Sunday Stories: he
He flat out forgot what he wanted to write about. The only thought that came to him was that ‘flat out forgot’ had quite a nice ring to it but that ‘that ‘flat out forgot’ had a quite nice ring to it’ didn’t (have a nice ring to it). That thought was disappointing he thought. “Keep it simple!”, so he was told; and he wondered whether that was what they said to his son’s friend, who killed himself the other day. It must have gone splash. That would have been simple enough, comic book simple. Not that it wasn’t well meant advise or anything. He was sure it was even good advise. Like ‘show, don’t tell’ which he got from some literary agent website advertising master classes for aspiring writers. He was an aspiring writer but he didn’t want to be taught, let alone recognize a master.
Maybe they both overcomplicated things. Maybe only one of them recognized it was due to aspirations that they couldn’t possibly fulfill. He felt like a one armed pole vaulter but he knew this was just complex self-deception covering up simple self-deception. Diversion was needed. Like when you are in a moving vehicle and you wonder what the person living over yonder in that house beyond the grazing cows is feeling like. She could have talent without aspiration. It was easy for him to fall in love with her because shelooked smoking hot and they could make it last putting his aspiration to work on her talent and her simplicity to cure his complexity. Or so he thought. Then he realized it was too simple. She wasn’t going to take his sexist take on relationships lying down. She didn’t need to be loved (emphasis on subject of sentence; if necessary, read again). If there was a need for a truly global party aiming at giving each and everybody the chance to live decadently, without any compulsion to work, or strive to have stuff that was not readily available, she was fine with it as long as she didn’t have to devote herself to the cause. In fact, the only thing she vehemently avoided was to be combined as subject in an active sentence with causes or devotions. Activism not only scared her but it made her physically unwell. Engaging was something she did with him and that was more than enough.
She was perfectly fine not being listened to. There were occasional doubts for sure (and it didn’t help that he tried to make a deal out of it) but, all in all, these vanished as soon as she pictured herself having success. He on the other hand didn’t vanish nor would she have wanted him to vanish. A truce needed to be called. He resigned to his inner necessity of trying to change the world whilst minimally interacting with it, she being his main contact point.
She never really read what he wrote, which was to be expected because he didn’t like readers in general. Self-loathing is something you can live with. He had himself as proof for that. Living with somebody you don’t like on the other hand was unthinkable for him. The little she read she found too explicit, over the top and overly grandiose. She said so and he knew she meant it. He agreed. ‘Readers,’ he thought whilst thinking, ‘want something on which they can coast along, something like a roller-coaster, or …’ and then he stopped thinking whilst thinking because, to be honest, it hurt to realize that even this metaphor would have to remain unfinished or become totally ridiculous. He couldn’t even re-read his stuff. This one time when he did the painful pruning thing people say great writers go through in order to produce the evidence of their greatness, he felt pain all right but he couldn’t make sense of what the point of such pruning could be. To make it lighter?
He felt heavy realizing that he wrote a lot now and that he started it all with a lie,, just because he thought ‘flat out forgot’ had a nice ring to it. He paused. It was too late to kill himself now. He was committed. He had a son.
Also, he loved her and she loved him. Although that would never be enough, she was something else.
Turns out it works either way. Well, ‘works’ is saying a lot. It passes time not unpleasantly.
‘It is as it is’, is what he learned from her. She was his master and he her bad student.
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