New Haven, CT
While spinning around in his car - a two seater, with very little room in the back – looking for a place to park it, he wondered yet again how he was in this place at this particular time. It was not as if he wanted to start over again with her. But clearly there were other factors in play, and what he wished for was obviously not important to whatever God – or Goddess – was in charge here. It was a point that he would wonder upon in days gone by, and wondered what the message was. What was clear, was that she had her pulse on the situation. He thought that some months ago that his hanging up the phone would be the end of things. So, yes, he hung up the phone, but other forces were at work – largely driven by her obsessive need to be with him.
Finally he found a place to park the car, and slid it in to place and got out. It was not quite dark, but the sun no longer shown. It to was that in between time, where nightfall had not yet enclosed all, but day had passed in to memory. If one looked out it was a very small city. There was a train station, and a few tall - for a small city – skyscrapers. Nothing like New York mind you, not even like Boston or San Francisco, perhaps like Cincinnati, or other small cities. It then evaporated in two the bricks and mortar of a small city – three or four stories each. And one could tell this by a glance, unlike large cities which would go on for a number of blocks. This was the difference between New Haven, and New York, one could fit a dozen or more New Havens in the space of just Manhattan, left alone be other boroughs of New York. New Haven was built around a single large employer – and various subsidiary companies which supplied the workers with things such as lunch, or clothing. It was also of a piece of time – in this case the 1960s, where everything was angular and having a certain rhythm that curved in on itself. This to was different from a large city, where different eras collided with each other with gay abandon.
But what he was here for was her. She had sent him an email, saying that she would be in New Haven – largely implying that she was going to do business at her companies site there. He did not know what it was about, and he rather suspected that it did not need to be done. To put a fine point on it, he was the real reason that she was there.
Of course it disturbed him, even as he ran through what limited traffic there was. He did not know what to expect, but he felt a certain appliance. He did not want to be with her, but he did not want to disappoint her either. It is one thing to hang up the phone long distance to China, it is another thing to stare her in the face and tell her that she is not wanted. It was crass.
He moved on to the side of the block where he was to meet her, and did not exactly know what he would do once he stood there. And then she was in view, with a pantsuit which was Of two shades of beige – it had a little bit of Chinese to it, because one was a tan beige, while the other one was thicker and white. It looked a little bit like grass cloth – but only a little bit. She was standing on the corner looking concerned, and worried. Her browse were clenched up, and her cheeks were gaunt. Not in real life, or imagining, had he seen her like this. Not in dreaming or illusion had she been as worried as she was.
There was nothing which popped in his mind to start a conversation, normally he fended off her questions – which actually was quite useful in getting her to start talking about whatever it is she wanted to talk about. But on this particular occasion, he did not know what to say because her face was a complete mess and he wanted to know why, what had made her face look as it did. So his mouth was slightly open, but no words had come out yet. And it did not seem like she was going to fill in the gaps, and thus he stared for a long time.
Finally she uttered: “You do not know how long I have waited for you to say magic word.”
“What word is that?”
“Do not you know?”
“I do not like a question in response to a question. Why do not you tell me?”
“It is love, I find it so strange that that word is in your vocabulary. It is like it was erased, vanished without a clue. Why is that?”
“In my head I can speak the word, but it does not come out when I speak it.” He remembered along time ago when he wanted to say this, but could not enunciate the word. It stuck in his throat, trying to be said, though he did not remember how much he had wanted it said, perhaps it was just a hallucination – that he did not really mean it the way she did, or the way he thought he remembered wanting to pronounce it. But in his memory, he wanted it to come out his lips.
“Do not you mean it? Or is it some concept which you know, but do not share with anyone that you have met, including me?” she was now angry, as opposed to concerned. He did not know what to do, but obviously he needed to say something.
“I have tried, but failed in the effort of turning it from thoughts to words.” And in this instance, he meant what he said, whereas often he did not really mean it. He had more than a few times where he wanted to trick whatever woman he was talking to, that he really loved her – when in fact he did not. But now, while he did not love her at this particular moment, he had loved her in the past – though he did not realize it at the time. C'est la guerre.
“Why can you not say what is obvious, unless your hesitation means something.” her face changed to worry that she was speaking to someone who did not realize what he was saying. It seemed crazy to her, almost discombobulated.
“I can talk about novels, and sports, and economics, and any number of things. But reaching down in to my heart is another matter entirely.” He tried to look concerned, or at least worried but somehow it did not show on his face in the least - instead his face showed no emotion at all. Then it struck him that her concern might be valid after all – he considered the fact that he was an automatic man, with only the illusion of feelings though there was no sense behind the feelings that he tried to convey. There was a tinge of Mark Twain, in this state where he died – rating such things as a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. And in this space she replied to him:
“It does.” as if she were a character in a book that Twain had written.
A Prose Poem
There that comes I bang my drum, that drum there is a thrums my thumb. With slowly beating now begun, on skin and wood I bang my drum. The western rim swallows the sun, we walk in file rum tum tum.
A pair of lines, robbed in white, and carrying before them a cross made of wood walked along the dusty path to the aged mossy stones that over looked the rolling hills marked by craggy boulders. Not far beyond a churning arm of the sea sloshed against the chunks of granite shore, sploshing and dull roaring, but unable to swallow the one person who was walking out of file: namely the youngest child of the departed. He had lain here all night, and then all day. They had come here for last rights. The two older boys were waiting, having shot with muskets, or slashed with sabers any birds who had thought to rip a chunk from the laird of this barren patch of the rocky northern coast of Scotland.
One of the two was still bone thin, and a stretched out boy in his face: hollow cheeks, and not a drop of fat upon him beyond enough to lubricate his movements. His brother, though only two years senior, looked a man, with a broader jaw, and black black hair that framed features that had rounded with some settling in to his limbs.