I guess I should say something about why I was gone so long, but am back now. I guess.
Did I write that book, after all? I did. It wasn’t about daycare, remotely. It’s in a drawer, and will probably never see the light of day. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the maturity to handle the aftermath of it being published, but you can think what you like to about my reasons. Everyone always ends up thinking what they want, anyway.
The other day – trite but true – I looked at this page for no reason, passing curiosity, and saw the number of followers had actually grown. I felt a little sorry and a little sad, because even if all those people aren’t waiting for my eventual return, it sort of looks like it.
I wanted to begin with a phrase along the lines of ‘can’t keep a good man down,’ but there doesn’t seem to be a place for it. I wanted to say something short and clean, but –
Everything he says sounds like the right thing, I thought, up to my elbows in sudsy water. I thought of his face. He looks earnest when he’s talking to me. I guess he just looks earnest all the time. I guess . . . I need more coffee. It’s the afternoon, I don’t need coffee. I’ll just be up until 4 again.
I don’t know why it’s 4 – the magic hour when I suddenly fall asleep no matter what.
Late night/early morning is the loneliest time imaginable to be awake. Sometimes I feel like the last person alive, and I wonder how many other people are feeling like that, like me, just like me, and are only a few yards away.
“Do you remember when you were successful?” she asked me, turning her face to look at my hair separately out of each eye. I looked at the ceiling. Sometimes it’s easier to disappear with my eyes open, I thought. “Of course I do,” I whispered back, eternally obligated to answer even when I felt like turning over, wrapping myself in my fluffy cotton blanket and kicking her off the bed with my legs.
They’re strong enough to do it, too, even if I never could make them.
I’m upset and unhappy – but it only matters to me, doesn’t it, in the end? My feelings sit inside me like a great roiling rancid ball but no one can see them or feel them but myself. And the only way anyone would ever know was to ask me and people, they really don’t ask. If you megaphone your problems and sit on a hilltop crying whatever the modern equivalent of ‘unclean’ is – ‘suspicious lump’? ‘cancerous tumor’? ‘deteriorating injury’? – then well-wishers and emotional support will flock to your side. You can ascribe to them your own motives; I’m surely neither cynical nor naive enough for the task.
But if your jaw is kept clamped shut the ball will stay, and all your analogies about Prometheus may or may not hold water but they’ll stay within the confines of your body too. So I find myself looking out at the city and watching the cars, and wondering how many people feel just like me and how many people have wondered just that – and so forth and so on with all the hulls of our empty selves standing like sentinel cicada husks as witness to what we once were.
Maybe the morning is a fresh start and maybe it’s the greatest purveyor of vapid untruths the world has ever known, but either way it feels fresh and hard to deny. Sure, I think, everything can be okay so long as there are mornings that look and smell like this one, and if I’m lying to myself it isn’t injurious to my emotional health, at any rate.
I think of this blog too often. What I can write, what I can’t. I find myself thinking of it in the shower, water running over my face and into my eyes and my mind is absentmindedly turning it over and over, no I shouldn’t say that, I’ll give myself away. That bit’s too tragic. I lean over, let the water run over the nape of my neck. But is it bad to write so much? It’s writing, after all, not vodka.
But look, here I am in the shower scrubbing my poor damn hair in scalding water (the trauma of the sink is unforgettable) and I’m thinking of talking to my blog, and I’m going to write down what I’m thinking right now. I’m caught in an echo of my own world, I thought, gasping for air a little and shutting off the water.
Suddenly I thought the self-eulogizing youth in Puerto Rican tenement halls and I smiled through my flat wet hair.
Probably my number one advice to would-be suitors would be to not quote Oscar Wilde out of context. To me, specifically. Paraphrasing is even more, shall we say, frowned upon.
Especially – I’m looking at you, guy who has no idea this blog exists or otherwise would plagiarize it – if between the puffs of cigarette smoke you blow on my face as seduction, you happen to mention that you’ve never read Wilde outside of his quotes. Do not raise your eyebrow after such an utterance.
I’m also looking at you, guy who doesn’t read anything on the Internet except porn – wait, sorry, guy who reads nothing on the Internet – because mocking my love of Wilde by asking if he were some new hotshot hipster writer with a beard made me die, a little inside, right there in the passenger side of your sport utility vehicle.
In essence – well, in essence you should already have said something better. You should have said something you thought of yourself.