Friday, August 5, 2011


She wouldn’t have guessed in a million years what I was going through, and before I convinced myself of her wayward affections, I had planned to tell her, but now I would just feel cheesy expressing what I had intended. On several counts she strikes me as self-involved and extremely naïve, though I would not boost myself out of that consideration by any means, but what she seemed to have had in mind, I mean before her brother’s death and all, would never have worked. I merely thought these things before while playing at finding out, but I know now for certain. She hasn’t a clue as to what goes on in other people’s lives when they are not in her presence, nor does she appear to believe what goes on affects her, and who can say how she might have reacted? I know it has me in a tizzy, questioning my own beliefs. Not even during my brief time with Tom Lawrence was I put into such a quandary, but, then, because our time together was cut short by his death, I will never know if such a thing might have happened.

The Thursday after I had returned to Mexico, having been snubbed and ignored by all and sundry, except for students, I finished work, and not looking forward to sitting solitarily in my big old empty space, I headed off to the cantina. I met a few acquaintances in transit, but nobody who wanted to hang out and talk. After a few beers, and growing just a bit maudlin, I was on the verge of taking flight and returning to my big old empty space on Staten Island, but consideration of commitments I had made had me thinking I would attempt to finish the semester before throwing in the towel. Even then something indefinable gnawing at me told me things would never work out for Sam and me, and I guessed they were the same reasons that had divided my relationship with Diana, though at that time they had remained so nebulous their possibility never crossed my mind. Indecision and stifled persuasion were probably the bases of how I was so easily taken in by those guys in Tapachula, followed up with a rash decision, and eventually wound up in this town. Most likely they were also what stalled any conclusive advances in my attempts at establishing a relationship with Samantha, and behind my bringing my now prodigal ex-brother-in-law south to stay with me.

I was getting bleary-eyed, and I knew it was unethical for a high school teacher to be sitting wasted in a cantina, but it was a free night in that I had no papers to mark, my syllabus was already planned out for a couple of weeks, and I did not expect to run into any of my students. Nor did I think any of the teachers would drop in by that point in the evening, so I was surprised to be sullenly greeted by Antonio wearing a loud yellow muscle shirt with the words I AM SYNESTHETIC printed in different colored letters emblazoned across his chest. He’s a little guy in stature, though well-built due to working out, and his almond shaped eyes gave him a look of sadness even if he were to smile, which in that moment he did not. “Where’s your lady love?” I asked, remembering his turning down an invitation to join me here a few weeks earlier on her account. “It’s over,” he said, sitting in the chair opposite me, and signaling for the mesero, who glanced at his watch, to bring another glass. Although I was sloshed, I felt while he was describing his break-up his salty voice was telling me more than his words contained, and I smelt something in the air not native to the place.

When I awoke wearing only my skivvies early the next morning on my living room floor and found Antonio in a fetal position similarly attired, a flood of peculiar images from the night before rushed through my brain, and though I found them difficult to absorb, and accept as the truth, I did not find them entirely unpleasant. The thing that troubled me a bit was wondering how he would react on waking, and though I sat staring at his sleeping form for approximately twenty anxious minutes in my one easy chair, and smoked the last two uncustomary cigarettes I found on the little table beside it, I soon discovered when he stirred that he did not consider it a topic of conversation. He dressed, turned down an invitation to get some breakfast, saying he had to go home and take care of some things before going to work, but he would meet me for lunch, and if I wanted to go off campus, he would drive to Sanborns. As I showered and got ready after his departure, I realized what a cool character he was. “You knew this would happen,” I said aloud, but couldn’t tell if I was addressing myself or the mental image I retained of the guy sleeping on my floor.

Friday brought on the weekend, and there were no discussions, no recriminations, no conditions set. Antonio and I had lunch together, discussing teaching resources, whether or not either of us would be attending the play I Eat Numbers the student repertory group was performing in the civic center, and figuring out vacation plans, and in that last item lay the hint of something changed. Four nights later, we got bombed and once again spent the night together followed by a Tuesday of non-discussion about what was occurring between us, but on Friday, both of us sober as judges, though non-judgmental, stayed at his place. I should not declare I was entirely non-judgmental because I found no trace of his former fiancée in his house, no pictures, no lingerie, nothing in the bathroom, and was aware that I had been expecting to find something to corroborate her mere existence. This was the damnedest thing that ever occurred in my life, this entering into a situation, a relationship, that had never been agreed to, nevertheless going forward, and I knew there were loose ends that had to be prudently taken care of and that I had to speak with Samantha as soon as possible.

As I waited outside Sam’s place, thinking of what to say to her, how to let her know I would be moving on even if I were not physically going anywhere, I took my cue from Antonio’s condition wherein letters and numbers have colors and heat, and twisted things around in my head reasoning that I was where I now was because she had persisted in avoiding me. Upon seeing her expression as she approached her building and found me waiting for her, I knew my plan was not so outlandish as it had at first seemed. I realized there was no need for me to feel guilty about attempting to break things off between us as they already appeared to be broken. She looked like a lovesick puppy, and it was clearly apparent that it was not for lack of being with me. We exchanged words, with me playing the part of the betrayed partner, but walking away from her, I felt a wave of relief wash over me as if everything had been resolved without anyone truly being hurt, and now, in any case, she has more to be concerned with than fretting over some wastrel who decided to switch teams. Heading back to my own place, for a night alone, the first few raindrops that wet my shirt seemed more metaphorical to me than the thought going through my head that if Cal decided to return any time soon to pike off me, he would probably choose this night to be waiting outside my door, or more likely have found a way to get inside, and how was I going to explain Antonio to him?

Thursday, July 21, 2011


They called you Victor. Maybe it was because they thought you would win every battle you would get involved in, but if they truly believed that, Victor would have been your first name, instead of a second name to be promoted when they tired of calling you Edward, and you just never struck anyone as an Ed. Besides, Ed was a ridiculous talking horse on television, given the soubriquet Mister, which you always heard as mistread, and waited for him to fall down.
Mister Ed seemed wise in comparison to Wilbur, his owner, who was never seen riding the horse. Not that you remember anyway.
Edward Victor. Why didn’t anyone think of calling you Teddy or Ted? Remember how confused you were the first time you saw Ted Kennedy on television and it said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy under his face? That was one of your first connections.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Synonymy V and VI

My visitor's card was stamped for a six-month stay. I had previously been advised by the Human Resources people at the school that I would need working papers that would put me into immigration status, and started that process before my little northward jaunt, in fact, that was why I went—to retrieve the necessary documents. I did not mention any of this to Cal, who is under the impression that I'm feeling out the place for the duration, and he appears to be willing to "stay as long as we are able before having to leave." It's all the same to me so long as I know he is not up in my house using my stuff; six months should provide enough time for me to come up with a plan. I have already discussed with him the merits of sunny days on the beach in Acapulco, and all the wealthy women there looking for companions, all of which makes me feel like a bastard for being as devious as I have known him to be, but in the end, it's six of one… I'm wondering what he'll do with himself all day while I'm at work, which as far as he knows is the edgy little private school I first worked at before meeting Samantha again.

Something very weird is going on, and nobody will tell me what I'm supposed to know, if I am the cause of their distress. First thing in the morning, Matt was acting very cool as if I had offended him in some way, and later, between classes, in the teachers' salon, Ari the philosopher started an argument over a hypothetical ethics question. Then, I said hello to Antonio and he snubbed me. I didn't see Sam until the afternoon when she was on her way out, and she had some sort of fading bruise on her cheek, and would not comment on it. Strangest of all, Cal was not in the apartment when I arrived in this confused state, and he never came back last night. Everything is running together as if it had only one meaning which I cannot fathom, and I am wondering what I have come back to.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Synonymy IV

When I woke from a nap on the plane, I found Cal ostensibly reading the Fernando Pessoa biography I had carried on with me. Apparently he had finished with all the comic books he had picked up in the airport bookstore, and the graphic novels I was bringing down with me to use in my teaching. I knew, not having the proper training except for what I would be able to grasp along the way, that I would have to be innovative. I had even thought while Cal was paying for the comics, with my money, that I might be able to find some use for them, but in his considered review they were garbage. "And this guy," he said, pointing to the cover sketch on the bio, "he was just weird; I mean, I couldn't tell the difference between any of the voices." "Among," I said, "between is for two people; among for more," and he just looked at me with that "fuck me" glare he possesses before calling the flight attendant to bring another drink.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Synonymy III

"Hey, Caligula," I said, "are you thinking of going out to look for a job?"
"Are you looking to get rid of me," Cal asked, "as if friendship and relative proximity count for nothing?"
"I was wondering if you might consider coming down to Mexico with me for a little while, and it'll be my treat." Yeah, and I can keep my eye on you until such time as I find a way to dispose of your annoying presence. I knew if I offered him a couple of hundred bucks to make him go away, he would just return after I had gone, so I only saw one solution. Besides, I was fairly certain I could pack him off to Acapulco and he would get distracted enough, in some get-rich-quick scheme not to want to come back to where I'd be staying.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Synonymy II

Cal told me all about how Jay-Jay was doing with her schooling; he knew I would be interested in that, and that he had seen Diana in concert—never so bored in his life. "I mean she is my sister, fer crissake, but all that opera twaddle leaves me cold." Why'd he go, I wanted to know, and he said, who wouldn't on free tickets, but mostly he went to get bombed at the after party, which didn't turn out quite the way he'd foreseen. "The kid and the nanny were there to help mom celebrate. You know she's always been a bigger hit over in Europe, and I guess she considered it a form of victory to be performing here in New York even in a secondary role." He did not mention whether or not he had hit her up for "something to tide him over" as was his usual m.o., but he said she headed back to the continent shortly thereafter, and since he was in the city, he hopped on a ferry and came over to the Island looking for me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I decided about two weeks into the thing that my original plans were not the best choice. I wanted to do it right, and that meant asking for a few days off to fly up to New York, gathering together all my papers, and returning in a way that I could hold my head up and not walk around preparing for a hand to come down on my shoulder by someone telling me I would have to take a hike. The flight up was non-eventful, but imagine my surprise on finding someone living in my house in my absence! My ex-brother-in-law Calvin was drinking the last of my private stock, sitting in his boxers and watching television in my favorite chair, and after I squelched the desire to rap him on the head, mostly because I quickly recalled the devious reactions he was capable of, I asked him why he wasn’t working. He simply replied that his last good job had ended six weeks earlier, he had coming looking for me to hang out with, and on finding the house empty of me but not my stuff, decided to await my return. He declined to say how he had entered, but I figured that part out when I discovered I had to clean up the bits of glass from one of the panels on the back door, bits he hadn’t bothered about after discovering the full larder.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

But Will I Pick Up on the Grammar?

My "life" has evolved 360 degrees. I'm looking up (and I guess I'd have to say backwards at my "past") instead of forward because I've opted to move my base of operations down to Mexico. I wouldn't give up the house on Staten Island. That would be stupid. But I can do this. Hadn't heard from Raymond or Denise in a while, so I rang their number. She answered. Said he was no longer upset with me, just wasn't in at the moment. She wished me luck and said the move would be a good thing. Wish it was more of an adventure, but as I don't have to work, and have no qualifications, it may end up as just a repositioning. I could look Michael up and ask him to help me get a job teaching English. Apparently he's been at it a while, and doing all right. He must know some people. I'm a quick learner. I just tire of things before they run out.
No. No. No. This is going to be different.
I'm going to do this. Correctly. Or maybe not.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 3 of a Long Weekend

All the lights of the city would be shining. The pink sky of the late afternoon would fade to the blue of dusk. It would be autumn with red, gold and brown leaves everywhere. They would have made their journey, probable and right, unlike the places we went.
I will wonder where you might be and where you're going to. Again, I´ll be going nowhere, but now I will realize drugs will not literally take me to some other place. Like the leaves at my feet, bunched together, you know, I don't want to travel alone. Going home again, I'll turn a corner, resigned to another evening in front of the television. I will think if you were here, we could order a pizza and listen to music and tell each other a few jokes, have some wine and laugh, then get serious. Then I would tell you just how much of a fool I have been. We would kiss and make love without undressing. Then we'd go to bed and hold each other so close neither of us could make plans to try to live alone. These are the simple things I never allowed you to think me capable of wanting.
I will climb the steps and remember the woman I disturbed by speaking my thoughts aloud, and her disapproving look. Perhaps she didn't feel I was crazy, but was only reminding me it doesn't do to dream. Perhaps she knew I was high, or thought I was a lost soul. If so, she had that right.
Putting the key in the lock, I will hear a familiar sound behind me causing me to turn, and I won't believe what I'm looking at. It will be you, standing on the lowest step, and when I start to say a word of welcome, you will put one finger to your lips.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 2 of a Long Weekend

My mood changes, ostensibly. Green lights tell me everything is go. The streets are crowded once again. They're always so, but this time I just push my way through, past the nameless faces. None of them are you. Having taken something from the medicine cabinet, I don't know what it was, I feel like a wild thing, all on fire and ready to burn something. It's invigorating. This works for about an hour, but then I think how I would like to share this experience with you. You know, I believe, for a little while at least, that I am able to see everything more clearly. I realize I've been afraid to show you how I truly feel, and I want to admit I have made some terrible mistakes.
In my head I'm having this conversation with you, when for no good reason at all, out loud, I say, "You never had to doubt my feelings." A woman with a shopping bag looks at me as if I'm just another crazy man. I'm asking you to forget the reality of what happened. Let it go. Please. Forget what reason tells you, and feel what I feel in this moment. She doesn't know me. She doesn't know us. Shaking her head and tut-tutting, as if to wither me, she doesn't realize her actions cause me mixed emotions. I'm also sensing that I must have taken something left over from our college days of staying up all night to study. Remember when we used to pop a few No-Doze and drink liters of coke to cram? I know if you were here with me, you would find it amusing to see how it affects me now.