpassed in belligerence only by an occasional uniformed thug sloppily attired in the threadbare trappings of law enforcement. Driving further into this mess seemed some form of unconscious death wish courting disaster.
A gray area of unconscious mist accompanied a transition to someplace not quite explicable. My next appearance being within the battered confines of a large mold ridden disabled structure that served as the lobby of the town’s main hotel. The reason for my foolishness in having allowed myself to be there only be explained as a tacit compliance to that unnamed female consort whose presence was more characteristic of some form of phantom sylph than a real life flesh and blood companion. Exhaustion taking the place of caution, I recall settling down on a patch of floor by a wall to lean back upon some bags and begin to fall into a snooze. My impulse being brought to an immediate hasty conclusion by the intercession of the probing of an adolescent shepherd dog that struck his its tooth bound nuzzle hard against my temple. The young demon snapping angrily at my ear for good measure. Where in any other place on earth the infamy such an interruption might have been a form of blame placed upon the head of the hound’s owner in this case it summoned the immediate antagonism of a local magistrate. Jumping over me like a canine. he solemnly warning me to quickly move along lest I be arrested on the ground of some minor infraction if I did not exit the vicinity immediately. He seemed to seethe from within from an inexhaustible wellspring of rage as it was the true inspiration behind his profession. Not needing any further hints I made my way out of range of his general locale and back towards my vehicle. The exact location of which now seeming to be playing hide and seek trickery with my foggy memory. My companion now an astral entity whose presence I could barely sense anymore at that point. The ceiling now above me cloistered in shadowy dark offering only speculation as to the underlying meaning of such a flighty episode. The connection of thoughts invading the inclination to fall back into sleep charting a direction to the inference that there might be the possibility of another source for this unpleasantness. One that had equal resonance with the notion of the hand of other realms interceding with the conduct of my own. And with those of my now long departed family members. The dance of demons at their high point at the most expected hour of their nightly revelries. The passport allowing their visitation upon a victim being the unhealthy lifestyle of the ready host accompanied by the possession of his long overburdened soul.
“The Reve Mal” It forever seem odd that of all mankind’s devices stories of one kind or another remain the most potent part of human existence. Not necessarily good stories or long familiar ones that have been repeated over and over so many times that they seem etched in the back of one’s brain. Stories that suggest an odd unexpected conclusion that border on the temporal quality of clever. Bundle them all up and you have the motivating force behind society begging along the way of course for it to include those of your own. Case in point of those fed to you by your unconscious in the collective realm of dreams. The current era being overwhelming leaving one a phantom padding about within their own personal museum of ultimate obsolescence. That adage of utilizing a fraction of brain capacity coming down in so many ways to a base level of time spent on contemplation.
“The house was filled with a collection of reptiles. The most notable being alligators and their crocodile cousins that congregated int he middle of the room snapping their jaws as one passes. It seemed a good time for a departure and my aged mother stood at the door to the hallway ready to exist down the short flight of stairs. I met her just outside and bundled her into the Lincoln Town Car onto the front seat. Then it seemed that her older sister also was in the back seat.”
At this point it is useful to stop to tell one and all that this is but simple illusion as it cannot be substantiated by any physicality in the current waking world. And as many have pointed out so plainly when one extrapolates under the bright Sun of midday. So many easy explanations existing presenting existential arguments defying that experience as if it was planted only within one’s head by a more earthly random experience. Yet from the insider perspective of within that single head that inspired it the waking world despite all its easy camaraderie cannot disprove it noting nothing more than a frequency of same. Offering only ones daily return to habit in believing that palpable reality need be proven by the simple fact of its continual intervals of repetition. This becoming a particular delirious dilemma for those types afflicted with an acute form of solitary aloneness that has not strict the convention easily at hand to derail it from being a positive belief.
Thus those afflicted went about their daily routine with a feeling that influenced their appreciation for the their immediate circumstances that could not be verified by actual experience. A distinct disadvantage in dealing with strangers and distant acquaintances, who of course were never privy to the eccentricities of the dreamer. How this all played out in the midst of so many faceless masses only a matter of importance to the one who experienced it. What weight could such a thing have in a sea of indifferent humanity? “For after all . . “, one might easily recite, “. . .what is one man’s opinion against the sea of the many?”
To consider the difference in the opinions of widely disparate eras forever seemingly obsessed with contrasting poverty with plenty it might be appropriate to reflect upon the differences of former times in terms of general popular attitudes. Those particular ones spotted in the from a distant past offering the promise of success gained by the experience of the amalgam of both experiences. Ones that surpass in blatant symbiosis the more contemporary ones which by comparison seem near to impossible to ever actually achieve. Freely available work almost on demand as livable wages for example. The talented being able to cut more favorable deals in terms of wages and benefits based on verbal performance. “Closer’s” versus “talker’s!” The newest most latest form of sensibility being to run general society like a meat packing house where nothing gets wasted despite any potential risk to the public health.
A more polite form of acknowledgement offered exclusively to those from other lands. As those with strange customs strangling the conventional experience of others considered indigenous. You’ll be solicited along the way by vague entities that routinely pass themselves off as just plain regular personable folk. The dreamy image posed in a few well-composed pictures set in a pleasing locale dressed in appropriately stylish outfits that are carefully configured to strike a positive chord with you as their prospective consumer and eventual targeted rival. The closet thing to this composite identifying label possibly being referred to as, “THE TEAM.” A very determined stratagem of lack of identity identifying that same old corporate firewall virtually protecting the company from any need for their accountability to customers for their services. Everyone and everything treated simply like a commodity.
Taking the long suburban road back to the ‘house’ that in reality has become a much smaller apartment through the emptiness of a semi arid landscape escorting my mother. One that is too far, knowing too late that we should have driven. Why we did not was a matter of forgetting for a while that the path back over open terrain always seems shorter than it in fact ever turns out to be. One’s age averaged and divided is occasionally put aside as a factor and the fiction of youthful endurance assumes a greater palpable fiction. A chain restaurant a block or two off the gravel path due east gleams quartz white as if it has just recently been built. A Disney castle mirage in the deep darkness of the mind. Salivation for the hopeful fantasy of plenty and tasty inside crosses the space between my ears within my own empty divide. I have grown up in the postwar age of advertising. The mental Utopia that the worship of everything new and improved allows you temporary entrance within. To conjure the mental picture is more immediate than to test the waters with your tongue and pocketbook. That is the actual realm of scant financial resources and the specter of starvation. The great kings and dukes of old along with their subsequent more modern social warrior imitators having forged a great mental trauma genetically passed on by too often playing too dangerously with the ship of state and so often running it aground. One remains ever mindful of their next meal hoping that if it be one’s last then at least it might be memorably distinctive as the best so far. This is progress.
Ron, the father, ends up on Johnny Carson as a guest. A failed entertainer from the ‘get go’ in his own mind. He rises up from the audience to follow the expected patterns of behavior on stage. His greatest secret dream. To be recognized as talented and out of the ordinary, and loved. What can any self-made man hope to find after he has found a knock off copy of the Philosopher’s stone and a deck of playing cards to gain a sufficient amount of ready cash? Money and all that it can buy is never enough. The ritual of an audience locked in their seats facing East towards the refresh of a hopeful morning Sun of the television is all too seductive. A crowning gift to the man who initially came up from nothing but for whom this persistent sense of the inescapable present provides never ever enough. this is the curse and blessing of his most formative era.
The two of us having wandered, end up waylaid behind a big strip mall on the bank of what is rapidly turning into a raging river rising up. The silt scraped from the bottom being thrown into the air like the froth of a chocolate milk shake. The building flood overwhelming the back access of truck supply lanes subsuming the loading docks. This apocalyptic chaos transforming dazzling cinder blocks from their intended task of securing items within to serve as a retaining wall protecting this unready location. The terror of the unexpected show of force of nature underestimated. A might deluge instantaneously conjured without a single drop of rain. Surely a figment of one’s pernicious imagination?
The awakening of these fictions in that other world of one’s former life precariously rewoven since the night before? Never to be believed but for the hint of a solutions that they pretend to offer? Should one play the gullible fool and volunteer their belief?
This quiet surrounding realm of framed photographs serving as dusty headstones embalming the past. Now long silenced.
There are a lot of questions that one is likely to ask in the course of their own lifetime. Most seem like they might expect a reasonable answer to point you in a reasonable direction. One’s that the answer to which will help you to avoid a few more questions that you are not ready or willing to be asked. Lonely questions that one would not think of volunteering save for the middle of the night when one is alone and cannot sleep. Tough questions like why did you decide you should count someone out. Someone that you thought you loved. That is until you realized that you didn’t. Maybe it took an off moment to realize it. And maybe it took several decades and a lifetime until it dawned upon you? You never loved her because you never find a way to love yourself to believe her. That made her a liar in your eyes. Someone who wanted something that you couldn’t afford to lose. That longstanding smokescreen that you were used to referring to as your own self-respect.
But now things were different. You stared at the light dancing occasionally upon the ceiling hour after hour. And now you fantasied that things were different. That they always had been different. But no one had bothered to tell you. If only someone would have just said the right word. Then things would have worked out the way they should have. That goddamn parking lot staggering home half blind toked out and inebriated feeling the full moon above the two of you weighing you down. She in a huff angry. Spooked more like at the mess you had gotten her into. Involved her in like it was simply nothing more than a wrong turn that meant nothing to you. But obviously, everything to her. And so you walked on in that empty parking lot miles apart with the distance between you ever widening. And when you finally reached your floor you knew that you were truly alone. And would never be with another that same way ever again.
So now you are an old man laying on the flat of his back no longer making any plans for a future. That empty blank ceiling above you like the lid of your coffin. And you just staring there forward seeing nothing but some other poor fool’s headlight reaching out in the lonely night as he or she travels past along a mostly deserted highway probably heading to that place that they called home. Something that you had always dreamed of but never seemed to find a way to. Too hard to make a life with another who could only be second best. You heard it said so many times over the intervening years that your first is alway the one that sticks in your mind. The one that you ran across that other parking lot at first as the sun died that fatal afternoon. The long lonely weekend when you returned format he news that someone that you had known had died young. Too young. And it hit you like a piano dropped from the second floor. The keys striking a minor tone as it hit the pavement with you under it. Things like that were not supposed to happen. They were too real for the young to have to know. But you knew!
So you went back down the road back to school to find the one that you knew you wanted. All the shyness and reserve now gone. Washed away by the silent river of tears that were shed upon the steering wheel of that car speeding back at dusk doing a hundred down the two-lane. You jumping out of the seat making a beeline for her room and catching that look on her face as she turned to see that your eyes were staring back only for her and her alone. A magnificent moment that one only dreams of in the movies but not in the perfidy of real life. That was the first and last time that you really gave yourself to someone else. Hook, line, body and soul! But now it is a vague impression that you tell yourself was real. It must have been! There couldn’t be all that broken glass back from this moment all the way back to that time when the two of you walked away from each other in the moonlight on that cold hard asphalt lit night. It would have taken so very little to have walked a little faster instead of playing the fool. Selfish man!
Which is better? To be universally recognized or remain completely anonymous? The new form of triumphal surrender as therapy to your impossibilities. It is all too easy to fall into the stereotype, or embody it from the start. Playing card parliamentary rules when you plot to ask someone a pointed question. Sometimes it would be wise to have prepared your own answer lest you be found wanting when the same question is turned around on you. All the old war heroes can be lined up before the cameras like trophies. They just have to show up to collect. In the best sense of same, women are there to be admired. What is fairness after all but simply a fabricated mental impression, yet not a truth, and never an inflexible standard?
Long ago the will to love was lost. Why? How much dirt on a grave does there need to be to make one think it has never been anywhere to begin with? A lack of empathy in daily life, just a simple form anesthesia. When you walk alone you can never have a peaceful moment again. You can describe the action and let your mental audience comment. You can describe the setting and provide the tone of the atmosphere to let other consciousnesses construct a narrative. You can recite the primary character’s inner thoughts verbatim and then allow the impression to come to the most likely conclusion, come what may. Some people just want another to sit silently there beside them so as to get a physical sense of security. Some people don’t what to change a single aspect of their own existences and are constantly plotting on how to resist the same. Other cling to their sanity by swimming upstream in the swift current of other people’s emotions as they overwhelm their own.
A dim bleary eyed besotted face rises from the drool pond of the table, “It’s Hickey!” “He’s arrived!” “Finally!”, “The Iceman Cometh!”
The popular media’s job is to dispel human loneliness with the daily illusion of an engaging conversation. Any victim is always eventually condemned for the fact of their disease or miscalculation leading to their eventual failure. Especially if they have risen too high and done too well. Two guys get waylaid on a schooner then share their adventures high in the rigging drunk as skunks. Most men have heroes generally in professional sports. Careers that they follow through the entire course of their own lives. The wilderness of night was thus consumed with such abstract mental wanderings.
It had been a bad night of constant drifting off and sudden waking. His left arm ached and he had to constantly jockey his position to suit the restlessness that its relentless discomfort demanded. Those sudden sharp shooting pains beneath the ribs. It seemed that a sinkhole had appeared in the middle of his chest. The waters of life did not seem to penetrate it. But the beer and the tequila did like a sharp arrow. He was too old now for frivolous bar stool adventures. The sunlight of morning seemed extra bright and demanding that he open his eyes to it. The sweat stained bed sheets clung tightly like stucco upon him. He rose checking the stagger to the bathroom marking if its source was the previous night’s drink or the inefficiency of his heart’s pumping. The steamy shower seemed to wash away much wreckage. The mirror being all too honest confirming yet again that not much was left of his sense of male vanity. The descent into old age had not been kind. All to the disappointment of youthful desires that refused to be quenched. His head slowly nodded in sympathetic agreement that there was nothing extraordinary or unfair in this. But extremely disappointing as he had disappointed himself by not taking better care having too quickly given in to well-worn self destructive habits. His mind refused to leave its endless wanderings in the flowery fields of youth.
Sylphs, fairies and ghostly mental images of all the women that he had once been attracted to in those bygone rituals of mating. Ceremonies that were no longer possible for him save to idly ponder in private. He closed the towel and then turned to the shapeless pile of his raiment’s discarded in a rumple just outside the bathroom door. A worn second skin of threadbare futilities. The renewal and replacement of each garment noted on a mental list to one day renew. A second skin to be renewed by in some small but significant way. His attentions diverted back to a longstanding mystery cloaking his mind’s eye to the constant sight of others. The incomprehensible experience of his arms encircling a young maiden as he had in decades past. A young woman’s body unwrapped and fully revealed in all its wonder a sight perpetually eternal in his thoughts. How many like it had he held in close embrace in eons past? Tried to understand, not with his mind, but with the antenna of his soul? Failed miserably with each to learn its secrets as to the reason for its being. His hands upon the small of a back delicately bowing it like a cello with restless fingertips. Each attempt to capture it defeated by the flash of an eye. Something ethereal int he descent of fingertips incrementally tracing the flatness of a hip declining inevitably into the curve of an inner thigh. Taut strings rubbed and plucked.
Life since had become laundered of such thoughts. He had his pile of well spent rags that served as snake skin remnants of his former self. The pursuit of youthful passions lost and now impossible. Absurd to consider! The waking dreams of old movies affording a slip from current dignity in the propriety observed in the conduct of one’s self. The world of now was filled with old compromises. Quick bargains made forgoing something considered so regular long ago but now cemented tightly shut and impenetrable. Pacts made in silence with unspecified entities that asked for nothing in specific but one knew were keeping a grim vigil. The inevitability of one’s genes as demonstrated by now long lost forebears offering only the conclusion of mortality. Perhaps sooner and not later? There in the street by a table in the imminence of the sun strung out like a line of beetles. Slow careful promenades of ancient brittle bones and arthritic joints supporting wrinkled skin and sagging bellies. all melting slowing and inevitably like candle wax left unattended in the wee hours of sleep. One awakening in the morning with a start to the spectacle of it’s decay. That moribund procession dirge-like slowly into the oblivion of the grave.