An army of tiny, toy soldiers with thundering boots, marching in place. A subliminal annoyance of the gallery of many hanging dial clocks with their imperfect unison of ticking ushers into consciousness the postponement of life, waiting for one call to make another, but not making one in fear of missing the first.
Acknowledging in silent, bitter disgust the need/want that stretched from afternoon to evening to newstime, reminiscent of burning eyes wandering from one end of a lonely, waterless canal to the other, the span of naked, barren cement seems so utterly useless.
Soon there could be that eerie notion of 1 a.m. and a ruffled, unable to sleep in bed, a bed with the forsaken feeling of an afterschool boy locked out of home, waiting for mom.
Delusion diminishing, like the opening of the eyelids after a long, ten hour slumber, but without the refreshing sense of a good night’s rest.
Realization of the complete sick stock bought in the need/want. How many half/full days could be stacked side by side waiting for the call, like stale popcorn strung on the Christmas tree by an ever-so-careful daughter and smiled off by a walking-on-by father with his surreal approval in exchange for pacification and for bluntness sake, left alone.
So many channels without enough talent to keep up.
An inner world war, twelve rounds of thrashing about between head and heart, love me or love me not. Give into the known dependency. With a sigh of relief, eagerly reach for the phone, telling myself, half-jokingly, “just makin’ sure the phone’s working.”
Pick up the handset, listening for a dial tone, each agonizing fiber of being secretly praying, begging, desperately pleading it wasn’t working and not the hair-pulling truth that she hadn’t called.
Has it ever been out-of-order, or have they just never called before?
Slowly begin the rapid descent into despising that fucking call.
Emotions shifting gears to liquid hate as they drip from the pores. A fuzzy caterpillar turned to romantic, playful butterfly, turned to nasty, black hornet, stinging the first available non-smoking section.
Completely oblivious to the behavior, but trudging on, like a walk in thick, resistant mud. Vacuums have the right to be terrifying.
Trying to stay in denial. forcefully reaching, but ignorance is slipping, reality shoving its nose in, a tyrant hog ready to feed. Feeling the abdominal, abandonment pains of a bawling infant literally stripped from maternal arms by a cold, hourly social worker.
No more sun or primetime.
No more toys or christmas trees.
No more lifeless canals or ugly wall clocks.
No more clinging of generic plastic wrap in a colorless box to flawed hope.
Just buy the good stuff and quit wasting your time.
The above was written in 1998, before cell phones and internets were a thing for the masses. It’s a descriptive reveal of how I responded when a girl didn’t call me.
It’s slightly exaggerated but only slightly. I may have been processing other heartbreaks at the same time.
Polished a smidge in 2011.