We’ll be great together, I’m sure. I can feel it inside me, bubbling through my being, an entity of itself, separate from myself. I can feel it in the small of my back, sort of a throbbing pressure, which constant and for all time insists we are meant for each other.
You are the one, the one I dream of so often, the one to ease my mind, to protect me from demons, which are undoubtedly of my own making, the one to make me ignore the fact that the world is an onion, a great stinking husk. You are the one sent from the very heavens above, sent down on clear puffy smiling clouds to cure me of this, my disenchantment.
If you only saw things, all the little things that tell me we are destined to live as one, you would cease this endless struggle. However, you see the problems, always and forever the problems.
I agree though, there are problems.
I can understand what you meant and I know from the first night we met, in an Irish bar, fiddles and flutes whispering melodies over my words, the problems began from moment one.
I remember trying to buy you a drink and with red faced shame discovered the lucky twenty I keep in my walled to be absent. I stammered something of an apology, at which time, with a shake of your head I took to insinuate disgust in at least a mild degree, you paid for my drink.
I know that this moment did not signal great things for our future.
I know also my stammered, confused attempts to humor you must have not made the greatest of impressions, but I swear in all earnestness that I can do better than the joke I told.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?” I asked.
“Tell me,” you answered.
“I don’t know, I’m not a chicken,” I said. I waited for you to laugh, but you simply stared at me for a few moments, probably thinking I am crazy. I am NOT I say.
You worked hard ignoring me, as if ignorant of my very presence, preferring to instead stare into your drink; probably even wishing me to leave, but I plowed through these masquerades and began the conversation anew.
“Tell me something,” I asked, trying to gain your attention.
“Something,” you said, without looking away from your drink. You seemed to find the comment funny, laughing for a few moments in my general direction.
“Tell me what a lady is doing in a place like this alone,” I asked.
“I am meeting someone,” you answered, this time looking at me, probing me with your eyes, digging your stare into my skin.
“The plot thickens,” I said. I rubbed my hands in anticipation.
“No, no. It’s not like that at all. I’m waiting for a friend.”
“Does he know that?” I asked. I smiled, pleased with myself. You laughed as well, a low agreeing chuckle flowing into a short burst of laughter.
“We are just friends, I swear.”
“There is no need to swear,” I said. You nodded understanding, smiling.
Silence and drink staring returned all the while I watched the bartender, new and green to the trade, struggle to make a drink. He looked around for a bottle, confused.
“Third bottle from the left, pour a three count,” I said, not even thinking.
“Thanks,” the bartender said.
You shook your head at me once again.
“Seems someone spends a bit too much time at the bar.”
The comment hung limp and stale in the space between us.
“The reason is simple. When I spend too much time at home, I am tempted far too often to knit.”
“Really, I’m not kidding. It is either the bar or knitting. I can’t stop myself. Socks, mittens, scarves, hats, perhaps a sweater, but not often I assure you, not often indeed.”
Blank silence, utter black void silence.
“Visits to the bar keep me from knitting more than I can wear over the course of a given winter.”
“Okay. I admit I can’t knit. Sue me,” I said. You looked at me, eyes pinned to mine, and it was then, just at that moment I realized you were drunk.
“How long have you waited for him?”
“Just about all night.”
I looked at you, your hair a blonde mess on your head, eyes tired and pretty and alcohol red, all the while you shifted nervous to watch people exit and enter the bar, hoping the next person to be him.
“Perhaps he became engaged in a heated game of bocce.”
You laughed, a bit nervous, but you laughed. Got you!
“Thanks,” I said.
“No, really. You make me laugh and it is not often I am humored.”
“Too bad. I will make you laugh.”
“I’d like that,” you said. “Tell me your name.”
“Scott,” I said, looking away from your gaze.
I woke the next morning still clutching the napkin upon which you scribbled your number, still wondering if he ever made an appearance, something I doubted. I have been known to lose time and place during a heated game of bocce ball. You must allow for a moment, the moment. At certain moments we get caught and certain times we don’t.
And so, I called you, or rather, left messages on your machine. You did not answer. It is okay with me, I am content to leave messages. The day you answered, a bit surprised to hear from me so soon as you said, I’ll admit to being drunk and can’t be held responsible for comments such as, ‘Why didn’t you call me? Where were you last night?’
I quite understand if you miss a few phone calls or fail to get back to me within a week or two. What is a week or two over the span of a lifetime? It is a blink, a wink, a mite of dust in time’s eye, nothing more. I forgive you for not calling and I agree with your point about not calling too often, for it might disturb your roommate. I shall not call more often than once a week. I will place a sign next to my phone.
Do not call this week!
Will that suit you? That is what I will do, yes. The thing about it that bothers me, when will I know to call? I mean, you know I get a little confused, which week will I call? I’ll see the sign and think I shouldn’t call. Each and every day the sign will remind me and in my confusion I’ll never be sure if I called you that week, so in your words, ‘Err on the side of caution. If you are not sure, DON’T CALL!’
I agree with you and not to beleaguer the point, I know you need space. Why see me each month? How can I ask so much of you? Am I crazy? Why must I expect you to see me every single damn month? It is very unfair of me, but honestly if you’re to be my wife, connected with eternal bonds (chains, chains, and chains) we will have to see each other a few times a year, for the sake of propriety.
What will I tell mother when she asks about you, that I haven’t seen you that year? I think you will agree, we must for the sake of outward show see each other three or four times a year. I know your demanding schedule might make three visits over a course of a given year difficult, but can’t we compromise on this issue? I’ll bend on sleeping arrangements and small issues of the like, but three visits a year is a must.
On that note, do I need to place another placard on my calendar?
“Not my month to visit.”
This brings me to my final point. How are we to ever get to know one another if we talk once a month and see each other three times a year? I’ve spent much time considering the point; time, time, time, dawdling and milling about broken piazzas, looking for volcanic love, never to find a scant hint of evidence that it exists, only to find- You! Time wasted thinking when I should be writing (things, things, things) letters to you! Time working, paying bills, evenings with friends?
All my evenings should be free, free of writing, drinking, partying, and going to readings, free of all! What if the night I choose to party indeed was one of our three visits during the year? I then will receive two visits that year. That is not acceptable. I will keep my schedule, the entire year free of outside forces in case that night, any night, any one of the three hundred and sixty-five days might be the one I see you. What business do I have with a schedule? My life truly revolves around you!
In other news. The Red Sox won again.