Love in the Time of Strep

6 Sep

It starts before it even happens. You’re french-kissing then disappearing strawberries beside a friend and watching Mulholland Drive and reminding yourself that it’s all a recording. No hay banda. It is all a recording. You feel a slight sniffle, then a dryness you quench with homemade mead from a bottle that pops off by way of a metal contraption that seems ingenious yet sturdy to you. A way to close things that makes sense because of its perfect intricacy. The glasses are short and cheap, but the drips of fermented honey soothe the way a viscous alcohol should, like a full-on close-up of a mouth kiss. Each gaping mouth opening wide to receive, and in opening, give.

You pass the dream phase and go into desire thinking that the dryness in your throat is a beckoning for more of something. You wonder what that something is without getting up. Fuck, it’s dry in there. In need. Indeed. The mucus traffic jam in the area behind your nostrils affects even your mentalese, giving it a lisp. And the yellowish liquor makes all resultant repetitions the equivalents of jokes. More sips lead you to want to share. You look across slowly to the friend. Her cheeks change color as she sits passively, absorbing, on your some assembly required and Febreezed futon. You’ve seen this before. It was the pits, the pits of something like longing– a stretch of the proverbial arms that left your metaphors’ rotator-cuffs sighing in anguish. The pits of love.

You turn back to watch the curves of the film and scratch at your beard, realizing that  love isn’t around for you anymore. No more man-holes. And how digging is such difficult work. Such work for what? For emptiness. And dirt. O but cheeks used to be such fun things when they changed colors, when light danced on them in the semblance of a shared multimedia experience. It used to happen with girls, nice girls who giggled and smiled at your wittiness, willing to sit through Goddard or Arronofsky or even von Trier with you. The itch you are scratching doesn’t go away. It is not in your beard. It’s deeper. In the throat. Back of the palate, where you can rub the back of your tongue like your erasing a miscalculation thoughtfully. But the itch never leaves, only gets redder and harder to forget. Even as she leaves, you wonder about quenching it somehow. Your goodnight sounds like the dull extinguishing of a ceiling fan that’s not needed anymore.

Then you wake up, and the fire has spread to your head. And it quavers each time you attempt to move. So you lie. You lie still, simply plotting and waiting. You realize how oddly draining doing absolutely nothing can really be. And how you’ve gone nowhere in life, the general, or today, the specific. But feeling drenched in the pale moonlight of your energy’s desertion you convince yourself to like the lack of progress, the incredible stagnation and parchedness of it all, leaving you reaching for something real and imaginary, an IV drip of some fresh Wild Turkey or a water gun of fresh Beefeater.

The inflection of death pops into your head, and you imagine Emily Dickinson taking notes like an amanuensis at your bedside. Enunciate things you don’t own to people you don’t know. And bequeathings, too. Till death do you part. And why about marriage? All the time about marriage. Happy whiteness and flowers deflowered but still intoxicating and fluorescent. Sameness all the time, dull yet flashing at instances of intoxication or mental dis-order. Yes, that is what it is all about. Togetherness. You must call people and tell them about your stagnant revelation.

Or maybe divorce, as you reach for the space-phone? This is when the french-kissed strawberries reap some sort of maenad-like revenge on your esophageal lining, claws outstretched as you feel that you are puking a chunky, slow-churned rendition  of sweet blood mixed with the taste of bile. You cover the floor in yourself as you crawl toward a commode that doesn’t know you and wants nothing more than to dump you anyway with its closed buffed porcelain lid. Your toil is fruitless, and back to bed you go. To ruminate and situate once more. That is all you can do when enunciation becomes not worth it anymore.

An authority figure calls. The distance between him and the phone with the console and you and it seems so strange that you two could feel so separate, you blocked off in your room, self-sequestered, and he in his office, upright and alone, yet so connected to this entity who has put your wheezing, blood-painted vocals on speakerphone, making the distance of miles more like miles + a couple feet, magnifying the whole distance issue but also the whole connection thing too. Phones don’t click anymore when you divorce yourself from them. They just cease.

But what was said? Oh yes. You must go to the minor med where a homeless man will tell you that a girl does not exist. They ain’t exist, I tell you. You think of marriage again as you feel the sweat that lined your fingers and your unwashed face now line the thin space between the transparent plastic bag and puce-colored trash can, the veil vibrating momentarily with the tremors of your bowels trying their best to jump ship. But it is weird, this regurgitated thought of together-ness. The rendition seems beautiful for a moment in the pause between the dry heaves. Utilitarian relaxation from the awful work of doing things on one’s own. Someone to share the pail with.

You look up to your father. Man has been married for thirty years and here he is, reading a boy scouts magazine and laughing at the jokes. It makes the public puking seem somehow less embarrassing. And because of this, you wonder if the pale light could really blind you. And how Milton turned divorce into a discipline. And, yeah. Maybe this. Maybe this. Yeah. Not so much.

the dry heaves become the worst, but because you’ve experienced them before, you feel kind of like a connoisseur, now. no oaky or fruity taste, only the strange feeling of your gallbladder hugging tightly to your duodenum as if the two were in some strange digestive pyrotechnic musical rendition of titanic and the liver and the colon had already said, Gentlemen, its has been a privilege playing with you tonight, and had decided to go down. Then, feeling ashamed, your body produces only what it can. What used to be called ichor, nectar of the gods, now displaced, divorced you whisper in mentalese, from that and remarried to the thought of human bile––the viscous piss that comes out of your mouth after much squeezing and wrenching. That shit used to be “you”. Now its splattered somewhere else. Pretty as a Pollock in the Met.

But wait, what was said. You need to stop missing things, again in the mentalese.

The doctor will see you now. Meaning, the doctor will make you wait on their butcher-papered half-reclined table-bench thing for another twenty minutes, allowing whatever tiny, probably animated one-eyed sharp-teethed boogers setting up market economies and thwarting socialist revolutions in the continents of your insides to roam and propagate for what for them is like another century, bringing on the inevitable experimental phase that leads toward communist dictatorships with military juntas and dissapearings and un-virusing, or whatever the microbial equivalent is to make your diseased metaphor work could be. You start to vibrate inside, fervently, like the baby you could never have is comin, and his name is going to be Jeb. Just Jeb, not short for shit. You’re sick of your own jokes, but put up with them so as not to vomit in your own presence. It would just be rude.

But shit happens. And so does vomit. The trashcan filled with once-used and discarded Kimberly Clark powder-free nitrile gloves absorbs the thin yellow liquid that literally spews out of your mouth, all geyser-like and preposterous. In the dehydration, you start to get romantic sentiments about the hard white plastic digging into you less than empty stomach area. You caress and you grope. And it feels, weeps in tenderness with the screech of your finger on the ring. You’re on one knee, and have a proposition to make. Will you–?

The doctor knocks politely, but gives you no time to put your proverbial clothes on and explain the situation, the look in the receptacle’s eyes when you both knew, and so she catches a glimpse of your ass up in the air, rocking back and forth, ever so gently, and your left index finger drawing soft infinities of sweat in the heat of a remembered moment.

You separate from your can, your receptacle. And the doctor for some reason wears a long black skirt draped down to her cankles, like she is half doctor half judge. You will have to do a strep test, a swab placed into the eye of the storm located right at the connection of your tonsil’s teardrop to the wall of throat. The doctor sizes you up wordlessly like you are a fool with no need for communication. You open when she tells you too and close when she is finished. No gagging, no squealing. You are a good boy, she says. And you look to your new wife and blush.

Though, she is pale. Unfeeling and pale. And you feel the jab in the middle of yourself. The ignition of bubbling that rises to your top forces you, soon enough, to blow wet hot bits back into her. You groan as you do it. You are angry with her. Very angry. Where was the support? The shared sense of sharing? Nowhere. You’re a bitch, you tell her, as lagging bits of strawberry-acid pulp splatter on her insides. You will get this annulled.

They do a strep test. You are told you are positive. You look down at the styrofoam cup of water like it’s a promise. How did you get it? Recognition has a funny way of being absent and leading to thoughts of magic and fate and g words and l works and f words.  It is the flatness of hope that appears in the puddle of your cup and the monotone verdict. If you had the strength, you’d smile. You feel as happy a July bride, though born-again. You now pronounce you man and wife and ride home in the back seat of a Lexus SUV.

But you come to realize something– all good things, even ones like the knowledge that you have strep throat, come to an end. Masks get itchy, and so does happiness. In bed again, sipping strawberry Gatorade while swallowing the pill that will end this torrid affair, you cannot help but fidget at the promise. The predator now known will be gone just like it arrived. In a hurry. But in the waning moments, you wonder, as you often do. You have no real words for the question but only the answer. Sometimes, it seems, the most intimately parasitic relationships become the most intellectually mutualistic. You feed off the vomit. And you don’t long for the day it visits you again, but you tell yourself you cannot wait.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: