On Crosses and Crossroads

There's tuna on my breath and I mean that in the literal sense. I had a can for breakfast, spiced by some seasoning with a marketed name that I don't remember buying. The ghosts are becoming more bold. They're stocking the shelves with condiments they enjoy. At least I can share this space with some company, even if it's not the variety I've been chasing off for three years.

That's not to say I'm celibate. Last night there was a romp. She's a grand old girl, a throwback to Dorothy Parker and other sharp diamonds who didn't care what society thought of women who admit to craving carnal pleasure much like men. In the twelve years that I've known her it's always been that way. I've left her place scratching my head on more than one occasion. Was that the beer talking, or did she really mean to have such a pointed tongue? It didn't matter. We came so we won, at least for the evening. Distance lends perspective. By the time I returned home I had that much figured out. How much longer I can pretend to quench the expected thirst is a different topic, however. Nothing seems enjoyable for more than thirteen strokes these days. It's equally trite and emasculating to confess that I miss making love.

The accent wall was her idea, but breaking up was mine. We'd been together for long enough to know that we shouldn't have been, and therefore did what most couples do in that case:  we moved in together. The dog was dead, but we were going to keep it; maybe have it bronzed. It lasted for all of a month until I suggested a rift. The rent is double what I'd been paying at my previous place, but sanity is more important than prosperity. I've managed ever since. I've chased them off with sticks, and by that I mean choice words. In the three years since my three-year relationship I've refused to settle and I've abided by the rules of the road I've learned along the way. There's a whistle in my head that keeps me sleeping alone at night, or as alone as one who's haunted by ghosts who shop for groceries can be. The Great Ones have been coming to me in my dreams more frequently.

The character varies, though the theme is the same. The theme is the only one worth a damn in any book or film:  redemption. Last it was Angela. Before that Stephanie. There are others on that list, but we'll stick to those two since they're recently married with children. The internet is a cruel tool for the lonely masochist. I'm not sure if the knowledge inspires the dreams or vice versa. The plot is usually the same. One of the Ones That Got Away returns to make it right. I adore her, dote on her, tell her all the things I used to notice without having the sensibility to say. It may be the tiny circles in the skin under her eyes or the way her teeth are so much straighter than any line I could draw or how she whimpers so slightly before she falls asleep. Whatever it is, it's rounded and softened by the dreamscape--and that's when I notice it's fake. At first the revelation's heartbreaking. I know that when I wake my euphoria will cease to be. Regardless, I savor every stretched second for the solace that it is. When a cab's horn or the need to urinate wakes me I'm out of luck again. The only fate worse than losing love once is losing it over and over in the mornings.

It's not entirely selfish. A part of me's elated. They've given into instinct, those stubborn former lovers. The Great Ones are all safe now. They're safe and far from me. The women I meet in the wake of my prime don't last as long as a carton of milk.

No comments: