“I should preface this story with some background information. It most likely wont make sense out of context.” I played the sock on her hand as if it were a guitar. If the sock was a real guitar I’d probably practice a lot more.
“Okay hit me with it.” She sipped her Hofbrau. Glory really wanted to know me which I found most peculiar. She wanted to know about Wilhem Flood, but why? I knew I was worthless, nothing. I couldn’t understand her interest in knowing about who I was as a person. It made me excited and frightened at the same time. She had to be defective. There had to be something irreversibly wrong with her. This was impossible.
I wanted to be different with Glory. I wanted to be myself only this time, unguarded and open. Honest, completely honest.
“I have been pretty unhappy for quite some time. I haven’t really admitted that to anyone. I’m not happy. I mean, I can have a good time. I can still find ways to laugh. But I’ve really just felt…stagnant, frustrated. What’s the best synonym? My Father would always say he was disgusted with his life, by our family, or rather the situations our family found its way into, I guess now I understand what that feeling really is. So before I begin, I’m not complaining about my life nor do I want anyone’s pity, let’s set it straight, there is a clear difference, I’m merely providing facts, a detailed analysis of who I am, and remember you are the one who wanted to know, so here it is. I am Wilhelm Flood. I am 28 years old. Fact. I have not yet begun a career of any variety. Fact. I am really good at nothing. Fact, half fact half joking. I’m alright at a lot of things but not great at anything at all. I feel like nothing grand is going to happen in the foreseeable future. I will never achieve anything, or make any progress and that scares me. I just heard myself and all that sounds awful but.”
“Wait, when in your birthday?” Glory sipped her beer.
“Really? I’m in December too. The fourth.”
“What!” I said in a exaggerated drawn out way.
“Shut up.” said Glory, slapping my leg. “Continue, please. I get that. I feel the same way sometimes, not entirely but I do understand where you’re coming from. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, was to act and I never put myself out there because it terrifies me. I don’t think you’re alone. I think the 21st century has become very impossible for most people. I don’t think you have complaints, per se, well maybe a few. It appears to me that you are very hard on yourself. Things will work out. But how does this get you a black eye?”
“Right. Well a few months back I was the bar, it’s right down the street. I was there with my friends, my best friends, people I’d do anything for. We were having a great time bullshitting about whatnot. Its never a bad time, you know, when we all get together. We were talking about our lives. I said something that depressed me. I talked about things, things I’m going to do, things I wanted to do but haven’t done and probably wont ever get to do. Yeah, I’m going to write that book. Im getting that job I wanted. I heard myself, it sounded so rehearsed, I’ve said it so many times. The career wasn’t going to happen, it still hasn’t. It occurred to me that I sounded like I was full of shit. I was sick of talking shit. Talk talk talk. I don’t want to talk about doing things, I want to actually do them. Plus at this point I was having these recurring thoughts of leaving everything behind. I am an escapist at heart. I have always wanted to leave, its one of the things I desired more than anything for years. It’s just sometimes the desire to leave is stronger and the thoughts of leaving are more frequent. I suppose it is when I’m at my most discontent with my life.”
“ You roam around a bit. So why don’t you leave? Why haven’t you left yet? Something has to be the reason for staying.”
“It seems easier for other people to up and leave. Why haven’t I left? My sister, I’d feel bad leaving her. My family strongly opposes. I don’t have the money to fund the escape. I don’t have the money for most of the things I’d like to do.”
“Your family would want you to be happy and if you really wanted to leave you could. Where would you want to go?
“Are you leaving with me?”
“Depends on where you’re going?”
“I’ve always dreamed of moving to Ireland or Germany, or a place like where you’re from.”
“I could live in those places. We could move in with my parents. My mother would adore you. My father might bury you out back.”
“I like that.” I said, raising my beer. “Moving in with your parents might seem like a step backwards. I’ve lived on my own for so long, you know.”
“My father wants to build Evelyn and I our own houses behind our house, further into the woods. It’s his dream. I think he wants a compound. Continue, please.” Glory tugged at the socks.
“So I went home from the bar. I had all of these feelings. I felt like maybe I had become too sentimental, too soft. It’s weird when you can’t tell if you are incapable of love or if it’s really that you love too much. I was once a spiteful cold, cold boy. Now as a man, I well up at the thought of my mother, or the thought of my life remaining this way for the rest of it. So I made a decision. If I couldn’t leave, I would find a different way to escape. I cut myself off from everyone. I haven’t had proper communication with anyone outside of my sister in a while.”
“What’s her name again, I’m sorry.”
“Catherine. She is so worried about me. I have been neglectful towards everyone. It’s partly because I’m ashamed. I want my life to be different. I wanted everything to be so different. I don’t answer my phone, I don’t return their calls or texts. I go out of my way to avoid everyone I know, which is difficult in Whitestone. I saw my friend, Emma. She showed up at my job last night, and she is asking me whats wrong, what’s wrong, something has to wrong, right? I mean everything feels all wrong. But I said that nothing was wrong. I lied to Emma. I tried to reassure her but it wasn’t working so now, we both know everything is wrong. She wants to get a beer, I tell her I cant. I use work as an excuse. I have to be in early. All that sort of bullshit. She insists. So out we go to the bar. She says one beer, I caved. I kept the focus on her and fired questions at her to keep the questions off of me. We drink and she tells me how she’s upset by my actions, that she and everyone misses me and I’m being a selfish cunt. She doesn’t understand what I’m doing. That no one did.” I barely understood it myself.
“Were you two together at some point?”
“Emma? No, we’re just close friends. I’ve known her since I’m eleven years old. Nothing to worry about there. So Emma is so mad at me. And I said some things I regret saying. I insulted her. I implied that she is complacent with her life, and because she’s okay with it does that mean I have to be? I am not. I guess I came off badly, but I didn’t mean anything malicious. honestly. She told me she wanted to punch me in the face. I thought I kind of deserved it with my behavior and all. I said, one shot. I removed my glasses and she swung hard. I said thank you, hugged her and left. I went home and thought about everything, and I cried a bit.”
“You’re a gigantic baby.” Glory chuckled.
“I don’t know if gigantic is precise.”
“How do you feel now?”
“Right this minute? I feel all sorts of emotions.”
“Are you embarrassed to share this with me. If you don’t want to talk about anything just say the word and we can change topics.”
“No. I tend to share too much. But it’s not a trust thing, I don’t trust you, I don’t trust anyone with my emotions entirely. You get the parts I’m okay with. I trust Pangur Ban. Pangur’s talks have no omissions, as for majority of my feelings and thoughts, I can share, I don’t care if you know.
“I already told you I have trust issues.”
“You did. We are perfect then.”
“We could be. We could be two straight lines in a crooked world.”
“I’d like that. I think it all comes down to purpose. I want to make something.” I caught the reference.
“What is your family like?”
“My dad moved far away. I never thought about it but I guess he was kind of distant even when he was here. I wish I could up and move. My mother is still here in New York. They both are, I don’t know, damaged in different ways. But deep down they are decent people that are just really fucked up. Its funny my father is a truck driver, and he would sit and watch westerns all day long, it is a similar lawless kind of lifestyle. The open road. Oregon trail shit. I wish I could have appreciated it then, I would have sat and watched them more with him. I didn’t get the appeal. Clint. What a bad dude? In a way my father did exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.”
“Yeah. What’s that?”
“Give me your hands.” She took a felt tipped pen from her purse. “Hold them out like your receiving communion.” She wrote Eastwood across my fingers. “There.”
We kissed, and I could feel myself falling for all those things my heart was whispering to my mind.
“Look at the stars. Here I have this app it will tell us what constellations are above us.” She said, fumbling in her bag for her cellphone, while my own vibrated in my pocket, another ignored call under the stars.