The garden always mocks me for the fool that I ready know that I am. I go there…the same time, give or take an impudent minute or so, everyday. I sit on the stone bench, letting the breeze tickle what’s left of my thinning hair, letting the sun play solitary games of hide-and-seek through the gnarled branches of the liquid amber.
I sit and read…pulp fiction and comic books, biographies of serial killers, pop culture nonsense, English translations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez…read so I don’t have to think.
But think I do just the same.
I think about crying the night I ran away from home and shivered through a long night on a windswept beach….I think about the ones I “loved” without ever having the guts to find out what if heart had purchase with theirs…I think about never kissing my father…I think about never apologizing to my mother for being a barrier between her and new love long after my father had flitted away to what he foolishly imagined were greener pastures…I think about hating and loving my brother for living as he chose to and I think about hating him for dying the incredibly stupid and heartbreaking way he did…I think about the last time I really cried…I think about the last time I really smiled…I think about thinking.
And I think about whores and scoundrels.
I smile ruefully as I read…pulp fiction, serial killers, Marquez…and think about the scoundrels I’ve known…the scoundrels I’ve been…think about the whores I’ve known…the whores I’ve been…the whores I’ve slept with. No, that’s a lie…I never slept with any of them…I had hollow, humid sex with them and then I went home and slept alone. I always slept alone. I think about the sterile sanctity of my bed…of my heart…and I tell myself that it’s all right…I tell myself that it’s just so.
The garden always mocks me…the breeze carrying its perfumes of rose petals and maple leaves and casual hubris through me and on out into the world…as I read…comic books, soap opera given gravitas by time and acclaim, Senor Marquez…and think.