Be kind, be kind. Must always be kind. Be kind onto others. Which is not the same as being kind onto yourself.
The silly self: It’s like a whimpering babe, looking at her with confused eyes. Why aren’t you coming for me? Don’t you know how much I need you? Poor thing, so dumb and innocent, it knows not its ignorance is bliss; but need, need, need. I need you, need you, need you — to be you.
But she forsakes it. It can make it on its own. That’s the Darwinian rule that she had obeyed for years; the rule that had been done onto her, when her mother fled her marriage and parenthood in the family’s fourteen-year old Honda to live in Portland, with a lover — a vegan milkshake store owner. For her, it wasn’t: Do onto others as you do onto yourself. (Some people can be so selfish, mother!) But she had had a life-long history of being better to others — better for them — than to her whimpering self.
There’s time enough, she thought; and maybe later she could retire to finally tend to her needs. By then, the self would be so tired (although she swore she had been tired ever since she was thirteen). But she would tire herself out enough to retire, with babies and her future husband’s nightly strewn socks all around their bedroom. Until then: She had to be kind.
A decade ago, she used to be angry. At all times, at nearly everything. “It’s my prerogative! I am what I am,” said the ego. Except that it was all wrong: She was kind. Always kind. She was the daughter of her father — a gentle man who, despite the damages done onto him, had never done it onto others; and being his next of kin came with the same unbalanced, unjust genetic mechanics of selflessness and never knowing how to ask for a favor.
But even though, in her youth, she would hold onto the anger, she felt it falling flat every single time, after the initial sensation in her body. Like an off-key tune, it was uncertain and wavering; blue and slightly disappointed. Like a story without an arc: Who needs it?
“This is how I’ve always fended for myself,” she would defend the anger to her departing lovers and move the hair out of her eyes with a furious head shiver. The lovers couldn’t understand why she insisted on living her life in so much difficulty. Not everything had to be understood so thoroughly, so completely. She “should learn to let go”.
Fine by me! Go! Go on and leave!
But they would miss her, she was sure of it; because in between all those hollow spaces of anger, she always offered kindness. Kindness pro bono. Kindness at the end of every day. And besides, she had always made it clear they were never the point of of her unrest. Instead, they could revel in her love, her compassion or her charity — all depending on the degree of availability of her kindness. So, how difficult could it be to be loved by her?
But you should go! Go ahead and go!
In those moments, she recalled an actress in a film that her mother seemed to be watching every single time she’d walked in on her. The actress was good at crying well, with no resistance in her face. And on that particular line, “Go! Just go!” the actress would close her eyes completely, like someone aware of being watched. And she, catching a glimpse of both actresses in the room, would always wonder: “Why the fuck is she wearing full make-up, in a heartbreak scene?”
The departing would never find another her, she thought to herself; and she was right: They wouldn’t. But with all the others — who weren’t her — things were slightly easier and more vague. Others left room for misinterpretation, so that the lovers could live out their love in mutual illusions, until the first point of cross-reference. Hearts could be broken then, expectations — disappointed. But they would’ve had some wonderful times by then.
And yes, with time, easy became boring; but boring — gave room to calm. And into the calm, it was easier to retire. Because in the end, we were all simply so tired.
So, be kind. Must always be kind. She almost terrorized her lovers with kindness, which was shocking to the recipients, in every beginning. It made her unusual, unlike all the others. The lovers could not have suspected, though, that she was merely collecting a reserve of it for when the going got harder, because it always would; and because the first time the anger came up in each affair, it stayed. One note. No arc. Just co-habituating with the rest of her, not necessarily parasitically.
Some lovers would attempt to rescue her from the anger. (Sometime, infatuation liked to pose as love.) These more ambitious ones would suffer the most, from her resistance, from the complexity of her constant devotion to truth. And only when they, finally tired from it — or of it — raised their first objections, she flaunted all the moments of previous kindness in her self-defense.
How she hated herself for turning calculating, pitiful and shrill! After those endings, she would have to find healing in closure that took more time; because self-forgiveness was harder to summon by someone who did onto others better, than she did onto herself.
But they all would remember her kindness at least, she told herself. In the end, they all would. And, again, perhaps, she was right. But no one could ever survive the lack of self-love.
I could do this one, why not? She’s kinda cute. Hot, actually. She’s hot, and that’s so much better anyway. She’s not one of those gorgeous girls who thinks she’s outta my league. Fuck those bitches! They get too expensive, anyway. But this one is not like that, man. I wonder if she’s the type that doesn’t think she’s beautiful at all. Which makes it even easier.
I should ask her out. ‘Cause I could probably do this one, easily… Hands down!
Okay, maybe not “easily”. She called me “Patrick” last night.
My name is Dave.
Shit, man! Just look at her! Leaning over the edge of the bar, so obviously flirting with Stan. Stan is old, but he can get a girl nice ‘n’ liquored up, I guess. I tolerate Stan. And that’s as far as I go with people.
Stan is, like, seriously deprived of love. His woman is a total bitch to him, you can tell by the way he cranes his neck whenever he talks to a broad. Any broad. Like a fuckin’ abused dog that expects to be hit between his eyes for chewing on her slipper, just ‘cause he just wanted to taste the sweat of her feet. Stan’s woman must castrate him every day, for breathing too loudly or for not looking the part, or some shit. And I bet she thinks she should be with someone better.
Look at him! Just look at him now! God! He’s shaking just ‘cause this girl is nice to him. God…
I hate dogs!
Maybe Stan’s got a giant one. Chicks always say that it’s not important. But that’s just bull, if you ask me. I’ve seen ‘em looking at me when there is no point of going back and I’m staring them in the face, erect but less than a handful. Nerve-racking enough to shrink anyone.
“Ohm,” they say and look up at me with that face, as if I got them the wrong thing for Christmas.
I wonder if it’s those fuckin’ pills. I told John, I’d rather be bald. But then, his woman chimed in: “Jenna”.
“I wouldn’t fuck Prince William, with that hair of his,” she said.
First of: Who wants to date a chick called “Jenna”?! Or “Trisha”? “Trish”. Sounds like a diner waitress with three grown children by another man, at home.
Anyway, “Jenna” has this habit of going out to our fridge, in the middle of a night, in nothing but John’s wife-beater. She’s a bartender, comes over after her shift. Drunk. I hear them fuck. I try to tune ‘em out, so I blast some ESPN, or fucking Transformers 3, I don’t care. Whatev. But it’s like this chick’s got police sirens for her moans. And the really fucked-up thing is: They really turn me on. It’s like having a live porn sound-feed from across the hall. So, I’ve started waiting for John to finish his first round; come out to the living-room, turn on the TV and I watch her, as she runs to the bathroom. (Why do chicks always have to pee after sex? Does urine kill sperm? I fuckin’ hope so!) But then, she comes out, all flushed and glossy from splashing water on her face and thighs; all the fattier places bouncing on her body.
…Frankly, I don’t like fat girls anyways. Fuck ‘em! I’d rather keep aiming high. But the skinny ones are always meaner.
John told me “Jenna” likes big ones. Makes her ears plug up, she says. And she’s got this vein that pops out in the middle of her forehead. Makes John worried she’ll hemorrhage to death on day, if he keeps winding up her sirens like this. So yeah, it matters, he says. Size matters.
“Jenna” lies to my face. Says it’s all about the man’s hair:
“I’d rather fuck a bald guy than Prince William.”
So, these days, whenever she comes over, I watch TV with my cap on. “Jenna” has these sick nails and she always paints them red; and she likes to rough out the top of a man’s head, then pull his face into her breasts and smother his silly grin with them. But not me! Not this guy!…
Ah, shit! Just look at this one though! She’s still talking Stan up and I can see that jittery part of her thighs from the way she hangs on the bar. This one is hot. Kinda like “Jenna”. That’s the problem.
And I can tell she is not like one of those chicks back in college who liked to brag about sex all the time and confuse the attention they aroused — for being liked. Those chicks had seriously low self-esteem. But this one doesn’t talk sex. She moves sex. And we are all deprived.
I blame our mothers.
(To Be Continued.)