Friday, September 24, 2004

Telling Wideman's Story - Life Part One - Chapter g

She arrives at home, ready to restart the day. The sun’s still out and there’s much that can be done. Tacos in the morning and enchiladas at night have yet to swell the sense that sometimes things just aren’t all right. She calls my place home. Its something that endears her to me, knowing this, she uses it as her advantage, men like the feeling of comfort, the feeling that another will be at home waiting, so long as she never gets in the way of our alone time. As much as men like and utilize the independence that society throws on them, they want the feeling that some body will be there for them at night, will be there when they want to cry after holding it in for months, they like the reassurance of a girlfriend, a wife, but sexually, men are different. Men like to have sex, and after a time of having a girlfriend, a wife, they can’t have just sex, they have to be intimate with their partners, which takes time. So the desire for sex builds and builds until it explodes with an affair and then getting caught having sex on the outside, the feeling of guilt rises and the need to cover up arises, because men know women don’t feel the same way about intercourse, they can’t understand the built-in viscerality for sex. And men need to be lone rangers for days, sometimes weeks at a time, but they always need that time when their lady, their woman, will be on their side.

All along the ride home, her radio stations plays all her favorite songs, traffic is muscled, but she can’t help thinking that on such a beautiful day, where the air is right, what her and I can do until the night time comes and sweeps us away to the promise of sleep but that never comes. I’m already home as she can tell by seeing my car before she gets home. She sweeps through the hallway that at one time seemed to never end, but now seems too short. Brazenly, she kicks open the door, and starts berating me questions on what to do for the day.

But before she came in, she couldn’t tell that as a man, I needed my alone time. I did not want to be around any human being at that time. The phone may rang, the door may be knocked, but I need not be with another person right now, my thoughts whip around in my head like a carnival ride. The room is white, and my shadow bounces off the bed and wall, intersecting at the waist, I feel like I’ve smoked too many cigarettes when I’ve never smoked any. I’m animated in my solace, I am not moving, needing some time to be alone. Alone. Alone. Alone.

What? I snap back as a reaction to all her questions as she brashly entered the room, disorienting my aloneness, each question she throws at me, I act shocked as if I can’t believe someone would ask any question, would let alone talk to me, when I’m so deeply embedded with my thoughts. I have slid down the slope into the center of my mind, my eyes are looking but not seeing, my ears hear, but don’t listen. My body exists but can’t move as I’m in another world—a world of my insides.

I don’t know when I’ll come back to needing an intimate person back in my life, it’ll be soon, but especially not now. I’m agitated as she has ruined those few seconds of my lonely, and I’ll need to start over as I quickly try to shove her out the door. I start agreeing with whatever she says, never allowing her words to resonate. I hear but don’t listen. Anything to get her out of the room as quick as possible. So I can be alone. I just need to be alone for a while, and when I’m ready, I’ll emerge from my place and be the rock star that she needs.

Somehow I manage to kick her out of my room, but her disappointment stays and lingers in the room like a bad smell. I didn’t need to snap at her, she had no idea that this was my time to be alone. She thought it was a nice day, and that we should do something as a couple. Dammit! I yell to myself, the guilt washes over me, her comedown for my sanity. I need to get back to her and inform her it’s not her fault, but she’ll never understand.

My guilt for her takes my thoughts to negative feelings towards myself again. Letting her down for no apparent reason transitions itself to negative thoughts about myself. My shadow splits into on the wall, my shadow caused by the white walls and the yellow light of the lamp, it splits, and it can be seen that I start battling myself. We take myself from one pitfall of my failures to another. My faults project themselves on the wall, and I can see all the moments that I’ve let myself down as if it were reeled off like film. But my disappointments in life, start slowly attracting themselves to my minimal successes. My thoughts all on their own slide, start whizzing by on the wall until one short film of my ego leads me to believe that I am Saul, waiting to become Paul. The blinding sun needs to knock me off my horse into a pile of the rest of my life.

She’s in her place, not quite understanding that I needed time to be alone. Her guilt leads her to believe that she did something. As a woman, she feels its her fault, and feels she needs to get back on her horse and ride again, come back and try to make things better. She’s done something she shouldn’t have, her womanhood behooves her to see things this way. Again she triumphantly saunters down the hall to reach my room and to see me again, and right her offspring of wrong.

But I’m still not done battling myself. Alone time, it’s too late for that, the need to be alone has already been overridden by my guilt towards her and by my new feelings of being hopelessly confident. Alone time will hunger to come back, though, unfortunately in the future, with a stronger need to survive, a harder bite. I’ve created a character in my mind, of my mind, that fights with the notion of me being Saul. My shadows start to swipe at each other, grabbing and pulling, twisting my reflection into something unrecognizable, I’m no longer myself, I’ve become two different entities battling inside my mind-driven think tank. I fight that I’m not Saul.

No, you’re a tired little boy, whose story has been told many times before. You think you’re special, but you’re just like all the other little boys afraid of the world, afraid of nothing. You’re nothing but a figment of your own imagination and you’ll, along with the rest of them, will be strewn waywardly across the border of the sea just like all the other beached whales. Floating out of control, not knowing east from west, enormous on the outside but can’t take being out the water, breaking through the waves, and breathing in air, you’re scared, so you’ll beach yourself, disoriented with your instincts shattered, hoping for others to come along to feel pity for you. They’ll walk along the beach and marvel Oh, but it’s so big. How can something such as the air crush such a beast? But it’s a story that’s been told many, many times before, and I don’t care to hear it again.

Your youth leads you to believe that chances are earned, that opportunity knocks, but once you waste your childhood, time given to you for your leisure to grow up, but you gave that up, you’re done. Second chances are not handed out. Second chances are deserved, but not everybody gets one, and you’re too afraid for your initial chance. Eventually you’ll be living outside of society, berating those on the inside for their luck, for their chances, but you’ve had your chance and you threw it away, and you’ll be beached, explaining to the spectators on your entitlement to a second chance. But to them, you’re just something, something so beautiful that everybody will stop and stare to gawk at the beast that let a little thing such as air knock him out.

She brashly throws open the door again and bounces in with her smile, her laughing smile. She knows she’s going to take over this room and make things right. Get out! Get the fuck out! What the fuck are you doing?!

Not just five minutes ago, she could have bounced in here, my desire to be alone squashed by my own self-ridiculing guilt for making her leave the first time. Not just five minutes ago, she could have waltzed in the room, taken me by storm, and she could have had her fun that this nice day promises, but she picked the two times when not to interfere with a man. Don’t feed the bears. Don’t poke the lion. When a man needs time to be alone, or when a man feels less than what he wants to be, these times come unannounced, there’s no monthly schedule, but when the time comes: Beware of man. Because he’ll come out swinging. Waxing poetically, sometimes a man just needs some time alone.

She bounces out of the room frightened and slowly walks the hall recapping what she could have possibly did wrong. She doesn’t fear but she worries. She comes to her room, and she slides in, locking the door, she needs some time to be alone. She needs to think. She doesn’t want to see another person for the next few hours, she’ll loudly play some music and dance, and she’ll dream about boys, a boy, this boy, me, and she hopes she can make it all better again.

I quietly knock on the door to where to she lays, hoping that I can think of something that’ll make up for my outbursts. Hoping that she’ll understand. She can see through the peephole that it’s me, and with a short white shirt on and her pink panties, she opens the door. Curls of hair bounce in front of her face, and she tucks them away behind her ear, but as soon as her finger moves back down to join the hand at her side, the curls bounce back but with no second retribution from her. She smiles at me, as she hangs the other arm on the side of the door and lets her body swing as the wind takes the door or momentum, she couldn’t care which. All of her says come in, but her eyes belie an expression of disfamiliarity with the new person she witnessed earlier, her body recognizes mine, but her mind is wary to accepting me. She wants to see if this person can make the first move. If I want to be a man, I’ll have to be the man.

My head is parallel to the ground, but my eyebrows lift upwards and I slowly lean my face upwards, and I smile back to her. My smile laughs at my former self, my self of just ten minutes ago, I vibe to her, Who was that guy? What was his deal? She catches this, still not understanding what went on, but, mentally, she releases, she lets go. Her guard down, her easily penetrable guard down, she lets me in. We never mention a word of it, until I say I’m sorry, she accepts without delving into reasons for my actions. Truth be told, she doesn’t care, she doesn’t want to know now. She can’t explain why she doesn’t care, but she doesn’t. She understands that I’ll never mean her harm. I mean her no harm. She put her head in the lion’s mouth, and I bit for the rush of the audience, but she came out unscathed as if it were choreographed. She walked up to the whale, beached on the sand, but when she got there, it was plankton, and she held some in her hands, squished them around, and placed some in her purse.


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