My brief explanation for the preceding poem is that it was inspired by a trip to synagogue with the family. I did not want to go, but I did so to humor my mother. Natural the three wasted hours I spent there reminded me of why I never want to go. It was three hours of prayer, all in Hebrew, but essentially the same prayer said over and over again, saying that God is eternal, and we are not, and that we will die. This morbid fascination with death is a waste of life. And this solace in an eternal god who will live after us is a delusion we don’t actually need. I also gather that worshipping an invisible guy who never helps you is supposed to be a bonding experience, but there is nothing more alienating than sitting in a room surrounded by people who are told not to question ideas that obviously don’t hold together. That was Yesterday morning.
Last night, I went out to play pool with The Mendicant, Wolverine, her two friends, Mohawk, (who has a Mohawk), and Thor, (a stout, bearded, powerful fellow, who looks like a thunder god aught to), and three other male friends who will remain nameless, because before long, those three bonded, and left together. It was what guys like to colloquially call a “sausage fest,” which is always fine by Wolverine, who revels in being the only girl.
Now, I had said two weeks ago that I was worried I might be a little jealous of The Mendicant. Well, after that night I had pretty much forgotten my crush on her, but in the two weeks to follow both she and The Mendicant kept reminding me about a big pool night coming up, and I decided that I like the game, so I was interested in going.
Early in the night, before we had left the pool hall to go on our drinking binge, Thor, Wolverine’s oldest friend caught his buddy Mohawk ogling Wolverine, so he said to him, “don’t hit that.” He’s a man of few words. Actually, they both are, but anyway, I overheard this, and I knew what he meant. He knows, and I know that she has a history as a man-eater. The Mendicant has the scars to prove it – for the most part, they’re healed now, but the scars are there to say. If you’ve seen Rambo, his scars look just like that. And I think it’s only now setting in what he has really done to himself. At this point, Mohawk muttered something noncommittal, but I took Thor’s warning to heart, as well as the others who have warned me against her – such as, The Mendicant, Ema, and her ex-boyfriend, Nasty Nick. On a side note, Wolverine told me that after my run-in two weeks ago with Nasty Nick at “the Dom,” he sent her a long e-mail detailing why she should take him back. I can see why he would miss her, though, and why The Mendicant would be so gaga over her, and why she gets so much other male attention. She is what men like to call “a 10,” she has a body that is total poison to a heterosexual man’s better judgment. And she knows it.
The Mendicant spent the night trying to find excuses to touch her, and she kept finding excuses to touch me. At least that’s how it seemed. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not the touchy-feely type, even when I’ve been drinking, but there was a lot of that going on. She flirted with me a lot throughout the night, and I won’t lie, I liked the attention. The Mendicant and Wolverine both seemed to have an agenda for me last night. At first, I thought it was only to get me drunk, but I later gathered it was more, at least for Wolverine. Actually, I believe only she wanted to get me drunk, but he wanted to get her drunk. Why not do both?
The eight of us staggered through the streets for awhile, before we came to our next pub. That’s when the three amigos who bonded took off, leaving our numbers at five. Come to think of it, those three probably gave up on Wolverine’s party to go find some girls they might have a chance with. Well, that’s what I’d like to believe, but they probably just went home.
We went to a pub called “The Highlander” – a place from which she had apparently been banned sometime ago – I didn’t really get that full story, sorry. But since the waiters there don’t last long, it didn’t matter. We had a few more drinks, and The Mendicant and Wolverine sat me between them. They had jokingly decided they each had ownership of one side of me for humping purposes. Apparently I did no get a say in the matter. The Mendicant complained that he still hadn’t recovered from Wolverine’s tearing at his flesh. He asked me to feel his back, which felt pretty bumpy. Wolvering said that he had healed by then, so to contest, this is when he showed the rest of us his back. That’s when I said he looked like Rambo. I thought that’s the nicest way I could put it.
I do not remember at what point in the night I said this, but it would make sense for it to have been here. I said to her, “You may absolutely not scratch me like that, ever.” And she said, “I would never do that. I like you.” And then she touched my arm in a really gentle way. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. But I got the sense that The Mendicant felt like he was losing. But he still smiled and tried to play along.
At the Dom, (which is perhaps an ironic name for the pub, given this particular context), the nails came out again. She had cut them, and they weren’t the vicious claws they were two weeks ago. Still, she could scratch, and so she did. This time, Thor was in on it. He’s a bit of a macho man, which I’m in no position to judge; a man of his build can certainly make it work. He held out his arm and told her to give it her best shot. So she drew blood, and his arm looked pretty hellish. Then Mohawk, starved for attention I suppose, insisted that she do him as well. This made no sense to me. She asked him first if he had a girlfriend. I remarked that this was a sign that she was mindful of such things – she said she would be furious is some strange woman left marks on her own boy. (Toy?) Then again, she immediately proceeded to tear the living hell out of his arm, as soon as he assured her that he had no better half.
As we prepared to head home, all of us very tipsy, The Mendicant and I went to use the bathroom, and he said to me,
“I really like her, man.”
“I know,” I told him. “Everyone knows.”
“Mal, be straight with me. Do you like her?”
“I don’t know,” I lied, after a paused. Maybe it wasn’t completely a lie, but the truth would have been too difficult to explain, and he is an open book, who cannot keep a secret. If she’s going to learn that I like her, she’s going to learn it from me.
The truth is, I had not been thinking about her. For the past two weeks, I have been crushing after another woman I met at a friend’s party. In the end, I suppose you always know who you really want, by who is on your mind. Alas, I don’t even know if she’s single, or if she is really interested in me, but her actions and words seem to suggest that she is. I won’t be able to find out until she confirms a date that we can go have pho and talk. If she does not give me the opportunity soon, then I suppose I will have my answer.
But after all we’d been through last night, and seeing how good she looked that night, my resolve to hold out for the other girl was wavering. And I saw something else in Wolverine too – something I hadn’t seen the last time, and something the other guys seemed to miss, or at least seemed not to acknowledge. She seemed to be more than just… a woman who scratches. Perhaps she felt ashamed, or perhaps she was smitten with someone. Perhaps it was me. Perhaps it was nothing.
Afterwards, Wolverine came out and got into an argument with The Mendicant. I overheard my name, and the word “threesome,” and I gathered that it’s something she wanted, and something he did not. Again, I apparently had no say in the matter.
But I did. As soon as we parted ways with Thor and Mohawk, I made an excuse about it being late, and I left. If The Mendicant had felt he was losing, this was me resigning before things got ugly. I knew they had issues to work though, and I had my own too, and I just wanted to go home.
When I got home, I cried. Not over Wolverine, or the other girl – who I still wish to give a fair recount of, but for now she’ll remain nameless. I thought about N/A, and though I haven’t cried in years, or seen her in years, I cried. This is what the bottom of a bottle gets me – my worst fear, which came true, because I made it so. If this is what alcohol gets me, then I’m through drinking. I never want to feel that way again.