It’s one in the morning as I spread the final touches over thick slices of bread. I am too cheap to own a toaster. And I wonder why I can’t sleep. They are caked with butter. The thinly sprinkled sugar became a tablespoon over each slice, followed by cinnamon. The bread is fresh from the bag and folded and I am careful not to spill. I place it in my mouth and try to remember a time when my mother made these at breakfast. I am greatly disappointed. That young mouth had taste buds. It wasn’t desecrated by bottles of booze and tobacco. I use the rest of the loaf for old faithful, my double-decker-peanut-butter-and-jelly. Making food is no longer cathartic. It has lost its magic.
I write so much that the voices of characters speak to me in drawn out conversations. Each echoes in my head and fills the vast emptiness of the space in which I reside. They seem relevant to something I want to say, except I know only silence. The women of my past come to say hello or rather to tell me “piss off.” The benefits to living alone are the many visitors that come by unannounced. The voices arrive and leave with no regard for that precious “time” they often spoke. I say what I wish to them and occasionally remember vivid moments, what they wore, what they said; I even know their thoughts now. Then they just drift away like fading spirits, pockets of space—un-aged—and precisely how I recall them.
That leads to the scary part. Life, or the reality of that Life outside, where I must interact with people I do not know so intimately. It became a dream not too far back.
Now, in the empty confines of this two-bedroom apartment I seduce a hostess from my first job. I can’t remember her name, but I clearly see the blinding red oriental dress she wore when she greeted customers and that gorgeous dark, dark brown hair. I seduce her. I am smooth and aggressive. Back then, emblazoned by cowardice, I was more of a decorative appliance—someone loud in quiet places and a jester conjuring white delicate smiles.
I like to think about women. I am addicted to their walk. “How [their] hips make circles within circles,” Neruda said, or something to that effect. I love the way their decisions occur, basing conclusions on connections, emotions, and heart. It is warmer, more inviting than logic. And when you are sincere, the flickering in a woman’s eyes, the unwavering slice of time penetrates exposition, like the last time I told a woman I loved her.