Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Sketchy Bill 15: An Egyptian Goddess Cooks Me Eggs

Bill crashed out shortly after the incident in the garage, dragging himself up the stairs like some sort of vanquished Roman centurion. I sat up for a while, drinking beer and whiskey and trying to get some sense of what it all meant.

His situation wasn't unique. I've spent a lot of time sitting on front porches, rooftops, and car hoods thinking and talking about the same shit. You want someone to be there for you--more specifically, you want to think someone understands you. Because, I think, if someone understands you, you're not weird. You belong to someone, or to a group of someones.

But even if you're lucky enough to find a person who can at least make a good attempt at empathizing with you, and who certainly appears to love you, the game's not over. In fact, I've concluded, that's when the game starts. Or the work, more accurately.

Bill's problem was that he'd lost track of what it was to be a partner in a relationship. He backslid a bit, I think, and started believing that just because someone loved and understood him, they'd always love and understand him. This is a common problem, as I said, and it results in heartache all the way around. Either you get blindsided, like he did, by an extremely bitter and alien woman who you failed to notice getting colder and colder; or you realize that neither of you are happy and start drawing up the necessary papers yourself. I've been in both situations, ladies and gents, and they both suck.

It's a lot easier to debate the premise, which is that people can truly understand one another in the first place. Or slipping past the immediate problem (that is, getting completely fucked over by someone you thought cared about you) by questioning that perceived reality, then moving on to the real problem, which in Bill's case (and mine, from years ago) was assuming anything was permanent in a relationship. Your kids love you, but if you ignore them, they start smoking dope and visiting glory holes at truck stops. Your wife loves you, but if you spend most of your free time away from home, she's going to fuck the pool guy. Or the landscaper. And if it's in her best interests, she's gonna call an attorney.

But this shit doesn't happen if you pay attention to your life, and the people in your life.

Well, OK, you got me. It still happens. I could probably pinpoint the day I began to worry about my last relationship, and I think it would probably match up with the day she began to think it was going to fail. I paid attention, and saw it coming, but was helpless.

I fell asleep on the black leather couch (face down, to inhale any lingering remnants of Coco) with a beer in my crotch and a nearly empty bottle of whiskey near at hand. I'd tried my damndest to finish it...but...

I awoke to a woman singing in the kitchen. It was morning, and the sun was up--and it promised to be a beautiful day. I sat up, grabbed the bottle, and took a big slug. This is the best way, I've found, to put your hangover in its place. You have to be careful with Jack the morning after, of course, but if you've got nothing better to do, what the hell. There wasn't enough left to really be dangerous, anyway.

I woke up again to a cool hand on my cheek. I opened my eyes, and was presented with yet another vision of femininity. She was black, with beautiful brown eyes and wonderful lips and a pair of breasts that were on prominent display about eight inches from my face.

"Hi," I croaked.

"Hi," she murmured, "you must be Bill's friend Jeff. My name's Nefertiti, and I'm Bill's girlfriend. Do you want some breakfast?"

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