by Kyle Dudley
I guess this is a love story in some way.
The Fall of Content
Sometimes there is too much patience required to flesh out the past, especially when the future is so unrelenetingly barreling forward.
I looked in the mirror and I could see that I was clearly dehydrated. The eyes were blood-shot, mucous was crusted at the corners of the eyelids. It had been a long night. Mid-summer nights on the town in the mountains always dried me out and left me broke. Breakfast was an abomination of stale toast and wheat biscuits; my culinary skills were a disgrace even in peak condition. I went over to the window and turned the radio on and could hear they were talking about the war. I noticed that there was a little vodka left that I had hidden in the cabinet in the kitchen, so I stuffed it in my jacket pocket and decided take it with me down to the post office to drop off a letter.
I had recently connected with a woman I had known from when I was younger. For some reason in the years before, I was having dreams about this woman, yet I had never even spoken to her. What she could've been was always a mystery to me. I imposed that she could be a whimsical character; a dark, misunderstood, creative intellectual with a timeless purity impossible for any generation. So I wrote to her, and to my amazement she responded, and quite favorably. We started a friendly correspondence, and I was struck by her blunt and forward suggestions. She was a very beautiful girl as I remembered her, which certainly played a part in my intentions, though I didn't even know what my intentions truly were.
We wrote to each other a few times, discussing where we had been in our lives since we had last seen each other. She was a florist, which I felt certainly could fit the mould I had cast for her. As time went on, the letters became longer and more involved, and we began exchanging philosophies on the nature of men and women, science and literature, films and the future. I was intoxicated with her curiousity.
Without hesitation, before long into our brief correspondence, my lonliness begun to devour me like a cancer. We naturally moved along from writing to speaking regularly on the telephone. Our conversations became increasingly personal. It became a nice companion for a lonely soul to have another human being to interact with.
In just a few weeks, I packed my bags, and headed south.
A week after my departure and thirteen-hundred miles later, I met her at the gate of her mobile home. I stopped in at a nearby shop and purchased a bottle of wine and some flowers for the occasion. She walked up to me and gave me a kiss. I was startled. In that one motion, I felt my desperation manifest in every part of my being. I stood still, behind the veil of exhaustion, disillusioned.
Without much choice, I moved in with her. I was unemployed, and I had only a few dollars left from a previous gig, and had recently opened a line of credit with the hopes that the two would buy me some time until I could find work. So it was me, my corpulent queen, her aunt, a mother, a grandmother, and a plenitude of animals.
Months went by, and I was discovering new bad habits and resurrecting old ones. Somehow, I managed to keep my friends out of contact, and my best friends in the cupboard. I was trying to make this work.
After four disenchanting months, I moved out of the trailer and moved away from town, though this time relatively close by, and we decided to continue our liason despite the distance. At this point, my old horse had died and I had bought an older, more war-torn one. It served me as best as it could and it managed to make the journey back to her for a handful of teary visits. For its own sake, I prayed for it to die, and with a heavy heart I say, the day after Christmas that year, it did.
Over time, the thread between us weakened, the chains unraveled, and our hearts disappated, and I was once again left with no choice but to move back in with her. I took a month off, bought a hand-me-down suit, and cleaned myself up. Not long after, I found employment. We had never had so much money in our lives. I had never had so much in my life. We were wining and dining. It was summer. We moved out of the trailer and were living in a rental house, like real people. She was still working the same post, and I finally had found a way to justify to myself that she was simply the housewife type, and that everything was how it was supposed to be. There was finally weight behind our words. Things were changing. I begun to behold how beautiful her ivory complexion was, how her eyes would glow, and I could forsee her quaint plumpness foreshadowing the promise of cookies and treats for anticipating grandchildren. She decorated the house. She cooked us dinner, she cleaned the linens and polished the tables. I taught her how to drive a car. In our leisure time, we would go to the park and watch the children play, and we would ambitiously envision what our own children would look like. For a fleeting moment, there was a snapshot of happiness. The summit had been attained.
Then one day, fall arrived. We lived in a quiet neighborhood with a few tall trees that relentingly gave up on being green, and the restlessness in me was awakened once again. The hints of orange and the dimmed skies began to bring me back to life. I would go on walks by myself, finding new nooks in a town that was still unfamiliar. The cool air awoken me from the slumber, and I suddenly became insatiably hellbent on experiencing anything that would keep the blood flowing to my head. The first nights of cool fall air always change things. I had finally crafted my escape.
Lucky for me, as it turned out she truly was a homebody. She liked her work, and though she was younger than me, she had dedication to working towards her métier. She was the ideal product of the industrial revolution; meticulous in her requirements of the eights: eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, eight hours of recreation. Repeat.
The domestication she had tried to cultivate in me was losing the fight, and I inevitably picked the lock to the situation. I would bring her to work on my days off, and I would drink myself numb. I finally had all the time I wanted to drink and to revel, but it wasn't long before the jig was up. Compromises were made, and before long I found myself back in the bar two to three nights a week as she slept the night away. I had achieved escape velocity. I was back.
In a flash, fall was over. The leaves fell, the orange was gone, and so was she. She stood beneath the mistletoe in the doorway with painted lips, and kissed me goodbye. I drove away and left the tear on my face for the world to see, as a symbol that I still possessed some semblance of humanity.
I drove to the bar and told the story three times, and didn't pay for a single drink. Things were looking up already.
Part II, An Epilogue, for the Children
It was, of course, the day after Christmas that she left. She moved out all of her things, and made it a point to see that I was evicted. I wasn't angry because I knew that she was impartial, and that there is no equity in uncongenial amour. I challenged nothing.
There were a few days off around the first of the year, and I stumbled upon the realization that while she f made away with my cat, and in a sense my place to live, and to a certain extent some of my emotional capital, she hadn't made off with any of my money, and truthfully, in that sense, it wasn't so bad, because money has a knack for filling in holes.
The following week, I started a fanciful romance with whiskey. I bought bottle after bottle of the stuff. I drug myself down to the bar a few times only to find that women in this city aren't particularly kind to a troubled heart. I gave up immediately. After all, drinking alone has perks: it's cheaper, people are optional and it allows you to entertain yourself. In terms of negatives, it does limit you in the possibilities of sexual encounters, that is unless you have seductive, attractive nymphotic young neighbors, who never previously noticed that you were intimately involved with the woman you were living with. Which I did not.
Hours passed, days tumbled by, and before I knew it I found myself just minutes from New Years, consumed, draped horizontally in the front doorway, surrounded by a necropolis of empty hootch containers, all garnished gracefully with fine ash, tobacco and spittle. Then from out of nowhere, an old friend I had a falling out with years before phoned me and asked me what my plans were for the evening. I let him know that I would be spending it drunk in the doorway, ruminating the fate of humanity and trying to synchronize a good heave with the dropping of the ball at midnight. He traveled two hours forward in time, and in an instant was at the steps before me. “Get a-fucking hold of yourself, man,” he may have said.
We spent the next three days playing Icarus, seeing who could get closer to death, waking and drinking, waking and drinking, until Sunday came and the taverns were closed and the well had run dry. We pooled the remenants and took turns taking pulls until we were sick.
I still don't know how he did it, the arrival that is. That must've been one fast horse.