Left Uninspired

11 08 2006

“Passions fade into lasting resentment.” I’m here drinking in this ancient apartment, that I’m sure was not constructed to last more than fifteen years. Not sure about the girl in my life, who (a) wouldn’t talk to me, and (b) tore up a manuscript, yesterday. Like everyone, I wish problems would disappear involuntarily like my keys do. Quietly, I focus on two things, my writing and her. I dream on paper what I wish I were; personality, character, smiles, handshakes – a stirred pool of pen-drawn, but complicated emotions. Off the paper, I hardly exist, unable to satisfy the paper or her.

I have an orange in my hand, and when I peel the skin away to reveal nothing, simply air, I consider whether I am alive or not. Years ago, when I wrote and others read, when I traveled far and wide on critical acclaim, my rivals envied me. Now, inside these strangely comforting four walls, my girlfriend- whatever we are now, and I escape my past. Together, until yesterday. I met her in court, where I was making use of my law degree defending myself against another defamation complaint. Strange how many people savor abusing the legal system. She, as it is in these stories and in real life, was on the other side suing me. She won the case. There’s a fine line between fact and fiction that does not exist for me. I remember my history in the books I’ve written; I met Emily briefly in Italy writing “City’s Day”, and my first son was born while I was away in Vienna touring “Asleep”. We all script our lives relative to certain timelines.

Today I start anew. No more marriage. No more children. No dying, or sickness, parents, or friends. Nothing, not I, not my wife, Ashley, not my children Sam and Drew, not even my lost Maribel. Disorder ruins all. Legally, I am dead. I survived a particular terrorist attack and am living under a pseudonym, pretending to be an illegal immigrant. I swear it was like an angel had stirred my cold satin sheets this morning, delicately graced away with the practiced deceptive skill she was born to do. Organization. Maribel, she was the first girl I knew. The one I knew before fame ruined me. Let me say who I am. (a) I am. (b) 34 years old. (c) Born in Madrid. (d) Never trusted anyone. When I tore up the manuscript yesterday, the one about the girl, I was frustrated I guess. I wear a brown corduroy jacket on most days, with these awfully faded slacks that my wife always hates. I mean hated. I’m not sure if you can trust me. Complicated. I edited that definition yesterday on a global dictionary. In it, I defined it as the “myriad juxtaposition of elements composed to produce a strange and unnerving system, both difficult to understand and profoundly engaging.” Isn’t that what complications are – points of interest?

There’s a whole life stuck in these pages. I remove furniture from my room just like Jane (or Emily) from a book I plan to write. I enjoyed watching “A Clockwork Orange” yesterday. Wrote that down in my brown journal. I promise you it’s true. Loved the damn movie. Also watched Maria something; reminded me of Maribel really. I remember renting that hotel room, throwing whatever furniture we could off of the balcony after we made love, and running away in our underwear. The best of the business trips. My first wife, or rather my only one, began taking things from me like phones, note pages, even the keys a few times. She began to notice changes in my behavior. Once she asked if I met girls there. As if she knew. Or cared. Of course a damn lawyer cares, don’t they all. She’s like all the rest. Oh but they want not just a plot, but character development. I gave them that in the old days, back in “Smalltown.” Such a frustrating mess. Recently, I began wearing makeup, like a disguise for when I have to go out into the real world. Eyeliner, you know, the usual. Slowly, elegant rays of light illuminated the room, disturbing the quiet rhythm that seeped in from my eyes. Like the old blind man said when we were stuck escaping from under the rubble in the attack yesterday, “Fame is both friend and foe, contract the disease, and you have nothing more.” I was famous once, a triumphant chessplayer in middle school, but far more famous as a short story writer. People could connect, they would say. Like the characters were so human. More human than I, I suppose; “incidents,” they would call them.

I don’t pray and I certainly don’t see any point. My old job as a librarian was interesting. Sometimes, the kids would point and laugh at me, the washed up joke of Renaissance High. They had no right to, ignorant as they would always be. I’d always erase the editing those ignorant children made in the dictionaries. But I’d shake hands with most any adult. I felt like I belonged with them, adults, the grownups. But they carried on, moving their respective herds of infantile youth. And I, I left alone. All around my four walls are pages, thousands, torn out from my works and Shakespeare’s works. There is no space on the wall save one, where I hang a mirror. The mirror itself, however is etched and scratched by keys I no longer own. And one word written there, I can neither define nor recall, though she is written on a corner of every page. A strange word, Maribel.



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