I remember standing there thinking "I should be having an epiphany, this is one of those turning points in a person's life, and the mysteries should now be visible to me, but I'm just standing here in a suit I got from my dad after he died trying to convince these people I'm a grownup, that I know how to do grownup things and I'm not just making it up as I go along, not even trying to look ashamed." I couldn't say that, of course, so I said some other things, I don't remember exactly what I said now, the whole week is a bit of a blur. Afterwards people kept telling me I should be a priest. I don't know what that means. I don't know what any of this stuff means, and I'm starting to think being a grownup is realizing all the things you don't know, you'll never know, and that it's okay, that's the human condition, and maybe that's the epiphany. I'm too close to it to see at this point.
After we all got up to say something and everyone was milling around I went out and called Pamela Bambelam, and I almost told her I was still in love with her, that she should leave her husband and bring her kids out here, and I could take care of them, I'd find another job and we could put a down payment on the house, and it wouldn't be like California but we could make it work and I just wanted to hear her say she was still in love with me, even if she wasn't going to leave her husband and her house and her life, even if she didn't mean it, even if it was just for those few minutes on the phone, but I didn't say that. I don't remember what I said. Like I said, it's still a bit of a blur. Sometimes I fall asleep imagining the feel of her hair on the back of my neck, and if I stay still enough it's almost like she's there, until I notice, and realize, and she's gone.
I called Sarah, and wanted to tell her even though we don't know each other as well as we should, even though there are so many missing gaps in our friendship, we could skip all the things that normally take place when two people fall in love and I could drive out to her apartment and we could be together as though we had never been apart, and I could shop for groceries with her and go see goofy movies later, we have all the time in the world, but I didn't tell her that, because I love her too much and all my attempts to love her less have so far failed.
I saw a woman I had never met with dark hair and almond-shaped eyes, and I wanted to tell her we should go up to her bedroom and smoke opium and tell each other stories and she could teach me every little secret of making her happy, but I didn't, because she wasn't real, she was a character I made up in my head, and I stared at the reflection of the cold autumn sun breaking up and smearing across my bedroom window, cobwebs in the corners and dust mapping the currents of air over the past weeks since I cleaned the windows or tied my shoes or did any of the million little things you do when you're not crazy. Imaginary women tell me about the people they loved, the books they stole from libraries, the designs they paint on their toenails, and I tell myself this is what love is like, but this isn't love, this is something else, some trick of the brain. My life became so much simpler once I finally realized all I really wanted was to devour and be devoured by strange women, and the taste of it is warm and delicious in my mouth, but it vanishes in my throat, and I never stop being hungry.
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- Amid the silence he took off his hat
- ▼ November (90)