I have a tendency to sleep with potential. Deep down I know the guy is an asshole, but then he’ll say something that could melt the heart of a hit man. Next thing you know I tell him to get some blood work and we’re doing the wild thing. Sometimes a woman’s love of being loved gets the best of her.
We all need affection. Sweet happiness you can taste…pleasure you can unbutton. Those magnificent emotions pillowed in promises that leave you giddy and dumb with desire. I guess that’s why I keep searching, even though it’s obvious I’ve got a shelf life when it comes to men. It’s as if every dude knows that I am best used before a certain expiration date. A one-night stand whose flesh is quickly admired, eagerly tasted, and then discarded with the enthusiasm of sorting recyclables…tossed curbside in haste like a shedding Noble Fir that has served its holiday purpose.
I still want to believe in the little flame that grows…the incredible sense of rest and release you find with another, but the fact is, most people have rarely laid eyes on a truly happy couple. They only see mates going through the motions, staying together out of necessity, routine, or the fear of losing their country club membership. Partners who are better equipped to describe a car ding to a claims adjuster than articulate their spouse’s hopes and dreams.
Take my neighbors, Frank and Beverly. Just recently they celebrated 20 years together. Their bathroom butts up against my kitchen window, and from the sound of things Frank can sit on the growler all day shitting out his innards while screaming at poor Beverly to bring him sandwiches and beer. Along with doing the obvious, he reads, coughs up phlegm, and rolls cigarettes. Around 4pm each day they venture out to a less-than-happy hour, then return to pick up the fight where they left off.
Frank and Beverly used to have a stable marriage…until the stillborn child. After that, the love just sort of leaked out of them. They bought a little casket, had a private service, and placed the afterbirth in a freezer with the date attached, as if that little frozen placenta patty could expire.
Yesterday things heated up next door. Multiple times Frank screamed for more toilet paper. I was about to toss a roll over myself when I heard someone bang against the bathroom door with enough force to blow the damn thing off its hinges.
“Get it yourself!” Beverly said, only her voice was different. The words shrill, sort of running together like she’d been nipping at the sauce a little early.
“Jesus, have you lost your mind?” he said.
“The goddamn toilet paper is under the sink next to you,” she fired back.
“You are crazy, you know that? Fucking crazy!” he yelled.
“And you’re a selfish prick who thinks of no one but himself,” she blasted.
“For the last time…We’re not adopting anything!” he said.
“I told you…I’ll raise it. You can just sit on that crapper like you always do,” Beverly baited.
“You know what’s wrong with you? That damn thing in the freezer is what’s wrong with you. A constant reminder of what should have been,” Frank barked.
“Don’t you touch it!” she screamed.
“Bev, we can’t keep doing this. It’s been twelve years. We need to get on with our lives.”
She slammed her fist against the door and began to cry from someplace deep inside her lonely fruitless womb.
I stepped away from the window and began heating water for tea. I needed to calm down. Frank and Beverly have a tendency to put me over the edge.
When the pot boiled I filled my mug and walked into the living room. Carefully I dropped myself onto the couch and tucked my legs under the corner of a blanket, not wanting to disturb the young man sleeping beside me. A real lumberjack looking guy whose gaping mouth revealed irresistibly straight white teeth camouflaged behind a full scraggly beard. He’d completed a third tour in Iraq and vowed never to cut his hair again. We’d met that morning at the Laundromat. It just sort of happened, and the next thing I knew he was jumping my bones on the sofa.
“That’s right” I heard Frank bellow, “The first thing I’m gonna do when I get out of this bathroom is throw that frozen block in the trash. You hear me?”
The commotion woke my woodsman whose eyes scanned my face for some sort of recognition and then smiled, raising himself upright to touch my breast. I put my tea down and let him gently pull me on top of him. I knew what would happen. The same thing that always happens.
The battle next door was growing louder as he entered me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s usually not this bad…the noise, I mean.”
“It’s sort of soothing,” he whispered. “You know…making love while they bomb.”