“What are you thinking?”
“Something must be going on in that beady little head of yours. Spill it.”
I wanted to tell her. I always wanted to tell her but I didn’t. I never did. I didn’t know how to get the words out. There was a large barrier between what I thought and what I said. It was always there. My tongue grew heavy and my mouth filled with cotton balls. My mouth knew me better than I knew me. “Eyes are beady,” I said to deflect her. “Heads are more biddy.”
“Isn’t biddy a chicken of some sort? Why do you get so moody sometimes? One moment you’re joking around and the next you crash and end up like this. What goes on in that biddy head of yours?”
“I don’t think it’s biddy or beady, now that I think on it. It’s probably bitsy, as in the spider. Maybe you should stick with small. My small and insignificant head should work for most things.”
“Did something happen?”
“Nothing happened.” Everything happened. Everything always happened. The smallest pebble can pull down a mountain. It doesn’t take much to get things rolling. It never takes much to send the electricity storming through my brain, to alter my chemistry that smallest amount where it feeds on itself. They call it a feedback loop. Negativity feeds negativity until everything looks drab and gray and uniform. I’ve seen it all before. Why would I want to see any of this again?
“Nothing ever seems to happen with you. You jump off the edge of the cliff and you turn into this. You’re wandering the apartment with your head down near your feet. If I didn’t know you better, I would think you were begging for sympathy. What, you don’t have enough you time? Have you bothered to get dressed today? Eat? It doesn’t look like you’ve moved from the couch since I left you there this morning. Look, you’re even stuck to the plastic. So tell me, what happened.”
“Can’t a fat guy get depressed now and again without his woman giving him the third degree? This is part of being with me. I told you in the beginning I had lots of problems, that I came with no warranties, no representations, no money back guarantees. You take me as is, with small head and everything.”
“If you’re not careful, I’ll trade you in for a new model.”
“Empty threats, all empty threats. You’d still be responsible for my finance payments. You might as well get some use out of me.”
“There comes a time in investing where we’re taught to cut our losses, no matter how emotionally painful those losses are.”
“If you’re thinking of me as an investment then we’re truly going to have problems.” The light banter has its effect on her and she thinks I’m over the feeling. She thinks I’m back in her world. Everything is far away. I look at her but I don’t see her. When I look at her I see myself looking at her. Things are a step removed from reality. I feel the breath coming from my nose as if I was standing underneath my nose. She’s still looking at me. She’s waiting for something. I have nothing more to give.
“What do you want for dinner?”
“Not hungry. But you shouldn’t starve on account of me. You should get some food.” You should leave me alone to my loneliness. You should do that but never leave. Don’t leave me alone with me.
“You want me to leave you alone? I figured being alone the entire day would be enough for you. Isn’t it time you get dressed and out of the house? I’ll treat you to dinner outside. I’m talking fancy restaurants, maybe even one with the cloth napkins. I know how much you like fabric napkins.”
“Said I wasn’t hungry. You should grab something. Bring me back something if you want.”
“And if I don’t?”
“I hate when you get this way. I don’t understand what you’re thinking in there, why you’re acting this way. Can’t you let me in just once?”
The door’s wide open, why can’t she crawl in and scoop out my insides. I wish someone would take them away. They’re not doing much in there. They’re rotting and putrid and if she just sucked them out everything would be better. “Nothing greasy if you do go out. I don’t want anything greasy. But either way I’m not terribly hungry.”
I see me look at her looking at me. I want her to say something. I want her to push me toward dinner, to push me outside the door. I need fresh air. I need something to break the cycle before I remain here all day and all night and probably the next day. I’ll feel terrible about this in the morning. I always do.
“Get dressed. We’re going out.”
I should listen to her. Knowing that and doing that are two separate things on this night. I wave her away. I don’t bother to answer. I will her to grab my arm, to drag me through the door and into the car. I need just a little push, a small pebble to start the mountain crumbling down. It’s too late for me tonight. She can’t do it now. She never had a chance. I’m too far removed. I hear my thoughts and see who I’m thinking about sitting on the couch not seeing her. She doesn’t even exist tonight except in my fogged mind.
“I’ll stay in tonight.” She doesn’t answer. I forget whether she was really there or not. For a moment I hope she was. Then I don’t hope anymore. There are no hopes when I’m like this. There are only mountains and couches and glowing televisions. I click the clicker. No shadows dance across the television. The light from the box flickers but remains inside the television.