“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.
Dad and I are shooting brown rats at the Putnam County Dump. I’ve got me a .22 Long Rifle while Dad has a Winchester 70 with a scope. We keep a tally of the rats we shoot ’cause that makes it a bonding experience. So far, I’ve plastered six of them while Dad’s shot seventeen. We’re shooting good ’cause there’s a harvest moon out and we can see them like it was daylight. And Dad’s been swigging Johnny Walker to keep his hands from shaking. A couple belts of Johnny Walker turns Dad into Daniel Boone.
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.
The communal bathroom was a lot cleaner than she thought it would be. This was the first time that she’d been in. She reckoned dust would be more of a problem than shit as everyone must have used their en-suites.
You are here now and it is you who calls the shots.
If there is anything you want to talk about, you can.
I see you’re doing very well in English. Miss Patterson is impressed by your story telling. You express yourself very well.
But that’s writing, it’s not real is it?
And even if there is some of you in there, nothing is as powerful as hearing your own voice.
When you are ready…
…Talking is what you need to do
Charlie stood on the porch waving. Well-done Charlie, the oldest son, the abider, the Oak Park of the family, the village closest to their father, who was Chicago itself.
“I ran all the way home, just to say I’m sorry.” The Impalas (1959)
It was his wife, Amylyn, who had initiated the separation. She was hoping to light a spark under his lazy butt. But instead of grasping the importance of what his wife was trying to say to him, Sean motored down to Portland and met Charlene at a vegan strip club. Continue reading