It's just a feeling I have...
I’m a failure…
She's angry. Striking me with a palpable force, the waves of anger are the worst yet. It's over. I know it. I've stayed with her for four days. Not the longest, nor the shortest. That process women use to justify their decision takes time. Anger, perceived atrocities toward her, and lots and lots of lust. She's experiencing the whole gamut of emotional conflicts within her own mind. The anger is winning. The decision made long before retreating to the bathroom for this internal argument. I know the outcome, she isn't the first. It's always the same. Gradually her anger fades, the conscious decision made. Relief.
I gather up my possessions: a few pairs of jeans and shirts. Some soiled underclothes. It would appear that in my usual drunken stupor last evening I had vomited a bit on the pile of my clothing. There’s a bottle of whiskey. Way more than a few gulps left. I take care of it.
Keeping my clothing in a pile is normal. I never stay long at any one woman's place. It never lasts. This one comes out of the bathroom, staring at me, ready to speak yet unable to form the words. God, what was her name. I was drunk when she told me. I don’t remember everything when intoxicated. It never works the way women want. I make it easier for her. "I think you want to toss me out."
Nodding rapidly, she starts to cry. "Denny, I'm sorry. I mean the sex is great. Oh my God, the sex is incredible. God!" And her knees buckle a bit in remembrance. "But Denny, you need help."
Sheesh, she’s right about that. I do one thing well. My curse affords me that insight. That talent I suppose. But the great sex can never overshadow that need, my overwhelming absolute compulsion to drink myself into a stupor attempting to make the curse partially disappear. The curse never abates, it’s always with me. Always. I can feel her anger, her desire to mother me and make my world better. Perhaps less drunk.
"Yeah, I know. But not today. Thanks for letting me crash. You're the best."
As I walk toward the door, she cries out, "Denny, get some help. And then please come back, please!"
That plaintive cry tells me so much. Women like to fuck. And a guy that does that one thing well is worth tolerating his shit, just to achieve that pleasure. I carry around a lot of shit.
I walk out of the apartment building and down the street a bit to a bus bench. There I sit and wonder which bar I should go to. Or if it’s worth it to scam some money and wash my clothes. They do kinda stink a bit.
A man, an odd man, wearing a dark blue suit with white shirt and conservative tie sits next to me on the bench. Not odd in dress, even though it’s summer, but odd in that I feel nothing. Nothing. It’s as if his life force does not occur here in this plane of existence. I feel the presence of everybody. Every single person around me. Always. I don't feel him.
I reach out and poke him in the arm. He gives a smile. "Yes Dennis, I'm real."
If the intent is to dazzle me, there's some success. "And, why would you think that?"
"Oh Dennis, I know a great deal about you."
Only slightly curious, I mean really, so what. There could be many people of whom their private emotions are indeed, private. Hundreds maybe. I haven't met any, but that in itself does not preclude the possibility of them existing. Some might take an interest in me. "Yes, but why?"
One corner of his mouth turns down in a sort of half frown, half acknowledgement that I show some interest. Then he asks, "What's your plan for right now?"
Odd question. That did in fact put the ball in my court to bat around a bit. "Well, I suppose I can tell you. Go to a bar for midmorning drinking. Then find some woman."
No change in expression from him this time. "Do you have any money?"
"Are you offering?"
"Just curious. But then you do seem to have that moniker, Dennis the Menace. Nice conversion of your name, Dennis Menaccio."
"What are you implying?" A bit offended and unsure where this is going.
"I implied nothing, it’s just one facet of you I find interesting. Show me that trick you do with the credit card. I don't think I've ever seen that done before quite the way you've done it."
Now I stand, angry at myself a little for engaging with the man this long. "Look buddy, I don't know who you are, but I think we need to part ways."
"Sit down Dennis, please. I'm not a cop or anything. I just want to talk." For the first time the man smiles. He waves his hand toward the place on the bench that I had just vacated. I sit. Unsure of everything at this point.
"What do you want to talk about?" I ask.
I wait a moment for him to expand on that rather cryptic statement. He doesn't. That last quarter of the bottle of whiskey is starting to cloud my mind. I still drew a blank from the man. No emotions, nothing. I suppose he’s like a Vulcan or some science fictional character. Nothing. Okay, my turn. "So, what? You want to condemn, to criticize, to learn. What do you want to talk about?"
He looks directly at me and his head sort of cocks to the left a bit, his one eyebrow arches. Holy crap, just like Spock. "Dennis, are you happy?" He finally asks.
Now it’s his turn to look perplexed. "All right. Happy. I'm not referring to that transient happiness of the masses. Such as that fleeting feeling of satisfaction right after coitus. Or really any of the emotional expressions of perceived happiness that very nearly every single person out there in the world uses to hide their true feelings. Not that facade. I don't care about that, and I know that you understand exactly what I'm talking about."
Taking a break, he half turns on the bench and crosses his legs before continuing. "What I mean is true happiness. Satisfaction in knowing your place in this world, what you perceive to be your specific role in society and are you executing your existence in a manner that satisfies your basic and primal need to be something, someone? Anything. Anyone!" That last spat out with vehemence.
I understand. "You're cursed. Like I am."
"No Dennis, not Cursed. We're both Gifted." he says softly. "And I can help you."