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Fine and Mellow

Wayne Wolfson By

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In a lonely act, she called me while under the influence of a setting sun.
I head home. Even if I had, had money, I was just too tired to sustain the illusion that something, something may happen. Most days the possibility sustained me, that and the music. There was no place to go anyways.

The rain made the sky waver. Off in the distance a plane, a dull gray bird no longer bothering to flap its wings.

In-between showers, the wet pavement gave up its distinct perfume. My cigarette no longer likes me, it lets out a hiss before trying to roll away. I put on some music and open my notebook. I am of three minds, one of them exploded, black ink blood falling upon the page in pulse like spurts. All the words I should have said.

In a lonely act, she called me while under the influence of a setting sun. I didn't want her here. Now I have grown too accustomed to my solitary confinement, living safely behind my pillars of books and records whose exact order I had memorized.

The influence of a setting sun, I was still willing to make the trip across town. No, no she wanted to come here. I wanted her, aspects of her, just not here. It would make it harder to make that eventual complete break of which I can not seem to control, despite being a master.

I lost, for the first of several times tonight, she came. I would have to watch her like a hawk. I knew her plays, to leave something behind as pretext to return.

Really, it did not matter how closely I watched. She had always been all slight of hands and misdirection no matter where we were. So I would settle for her just leaving my records alone.

I went through the motions of cleaning up, dusting around piles, soaking disregarded coffee cups, now found again.

Initially she had appealed to me, the lack of shame she made me feel surrounding my loneliness.

"We are all alone."

She had said that, that first night. I found out later, she used that line on almost all her customers. We both sensed that there was something greater than ourselves hidden just under the surface of every day life. I went looking for it, as I always had, in music.

She was not sure, so dabbled in different things. After her miscarriage she became lazy, giving up, now settling for mere distractions.

At different times, I imagined various ways in which I fit into her life. I would like to think things both good and bad because it all suited me.

Her mother was moving to Arizona, prompted by a fit of ill timed guilt, she was invited along. I did not want her to go, although I could never say why. The plan had too many holes in it, but this may have been from her habit of only telling me half the story, what she wanted me to know, safe guarding the rest for some future agenda.

We fought, she said I was jealous or some such thing. Those last ones, a few of our bigger fights and it felt good.

The day she left was dream-like. I had just gotten out of the hospital after three days of bad bronchitis. All our going away rituals had been left undone. She is gone, but not her coat, like the ghost of her shadow hunched over a chair. Her first month there, I got the drunken phone calls. I would try to synch a record up to the weather, my mood, to give a fuller picture. There was a time difference which I could never get straight. I did not know if she were just getting home or going out.

A few years ago, she said she would be home around Christmas. I have the perfect record for that.


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