It was dark. Dark without a moon. As the street lamps and headlights flew by I thought to myself how good its been. How full of anxiety I’d been. How shamefully I acted and how much I could rationalize it away. She sat beside me, driving the car, talking as she usually did. She talked a lot, aimlessly, but much of it was of interest. Science. Biology. Work stories. It was good to listen to sometimes. Other times I wanted to grasp her neck and ring it, telling to shut up. Sometimes I wasn’t interested, but that didn’t matter. She liked to talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. From left to right, up and down. Maybe it was her way of affection. Maybe it was her way of dominance. Maybe not. There was so much I didn’t know and that she didn’t tell me. Being open was a thing of the past. It had been from the first day we met.
I couldn’t stand my job. I couldn’t last there. Monotone movements, words and glances of the eye. Everything was slower than God and made as little sense. Working for work which gets paid by the hour. Working for good ideals and bad greed. Working for the great state of constant consumption. The people I interacted with were like me, wanting to get paid, wanting to survive. Money in hand is better than money vanished. We all looked the same. Zombies. Skin slowly shoving off the bone, repulsed by the lack of meaning. Over and over. Day by day. The loss of humanity in human contact. We saw them as a category. As they saw us. Battle lines drawn even before we’d ever met. Pleasantries were our only communication. Nodding of heads and slow speech if they were foreigners.
Dressed in a sweater of some fake black fabric, shiny badge at my breast, I looked at her. She had lost a lot of weight over the year. Not enough, but her face was thinner, prettier. Her hair longer than when we met. I loved long hair. Long hair is the cherry on top of a woman’s beauty. She could have everything right, but if her hair is too short, you’re looking at a transvestite. I hated transvestites.
We got into talking about the trip to see her family and friends. We’d be staying at a hotel the first night, her friends the next couple of nights, then the cabin we rented on a “mountain” with the rest of her kin. We talked, then argued. I was happy to get away from the job. The old bitch of a supervisor had me reeling back to days of childish hate. Everything was her fault. Everything was wrong. Nothing could go right for poor Helen, and I didn’t want it to. I wanted sex from my wife. I wanted a vacation where we could relax and enjoy each other. Rocky moments of the past erased by time to be together. Hopeful dreams of a time only two and a half years past and before was the norm. That blind love that we all want.
It wasn’t meant to be. Things were odd. Things were going wrong. She reacted badly, as if I asked if I could piss in her mouth. It was just sex and closeness to me. To her it was a statement she didn’t want to remember. It was a status she had come to reject. I wanted her to be my wife, my slut, my good girl of bad actions, but that was over. It was over before I had known anything about anything. It was over before I even knew what she was. We argued. From Salt Lake City proper, on to I-15, down it to home and inside. Things went so very wrong.
She shocked me. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Vacations, even family visits, should be relaxing. After bad times at work, I’m owed a soft bed, a naked woman and just time to remove myself from my brain. From my life and troubles, what few there were. God gives that to His children, so I thought. Lord, give me the strength to deal with a easy, drone job and a decent living. God knew I deserved nothing of the sort. God knew what was coming, as it is His will. God put the fire before me and I ignored the heat and the flames until it was too late.
We had to pack. Nothing was set, so we did it, angry. Suitcases and bags full of clothes and distractions, shoved and kicked, words sniped back and forth. My mind raced. My hands shook. The anxiety, it was all over, it was deeply rooted. What could I do? What’s going on? Its that friend of hers, the old crush, the cool guy. I was below him. I was below her. I wasn’t respected. I wasn’t feared. I was just there, packing, scared and wondering. I had to change.
I turned to the lessons of pick-up. Game. The art of black magic. I worked in my head how I’d get her back. Negs. Push-pull. Aloofness. Insults. Short bursts of affection. Maybe my lack of love would bring her back. Maybe. I went to bed distraught and lost. Nothing was right. Nothing was working out. God help me, I asked. God make this right. He did, just not the way I wanted.
The next morning I was cold. I made myself feel nothing. I forced emotion down and I pursued the work of the alpha males. I couldn’t break. I couldn’t. I’d lose her if I did. We packed some more. She was frustrated. She usually was when she left things to the last minute. This wasn’t a one time thing. The last minute was her favorite time of the day. I just worked at what I had to. I didn’t care. I didn’t want to care. I had enough of this shit, and it had just started.
Lana showed up. Our friend and our ride. Slightly big woman, but very pretty in the eyes, face and voice. I always liked her. Couldn’t say the same for her long term boyfriend Adrian. Know it all. Talker of talkers. But, you can’t like everyone. You just deal. Coffee in hand and eyes droopy, it was a big favor to us. At the time, I wished I was her boyfriend. Just for a minute. Something to pull me away from my own problems. Cold ride to the airport. Cold snow on the ground. Cold air on the breeze. I was shaking but she had the heat blasting. Oh God.
Dropped off, scanned and given ticket, searched and searched again. Waiting. Always waiting. Moving fast towards nothing. Dark sky still dark. I wanted to see the majestic mountians. The snow capped peaks of the Wastach. I loved this state. It was beautiful. Plains between giants. Animals close by. Urbanization only destroying a few placed, everything else open to exploration. I wasn’t a hippie, but I loved being out there. Alone. I wanted to be out there. Alone. Fantasies scrolled past the back of my eyes everyday. I wanted to live every life but mine.
Solace, for a moment. A bagel. Jalapeño and cheese, with cream cheese smeared all over. The taste calmed me down. I had to slow my mind to enjoy it, and I wanted to enjoy it. Every bite had to count. Things like a good bagel weren’t part of my normal life. I bought Thomas bagels from a run-down Smith’s in West Valley City. I used Philadelphia cream cheese. As I grabed them, I saw gargantuan beings of fat and asthma. I saw roughneck children fighting. I saw toothless junkies and scabbed eldery pawing at the orange juice. Everytime I went, I hated going, but it was nearby. It was the one I always went to. There was one closer, cleaner, not full of the scum of modern society, but I kept going anyway. It was habit. It was I always did. Why change?
Boarding. Took the bagel with me, backpack on my shoulder. Full of books and games I’d pass the time with. I didn’t want to play them. I didn’t want to read, but I did. Rammstein on the headphones, German music reminding me of Nazis, of fascism and power, attractive power. I read of equally deadly fanatics. Russian Communists. Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky. The NEP. The Cheka. A country going from monarchy to autocracy to communism and hell. I read and I wished I was one of the leaders of that absolute power. I wanted to run it all. It got my blood running to think of it. It was my high, for the time.
…to be continued