I visited Susy Q after a long break.
I found her with both her knees swollen like two balloons; she has been in the solitary confinement of her bed for a while.
‘What happened?’, I asked her.
‘I went for a jog’ she answered, a little rounder about the hips. Staying in bed for too long has started to show.
‘I need to ask you a question and I don’t care if you use it in your bullshit writing, because it’s just hypothetical. Understand? It is just a hypothetical question, but I really need to know the answer. Imagine that, hypothetically; someone you love disappears from your life for two years without any warning, and without any trace and then after two years shows up in your life again to tell you something he has forgotten to tell you the first time around. If, hypothetically, after those two years he comes back looks you in the eyes, kisses you on the lips and says : ‘I don’t love you. I never did, and I never will’ , what do you do?
What do you do exactly? How exactly do you begin to be…again? How do you go to bed and how do you wake up? How do you do shopping and how do you take the subway? How do you wink, how do you breathe out and how do you pull back the annoying strand of hair that falls clumsily over your forehead? How do you walk barefoot on the sand? How do you make love to insignificant strangers? How do you pray? How do you sign a birthday card for your mother? How do you warm up the milk for your morning coffee? Is there a formula for any of this? Can you answer my question?’
I don’t know Susy Q. I don’t know what you do.
‘I don’t love you. I never did, and I never will. In fact I wish we had never met. ‘ When I lived in Ridgewood I used to have a cemetery right outside my window. I mean it was right there, right outside. When I first moved in I was seeing shadows all over my room at night every night for a week. Shadows next to the closet door, greenish auras next to the window. I couldn’t sleep. I was not afraid that they would do something, but I was afraid that they would just be there. They weren’t. Either they stopped coming, or I stopped seeing them. The moment you realize that it’s not the dead that you should be scared of, but the living, the moment you realize that those you hate have no power to hurt you, but those you love can hurt you in ways you’d not imagine; that is the moment you lose your innocence for the third time. And this time it’s for good. So what do you do?
Five words . ‘I do not . . .’ et cetera . Has 90 per cent digestible alcohol been invented yet? To disinfect and balance out the aftertaste of these words? ‘I never did’ . 5+3= 8. Has a brand new continent been discovered where you could flee to hide and start everything all over again pretending that you are somebody else? ‘I never will’ . 8+3=11 . Should you put on or lose weight, dye and cut or grow your hair and change your name in order not to remember that you are you? To change your identity from un-love-able into what-ever? Or should you go for a ‘jog’, and keep running for six and a half hours until you reach jfk, and then witness your body crash and in your mind see it being transported on imaginary stretcher to some other earth, where everything is brand new, without any memories of this one. When in fact you are sore and limping home and then stay in bed for days treating swollen joints with cabbage leaves and vinegar. And the broken record still isn’t fixed.
‘I don’t love you. I never did, and I never will. In fact the entire business of you loving me for all this time makes me sick. You make me sick with your pathetic love for me and I wish to never see you again’
Am I already the girl who answers: ‘I’m sorry. I am so sorry that you can not love me.’ and waits for forgiveness? Am I already the mother who slaps her kid on the subway? Am I already the grandpa who secretly pours generous splashes of liquor into his tea in the diner? Am I already the schoolboy who steals money from his father to buy weed from the cool kids?Am I already the waiter who spits in the customers’ drinks? Am I already the priest who writes a blog about the most ridiculous sins he heard in confession? Am I already the man, abandoned by his wife; who’s running around the block half-naked with a rifle screaming “I am going to kill you slut!”, even though she had already left the country with an Afghan banjo virtuoso?
And if so; where do you go from here?
And hypothetically ; what do you find?