Three gins in
Three gins in and I'm thinking about honey legs, a summer long gone, and how come you only told me you wanted to fuck me years after I got back with my wife and it was impossible to even think about?
Three gins in and I'm remembering a warm night, she is walking through the door, flushed and tired, and I say, how was your hot date? because her buddies told me that was where she was. And she is like, what the fuck do you mean, it's nothing to do with you? And I'm like, woah, I never realised she didn't like me, because I can't see that she's just embarrassed, it didn't go well, wasn't all that hot, and of course it's all about me.
Three gins in and I look at the books in the crates waiting for me to move them downstairs, and I'm thinking, I'll never read all those, and suddenly I realise yes, I am older, and I don't want to say old, but a woman once asked me if I was the twins' granddad and I should have been mortified, but instead I thought it was just what I deserved, because I did get old and now I cannot ever be young again.
Three gins in and I think, I'll never see Stockholm. And it's not that I particularly want to see Stockholm, it's just that I'd like the option.
And I didn't dance when I was in Barcelona, because I choose women who choose me and I was chosen by a woman like a sheet anchor, who had no way to have fun unless you made fun for her, a woman who had no idea how her heart could sing, who focused only on how I should play the tune.
Three gins in and I remember a gentle squeeze on my fingers, I will never see you again, and I don't understand why everyone thinks it's kindness simply to love me. I have needs too.
You'd think they'd realise.
Three gins in and I remember you, my clearest memory I think, in a pressed white blouse, in a rush, no more than a minute or two to give me.
And I think, I love her, I'm sure I love her, but you, you had better things to do, better or more pressing, but anyway, you left without even kissing me goodbye, and I loved you all the more, but
I don't believe love ever dies.
I don't know whether it's just because I will not let it expire or because I truly believe it is a thing in this world or because I want to believe I will always be loved.
I prefer my dreams to reality. I prefer to be a true believer to believing in nothing, even though there is nothing to believe in. I would rather die for an ideal than live forever mired in the real.
I want there to be a book in which we are written, each of us, where we are weighed. I want there to be a book in which we are judged fairly.
I know there is nothing but darkness outside but it doesn't stop me from wanting. We all get given shovels. We can spend our days digging our own graves or we can dig foundations. You don't get to just stand there shovel in hand. You just don't. I can't prove it but I know you don't.
On the freeway
Stop the car, I want to get out. I would rather walk from here. At least then I choose where I'm going. You drive on. You take the path you want to take. I will never see you again. Your memory of me will be a stooped figure striding purposefully down a road he doesn't know, going where he doesn't want to go, bowed down and slow.
Let me out so I can walk. I don't know where this road leads and I don't know how I will get home. I feel your hand on mine, you squeeze my hand like I am a child who needs comforting. It's reflexive, you don't think about it. You cannot help it. You are moved to pity. I don't know how I will get home. I feel the same fear I felt when I was younger. I never liked to be driven to parties that were nowhere near public transport. I feared being trapped.
Or feared losing my way. It's never been clear to me which. I cannot dissect what is in my heart. I cannot parse it. I cannot change a word of it because it speaks to me; I do not say it.
Pity is unkind. You think it is generous. But pity is just another form of vanity. And the first and last rule of freedom is to exorcise vanity.
Stop the car, we've already said goodbye. Well, you said it even if you don't know you did and I don't get to say anything. If I just talk to myself, I will get a fair hearing.
I am a pretty harsh judge but at least I'm willing to listen.
I wish I had believed in God. Believing in God is believing in change. The only change you can believe in without God is dissolution. The only change you can experience without God is the end of your world, that it will all slide into the abyss.
I feel your hand on mine, squeezing my fingers briefly, just once, twice, then you put your hand back on the wheel. I am miserable here. I am condemned to sit in someone else's car while they decide where I am going. This is my whole life. Why should you be any different from all the other drivers on this road? When I look out at the traffic, I see a thousand drivers in a thousand cars, and they all know where they are going, although I hold out hope that some at least do not know why.
I wish I had believed in myself.
I have tasted freedom. I know what it looks like, what it feels like. But it's not somewhere you get to. It's the journey itself.
I will never see you again. You are somewhere on the roads of this city, driving somewhere I do not know where. I sit down by the side of the road, pull out my Kindle and start to read. Before long, I have forgotten where I am.