excerpt from the BITTER END:
WHY MUST THEY ALWAYS ADD SO MUCH DETAIL when explaining the intricacies and irregularities of the female reproductive system? As if it is somehow going to cloud things with a gut, don’t need to know response? Fuck. She really was just testing things. Have to hand it to her, what a master stroke with the pre-emptive, come out swinging that I don’t care even enough to respond instantly to her miraculously breaking a week of silence at the last minute with a generic we need to talk. What does charter matter when she was desperately waiting for a skype? She didn’t want it to be on Facebook, no. Too visible. Didn’t want to get me upset. I sink the frostline and flag down another.
“What’s so funny,” she asks?
“And don’t say nothing or what’s the new one, life.”
“Something about boats and women.”
“Well, we know where our boats are going…”
“A brief layover in Florida then to linger on the Riviera…”
“I thought you like France.”
“I like the idea of it.”
“So where is this vessel going?” She takes another sip with an interrogators eye, every non-verbal carrying some intent or other. “I mean what are we going to do?”
Fuck. Isn’t this is where all that emotional business comes into play? I don’t even want to look at her, just lingering in the pause of what we both seem to understand needs to be said. Fuck. It’s not supposed to be like this, two diplomats maneuvering and positioning, just hedging toward an ambiguity we’ll somehow live amidst or all the proof and potential of our online glow, giving life to every moment we’re not in bed. The drink is staring at me, it might compel the words she wants then wipe clean any memory then let it all happen again.
“I don’t know. I do worry things will get too online-ish. That’s no way for anything to go,” I offer half heartedly.
“Do you really know how rare this is? It’s just too good to let slip. How long are you going to stick out yachting?”
“I’m over it. It’s been fun but fuck. Can’t go back to the States. That much I do know. Might hop off in Europe and take a little time off.”
“How’s that going to work out? You’ll probably party it away in 9 months and be right back chasing another gig…”
“Life does have a way of intervening,” I add, just catching the words and less their truth than their want.
“What about you? It’s not all about me you know.”
“But it’s always about you isn’t it? We go to your hometown when I wanted to go to New York and now you’re leaving and it’s just ‘oh, hey, Roz what are you going to do?’ I’m not having it,” she starts and abruptly halts almost conscious of the feint. What happened to the coin toss? She called heads didn’t she? It was her call. There it is. That’s it. Why must she make it so easy for you? How can you ignore this?
“So suggest something,” I add curtly with another sip.
“I don’t know,” she manages.
“How long can you take off?”
“I don’t want to take off is the thing. I want to do something else. No one ever gets the chance to take a genuine crack at what they want or start over again with some capital, a clean slate and a whole world…”
“But you don’t really know what you want to do…” she delivers with a nervous laugh.
“There’s nothing funny about any of this….”
“Well, why don’t we pop down to Oz for a few months after the Med season? My mum has a new house and is after me to come home for a visit. You could go surfing, see what’s out there….”
Just like that. Just see what’s out there. At least she’s not pregnant. That’s something. Just tag along for the next adventure. Does crossing the Pacific settle it? Maybe she is the best option? But is she really an option? Semantics just won’t do with all the time and money. No. What’s the return? Sex? Or is that interest? Or is it some sort of derivative? There’s something there. She knows what she is doing doesn’t she?
I sink the glass and light a cigarette, just starting to embrace a convenient blend of emigration and infatuation. There is something mercenary about it and but it just makes too much sense. This is the world you live in. You have no choice but the choices it gives you.
Then the music sinks in and it’s working whatever it is. There’s the levity. Christ, is that a smile, the points of the mouth just beginning to creep north? And I look over and somehow there is another sense, that quiet fascination, an ember, a cinder of passion, infatuation, or fondness, just enough but only just. Fuck. It’s almost as if there is a ledger to it all, a grand balance most people blissfully wander through. Or is it just the sort of thing that never occurs to people living in the real world—but fuck if it isn’t sitting next to me on a bar stool in SXM.
She orders us some cheery shots and it doesn’t matter in the least, it’s just a pleasing step into some other space. It’s not travel anymore, it’s not some field trip, some sojourn for stories and all the other artifacts. No. Something new, all the differences people merely contrive just pouring from a place, those millions of little things that actually add up to a life, driving a Holden, crazy slang, the other side of the road, meat pies and surfing!
There is a nice breeze that follows us out onto the beach and into the darkness, laughing maniacally I give chase to a loving tackle, utterly gripped by this potent absorption, a one and another lost to the terminus of a night, a faint moment beyond every circumstance that lead us there, some other purer realm, that finds it place with every harried embrace and that slowly building crest, an awed second of clarity right before the crash…
She rolls over next to me and for a moment it is nice to have a someone—maybe even a future.