He feels unhinged, unbolted. Dispirited. Uninspired. There is no salt left in the substance of his life. He feels like he has lost the center; the focal equilibrium in him, the compass- and he walks around like a man trapped in a dream. It’s like the air has been sucked right out of him and the best part is that he really don’t care. He wakes up lethargic, like he has been fighting ghosts all night. He drives to work, nothing to look forward to. His existence spins like cogs and wheels without grease. He is a walking android, bored out of his program.
He is a familiar stranger in the house that was once his home. Last weekend he couldn’t hold it up anymore. He left her in the house, grabbed the only cash left in his bank account and checked in a hotel. She saw him leaving the house, his son tried to find his eyes but there was a stranger looking in there he has never known. The wife was silent. No curiosity, nothing. His presence had already cast an empty shadow for as long as she can remember. He could tell she couldn’t care anymore whether he were there or not. He has been spiraling down a pit and he let himself go.
The night at a hotel he saw her staring at him. He was nursing cold whiskey, a packet of cigarettes laid besides the crystal glass. He had had quite a number and the idea of a strange woman in his hotel room seemed welcome for the night. There was no talking. A weary smile and there she was, tagging at his elbow as he trudged up the spiral stairs to his hotel room. The bar room was empty as he left. Only the barman who had been dutifully refiling his glass was balancing his books.
The girl helped him with the door and in he staggered. She is an old thing, he notices. Older than his 35 year old wife back at home. She could be 40, maybe 45 under the tired hangings of her pons and mascara.
She helps him with his clothes, and he kick off his boots. She has experience…. But of course. She has been working up men with flesh colder than Eskimo nuts. But he proves a challenge…he can’t get it up and she surrenders besides him in quiet submission. He don’t care. He lights up a cigarette and laid back in perfect silence.
She stares at the ceiling, occasionally turning to share his cigarette. They look like a couple content in the workings of tranquility. They seem like they have known each other all their lifetime.
They haven’t exchanged a word. She has remained silent, only drawing hard on the cigarette and giving it back.
Life is still out in the city. The streets are lit and dark at the same time. He rise from bed and hovers toward the window. He stares at the stillness and in it he find strange sense of piece. He hasn’t had the feeling for quite sometime. Maybe months. She slithers across the floor and stand naked behind him, staring at the stillness that held the 3 o’clock night. Her breath and heave of her bust is warm on his neck and back. He tilts his head slightly, rubbing his temple on her cheeks while keeping his gaze at the distant street lights. There is strange comfort just standing there tonight with this strange woman, not thinking of anything at at a all.
Maybe this is how life is to be lived. Stationary…… Dark still nights with shadows and lighting. With a strange woman naked snuggling on your back..A free soul. Unhinged in that way.
He wonders how it all got here. He never loved her. His wife. She had all the connections he needed, and he knocked her up way before the idea of marriage made sense. She moved in…she set him up in a firm. Still strangers really. He spent years chasing dreams he never really harbored. Was it really his dreams? Or chasing after coin to make ends meet. The grind for survival. Kids came and no real time for them.
Then he is forty. His mechanical existence is given a wild jerk on the ribs. He can’t take it anymore. Life is suffocating. He can’t tell who fathered his third kid but he really don’t care. He can’t care, really…..last time he touched her was on Christmas last year, ten months ago but the wife is two months on. But he really don’t care.
Alcohol is a miracle worker. Irony maybe, but it has been solely responsible for keeping this marriage. She hasn’t walked out. Not yet….he don’t know why, how. He gives her little problem. He gets home past midnight and sleep in the spare room. He takes breakfast at work. Win win. No one is on eithers way. He can’t notice her change of wardrobe, the new cologne. Oh boy, not with constant fumes of whiskey slipping in and out of him.
“It’s a great night out there Billy boy” The woman startles him from the reverie. His eyes remain fixed on the dancing lights out there in the still night.
“Yeah, great night”
“Care for some life?”
“Yeah, great night.”
She turns and put on her clothes. He follows her, with only his boxers on and a vest. He really don’t care. It feels great walking out on boxers. Free. Unhinged…..with a strange woman.
She has a car parked in the drive way. It sounds great coursing through the still night in boxers. He feel all the lethargy ooze from his body and something else springs within. It feels like a new lease. It feels like life. He feels raw, the cold night smoldering on his senses. He feel a heavy cloud unseats from his mind. A heavy burden lifts from his soul.
Its a great feeling.
And the night seems inviting.
He get behind the wheel and pierce through the sleek still night. He could feel the smooth workings of the motor as he drive off through the gates.
She turns on the stereo and it’s a song that brings back his days back in college. Loretta Lynn. It’s a glorious night. Everything seems to taste better. A little salt has been sprinkled on his soul. She cranks up the volume and the car seems to ride over clouds.
“This is how she broke down trying to leave town
Shes got the whole world in her hands
And she’ll leave it behind in a moment
For this one last stitch romance..”
He got the whole world, in his hands, he got the whole world, in his hands.
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