On My Own
I didn’t fully wipe, which can only be fully discovered by walking. This time I could start from scratch. I had time on my side for most of the early part of the century, but what fat people say about age is true: it gets harder to control. Thus, I gave up on daughters and found a Coxsackie flat.
Berlmere is disinterested, mainly, I’ve told him, because he’s undereducated. All of the emotion I have felt in my life is in the room where I meet with these men, weekly, from 4:00-6:50pm.
For years I was a taker, but now I’m giving back: that’s another thing I tell myself. I tell myself while I look at the profile of my belly in the bathroom mirror, while I notice, again, the hair that can grow on the side of belly so long without a healthy scraping due to running. Recently, my mother told me that I went a month without calling her, the longest I’ve gone since I was spreading it on my own sheets, unaware and nutty.
In the end I do want what we all want for the century of our decline: the last of it. I’ll take the last of anything that gets me slightly ahead. That’s what desperately needing money can do to a man who teaches Berlmere transitions.
Ted was again talking about Fireball Island, except this time he’d put out a heaping plate of sliced tenderloin, so he had some real leverage with the group. It was raining, and no one was at the beach. We pulled up to the table and dealt with one another.
“Hey,” said one man.
“That’s impossible,” said another.
Ted persisted and guts filled. You could say, considering the arguments of the previous night, that it was quite medium. Next we could make a fire and continue to talk and listen.
As it turned out, the weekend was supposed to be viewed as an event, which is why were all there, celebrating not Ted’s wedding, but another man’s. He was in love. Largely, it went undiscussed.
I don’t know why I decided to order the same thing that he had just ordered. Maybe I’d seen it done before, which is why my hair why my breakfast why my book while I chewed raw vegetables at lunch. He had that way about my desk before he asked me, that way that suggested he hadn’t noticed I’d only alternated between two skirts since I was hired, black and blue.
Happiness was evinced by his trimmed mustache. I’d never been to the restaurant before, so it felt like prom all over again, except it was so many years later and the lights were now brighter and more revealing. The amount of cement in the world had grown exponentially, I found time to think.
When you’ve decided what you’re doing is forbidden, conversation either dries up or it flows, and in either case the world becomes flattened by the words that you can use to describe it. I know that I was my prettiest, that he was too, but that what could be expected from each of us was different, and that that would keep us apart forever. I did not know who the president was when I was born.
Thomas Cook lives in Los Angeles and edits Tammy. His writing recently appeared in TL;DR and is forthcoming in Bennington Review and The Cincinnati Review.