Thursday, 21 February 2013

Pushing 50: You Can't Always Get What You Want (2)

Wounded Souls.

"I told her what I needed her to know." He cut in between my "Hello."


"Yeah..." He dragged the one syllable word longer than necessary and it sounded painful.

"Which part?"

"That I've lost feelings for her." Shit, I was afraid of that!


"And...i feel relieved." Somehow I have a gut feeling that his sentence did not end just there.

"Relieved is...GOOD." 

"But..." There, told ya!

"But?! But is NOT good, man! Never." However, an 'and' would be good, i wanted to add but did not.

"But somehow I think I'm being unfair to her. I'm being selfish. How could have i said that to her? That was mean. was mean. She must have felt awful. What kind of a person am I? I'm screwed up big time, man!"

I bit my tongue. He needed to talk and my opinion could wait. Perhaps, not needed at all.

"Never in my entire life had i ever imagined saying anything like that to her. (A short pause) Any sane person wouldn't do that to a woman he had spent 15 years of his life with. What is happening to me? Have i gone mad?!”

I took that as a rhetoric question despite the fact that I already had a few answers popping up like fresh toasts in my mind. So i bit my tongue harder and let him talk.

“How could this happen?” he continued. “How was it even possible that you woke up one morning and you looked at your wife, you saw her familiar face, her beautiful eyes, her warm smile… but you felt empty inside? You touched her, but when your fingers brushed her skin, the skin only you knew so well, and you felt... nothing but hollow... and COLD. How could that happen? How could the feelings just disappear like that... as if they had never been there before?” He uttered his words slowly, taking his time; each new word carried more agony than the last. It was difficult not to miss the accentuated despair during the brief intermissions within his sentences, during the labored intake of fresh air into his lungs. I struggled to remain unruffled.

“Day by day i pretended as though nothing had changed. I tried to convince myself that it was all just a phase, you know what I mean? I told myself this madness would soon leave and things would get back to being normal again. But the pretending, the acting... man, it was choking on me. I couldn't breathe.You know what I mean?"  

Another pause. I could feel his pain cut through the silence like a newly bought butcher knife that chopped my soul into pieces. I quickly swallowed the lump in my throat before it turned into a sob.

"I tried but it wasn't easy. It wasn't easy for me neither was it for her. It was choking on me. I couldn't breathe. I had to tell her. I just had to! I.couldn'”

( I lit up a ciggy. Inhaled, paused. And exhaled. And I knew he was smoking too. I heard him exhaled. Or was he snuffling? Was he crying? Shit!  I struggled for something to say. Something wise or funny but...Mr. Brain had gone out for lunch, at the most inappropriate moments obviously! Shit! )

“ Aren't you going to say anything?” Finally he asked and i didn't miss the sobs he tried to hide at the end of his sentence.

“Do you want me to lie or tell the truth?” I asked back. I didn't need an answer. I just needed time to arrange my thoughts.

“Your lies suck.” 

“You’re an idiot” I said but not in a condescending way.

“Tell me something I don’t know” he mumbled. 

“How’s she doing?” A stupid question, yeah… I know!

“Not good.”

“How are YOU doing?” Another stupid question.


“Listen, you already told her what you needed her to know. If it’s of any consolation, I think you did fine. Most couples, married or not married, will come to this miserable stage at certain point of the relationship. They do realize that somewhere between the familiar touch, the old jokes, the routine ‘i-love-yous’, something has gone missing, something is absent or something has died. But for so many reasons, most of them inevitably decide to avoid the truth and carry on with their daily lives…(sigh)… and succumb to… as you put it, pretense.  Only a few, like you, will take the bold step to come clean and tell the miserable truth. In a sense you're lucky you know? You have escaped the banal Alcatraz.” I wondered if anything I had said ever got through to him. But when the pain is so intense what could ever possibly make any logical sense, anymore?

“Even if it means hurting the kids and your wife and let 15 years of marriage go down the drain?”

“It’s either the truth or back to Alcatraz. Your call but it’s never a win-win situation, kiddo. Everything has a price tag. No free lunches, okay?” I wished I could  be a bit 'girly-like' and offered some sweet mushy comforting words. Or be slightly vulnerable and maybe even cry with him. Naahh... 'vulnerable' is for wimps! 

"If only there was another way of doing it and that no one would get hurt..." 

"Oh, don't bullshit me! You knew there was another way of doing it. You could have stayed in that Alcatraz day in and day out. And not complaining. And not thinking. And not even feeling anything. That was the other way of doing it without having anyone getting hurt."

"Except me."

"And round and round we go." I said, sarcasm intended. "Listen, you've said whatever it was that has been eating you all these while. Done. It's Damage Control time now. You need to pick up the pieces and start anew.  Wallowing in self pity and remorse wont do the trick. Staying in your sadness and sulking won't help. It's time to move on."

The conversation ended shortly after that. Let's hope that  the expensive call he made did justice to his weary soul. I on the other hand felt unsettled with something he said before he hung up.

"You and Tom have got it made. Lucky you, he's a great guy. Tell the old bugger i said 'Hi.' Ciao!"

And as if on cue, the great Tom appeared from the bedroom; wearing only boxer shorts with the famous 'I-napped-for-hours' hairdo, a puffy face and a grumpy mood to match. 

"Was that Stan?" he asked without looking at me and disappeared into the kitchen. 

"Yup." I answered. "He said, 'Hi.'" 

Tom the Great reappeared from the kitchen with a glass of orange juice and stood facing me across the working-table.

"How is he?" He briefly glanced at me before his eyes were transfixed on something interesting through the window behind me. And as though satisfied with what he saw he then chug-a-lugged the liquid like a thirsty hippo.

"Doing fine, I hope"

Tom the Great placed the empty glass on a neatly piled manuscript by the computer, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and then turned around and made his way to the bedroom. I heard him said, "I'm late. My plane is less than 2 hours away. I got to shower. God knows how I hate these business trips!" He may or may not be addressing that statement to me. It's just Tom. Tom the Great, that. 

He disappeared  into the bedroom, and then i heard the bathroom door slammed and seconds later, opened.Tom the Great reappeared, naked this time, and walked towards the coffee table where his phone was resting like the queen of Sheba on her royal chaise. "Any call? Message?" I heard him mumbling. No,i didn't have to answer, it was not a question, to begin with. As he made his way back into the bedroom with his eyes fixed and index finger wiggling on the screen, i watched the meat on his bare, sagging, aged ass moved lazily upon each step he made until he disappeared again into the bedroom. I flinched!

I remembered the message well enough. The words were imprinted in my mind, just like the rest of the messages before that. And all the messages she had text him for the past couple of years. I flinched again.

"Darling, I'm missing you already. Can't wait to get on the plane and snuggle up close to you. I love you... body, heart and soul. XOXO."

Yes Tom, there was a message a for but oops! I've deleted it while you were sleeping, and probably while you were dreaming of her.

Lucky? No kiddo, I bloody chose to stay in this fucked-up Alcatraz.

The End.

Wounded souls... they totally kill me. 

Yours truly,

You can't always get what you want
but if you try sometimes
well you just might find
you get what you need.
- The Rolling Stones

No comments:

Post a Comment