Saturday, August 19, 2006
So you walked in on an old man peeing in the bathroom and neither one of you seemed embarrassed. He asked you for coffee - convenient because you so happened to be in your favorite coffee spot, and odd because most people keep the door locked. "No," you beg off, still holding the door open as he washes his hands and wipes his nose on the wet paper towel. "I'm Tompur" and he steps through the doorway and yes, this is the same cafe where day in and day out, you arrive in the morning and work until lunchtime over cappucino and croissant but now a separate world since this encounter and everyone down the long yellow hall staring at you while they wait to relieve themselves.
Since last Friday, it's been much like this. As if you stepped off the train to a world familar to the last detail but robbed of all convention. Freeing and terrifying, not sure how to follow the thinking, the experience, unsure of your threshold and tipping off towards insanity might not be your most pragmatic response.
"No. No." You beg off coffee and Tompur nods his head. He understands.
"Some other time. You're with someone?"
Lying and we only just met. Upstairs. Work. Notes. An attempt at novelization. Fruitless. And you, importantly, don't hunger for companionship, perhaps best to keep encounters short and tumble the memory around later like butterscotch toffee after pasta. You world has turned. Husband left informing of communicable disease and heated affair with close office associate and all the late nights and calls to apologize for missing dinners and good-bye parties for mutual acquaintances seem somehow obvious in the face of the sour truth and your embarrassment.
Hasty doctor's appointment for testing. Patronizing looks over a mahogany desk remind you of the men who've never quite stepped up to the plate or deserted altogether for no pressing reason. The violent, dodgy ones stay. Cling on in desperation. Stupid choices, unkindness, and betrayal. Wise up and move on. Study war no more.
Why does the work go on? Denial and uncertainty of the next step. You go through the motions, eye on the downspout. Can you keep this up? Suppose yes and order more coffee hoping Tompur takes no interest. Imagine unrestrained sex in the bathroom with man two feet away from you, but you require someone younger and less blonde. Maybe by lunchtime the opportunity will present itself. No. These things only come around once and now you are in no position for spontaneity.
Struggle to hold off invasion as dreams from the night before flood brainpan while you're trying to hand dollars to the barrista. Nightmares of leper colonies and the one only before twilight where a small blemish transmorgified into an enormous skinbag on your left calf and somehow expanded until clothing became inconvenient and you considered joining the circus, if only briefly, before waking to soft oranges, a full moon, and the wolf at the door.