Saturday, August 11, 2007
Black Shows Everything
When I get home, I put my bag down and crash into the chair adjacent to Josh who is watching the news and reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
"I always think I’m going to like him more than I do," Josh says, motioning to the picture of Hunter S. Thompson on the book jacket.
I shrug and take off my boots, still coated with salt from the streets. Black shows everything.
"Coley’s coming over tonight," Josh says.
So I guess that relationship picked up momentum, which is more than I can say for Mark and me. He has not phoned or e-mailed since the ecstasy debacle and maybe this will be a pre-Christmas dump, which will save me the trouble of having to pick out a gift without having to worry about seeming either too little or too much and perhaps a cheery note -- Thanks so much for fucking me once or twice a week for two months to take my mind off my married ex-boyfriend and his son who I seduced after breaking into his house over Thanksgiving weekend, and here’s the new White Stripes cd for your trouble! Which is not to say that would not make an excellent present for someone. Giving something to a new lover is not the same as say the gift exchange at work where we draw names and have a strict price limit, all of ten dollars which really narrows it down to one of the higher priced items at Dollar General. And thinking about Mark’s increasingly hypothetical present makes me wonder what to get Josh.
"I was thinking that maybe I should go back to school, get an MFA in sculpture or fiction. I could write a masterpiece, like Yellow Leg, the Incontinent Wolf," Josh says.
"Aren’t you going to get dressed for your date?" I ask. Josh has on a pair of sweatpants and a Free Leonard Peltier t-shirt. I can’t imagine that even Josh wants to be that casual.
"You don’t like my looks?" he asks.
This is the closest he’s ever gotten to asking me how bad the grin beneath his mouth looks. Some people assume he’s been in an accident, but the precision nature of the cuts give him away. I do not know what to say, and I think how stupid of me not to have prepared for this moment.
"You always look the same to me," I say. It’s not exactly true, not is it a lie. Before the cuts, Josh had a face that could break your heart. Now it does break your heart.
"I’m staying like I am," Josh says. "Coley and I aren’t going anywhere."
Even as strung out as I feel, I don’t want to stay here now. I put my boots back on and grab my coat.
"There’s some things I forgot," I say to no one, since Josh is back to reading, something he wants to like but can’t.
I drive away, unsure of where I might land. I could do my first round of Christmas shopping since all the malls stay open until ten, or I could go to the Rustic Cabins where Mark works, order a drink and feel out the ground situation even though that would be breaking my promise not to drink tonight if only to prove I can go without it. I should stick to that so I decide to drive by Kevin’s again since it is sort of on the way to the mall. Nothing has come of the afternoon I broke into his house and slept with his son, drank half his scotch. I wonder if Christopher bothered asking his sister about me and I try to imagine his surprise when he realized I was not who purported to be. Did he spend time trying to figure me out or did he count himself lucky to find a half-drunk girl in his father’s bed, a girl who would have sex with him and leave without telling her his name?
When I return from the mall, having bought a few things and a beautiful dress for myself off the Damaged, As Is rack, I see Coley parked in my spot, forcing me onto the street. I take my few bags and fight my way through the big mound of snow and I can feel my feet get colder with each step. I’m home late enough that it appears Josh and Coley have turned in for the night because I hear nothing in the entire house except the loud hum of the refrigerator. Setting my bags on the kitchen table, I peer into the cold empty space before realizing we don’t have anything I want.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I think the highest and lowest points are the important ones. Anything else is just...in between. I want the freedom to try everything." Jim Morrison
Drinking nonfiction selection: The Merry Recluse Caroline Knapp
Benedictions and Maledictions