I’m going to call her Sal, though she was never a Sal. Never an abbreviation, too deserving of time by attention gathering for that. Some girls carry abbreviation like a curse, dowdy and rotten, around thinned shoulders of burden, others carry them like torches deep into pysche: have you ever not liked a Pat? Pat’s serve good food, good functional sex and smoke strong untipped cigarettes deep into ample bosoms. One Pat I knew in my teens broke into a solicitor’s office just for us to shag into the deep pile. A Patricia could never do that… Patricia’s live in poky places where are all wants and needs never articulated and they can thrive on being poor misunderstood women. That or they acquire reputations early on as ball breakers and stand alone chain smoking in the corners of parties they gained invitation to by accident.
Bev’s too, are warm, slowly seductive, gently falling into sweet debauchery, open and willing to play but, Beverley’s? Beverley’s work in social work with a passion for poor downtrodden girls who have suffered at the hands of men. Beverley’s wear sensible shoes, eat good chocolate, share houses with other doughty women and fondle fat pussies into the night.
She was never a Sal, but I’m pissed off enough to call her that now. Sal’s serve you with a thumb in your greens, a cigarette dangling from lip corner, one eye squinting and hoping the ash settles somewhere other than gravy. But Sal wasn’t like that, she was short, sweet and blonde as autumn corn, with blue eyes to match cornflowers. The first time we met our eyes locked and I knew from the tingle that we would be lovers. I thought she played cool and so I played cool back, it wasn’t until much later that I discovered her coolness was not worldy cool but dumbness. No, that’s not quite right, she wasn’t stupid, but often she couldn’t or wouldn’t fire on all cylinders… she could infuriate me ceaselessly by her not thinking.
Some practise hours in meditation to ‘not exist’ to be ‘non minded,’ this girl had that in spades, she could non mind in the Olympics then just suddenly wake up to utter some vaguely relevant thought only to disappear inside herself again. These non sequiteurs seem fun at first then fade into one as faces of all ex lovers do: not quite dull but no longer interesting.
They tell me, those folks who swear by chicken gizzards and sky gazing that there are two types (or was it three?) of Scorpio people: Eagle and Grey Lizard. Eagles soar above the world, keen eyes looking, spotting prey and moving in for the kill. Grey Lizards don’t do this, they need sun, space and flies to come to them. Sal was a Scorpio, else I wouldn’t be telling you these things. Only I think now those who divine by the cosmos forget that none of these things apply to those who wander the earth as Zombies, walking, talking, with eyes shut to life. Walking, talking, sounds like a doll, I guess after so many years of being treated like so, then life becomes easier if you behave like one. But maybe that’s me making excuses again for others shortcomings, if so then that’s about wanting space for my own fuck ups and if this is the story of Sal’ it must also be mine of another fuck up.
If you met her, you wouldn’t believe this, a nice person you’d say, I can vouch this having heard others say same, first readings no matter what intuition tells, is crap. Sal had fucked her way through school, first her peers to get help in homework, then a young teacher who aided exam results. She ditched him of course when her needs shifted, this she told one cool evening when her sleep appeared disturbed after I’d introduced my cock into her ass, just to see if that would awaken her. As so often unfortunately happens with these first time experiences they are effective only once.
As all of us in those late times, those dark ages before sense prevailed and the new century starts ticking, she held a tale of woe. A mother who beat her with wooden spoons and shrewish tongue, of all, she preferred the spoons, the damage being lesser lasting. Then the smarter sister with duller looks and boyfriends who after counting to ten needed others assistance. Like any sap in those times I believed in tales of woe and the importance of listening: we men had to learn to hear women, to support them in their bad times, to pay penance for the gender sins of other men. I too was asleep at this time, having been put into trance by the babblings of twisted sisters with corkscrew agendas tracing shame as tattoos in unperfumed skin. I listened, hmmn’ed, tut-tutted, anything to be there: to be listening, seen to be listening, though now if I try to recall other than gossamer outlines all I get to hear is pink noise. All horror stories begin and end, to believe anything other is I guess now to purposefully miss the point. Lost in our little lives without guidance or sense we hold onto straws of others need and believe it to be profound, we make it so, or else we wake…
Sal’s horror stories were tinged with the disbelief of how these things could have been done to such a body. She did have a good body granted, a great look but then who doesn’t in youth? Blurring of physical outline occurs with age though blurring of boundary is for youth. If my memories are to be held hostage then I want/need more than surface, lip gloss and bi monthly visits to beauticians for eyelash tints, to remember. Though here is the rub, I don’t want to remember all, only that which is salient, all other is dross and clogs the memory. Sal was a pain, that is point here, yet I thought I loved her, wanted to be with her, blinded by needs I missed her being anywhere but herself. Sure she spoke, made love in dutiful ways only she wasn’t present. For this I carry now the burden of wanting to wake her. Her friends now cannot see this for they too need plenty of sleep delivered by narcotic, alcohol or gossip. Those pre occupations of those who regard themselves as bright, charming but others fall in amazement at their vacousity. Birds of a feather they say, I too wanted to be there amongst the flock, all chatter and then sleep. But too I wanted changes, a move toward life in love and meaning other than who does what to whom.
To be in this crowd was to be in isolation, to be with Sal’ meant letting go of self and following into dreams only slumber brings. Frustration builds at wanting something from others, knowing that they cannot do it and ignoring that as fact. I wanted Sal’ to be present, to be with me but she had run so far from mother that she had yet to find her way back, I too was to be added to the list of those who hurt her. I guess that’s true, I did want to hurt her for her cowardly ways, her spirit in absence, the betrayals, but I never could, to punch somebody not present only tires out my arms. She tells different now of course, telling of anger, violence, broken dreams and twisted faces, though now my name appears in place of mothers, others and the bogeyman. I cannot recall these events though clarity exists in memory of times she called wanting, needing me, her visits before she married another sleeper. He too coming from a similar background. I pass their house now, lights dimmed the better not to stir and curtains same as those I/we hung when I wanted her to wake and live.
To reject another is to reject part of ourselves, for if we are nothing but parts of the same consciousness reflecting upon each other, then possibly if we are all of the one then Sal is me and I was her. As such I cannot hate her, I recognise in myself the ability to sleep, that narcissism where nobody exists but I, that place where others are but a bore unless they carry out my whims. Where she becomes me is in her ability to hurt, wound and perhaps hurt self by the doing of these. God knows best perhaps but now I see no joy in her as the years take toll of that innocent look she first fostered in teens, as all flowers, time’s breeze renders all edges jagged. Those she stirs slowly with in somnolent circles around shopping places have achieved much the same look: that of the wise cat supping cream who recognised that to best gain love is to deny self, close doors marked personality and after a certain age hold on to whatever comes along that passes for warm flesh.
Scathing comes in many forms, that cuts deepest which passes for informed comment in polite circles or carries cowardly sucker punches over tea and sympathy. Sal for her share lives on now, having passed through fairly unscathed by my need to live life, dare to be and do. There was nothing I would not do then for her and now nothing I can do but smile as she passes by. I know and she knows that those horrible things she felt she had to say about me are untrue. I cannot call her on this to deny, challenge is but to confirm, all I can say that I held her in my arms and one day love was gone. I can call it betrayal, she can call it putting up with his ways or we can say goodbye and hold onto some tattered fragments of dignity, though I guess that’s a little late.