“You’re a cool guy, Amos, but not the coolest guy in the world, and fact is you are as full of shit as my wife. So---what great lie are you living?"
"You’re a jerk, you know---"
"You even know?"
Amos shifted his weight. Not sure if Sol expected an answer, not sure if he knew the answer, not sure if he would answer.
Sol smirked. "What’s the matter big guy? Too close for comfort?"
A fair question from a friend, in a friendly conversation. Just more bullshit, if it’s a taunt. You looking for a fight, or an answer?
As if it were all my fault I know he’s thinking I was the reason Seiglinda never told him she was pregnant, never once mentioned she was having his baby, what did he want to do about it what did he think about it did he want to be involved. As if it was my fault she wasn’t prepared to have him be any part of it, any part of their life.
On the other hand, it is true I did not want that pregnancy, that child to be any part of our life. I will not apologize for that.
“You’re family Mags, for better&worse, but,” he shook his head, “more aptly, and, what we had is over. You’re off the hook.”
“Just like that!?”
“Now what?” she asked.
“Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a damn. You decide, but any way I look at it, as far as I’m concerned, you’re in no man’s land...sidetracked on a side line, Liebshchein. Neither in or out, and no free pass either way. Oh, and everyone knows the story. The whole story.”
“What about you?”
He smiled at her. “Better late than never, I suppose…”
“Don’t even bother.”
"I’m not a complicated man, I take people at their word, Sophie for better and worse. Don’t read in, or out. But I’m not naive—"
"Meaning what, Sol, at this juncture where any other man would have by now jumped my bones or suggested in any number of ways it was ok if I jumped his?"
"I don’t know you well enough to make love to you and I don’t know how just to have sex with you, don’t want to know how just to have sex with you."
"Not a product of our times?"
Not a free-love man, no."
"And then of course," he said, "there’s Amos."
"What does Amos have to do with it?"
Sol felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach. Felt like he should have felt when he and Maggie finally starting talking.
"That hurt," he said.
"Amos and I aren’t—"
"Oh yes you are! May not be the usual thing but you two are definitely a thing, and no friend of either one of yours would step between, not after the fact."
"You are a romantic."
"Has more to do with self-respect, Sophie."
"My self-respect. My call."
"Lust you mean?"
"What am I missing here, Sophie?"
"Everything, and nothing," Sophie answered."
"I don’t always get this," Graciella said, drawing a circle in the air with her hand, "as if we’re not in love with the same man?"
"Ah!" Sophie said, "we’re not."
Graciella grimaced. Folded her arms across her chest. Snugged her hands into her armpits . "At another time I would’ve just knocked you on your ass, fucking cold-cocked you for talking smack to me. Disrespecting me like I’m a two bit whore. I asked a question, I expect an answer, not some high class you’re better than me crap!"
he had not necessarily intended to get wet never mind go in the water, but already wet and in the water and the fool for it with nothing left to lose and the all being a perfect metaphor for the cold slap in the face life already dealt he stood up and walked headlong into the ocean, 500 dollar suit pants belt, and starched white shirt he was saved by the yells which even in his to hell with the rest of you moment he could discern concern and god knows he wasn’t trying to kill himself was he, wow!
“...in another time and place, Graciella I would have jumped your bones, and screwed the two-bit whore you were, and we would have laughed before the hair pulling was over and you still wouldn’t know what you were missing not sure you could take it for what it was wondering if I was disrespecting you or somehow getting the better of you and you would have sent your posse or whatever we called it back then to set me straight---” she laughed. “but there would have been no Amos, he was already gone, not yet come back---”
maybe I was different when we first met, though I’m loathe to sign-off on that, and it’s hard to tell, the measuring rods and even the ground is so far from what it is now...the whole country has tilted right…yet I will give him the single point, when we met I was face to face with seiglinda arguing some fine political point about being at war and forgiving nothing, she was much more apologetic than I and in the end clearly right, and I in my arm waving righteousness about fine lines and sand was much less human
sol & I fought about a lot, well discussed heatedly, at the beginning the ins and outs of everything, he was more moderate, more circumspect, I liked that, liked that he responded to my passionate ranting, seiglinda was soft spoken, for that matter generally soft, she had no sharp edges, was not as I recall clearly defined, her art was like that too, pastels, oils...she didn’t take to acrylics, nor to the sharp straight lines everyone was toying with, she stayed true to her impressionistic heroes, we shared a studio, but never talked much, she didn’t really like discussing things
I need to say, you should have told me, someone should have told me." He put his hands up, "I don’t—"
"Stop!" Seiglinda said. "You’re right. I should have told you. And I meant to, every day for years, and then it turned into you’d be better off not having known, and then it was just a wrong I lived with. Too much time went by and then it was double the indemnity."
He was glad she didn’t dare cry. He didn’t even smile at her joke. "Why?"
"I don’t know."
"After all this time?!"
"That’s not what I mean, Solly."
more than anything now it’s just a matter of getting it right, making it right, getting it to set straight even if we don’t set it straight, it was so long ago, and each of our versions are self-serving, there is no nothing but the truth, there are facts though, which are some comfort, but they don’t come near laying any of it to rest, this was a woman I loved, who said she loved me, we made a baby, and she never told me, never giving me any of the decisions to make, feminist politics withstanding, that’s fucking wrong
he was amazed at the geography of the feeling, not love though the terrain and the weather were familiar, it was the light which was different, and the smells–
no sweet frangipani or lavender or coconut, it was sour and so pungent it made his eyes tear (no, he wasnot crying) and a shrieling (he wondered if it would be spelled with 2 ‘e’s like keening + wailing rather than shrieking & wailing, he rolled his eyes) was shattering the silence yet the fact remained the intensity with which this hate bound him to her was just the same measure as love’s
she watched him come up on her, not sure about the look on his face, the way he was watching her as if she were disfigured, looking away didn’t help she could still feel his unwavering attention, not a gaze but a hard driven stare, as if she were mad, or in fact demanding it somehow, she slowed as the distance between them got shorter and more intimate, she overcame the urge to adjust her hair or straighten her shirt or to run either away from or toward condemnation or worse absolution,
not at all sure there was a difference
“I can’t say it’s not good to hear from you---”
“I wasn’t sure how you would respond.”
“I haven’t yet, you know--”
“Well, you haven’t hung up on me yet.”
“Way too much to say, to hang up, so, here you are, and I have to ask---”
“I know you do, knew you would.”
“Why? Why didn’t you tell him? The whole story. Then and now.”
“I felt like she should tell him, felt like he should bring it up to me, not the other way around.”
“So why didn’t you duke it out with her? You always did before."
life is funny I said, they laughed, they thought it was a loaded statement, it was, she’d just said today would have been her 15th anniversary, and then we veered off to the ups and downs of our fates and she said it was the consistencies that allowed us to tolerate them, and I asked her as I have a wont to do as if it were her favorite nailpolish color if she could name them, realizing of course I could not
but I’ll start with hope, and love and knowing that faith is not hellbent, or dogmatic