Just so you know… I never planned to fall in love.
It started out as nothing more than a relationship of convenience. Like sex for a green card or the wash of a windshield for a couple of bucks at a stop light in Santa Monica. A fucking transaction. No emotion… no feelings. Just a need meeting another need. No romance, no flowers… just the glare of a naked bulb at sunrise, and the grunting of guilty pleasure heard on the other side of a thin kitchen wall.
After a while, like with any illegitimate relationship… and enough lying to yourself in the mirror… eventually you decide that maybe it’s okay to take next step… the public step. A coffee house. The thought was innocent enough in your head, “It’s just a cup of coffee. What could happen?”
Until you get there, and you wonder if this is how they feel in Amsterdam… ordering heroin… in a brothel.
At first, there’s that self-conscious thought that goes, “people don’t really do this in public… do they?” Followed by a second thought that you should just go finish your business in the restroom like the upstanding citizen your parents always thought you’d be. But you stay… you take your seat in the big room with all the other upstanding citizens… and you lose yourself to the overwhelming urge that brought you here in the first place. To take this private need to the next level. So you do. In front of God and everyone… if only God were watching.
I never planned to fall in love.
Years pass, and things go on like always. Public meetings, intimate rendezvous, long mornings after a bad night’s sleep. Every encounter making you sink deeper and deeper into what was such an innocent addiction. Days and nights became the same to you. Multiple jobs, endless hours… and only one thing remains the same. The need. The intense need, the unsatisfied need… the aching need.
Until another comes along.
As the glare of the naked bulb at sunrise still calls after you like a line out of a song by Mumford & Sons, the something new doesn’t call like a selfish bitch… it whispers softly in your ear, like the one that got away. It draws me to a softer place… a darker place, later and later in the night… after the glare of day, and all its distractions, goes away. And unlike the whorishly obvious coffee brothel, it is subtle and almost… caring. And the scars of years are replaced by tender strokes to a raw-rubbed ego. The only thing required in return was to think, and feel… and write. And whatever words came out were good… were accepted. I was accepted.
I never planned to fall in love. Not like this.
More years pass, and things change… drastically. The flutter and surge of my heart, gentle ego stroking… the sideways-smiles-turned-lustful… change. Flutters turn to questions. Surges to pain. The lying, sideways smiles, with their promise of fulfillment… turn to insistence. And whispers turn to ice at the harsh dawning of a new day, when I know it has become… the same.
I look up from the computer. I see the light of morning enter through the fog of early June. “When did this happen?” is all I can say, in a hushed voice, raw from not speaking. I turn my head the other way, toward the kitchen, to the glare of a naked bulb at sunrise…
…just so you know.
© 2011-2013 Bill Friday