August was a dog month. He was glad it had past. But unfortunately for him, it was still not over. As he peed in the dark having been stirred once again from sleep to make that nightly stumble into his own jakes he thought about another ‘her‘ that he had tortured with his blame. They all had many faces like a Scylla. This one was much older than most. She would not change and surrender to marry herself to him. And he knew it would be a bad deal for her to get mixed up with the like of him. “I’m ugly“, he lamented as he placed his chin upon the counter of the hotel bookstore looking out through the plate glass windows at the waves that morning crashing on the beach. It was always morning by that beach! She walked obliviously by him towards the register at the other counter where they sold periodicals. She seemed sad, and perhaps a little guilty? But she wasn’t going to change, either. In that, both were going nowhere.
He leaned back hard laying prone in bed, pondering as he might at these times of how he might get up enough courage to take a flying leap off the resort’s roof. Maybe put a gun in his mouth and pull the trigger as he sprang off its edge? He wasn’t sure though that he would get the timing right? What would people say to the fact of his headless corpse? No, it was all to fantastic. But was it melodramatic enough? This old and tired hackneyed cry for help by a well-seasoned trapdoor spider. He had long forgotten his own reliability now, being unable to be counted on for concluding any useful task. This musing was simply another a ploy that might sound good in the whirlwind of contemplation but that would never be enacted.
She was that same old ‘she‘, that one of a thousand faces. The one that couldn’t commit to anyone, but kept a thousand on the line as if her own. She had built a headline world of endless horror stories of encounters with past lovers. Those that she had thought likely to commit to, but had past on by before any sort of connection beyond flirtation had been made. Her boundless desires for enjoyment had turned her into a whore. Or at least that was what she feared to be thought of as. Never able to stay with any one man in an endless game where no one would not stay with anyone in particular. She would look deeply into the face of every for the one that she had always wanted, but she never could find him. Save for a distant recollection of this first one that seemed to be there at first? But then never showed up after that first light of the next morning after the night before. Now she had to put up with this last one at the tail end of a distressing cruise where all others worth her attention in this place had been waylaid.
She saw him before the hotel’s counter looking at some books about an infamous abbot who was too busy revealing his own tale about everyday life to realize his own folly. That absolute last source that could be trusted to pontificate about how things in this world were! What did she have to say for herself but a soft spot for loser’s? Was it her brand of atonement in some way for never being able to fertilize and end up with a baby to raise of her own? There was no great tragedy that had kept her from it? No bad memories about aborted fetuses to wrangle through in the dead of night. Just that simple longstanding policy to refuse to be caught short by any man in any of her many affairs. “Where was the harm in that?“, or so she had always told herself.
He was working as a script doctor for a black filmmaker. The man’s script was more like a sculpture. It was a combination of two movies in two parts. And knowing better, he really did not want to modify too much. But he did perform some serious modification on one leaving the other alone. It was impossible to tell if this client was happy with the result? But he had pledged that he would not ruin it.
The intervening years had changed everyone. He recalled being within a room with many different people long gone, including his dead parents. His other relatives joined by his newly deceased aunt were discussing the many different aspects of being alive. He stood there alone as his entire family abruptly walked out of the room. Not a single one acknowledging him or bidding him a farewell. It was as if his entire life’s past was now totally meaningless and swept away. He could no longer be regarded as significant.
Life had reached a watershed at that point having finally reached the mountain’s peak. He looked back down along the path that he had followed for something that had nagged him all along the way yet still felt elusive. He realized that now there had been nothing there tangible to begin with. And that his experience had been all about the journey. And unfortunately. it was his angst alone that had led him along the wrong road. Here he was, alone on top of a mountain with everyone that you once knew and once loved now simply a memory. And there was no going back because all of them had moved on. And for him there was only going down the other side of this mountain into the next empty valley. Existence coming to a final conclusion somewhere along this way. He wondered silently if this was something that all others in this world had also planned for themselves? Most assuredly not! But he was the one that had insisted upon following this trail. And he had received his just reward of discovering nothing at this trail’s end.
Her name, as best he could recall, was Mary and he had met her by accident at a blind event. He just had ended up running into her. She was blond, beautiful and lithe. An exceptional looking woman! Someone possessing boundless attractiveness. Though she herself, remained on the edge of thinking otherwise. Perhaps her eggs were nagging her, ready to be sown with that ‘right‘ man? Someone up to this point she had so obviously been unable to find. But he was forty years too late! Maybe, not quite that much, but it seemed like it? And though he had forever been looking for his ‘femme fatale‘ . . . his own female version of the Flying Dutchman; and no doubt cast as a moth, he would have been happy to fly right into her flame to be immolated in an instant. Yet, he still managed to restrain himself from flapping his wings too hard in her direction. So much within him wished that he had been more active and taken more action to find some way of contacting her after the fact. But his long experience, like that of some old Ulysses recounting his many adventures so long after his body had become weak and impotent, knowing that she was for younger men, and no one such as he. He had to be content to be warm at night naked under his own blankets and consider that feeling as far as he could hope to go.
There was plenty of cold milled steel in that bed. A bed that she would never warm! A bed that was there waiting for something to happen, where nothing would.
The action from a dream continued back down into the basement. She was there, as well as a bunch of books. Carton’s of them! And she was reciting her own credo to ravage and destroy. He would have killed her right then and there, but that wasn’t his job. His job was to be her victim, and nothing more.
He lay upon that bed with his face and eyes covered to defeat the approach of dawn. In and out of sleeplessness, having been scourged by endless restlessness now for as long as he could remember. He tried to not recall all those many scenarios that he had missed. One’s that he knew that she would never participate in. Those deep mysteries that are in the shape of ‘here today . . . And then that mysterious voice stopped and he awoke from that dream within a dream.
The circus tent was filled with tramps. The ones that had wiped out their entire lives in dissolution. Some, including ones that he knew. She was there making up her face along the line of empty mirrors. He sitting across in one of the empty chairs shaking his head. Not so much in grief as disgust. Not a disgust with his own misgivings but in terms of the sad circle of endless dissipation of this woman that he was infatuated with living through. She was having new customers. In fact, one was just coming along. Ones that would, for her, once again portray their anger. Maybe slap her face? The ones that she would rebuff and then send away angry and hurt for a mini-lifetime. The poorly lit piss green surroundings by yellowish lamps seemed to say it all! She had sent him away that evening before in a very similar manner. Her phone smashed resting on a pile of garments leaning rumpled on the bottom of the tent pole. He had returned now, otherwise silent and unspeaking. And she pretended not to notice him. He saw that the cycle was simply being repeated yet once again. Something, as if repeated again and again over the centuries, it was ceaseless and unstoppable. A penance having to be fulfilled by the curse of some angry god, or goddess, that could never be satisfied.
The sun was up. It had been another night of restless tragedy caught in an emotional trough of despair. One that seemed to be a narrative. A log book charting an entire life of one trouncing after another, one failure after another. Everything about it beyond sadness and caught short of any hope of atonement.
He lay there with what was for him a startling realization. He didn’t care! He didn’t care about anyone but himself. The rest was just window dressing. Some curtains to keep the light of day from shining in and illuminating the truth. He was nothing but a misanthrope. Somebody that had grown to hate society because he had not been presented with what everyone else in society had been able to have. Attention. Being on stage as that one that everybody else look to. But then, he mused, that he had never been willing to deliver. So why should he be visible at all?
He had spent a lifetime chasing after things that he could not have. “You name it!“, he thought. An elevated lifestyle, and of course, women. Women that perhaps no one could ever have? But that hadn’t stopped him from wanting!