Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fragment 40: Paradox

Funny thing that. How many cigarettes did it take?

Unfiltered. We used to go to the market. $20 for the filtered and $15 for the Lucky Strikes.

I always went for the Lucky's.

Teresa had this weird thing. Two tattoos, and an attitude. She could never stand that I was her man.

I can hardly blame her. I had little to offer.

I got drunk in 1990, pretended to be a poet and the rest is...

Teresa always thought she could have done better. And she could have.

But isn't that true of all of us? Can't we all do better and haven't we somewhere?

Strange how it all can come into focus. Rain driving hard on the roof of the car, street lights bright as he leans into me. Grabbing the back of my head kissing me hard.

So when do I see you again?

The Chevy vibrating, purring beneath us, my one hand tugging at his belt, my other touching his face.

And then that night...

The Flat Iron. He had come in a cab. Did he really think that it could go any further? Did he really think we could move past this moment?

Licking at my ear, sad, angry...

I can't see you again....

So, years later. Two kids now growing older. All of us at the pool. My wife dowdy in her one piece and Jonah and Sally being eight and ten. A young teenage Adonis of a lifeguard that I can't help but look at...

And here you are, head lazy lying on his chest. Looking at me through second hand two hundred dollar sunglasses. Pausing slightly to recognize I am there...

A certain smirk.

But I had loved you. It had been my hands touching you. I ran my hands down that back and I rubbed myself across that chest. And I knew that you would not be mine.

I never had that kind of courage, that tender fortitude.

Leaving the daylight frivolities with Terri and the little ones.

Glancing back to see you lift up your hands to grasp his face.

Going down to the Canadianna. Me and the "boys". A bunch of angry and lonely middle aged men. Not the one of us honest at all.

The usual bullshit about how great the wives and kids are...never regret. Never any regret. How you can regret these tiny perfect lives?

Ordering the late night doubles on ice. I take it back, we all regret choices at last call.

Don pushing me..."your shot"

But I see her, through the front restaurant window, past the cheesy slogans, past the blur of pick up trucks and SUVs. Arthur dropping coins into a beat up jukebox, Springsteen and Mellencamp. Late night street worker looking right back at me. Haggard and angry, as if to say who the fuck are you John.

And how to answer this accusation other than to say I am not who you may think.

And I too thought it would all be different.

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