The first morning
I slipped off the ladder of my loft bed
and landed on my ass. I cried. I cursed my ex-wife
. Then I laughed. I flex
ed my ankles and stood up. My ass didn't fall off. I was whole
I joined the block association to meet girls
. They were all afraid of getting rape
d and mug
ged. A police captain came to the meeting and handed out whistles so the victim could blow it and summon neighbour
s. The girls collected money for brighter lights.
My wife missed me and we started sleeping together
. It was just like a new girlfriend
. I left early before my son
got up, so as not to confuse him.
It was a mild winter
with many sunny, springlike days. Time
didn't seem to pass. I was separated but I was still sleeping with my wife so I stopped. I needed change. I started sleeping with a girl in Owen Sound
. She was heavy and couldn't assume some of the athletic
positions I was used to. On the other hand, I didn't have the warmth of Bernie
, her previous boyfriend. We had awkward breakfasts on Sunday mornings
. I wanted to rush away to visit my son, but I chewed toast
and grinned. She smoked
There was always snow on the ground in Owen Sound
. It never seemed to melt or get cleared away. People could ski
. It was a resort
area. I left and never returned. We spoke on the phone and became friends. You call me. I'll call you.
Lose some weight. Develop some warmth
I went to a party
and fell in love. She was quiet and serene
, the way my wife had been before she got angry. This girl had a boyfriend, though. Forget him, I told her. I'll show you a good time
. Call me in a few weeks, she said. I'm tied up. I waited celibate
ly. Almost. Just my wife a couple of times. She was there. It was convenient
. My son saw me leave one morning and I said hello
I cleaned my new place, bought some lamps and dishes and a rug. Never again with my wife.
I called the girl I loved but she was still tied up. You're not in love with him, I told her. You're too quiet
. I could turn you on, perk
you up. Theater, movies, and dance, songs and jokes. I'm terrific
. She told me to call in a few months.
I bought some wilder clothing and went to parties and danced for hours. I tried to connect. But the beautiful girls were all taken. And I hated the imperfect
ones. One breast smaller than the other. Or else braces
. I wanted a beautiful white smile. Now. I didn't want to wait two years for someone's bite
to be corrected.
I went back to sleeping with my wife. In the morning my son came in and played on the bed and asked if I was moving back
Spring came and I had to have extensive dental
work. My teeth were okay but the gums had to go. I felt older. My body sagged. I was eating french fries too much, so I started cooking home. Lettuce and tomatoes. I learned macrobiotic
cooking. I went to exercise class and took up yoga
. My muscle tone changed. I was lean and wiry.
I fell in love with a young, beautiful girl back from Ireland
. She told me I had lovely muscles in my arms, a thick chest, flared nostrils, and distinguished features. We ran our bodies gently over our hands. I don't sleep with a man right away, she told me. Fine, take your time
. A couple of years, decades, even. I can wait.
She broke the next date. I'm in love with someone else
, she said.
I slept with my wife again.
What are you doing here?, my son asked.
I fell in love with a girl who taught history
at the University
. I want a relationship
, I told her. Not just fucking
. Communication. I'll try, she said. But I'm busy. I went to protests
with her. Marched in the rain. Read the Z magazine
with her till three in the morning and fell asleep with a hard-on
I answered a personal ad
in a magazine
, a mineralogist
who wanted to meet people outside her field. She had nice breasts and a horrible twitch
which distorted one side of her face. I started twitching, too.
Are you making fun of me? N-no, I'm sorry. I can't help it.
We climbed up to my bed and made love on top of the sheet
s, in time to our twitches. At the end her twitch had stopped. She thanked me profusely
I began answering lots of ads. None of those sensitive
, and warm ladies mentioned their twitches or problems in the ads. But I discovered them right away. I laid my hand on their foreheads and took away birth mark
s. I cured stammers and club feet
By summer I was tired. My apartment was steamy
. My wife called and begged me to come over. I refused. I had my last personal to respond to. I was with a girl who wanted to kill her baby
and I helped her throw it in the river.
That night I dreamed my wife had bought a gun
and shot me. I woke with a pain in my stomach, the sheets red
, and realized I was dying