Friday, June 16, 2023


Home.  Broken chairs and sunlight through the shutters.  Books and music, cameras and television.  Safe for awhile.  

We are never safe.  That is just a tale we tell.  

But sometimes we can be happy and content.  

In truth, though, life is much more difficult than a Rubik's cube.  

I was feeling pretty poorly yesterday.  I think it was more than physical.  I was paranoid about having caught something awful the night before, but even if I escaped that, and I was feeling punky, there were the moral and spiritual implications to deal with.  I vowed to myself and to the heavens to be good and to never stray into the underworld again.  

And so I went to bed.  And when I woke up, it was time to get prepared for Factory City.  I showered and quickly dressed in the most casual beach clothing I had for the weather had turned hot and humid and was threatening rain.  But I could not turn myself around.  I felt sick of body, mind, and spirit.  I felt heavy and slow.

I arrived at the train station with moments to spare, and twenty-five minutes later, feeling no happier, I disembarked.  A short walk to the bar, and an immediate greeting from my old secretary.  The crowd was small and scattered, and there were people who I had not seen since I left the factory.  And there were the others, too, the usual, inner circle with whom I still hobnob on occasion.  There was my old boss also who had not asked me to come back.  I made my way to the bar to order a drink when my favorite lesbian grabbed me in a bearhug.  My drinks were on her, she said, and then she pulled out her phone for a selfie twosome to send to a friend who was on a long vacation in P-town.  

"We have to kiss," she said.  

I didn't get a copy.  

While it was my replacement's going away party, I was the fellow who had hired almost everyone in the room, so I tried to make the rounds.  But something was off.  The room was weird and the crowd incoherent.  One third of the department, mostly the third I've had no contact with for years, were missing.  I was happy to see one woman who seemed less thrilled to see me.  Hmm.  In corners people huddled conspiratorially.  The political factions were already forming.  Who was going to go for the foreman's job now?  

"I thought I was going to get asked back," I would say often, "but no, and all I can wonder is 'what the fuck did I do?'"

I got laughs and agreements with that.  

All in all, though, the room was straining.  I didn't feel good, didn't feel up to it, and so I decided to catch the next train home.  Just then, the pretty divorcee walked in.  She approached me.  A hug.  Maybe it was my mood, but I was glad she hadn't asked me out.  It would have been a huge mistake.  We have little in common but a desire to feel something.  

I was on my way out, had made the rounds already, and I told her goodbye.  

"What?  Where are you going?"

"I've got a train to catch," I said.  Jesus. . . I love that line.  

I had stayed all of an hour.  I was home long before the distant dusk began to fall.  I made a cocktail and lit a cheroot.  The cat came for food, but she seemed lonely, too.  She ate, then closed the distance between us by half and lay down.  And so the two of us, unspeaking, enjoyed the falling temperature and the gusty breezes.  And by God, I was feeling better.  Not good, but better.  I knew that part of my life had just ended.  I still had some one on one's with my factory friends, but I would no longer be joining the masses.  There was a vibe at the bar that said everyone else felt it, too.  The long party had come to an end.  Whatever replaced it would not be the same.  

This cloudy morning, I feel the need to renew.  What that means is unclear right now, but I will slowly feel my way through.  Vegetables, of course, and fruits and legumes.  Some mysticism, perhaps, but not astrology.  Just some simple amulets, talisman, and lucky charms.  Pretty things with visual appeal. Decorative and sensual things.  I'll fill the rooms with smoke and vapors once again.  The air will be intoxicating and exotic.  

There will be flowers, too.  

And there will be broken chairs and sunlight through the shutters.  Books and music, cameras and television.



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