I was Myshkin, then, not very saintly, but certainly naïve. When your wild days would be over and you would be just a shell of a boy in the body of a man and the realities of life would be deeply grooved and all those laughing clubbing fool friends of yours would leave for fresher pastures, I would be there. I would be there like I always was: holding you, drinking orange juice, watching the moonrise—your deepest friend, you said, the only one to ever really know you.

Yet, I could not divine the signs: the time spent on your smartphone; the hours in the bookstore; the gag joke bowl of condoms; the unanswered questions; the brushing off of concern; and the private jokes with your friends always followed by the “Shush—Andy’s in the next room.” I heard you say that; I heard them laugh. How our friends would set you up with everybody else (I haven’t forgiven many of them for this). How many times, led at night by jaundiced eye, I would drive to all right places to see . . . until I’d laugh myself back. I ignored the writing and stuck to my story. Gomer would home.

For weeks after you left, it was Górecki and dreams. You were driving a car up a tall hill, like the first incline of a roller coaster. We crested, the wheels lost ground contact, and I flew up in the back seat, my stomach into my mouth. I laughed when we landed. You were driving. You said, “Well, Andy, you always did go for the trumpety Jezebels.” You even showed up a few months ago at some kind of garden party and, just like in real life, you flirted with whoever came. I yelled at you. I’d rather you not show up at all, frankly, but there you were.

And here you are: It was deep night, when from my bed, I walked on cold tile and heard the sounds of ecstatic fucking from a far room. At once, I felt it all: shame, betrayal, arousal, disgust. What had long haunted the edges was incarnate reality before me. (How many times had I stood in this non-dream?) Had I been a worthy man, I’d burst in for coitus interruptus, declaring my love. But, good for him, experiencing life and all, I thought. I slowly backed into my bedroom. My bed was wet only with tears that night. I still loved you, even then, until years after, I woke from the nightmare.

Love is insane. Love contradicts. Love rapes all rational thought to explain away her misery, her pain. Love takes all and never gives. Love leaves you. Love smiles to the scaffold. Love bade me welcome and she murdered me on the rack. O daughters of Jerusalem, do not awaken her before she stabs you in the back.

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