by LINDA EDDINGS
Q: He doesn't look after you.
A: Maybe he does help me, but that's not the same.
Q: You were playing a sort of game.
A: You have hit on a pet peeve of mine. Which is the placing of the words "sort of" where that expression should not be. Perhaps it's just an aspect of your dialect.
Q: That's fair. My own problem is with the word "just." When you consider the matter at any length, the word means little to nothing at all.
A: The game Tim and I were playing was to observe and determine the relationships of various people to each other. If you spot identical twins, it's called champagne. There is nothing better.
Q: You see a father and his daughter.
A: That's a riesling. And a mother and her daughter is a merlot. Because of mere - that's the joke anyway.
Q: "That's the joke."
A: Tim noticed an old woman bending over a doll.
Q: Is that like, toilet wine?
A: You sound like him, you really do. Context is everything.
Q: Not really. Say you were dating a man and for eleven months it was going along swimmingly. At the end of that month, he gets inebriated, drunker than you have ever seen him, and gives you a black eye. Is it over?
A: What kind of car does he drive? What color is the car, his eyes? The hardest thing to do is wait for all the information. As I said, we witnessed an old woman, most likely homeless, most certainly with no fixed address, bending over a doll. She kept nodding to herself. He explained that the reason the woman was nodding was because the doll was telling her something.
Q: What was the doll telling her?
A: I was on vacation once with my parents; I had just turned twelve and they took to me to the Riviera. I was from the city; I couldn't remember ever seeing a beach. I met another girl my age named Eloise. She showed me necklaces she had constructed of seashells, and when I encouraged her, she showed me the animal that provided one of her shells. It was seated on a tiny purple cushion.
Q: She honored it.
A: Not quite. It was a jail. But you have perhaps hit on why the woman was nodding to her doll. She may have considered it divine.
Q: Do you believe that?
A: No. But Tim showed a mixture of disgust and resignation that I finally realized was concern.
Q: "Perhaps" is another expression like that, for me. You've said it twice today. Isn't everything "perhaps", when you get down to it?
A: I know someone who would agree with you. "The closest thing to God is an individual."
Q: What did Tim say next?
A: We began to argue. He said that she belonged in hospice care, or under some supervision at least. I said that we were all taking orders from someone, and a variety of other things. Sometimes I think I sabotage my relationships, but this was not one of those times. Later, under the covers, he was more gentle than he had ever been.
Q: You don't often show your anger to those closest to you.
A: That's perhaps true, but it was something else. It was sort of that he could not decide whether he was the old woman, or the doll. And he just knew the fact that he was waiting for me to confirm his suspicions meant that he was more likely the old woman.
Q: Have you had your period this month?
A: I'm having it now. There was blood on his cock. I wiped it off before he could see it. A certain type of person never looks at herself unless she is told to, and even then.
Q: That old woman you saw. You said that she nodded her head to what the doll was saying. Did she ever shake her head? Yes? That seems like an important distinction.
A: I didn't finish the story. In the morning, he wanted sex again, but was afraid to say so. What bothered me was that he wouldn't just ask me for it. Because if it was the reverse, that is what I would do.
Q: You came.
A: Yes. But as I was coming, he was talking to me, not even about me, or what he was doing.
Q: What did he say exactly, as you came? This may be important.
A: He said, "I'm glad we didn't meet on Tinder."
Q: He sounds like an old woman. Was the animal on the purple cushion dead by the way? That seashell girl. When you were on the beach.
A: Eloise, yes. She arranged her shells by color, then by various other criteria, and then by size. She explained the virtues of each separate arrangement. Then I noticed that she moved me around her arena in the exact same fashion as the shells she held in her tiny hand. I told her that it was pointless to arrange anything by size, now. There was no real way of telling how much it would grow.
Q: When he was inside of you. When you came, you told me what he said when you had your orgasm. What did you say?
A: Nothing of any import. It felt like I was listening, not to him, to the world beneath him.
Q: Did he come?
Q: What did he say when he came?
A: He asked me what time it was. As if there was none at all to waste.
Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She last wrote in these pages about Abbas Kiarostami.
"The Bones" - One Clueless Friend (mp3)
"Bird in Flight" - One Clueless Friend (mp3)