Monday, February 9, 2015
All I Can Hope For
No matter what, the hollow emptiness will not fade. It seems a terminal condition now, something that I will need to learn to maneuver as I do bad knees and failing eyesight and a terribly painful back. I've done this, and I guess I'll do the other, too. Do many get it earlier? Is it what Camus suffered, or Sartre, or Fellini? Surely Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, but who wishes to be like them. I don't know what malaise beleaguered the Buddha, but perhaps. . . .
I wanted to drink a bottle of champagne tonight, but my mother came over for dinner and is on another diet and could not, so. . . the usual. Certainly tomorrow night, though. Perhaps alone.
There are good things. Red, my friend, and I went to brunch at the same Italian restaurant where we had dined the night before. We had all gone to bed early, each taking his or her preferred sleep assistant, and each of us said we felt much better than we had. We all, however, looked like shit. But we sat outside and the sun was shining and warm and the air was cool and the mimosas were cold and the food almost thrilling. We each spoke of the immediate future. We texted pictures to mutual friends like high school kids or Facebook Freaks (though not one of us has an account). We walked in the late afternoon sunlight and spoke in slow, low tones. I never want to go to the gym again in my life, I said. We should ride bikes said Red. We should go sailing. Oh, I said, it is all so much work. Let's sit in sidewalk cafes and drink. I've done the other. It all comes to nothing. Let's just drift our time away. Get me opium, Red. She could, but it would cost, she said. Yes, I said, I will someday have a pension. I just want to smoke away the days and drink through the nights. I never, ever wish to move again.
But we moved. We went here and we went there. It was all beautiful and meaningless, but not bad, not like living in mundane places or worse, not like living with true human misery or the kind of misery that many people mitigate with. . . oh, I've said that all before, though, the old and constant complaint. They are reasonable people, they are, with reasonable lives. They are fortunate to like the common and widespread trends. I understand now. They are never alone.
Why, I wonder, am I drawn to fatal romance, to flawed and terrible heroes? Worse. Why have I tried to become one?
By mid afternoon, the sun was warm as summer and the mimosas were not mixing well with the heat and the movement, so we wandered back to the cars at the studio and said our slow and sad goodbyes. Red. What will you do? I'll drive back, I guess. Let's take that trip, she said, the one you spoke of--Nashville, Memphis, Oxford, New Orleans. We'll drive and you can take pictures. Let me know, she said. Let me know. Yes, yes, I said. Of course.
There is a sadness in goodbyes that is universal. But the hollow emptiness. . . that is another thing.
Later I decided I couldn't drink and drug what is left of my life away. Sluggishly, I put on my shorts and running shoes. What the fuck. Let's just see how the knee is now. Let's go and take a spin. I went to a little park where I do an exercise/run routine. It is half a mile around, and I stop and do push ups, sit ups, squats, pull ups, and dips. It is a heart pumper, for sure. I walked the first go round to get my blood running. Then, like a cripple, I ran. Slowly, but then steadily. Half a mile. A mile. Then the ramp to the overpass, a slow and creeping steepness that grows with each step. My heart was thumping, my skin felt flushed. I was wet with sweat. I remembered what it was like. Perhaps, I thought. . . . but all that would have to wait. It was my first run on a solid surface. Tomorrow would tell. That is all I could hope. As always. . . tomorrow. . . .