Even the sky grieved. Gray and bleak, the wind cried out in lamentation, sending leftover pockets of old snow onto stark marble gravestones. Mourners passed by, eyes forward, each lost in their own world of respectful sadness. They walked along in silent groups, no one engaging in small talk or forced levity. Their task was much too grave for such normal pleasantries.
There were only four tables in the cafe, and I saw that my date was already seated at one of them. I had figured this out by the process of elimination (there was nobody else in the cafe except her and the young woman behind the counter), and the stretched possibility that my date bore a slight resemblance to the younger, fitter, and brighter-looking person in her profile gallery. A “helpful hint” on the lonely hearts’ site says that you can judge your match’s interest level by the amount of preparation she has invested in meeting you. Interestingly, the lady had gussied herself up to a point which lay between rushing to the convenience store at five in the morning for coffee filters and awakening in a dumpster. And she seemed oblivious to every atom in the universe that wasn’t displayed on her iphone.
“I have a headache,” I told Clark, and came upstairs.
It was nine o clock and the kids were asleep, and I didn’t have a headache. But I didn’t want to sit downstairs and watch Clark get drunk on screwdrivers while watching old Seinfeld episodes, and then have to come upstairs and try to have sex while his penis stands at half mast no matter what I do.
It isn’t me. I have no doubts about that. It’s the booze. We aren’t as young as we used to be and after the kids are out, Clark can’t put the glass in his hand down. I guess I don’t care much anyway, anymore. I just don’t want to spend twenty minutes flogging and sucking a soft penis then trying to stuff it in while it wilts and bends. Then the excuses and the pity party. Having to make him feel good about himself while my vagina crawls up into my uterus. Might as well skip the whole shebang, and head upstairs with a book, and escape.
“Cardinal Mahoney, this is your official interview for acceptance into Heaven. I will ask you questions, give you time to respond and close this interview by giving you a chance to make any corrections or to add any information. Cardinal, do you understand this process?”
My first divorce is a hippie divorce. We have few worldly possessions other than our record collection and our philosophy. We remember who bought each of the records, but the philosophy has no origin we can identify. We don’t fight over the wire spool, our major piece of furniture, or our Sears portable stereo. Since we never got around to having children, there is no custody fight, except for the dog, a black and white beagle mix my wife rescued from the pound. When he brings home the blackened carcasses of chickens and other animals, she says they are gifts for me. She claims he loves me best. You take him, she says. No, you take him. We agree on a visitation schedule carefully planned with intervals for cleaning and disinfectants. I consider running away when it is my turn, but he runs away before I can. I know he survives to terrorize another neighborhood and sire a pack of vicious little dogs. One day I expect the pack to come for me.
Pale Rider needed a good sweat. His body craved the release of toxins and his mind felt clogged with civilization. He needed to sit with People of the Earth and chant, allowing the free flow of culture and wisdom to pass between and fill the holes in his life. It didn’t matter if his sweat brothers were Apache or Shoshone or Lakota as long as the tent held steam enough to clear his mind.
Jesus was ever the apple of his mother’s eye. Me – the lemon of her tongue. Was it my fault that I was a clumsy brute, poor with words, while my brother Jesus was skilled of tongue and handsome of face? My father Joseph had more patience for me than did my mother – but then he, like me, was taciturn of character.