Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Walter Lives And Lives...

Tuesday nights I meet with a poet friend of mine and try to turn in at least ten pages of The Lights Were Off The Lights Were On (Or is it The lights Were On, The lights Were Off?)...

This week I only turned in six but it struck me, without context, how odd these six pages were. I can tell you Barbra is Walter's ex-wife who is enormously (and sadly) obese. Walter is tall and frail and prone to emotional inner-mind rantings and is wearing a catheter... Caroline is a hottie nurse he has a crush on...

The lights come on and I can’t breathe. My chest! My chest!

There is a great hairy weight on my chest and I can’t breathe or move and the room is dark and confusing and I can’t breathe! I’m being crushed. I imagine dying and I think not like this! Not like this! My chest! My chest! I can’t breathe! I try to breathe but the monstrous hairy weight on my chest presses me into the bed and I will die if I can’t get a breath…

“Good morning Walter!”

“I…” I try and gasp out. “I…” my lips mouth without sound as it fills with a large rope of human hair, “…can’t breath!”

“Oh, sorry Walter!”

It’s Barbra! Lying on top of me! And she can’t get off! And I can’t breathe!

“Get off!” I try and squeeze out.

“I’m trying Walter! It’s not easy!”

Barbra manages to roll off of me slightly and I can inhale air finally.

I think of dying again and I think not like this!

“You almost killed me!”

“I am so sorry, Walter. I was just trying to give you a hug. I wanted to surprise you when you woke up.”

Sobs bubble out of Barbra the way that hot lava mud percolates. It’s slow and rhythmic and one single blubber at a time. Her entire mass quivers with each sob, every bubble of sadness and disappointment that leaks out of her twitches her body and I feel the sadness against me the way one feels a slow moving motor boat when lying on its floor.

I don’t know what to say right away so I say nothing while I let Barbra lie next to me and lose some of the sadness to the outside world. I’m safe to feel sad around. You can cry around me all you want. I know sadness and I am comfortable in its midst. If sadness were music it would play in all the elevators of my life. Barbra is sad being Barbra and that is very sad. If I could wrap my arms around her and hug her I would. I hug an arm instead.

I close my eyes and hang onto the rotund arm, thankful I can breathe again, trying to tune in to the pulsing of Barbra’s crying. Her soft cries are soothingly familiar to me, relaxing. My racing-suffocating heart has receded and is no longer leaping around inside my tiny chest.

“I’m glad you came to visit me,” I tell her in my soft-voice.

“Me too.”

“How did you get here so early?”

“I took a bus.”

“Thanks for the hug,” I say. “It’s a nice way to wake up in the morning.”

“I miss waking up to hugs.”

“Me too.”

“I miss this, just being next to you.”

I pull my face in tighter to Barbra’s immense arm. I don’t know what to say about this so I just make a light moaning sound as an answer to appease her. It seems to work.

This turns out actually to be quite nice.

When I was a small child I would hug my father’s leg with my arms and my legs and he would walk around our apartment like a monster, chasing my mother. This was before Isabella was born, back when the two of them dreamed of going to Paris and Rome and all of those other really far off places where there were lots of Isabellas running around. I didn’t know it then, but I realized it later- I had always been wrapped around my father’s leg the way I wrapped around it as a small child. It limped him up in life, hampering the dreams he once held and shared only with my mother.

“We were going to Europe,” he said to me only just the once, “before you came along.”

My father had wanted to see all of the great wheels of Europe. The trains, the buses, the German engineering…

But then there was me, and the dreams he held before there was me were recalibrated to a smaller scale. Rather than visit Europe and see the wheels go around and round first hand, my father sat in his brown chair under that conical lamplight with his bottle of mead and read about them.

“Did you find my parents?” I ask Barbra.

“No. I tried to try, but I didn’t know where to start.”

“That’s okay. They’ll be back soon enough. I don’t want them to miss out on any more stuff because of me.”

“They must be having a great time. Can you imagine going to Milan to see all of that new fashion?”

I can’t imagine so I say nothing. My mother wanted to ride in a gondola and have some handsome guy in a striped shirt sing to her while poling her around a canal under old bridges with nice arches. There were several prints of paintings hung on our walls when I was growing up of these dashing young men, and Mom kept them as dusted as anything else. Quite often as a child I imagined these men were my uncles and that if I needed some assistance, their punt poles would become ninja sticks and I’d have two handsomely striped men at my side twirling weapons and cracking skulls.

“And Paris… Can you imagine being in Paris, Walter? Wouldn’t that be so romantic you would just fall over?”

Beneath the Eiffel Tower I’d meet them and pass on what information I had. I’d meet Caroline at a Bistro and we’d pass along more secrets hunched over a small table with a candle between us, stirring up the glow. Beneath the whisperings of espionage and power brokering would lie the subtext of love. Caroline would be yearning for a safe time and place and I would be yearning too.

“All those great art exhibits. The Louvre…”

And when the coast was clear we’d tryst in a farmhouse in the Parisian countryside surrounded by grape vineyards and olive trees. There would be planes flying overhead but we’d ignore them- nobody would waste their bombs on a small farmhouse without knowing that high valued targets were inside. I’d lift her up and carry her to the bed and set her down gently. As I pulled her panties down I’d kiss her inner thigh and move my lips around until I too found the high valued target and Caroline would say my name over and over and over.

“Oh Walter. Doesn’t that hurt?”

It’s very tight and uncomfortable and not what I wanted to have happen with Barbra at the moment.

“It’s not comfortable at all. It hurts a little.”
My erection has cheered Barbra up. “I miss that too,” she says to me. “I’m sorry I’m hurting you.”

“I just need to lie here and not move and think of something else.”

Barbra has a self-satisfied smirk on her fat face. It makes me happy I put it there and I don’t do anything to change things- I just lie here and hang on to Barbra’s arm and wait for things to settle down there while the clock on the wall just goes around and round.

Waiting for time to be consumed…

I got what I got…

I bury my face in Barbra’s arm and smell the powders there.

1 comment:

Jeannie said...

Good episode!

Paris doesn't excite me - my daughter's boyfriend was just there - the French were very rude because he spoke English - he found out later that if he'd spoken German, they'd have been far nicer.