Timeline

It used to be every six weeks, then six months, then maybe more, maybe less.  I halved that time when I responded, doubled when I did not, but eventually did.  I thought about it for longer than I should have.  I gave it a lot of thought.  I dreamt about it, tried to make sense of those dreams, then went on.  Time went on.  You are not the boy on the roof.  You are not the boy who lives by the ocean.  You are not the man who needs a woman in his life.

I eat soup while I write.  Sometimes it’s cake.  Less than often it is coffee.  I am gaining weight because I am writing more.

I used to clean the house instead.  But now I ask if the raspberries are fresh, what kinds of black tea they have, if the olive loaf is better than the daily quiche.  I sit underneath a map of Southern California.  The whole place is filled with smoke.  A woman approaches the table next to me, three guys, and she knows one of the men, says hi, but it’s a very small thing, this hello.  She’s shy and thinks he doesn’t remember her.  He says he does.  The men are dressed too warmly for the day, sweaters and wool socks, soft shirts under their starched ones. 

I read somewhere today that you cannot be on fire all the time, so stop pretending.  I thought, “I don't even have the energy to pretend.”  I think people know I'm tired.  I think people know I'm perpetually ready to go home.

Every four years or so someone from a long time ago asks me how I’ve been.  It’s not that they’ve been thinking about me; they’re just bored, lonely, tired.  They’ve scoured, or happened upon, and they’re looking for something I can’t give, I don't want to give.  This thing is called availability.  This thing is also called readiness, convenience, desperation, obsession.  I do not respond because I think I am special.  I think I am special because I'm not available anymore.  I am no longer ready.