Rhone Red with Ribs [A Short-short Story]

I needed to come to her. I needed to come to her to talk to her. I needed to come to her to talk to her about why she had called me to talk with me about what she said she had decided without me. It was mostly her saying what she said she needed to say and me asking her repeatedly what she meant by what she said she had to say.

Clink-clank steel wheels along steel tracks my stop I get off to go home to have ribs for dinner really sticking to ribs they do when I eat them not often but I do at times eat them eat meat a lot of meat not a lot a lot but more than I usually do this time the day before the fast Fat Tuesday the fat before the fast feast before fast very medieval, approaching Lent.

I came and knocked on her door I thought gently like I imagined I should how she would want me to and I thought about how she would notice this and remark on this and that it would somehow be transformative of her feelings how she said she was feeling how I imagined she needed to change her feelings by the way I acted for sure.

I must buy a bottle of Bordeaux or Rhone red. Fat Tuesday’s here; Lent’s upon us, every day in America, Fat Tuesday, we’re fat, all of us fat, fat in mind, fat in heart, fat in the gut, in the ass, everywhere fat, and we wonder, never have a people lived with less ability to draw inferences from their actions how impossibly ugly fat we are gross grotesque gruesome we are not as attractive inside as Quasimodo was is he is attractive in a way diametrically opposed to how hideous his outward form is, deformed, forma was form was a way in Latin to say beauty too because to the Romans as to the Greeks maybe more than to the Greeks, beauty could not exist without form.

She opened the door. She turned away and walked toward the living room knowing that I would take the door that would otherwise shut fast and slam if I did not take it and so I took it and closed it gently again taking the time to think about how I was closing the door. She walked to the couch and lit a cigarette and I thought how if this were a movie it would have to get a PG-13 rating at least, if there were nothing else. I was self-conscious around her as much as I felt at ease. Self-conscious to be better I thought.

Heaven is the fast life must be the feast before. We reject heaven and in so doing we adopt hell, we do, hell is the way we live, hell is not only other people but infinite possibility living with everything possible nothing’s impossible the weight the terrible crushing weight of the world the weight of ourselves the density we create black holes everyone.

I sat on the couch. She stood and walked away to the windows behind the long end of the L the couch made. I asked her if she thought this was what she wanted and she said of course it was what she wanted. She said she would not have said what she said to me the other night on the phone if it weren’t what she wanted. I said that because she did say what she said on the phone and not to my face I thought she might not really want to do what she said she was so sure she wanted to do.

Where are we now in this ongoing parade, a carnival of mind as well as of flesh? Too solid? Whose flesh is really too solid. Flesh is weak; spirit, strong? No? We only believe what we can touch.

“Do you even listen to yourself?”

“Yes, very closely, very carefully, I listen, I almost lisp I listen so closely.”

Only in America do the poor suffer the maladies of the once ago rich.
I don’t have the money she said. I said I have money. She said she did not want to ask me for the money. I did not ask her why she said what she said about not having the money if she did not want to ask me for the money. She was silent, outside and inside my head no words words themselves not things no thing in itself the word.

Imagine that, poor people in America getting gout.

I want to do it she said. I made up my mind she said. There’s nothing left to say she said. If that’s what you think I said then there’s nothing left to say or at least for you to say because I think there is more to say I did not say. She was silent.I was silent. The pool before Narcissus was silent. The pool was in love with Narcissus. The Pool feeds the flower he becomes.
I brought leftover ribs for her and the rest of the bottle of Gigondas I had bought.
Is there something left to say I wondered in-loud and remembered how it was when we thought we might be in this circumstance under different conditions at least I remember it this way and I think I remember well enough to recollect what was said what was felt what was thought then. Then and now are not mutually exclusive we believe, at least I do, what is and what was share a sharp pivot. How could she? was the question I began to ask, but it was more than a question, it became a condition, something I began to think through in around about. How could you? I did not ask, never said, no like words off my lips, over them, the waves we watched at Land’s End this past summer walking our way around the cliffs to Ditch Plains, the form of the shore different with different waves, the invisible part of the shore formed differently, she said she liked the way the waves came in at Ditch Plains.

The times together come together in one all parallel lines converging on the horizon everything we have done everywhere we have been falling in a parallax of time of space of being of memory there’s a parallax in memory the space of the mind curved as is the surface of the earth as is the universe itself all space parabolic.

Words waves water sky sun clouds forming on the horizon, coming up from under the rim of the world as we looked out over the sea. We stood on the beach at the lip of the ocean and the sand, morning low tide and the gulls gathering to peck for clams and spy a straggling crab. I see one catch one in its beak and take high away to have for breakfast. We are having coffee and croisants and I brush the flakes of mine off my sweatshirt in the wind . . . is was has been will be, here is now, there is then, what is here is not there thus not then. This should be clear, the sky above is clear, what is rising in the south is not, clouds forming on the horizon. Something in them is taking shape.


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