Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Once there was a boy and he was beautiful... "

My grandmother died two weeks ago. Or was it three?

I didn't know her very well, you see. She had a horrible deaf husband and feet crippled by arthritis and only one grandchild: me. Every time I came to her house I would feel crushed and smothered by all that outlet-less love. So, being young and not terribly receptive to her misery (past cure) I quit seeing her.

I learned of her death when my stepsister sent me an email: "I'm sorry about Grandma. I know you two were way closer than I ever was with her..."

Oh, the irony.

I called my father and after a while he finally said that she had in fact been buried the week before, he hadn't been able to tell me. I relayed this information to Max and he said, "Well, it's not so bad: my father waited a month before he told me my dog had died."

Quin told me another story, about his angry old grandfather who had called his son for the first time in twenty years. The grandfather had to because he was getting his legs amputated and needed someone to care for him afterwards. When he saw Quin and his brother for the first time he said to Quin's brother, "You're fat." Quin he seemed to like. Quin never made any attempt to contact him after that hospital visit because he didn't think much of his grandfather cutting out the rest of his family for 20 years. Now it was his own fault that he was a bitter man with no legs.

Even Q. said I would have to bear up--not because I would miss my grandmother, but because my father would call me for support.

So I felt better about my inability to call up tears in honor of the dead. But you see, mine is a strange family: we do believe in ghosts. And though I have never come near sensing one myself, Q. has seen several. At night she sleeps with all the lights off and doesn't think of it, but on me the effect is just the opposite. My grandmother was newly buried: what was keeping her, in her loneliness beyond the grave, from angrily visiting her only grandchild and demanding recompense for all my neglect?

I got sick (not from fear but not eating and late nights). Truly sick, with fever and chills and all after three days of yellow drainage. That night, shivering and looking for another blanket, I pulled one of my grandmother's creations off the shelf. It doesn't go with anything else I have, a quilt made of fabric emblazoned with the solar system and the stars, a quilt for a five year old.

I tried to think of the things my grandmother had done with her life, but all I could remember was this blanket and the chest of mementos from me and my father she had in her house, her most precious things. Not much, to leave after you. Still, the blanket reminded me of the love she must have felt for me, and I felt I could sleep under it unmolested.

I went to bed and coaxed myself to a glorious orgasm. Jaime, to cheer me up and to celebrate his discovery of The Tudors on BitTorrent, had sent me link after link of Jonathan Rhys Meyers pictures. Later I found still better ones. I was humping a pillow between my legs, massaging my belly--dreaming, as I am wont to do, that I am not female but male (Rufus Hex, a fiction I created, black haired and soft bodied and beautiful), that I am not empty but stuffed full (my belly growls).

"He was known...in his early career, for his androgynous appearance..."

Reading this sentence over and over in my head, my passion builds. Somewhere in the dull words there is a secret key fits into my libido perfectly. Androgyny, white skin, wasp-waisted, sharp faced--like the Colt--I am screwing the Colt, finally feeling his body, I am Rufus, I am fucking Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

And then I come. Simultaneously I am aware of two things: I am smothering beneath the blankets (all the excess heat) and I am positive when I look outside my nest of blankets I will see a spector.

Pile the blankets on and the fever will break.

Perhaps the stairs creaked. At any rate I lay feverishly trying to convince myself that there was no one standing by my bed. I don't hear anything, sense anything. But a part of me is scared nonetheless.

Eventually my heart slows, sanity returns, I throw off the smothering covers (my hair is wet, sweat-streaked) and turn on every light in my room and the closet too, just in case.

When I went to bed I was sick, chilled. Now I am wide awake and have nothing else to turn to but the trusty old computer. Only I've read all the new stuff in my RSS feed--what else is there to look at?

Then I suddenly remembered a blog that had been recommended to me, an archive list I had yet to plunder. So I began reading...

"Tonight a correspondence with a mutual friend of a ghost who's haunted me beautifully, proved my suspicions correct, she had "disappeared into her nuptials", he put."

...and as I read I became aware of a strange sense of familiarity, a cresting of remembrance, and whether it was the Robitussin to help me sleep or the crying over the Colt* or the orgasm or the blanket I'd pulled from my closet to help fight the night chills, it had all built up into something i almost remembered and then... crashing down.


Memory. I went and sat on the bed, holding my hands in my lap and thinking, I don't want to be here. It was the same position I had been in every night for months, thinking the same things over and over again.

But after a while I realized the sharpness wasn't going to come: it no longer cut my body, but had become part of me. My flesh.

The blog I was reading is not his blog. Not even close, from the things described therein: he is still a student, not a writer with a career. But Constantine also spoke in a beautiful rambling patios culled from too much Ulysses and Marquis de Sade and the sweet flowering of drugs, beauty, tormented love and alcohol. His words, his face, his voice... a prefrence for them had imprinted themselves into my everlasting longing so that even when I thought I had forgotten him I was unerringly drawn to whatever resembled him in words and pictures.

I cannot offer you his real face. I cannot offer you his real voice. I can only offer you images, sounds, and hope the puzzle they make fits together somehow into what he was and what he became to me. Because I know if I had not met him things would be different now--I would be a different person than I am.


* I did that too, before the orgasms. I hadn't heard from him for about three weeks.

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