For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.
Woke up in the early afternoon. Went back to sleep. Wasn’t even tired. Just had nothing to do that couldn’t wait around. Woke up in the late afternoon. Read my Facebook feed. Phone was being slow, so gave that up. Got out of bed. Opened the blinds. Sunny still. Decided to leave the apartment today. Put on real pants. Cinched my belt. Teeth brushed. Hair mussed. Face examined. Kitchen. Toasted bread under the broiler in my oven because I don’t have a toaster. Got out peanut butter. Got out pickles. Sliced a large pickle on tin foil because I didn’t want to wash a plate. Got the bread out. Put peanut butter on one. Then the pickle slices. Then the top bread. Cut it into triangles. Ate it in big bites. Juice-glass of water to wash it down. Threw on my raggedy orange hoody. Blazer over it. Looked like shit in the mirror. Oh well. Busted converse with a big whole in them from a car battery acid incident. Bag thrown over shoulder. Out the door. Almost shut it. Walked back in the apartment. Made sure I turned the oven off. I did. Out the door. Locked. Down three flights. Out another door. Slight chill outside. Warmer in the sun. Walked. Changed directions a few times. Couldn’t decide. Walked. Decided it was stupid, walking. Ducked into a Starbucks. Got a cofee. Sat down. Hated myself for it. Drank it. Wrote this.
Squeezed out, deftly, between the thumb and forefinger, a lime wedge was cast spelunking into a bubbling mirth of gin and ginger. The divine to his lips, Matthew inhaled the citrus sweet, sipped lightly, finding the gin all but a utilitarian backing upon which fonder flavors were allowed to play. He’d been tailoring the drink over several months of experimentation, finding the perfect instruction to give the server. “Broker’s Gin with half mix of ginger ale and ginger beer, iced, with a lime.” Small hand gestures to accentuate the halved-ness of the ingredients, the volume at which to fill the tumbler. The discovery of this perfect beverage, like the finding of one’s self in maturity, was a continuing process.
Matthew took the sipping moment, past appreciation, to admire a woman across the bar. Slim, with dark hair coifed about her head in dramatic, flattened swoops, she struck elegance in form, a vampy sort of edge to a poised and classic frame. They had locked eyes once already, the woman and he, and Matthew, in his appreciation, had let the glance linger a moment overlong. He was kicking himself inwardly for the error, as she had now adopted that phone studying defensiveness a woman gets when feeling exposed and alone in social environ. She’d look his way again, but it’d be a slow rebuild from that initial caution, one that Matthew was sure would not fully recover.
With a sigh and setting down of his perfect drink, Matthew moved his mind away from the lithe distraction. He noted the pouring of rain outside, the rapid approaching of dark evening, of a night which, for him, held no plans whatsoever. He disliked this fact, and frowned upon it. Life was never so dull as when there was no approaching event, no distant anticipation. Idle times left one wanting, he thought, unfed and hungry for more than just come-what-may-revelry.
Matthew gazed down at the floating lime in his glass, noting it bobbing about the ice and sizzling in carbonated frenzy. It was like a decaying sea creature, set upon by tiny bottom feeders. So too was he floating limply, beset by boredoms insistent.
Of late, I like to re-imagine my former lovers as saints… as all of them taken to some higher divine purpose. Speaking with one such one recently, and discussing her half relations, I found that I prefer to envision them as exalted queens on pedestals, instead of mired in the same confusion and baggage the hinders us individuals all.
Kristin returned to the the stage, I muse, and brought a renaissance to theater, a resurgence of integrity, quality, and grit. Taking only the most self-illuminating roles, she has heralded a new age of acting. She met a brilliant playwright in this trade, and the two continue to set about on magnificent plays, winning every award eligible forever and ever.
Kate honed her illustration. Caldecott after Caldecott, her children’s books are heralded by all. And when she needs a break from publishing, she’s a violin virtuoso. Playing on stage center with symphonies worldwide, her interpretations of great pieces are the discussion of intellectual circles everywhere, and sign of veritable genius, they say. And that smile from the handsome orchestra conductor… could that have been more than friendly?
Deanna designs the world. A staff about her at all times, she dictates every decision, every choice with total clarity and determination. Her advice is sought in all graphic matters, and in design, she is a luminary of the modern world. Time magazine just featured her on the cover, in a trim, colorful suit, arms folded, a slight smirk to her face. Her doting husband is a stay-at-home parent, adoring and subservient.
Kelly is a new Gandhi for the Middle East. Clad in colored robes of a bedouin, she makes sweeping speeches to massive crowds, about peace, about a new defference in the Muslim world. She’s penning books on universal piety when she’s not cradling some forgotten child in her arms. She’s no time for love in her crusades to right Islam, and is too happy with her work to think on men.
And Gianna, I know her life… what transpires for her. I envision it so much differently, however. A cafe with a circle window. Piping hot cookies pulled from an oven. Delicate hands set to frosting… the same that play piano in the successful cafe, after closing. Her success has not fazed her, and as patrons to her business compliment her baking, her music, she smiles, blushes, a white cloth about her head, and says that it is all just what she loves to do. It is all simply what makes her happy. Is there a man in her life, the patrons all wonder, and Gianna smiles. Her eyes turn away, out the circle window, and she thinks on someone she’ll see after closing.
Genial fantasies, every one. Continuous and persistent,.. despite learned realities and subversions. In my head, they’ve been given everything. In my head, they’re so extraordinary. In my head, they live false wonders forever.
I’d been nothing all day, quiet as a church-mouse, apathetic as a great house-cat in the daylight. And there was nothing for it. No responses on the phone, no job with which to pass the hour. In the bathroom mirror my face looked plaintive and listless, the muscles of it lax and drooping. And there was nothing for it. No jokes to fill the quiet, no conversation to take the mind. Nothing at all, save for the dull tock of the kitchen clock, the dull patter of half-hearted rain. The floorboards ached and cracked their backs every time the old steam radiator kicked on, and I memorized their pattern. And there was nothing for it. Nothing. The days passed as such, and I with them as passenger in a slow trawling vehicle with no discernible destination.