Monday, November 18, 2013
They don't tell me anything anymore.
"Paul?". she says." Paul! Is that you?". I look over, as this woman now stands before me, wearing a dark grey business suit. Her dress reaches down to about her knees, while her boots reach up towards them as if trying to save a friend from falling over a cliff. She gives off an almost reserved quality, while her knee high boots scream out in deviance. I look this woman over, as the slight wind keeps blowing her long black hair around, while she in turn partially brushes it from her face. Her hair makes her look as if she was a hippie in another life, it just frames her face so perfectly, as its just on the cusp of covering her up completely. But I do not know this woman, or, at least, I do not remember her.
"I'm sorry ma'am, but can I help you?". I tell her, being overly polite. She looks at me, as if having second thoughts, or probably, just taken aback by being called ma'am.
"Paul! Its me? Susan!". She says this, as if a light is supposed to come on in my head at this very moment. But instead we both end up conversing by giving off equally strange, confused looks.
"I apologize". I tell her." But I do not recall from where I know you". I can see the light as it bounces off her pearly whites, partially blinding me. I have never seen teeth that white before, either that or she found the one spot where the sun perfectly reflects off their very surface.
"I'm sorry!". She replies." I just came from the dentist not to long ago. I get my teeth whitened every so often. It may be a bit too much, what with all this sun we have been getting lately". She sits down across from me, with her arms folded up on the table as if trying to sell me something. There is something about her though, some hidden element that reminds me of something I have possibly forgotten. A bygone era in a previously lived town or city.
"Its Susan!". She once more repeats." Jessica's sister". As she says this, the story at once hits me like a falling piano in one of those bugs bunny cartoons. 'Jessica, yes, I remember her'. I say to myself. 'I can't believe I have forgotten'. Jessica was a girl I once dated, a long time ago. I was in my mid thirties, and she her late twenties. We met in the oddest of places, at least for me anyways.
The first time I saw her was at my work, at the time I had a job at this old pizzeria down on fourth, were I used to live. I was in my mid thirties, as I have said, but was basically going nowhere job wise. I had just finished university, as a biology major. As there was, and still is, this museum up in the downtown core, and always wanted to work there in some capacity. An biology always fascinated me, ever since I was young. Every time I went there as a kid, our guide was always so knowledgeable and nice, it just seemed as if it would have been a great place to work, as I would always be learning and teaching younger generations about the wonders of biology. A strange dream for a young kid. But anyways, getting back to topic. I first met her at one of my regular deliveries. When I first went there, she opened the door, I must have stumbled over my words, because I remember her chuckle, slightly(as if trying to hide it), right before introducing herself. She was so beautiful, an looked just like her sister, Susan. Which I do believe is were the problem began. I am still honestly a bit fuzzy over all the details of the whole thing, as she didn't tell me too much( most of them don't).All I know is, is that Susan tried to contact me a few times afterwards, but I would have nothing of it, it just reminded me of what I lost, and obviously, it was a little strange that she was doing so.
"Oh yeah, Susan". I pause." How are you". I say, trying to act like its no big deal.
"Good, good" she says." Still working at the same old building I always have".
"Just down on Edmond's, and Fitz.. right".
"Yeah, I am actually surprised you remember that. I am thoroughly impressed Paul".
"Yeah well". I tell her." The mind remembers strange things at times doesn't it".
"Sure". She says, in a sarcastic tone." I guess it does".
"So". I sigh." I guess I should just ask instead of avoiding it all together. But.. hows Jessica doing these days?".
"Its okay Paul, there is no obligatory questions. But she is doing okay, as always".
Susan adds on that last part as an almost under her breath sigh. I always have gotten the impression that they never have seen eye to eye on all things. But I guess in all families with two or more children, there is mostly always a favorite child. Jessica was always that kid, it was strange actually, seeing their parents weren't exactly out in the open about it, but didn't hide it all too well either. Susan has had some hard times, her husband left her not to long after they got married, and I always suspected the parents blamed her in some fashion. As she was never the most outwardly emotional person, always had her feelings hidden underneath her sleeves so to say. But the weirdest thing was, that although I was at the time dating her sister, I always felt as if Susan had a thing for me. A kind of pull that came from her, or a push possibly, as if she was always slightly coming on to me, but only when Jessica wasn't around, like two different people pulling from opposite ends. Could all just be in my head, but on the other hand, maybe not, maybe that is why the whole breakdown happened at the end.
"As always?". I ask." What do you mean by that?".
"You know how she is, no matter what happens there is always something better waiting around the corner".
"So a new guy friend perhaps".
"Yeah, kind of!". She proclaims." She was seeing this one guy for quite sometime after you two broke up, made it fairly far on the whole relationship scale of things too. A wannabe lawyer I believe. But he never could make it past the finish line. I have had this odd feeling you know, as of late, that something has been holding her back, not exactly sure what it is though".
The patio is now just beginning to fill up, as people make their way from work on various breaks to get there daily fix of caffeine. I find the more coffee you drink the more likely your trying to suppress some other more addictive habit. At least, that theory works on my part anyhow. I used to smoke quiet heavily, got to two packs a day. Eventually I quit, me and an old friend of mine, figured its easier to do it together than alone. I still have one every so often actually. But not enough to get me into that habit once more. I come down to this cafe fairly often, and find that at certain times of day you see basically the same people. Its a big business area around here, so they are all dressed to the nines and looking all GQ(as some might say). Almost makes me feel a bit inferior actually, here I am dressed in jeans and a X-men t-shirt, while being surrounded by all these beautiful people in suits. Its like that car commercial, the one were the employees celebrate every time they sell a car, and at the end the janitor walks through cleaning up the mess. Of course the employees are all skinny and beautiful, while the janitor is a bit overweight and balding. No skinny person could ever do a job like that, not in TV land anyhow. I can still feel the smooth surface of the cup in my hand, only now its cold and empty. I wouldn't mind grabbing another one, but too many coffees at one time give me the shakes.
"Why would she be holding back, sounds as if she found what she was looking for". I say, as my interest begins to saunter.
"You started to come up in conversations, quite recently actually. Its strange, she hasn't mentioned your name for some time. But recently, I would hear your name more and more each time we'd talk".
When she says this, I feel my interest start to once more peak. I just find it quite hard to imagine that my name would come up in any sorta normal conversation(an unnormal(is that a word?)) I would be able to understand. I figured after all this time she would have either forgotten about me, moved on, or possibly even both. It does make me wonder about those specific conversations that they might be having in which my name is popping up in such a consistent manner. But, to be honest, I am not really sure I want to ask. As I am not at all sure that I want to stretch out this anymore than it already is. It was a long time ago, and I am not sure how I even feel at this point, as my mind keeps going back and forth on the whole idea. I can feel her eyes jump out at me though, waiting for an appropriate response, like some kind of animal kingdom staring contest to see who's the leader of the pack.
"An why exactly is my name coming up so recently?". I sigh, in defeat.
"I am not too sure exactly, I am just as much in the dark about it as you are".
"Oh well". I say." Probably better off that way anyhow".
"You should come over some time". She blurts out." For dinner or something, I know for sure the dog would be happy to see you". She laughs, an smiles.
"Yeah". I pause." She is probably the only one at that".
"It's been years now hasn't it, I don't think Jessica would mind". She says this as if forgetting the whole previous conversation. As if it just suddenly slipped her mind. All in all though, it is more than likely a bad idea. If we were to be friends, I think it would have happened already. An even after that, I have a strange feeling that Susan is after something, something more than me and Jessica being friends, I would imagine, I am just not sure exactly what it is.
The place is now crowded, with various other conversations floating through the air, its hard to hear what she is saying exactly. Like a white noise, or the comforting sounds of the ocean that lull people to sleep at night. If I close my eyes, actually, I can almost see the ocean, with that musty smell that seems to cling itself to your very fabric, making it so hard to get it off. I always loved the beach, and would actually take Jessica there quite often. It was nice just to walk along the shore, pants slightly folded up as to not to get them wet. I remember the first time we went there, the tide was out, and a crowd was gathering a few paces up. When we penetrated this little group, we found that on the beach just on the cusp of the waters, lay an even bigger crowd. Apparently, a whale had washed up the previous night. So people came to see a rare glimpse of it so close up, although quite morbidly so when you think about it. I remember the laughter of the children as they all took turns looking through this one gentle mans telescope. As I could also hear most people having practically the same conversation about said whale. All about the beauty of it, coupled with the sadness, ending with the eventuality of what exactly we should be doing with it. Soon enough we decided we seen all that we could, so we than wandered off to other pastures. Ending the day with me dropping her off at her house.
"I really don't think that is a good idea at this point in time. Especially without her knowledge. I am not really the one to show up anywhere unwanted".
"But you are wanted". She says, confusingly.
"Yeah, I know, I know. But its just you inviting me. Me and her have such a long story, I am just not sure that she wants to see me again".
"Why would you say that, she does mention your name remember. That has got to mean something. Even if it is subconscious".
"I am sorry, but I got to decline, its for the better".
"Well okay than, but if your ever in the neighborhood..". She says, seeming as if there should be a second part to that sentence. To be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing her again, always thought we would be great together, we just gelled so well, even if I did forget, momentarily.
"Alright than". She sighs." I have to get going, I am working late tonight, and already I am a little late. But maybe sometime in the future we can finally fit that in".
"Anythings a possibility". I tell her, before she shuffles off into the crowded street, disappearing around the corner of the coffee shop I mentioned earlier. After she leaves, I sit for a second, pondering our conversation, before being on my way. I just wonder, why exactly she wanted me to come over fully knowing that there is a definite possibility that Jessica would feel otherwise. But mostly, at the end of all this, I have this strange feeling that I haven't heard the end of this. Maybe its time to stop coming to this coffee shop, all together.
Back at home, as the clouds begin to cover, erratically. I sit in my apartment on the ninth floor, as it looks through the city. It's a different perspective from up here. A little more clearer, as everything seems a bit nicer, a bit cleaner, the higher up you are. I am not quite sure why, its kind of like that painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat. From far away it seems as if its just a normal painting, beautiful, clear, but once you get up close, you notice that its made up of something entirely different than you previously thought. The only difference is, the painting gets even more beautiful and impressive, the closer you get. For the rest of the day, on the most part, I end up reading, while listening to some music to go along with it. I try not to watch too much television, as I have been quite addicted to it as of late. I would just find myself at home staring off into oblivion, which couldn't be good for the brain. When I read, I like to listen to music, it just gives it a nicer atmosphere overall. But I know what your thinking, that I probably listen to some old school classical music like Bach or something. That actually couldn't be farther from the truth. I listen to drone actually, never liked it to begin with, always found it a little pretentious, and boring. But an old friend loved it, so I inadvertently had some on my play list. I tried different styles at first, but found the singing distracting, so I than tried instrumentals like Godspeed you black emperor, but too up and down. So that basically lead to drone music, and it just worked. I have gotten to the point where I listen to it just for relaxing purposes, crazy isn't it. People always look at me strange when I tell them that, I guess I am too old to listen to such music, everything is made for the younger generation nowadays.
As the day moves on, and night sets in, the neon lights of the city begin to glisten, making it almost appear as if it just rained, making it look almost romantic, as if its been made exclusively for the lovers of this world. I almost feel as if I have done something wrong, or broke some cardinal sin by gazing upon it. Or like looking into your lovers eyes, and knowing that your the only one he/she sees. I haven't been in a relationship for some time now, as you probably have noticed. One tends to become more romantic when they are alone. But I find it can fade fairly quickly once you are in a committed relationship. Its the comfortable factor, the more comfortable one gets, the lazier that person becomes(at least when it comes to such things). They always and sometimes need a little nudge to get themselves back on track, either by another or themselves. The problem is though, is that this generation ends things so quickly, nobody fights anymore. As soon as one problem comes up some people make a b-line for the door. Its all those romantic type movies, everyone thinks love just falls into place, and its perfect, with no heavy lifting involved. But in the real world, it just doesn't work like that. Maybe that was part of the problem with me and Jessica, I didn't fight enough once it ended. What else was I supposed to do though, other than standing on her front lawn holding up a boom box.
When I wake up in the morning, I usually go out for my coffee, even though I have a maker right here in the kitchen. The only reason I go out is to be with the people, in hopes of maybe running into someone, someone I could maybe go out with at some point. Although at this time in my life, it almost appears to be a false hope, as I have never been lucky in those situations. I just have that look apparently, not exactly ugly, just the one that blends in with the background. Like the predator in those movies, I am just not easy to see. Today though, I decide to stay in, telling myself some excuse I know is a lie. The truth is, as impossible as it might be, I just don't want to run into Susan again. But another part of me tells me that I don't want one run in to completely change my daily routine. But nonetheless, I stay home anyway. I have a little patio, and when I say little, I do mean it. Its not much more than maybe two chairs worth of size. Just enough to put my legs up. I can see all the people below me, appearing as if they are going in circles. From up here everyone looks the same. Individual appearances all fade out and just a fuzzy muted blur remains. It just makes you realize how similar we really are, and all this in fighting, is pointless. This is what I end up doing for a good part of the morning, just sitting outside enjoying the scenery. I lucked out with this place actually, so many others at this level look out towards another sky rise, but I have this great view between two other buildings, like a picture frame. Way in the back, maybe ten or so blocks, I can see the ocean, although the beach is obscured.
For the rest of the week, I spend most of the time at work, I like my job, surprisingly so. I am not saying that I am surprised about the actual job, just never figured I would never have a job I actually enjoyed. As I have said before, I have always wanted to work at the museum. Was always a dream of mine, to be a biologist and teach others the wonders of such a subject, especially at that museum downtown. Even now, I can feel that dream. But if you were to ask me why that museum, I don't think I could answer. I just have this fascination with it. Like the kid from the temple of the golden pavilion by Yukio Mishima, hopefully a little more healthier though. On Saturday night, as I just get home from work, I can hear my phone ringing from the hallway. I keep the phone in the kitchen, on the counter that faces the living room. My apartment isn't the biggest in the world, but it does just fine. The only thing is is that half the kitchen acts as a wall blocking it from the living room. There is only a small window that connects, meant for some stools to eat breakfast or something. There is just enough room for maybe three fair sized people, but I never use it, as it seems kind of pointless.
"Hello!". I answer." This is Paul!". The person on the other end is silent, with only a slight breath making its way through the receiver."Hello!". I repeat." Okay well, whoever this is, I am hanging up now".
"Paul?". A voice finally stutters, wavering off into oblivion." Its me, Jessica".
"Oh!". I say, taken back." How is everything".
"Everything is good, its good". She tells me in a soft voice.
"Is everything okay".
"Yeah, yeah! I am okay. It's just...". She pauses, and takes a step back from what she was originally going to say.
"I heard you talked to my sister the other day". She finally says.
"Yeah she ran into me at the coffee shop I frequent. I didn't really want to talk, but there was no where to go". Now that we talk, after so many years, I find myself being more candid, more up front about my feelings. Before I would keep such things to myself, as to not upset her. But now that we aren't dating, and haven't been for awhile, I don't feel as if I need to do that anymore.
"Yeah". She tells me." You two have never got along that well".
"Well..(I pause) that doesn't matter too much no more, does it?".
"I guess not". She sighs.
"So to get back to the point. What can I do you for, why is it that I get this pleasure after so long?".
"Well the thing is". She stutters." I was kind of hoping you would take us up on what Susan offered the other day". I lay silent after she says this, as if the words refuse to form as they exit my mouth. I can still hear Jessica on the other side, as the white noise waves back and forth from her shaking hands. I would have never expected this, especially from her. Its just so unlike her I am not totally sure how exactly to respond.
"Paul!". She calls out." Is everything okay?".
"Yeah!". I exasperate." Just wasn't expecting an invitation".
"I know, we can talk about things when you get here. But will you please come over?".
"Of course! Of course. When do you want me to stop by?".
"Tomorrow around noon would be great".
"Alright". I mumble."I'll see you than". She seemed to almost change personalities during the conversation, near the end she seemed more comfortable, to the point, just like her old self. But why now, it seems as if this were to happen(in which I am not too sure what this is). It would have happened a long time ago, sometime after we broke up. What if she did want to get back together, what would I say, is that what I even want anymore. But its not like I have any other offers on the table, not that that is a good reason for it. Its probably nothing, I don't want to get all worked up over some minor inconvenience, which it will probably end up being.
The next day I end up getting up early, as I couldn't get to sleep last night. It was just so much tossing and turning I could not get comfortable enough to sleep more than maybe fifteen minutes at a time. Its hard to enjoy your day(or night) when you have something your not particularly excited about looming over you. I decide not to go out today either, just like the other day. Except today I am even less productive, as I sit in the living room watching television. Not even educational TV either. Its mostly YTV, kids cartoons and such. People always laugh when I tell them that fact. Like there is some prerequisite to becoming a man. You're supposed to put kids stuff aside and grow up, and like grown up things. It's all bullshit really, just because I like to watch cartoons doesn't mean I am any less of a man.They don't tell me anything anymore.