Gravity (Part II)
East Orange, New Jersey.
The highway outside is as silent as a pink slip.
The white light of the moon spreads across the sky like a Caesarean scar and the light is humble.
The father wakes up from the sound of the newborn howling from the nursery next door. It’s 4 am.
The father needs the newborn girl to sleep, for them both to sleep, the bones are aching, he needs a taste, he needs a hit, the skin shivers cold until warm until cold again until sweat creates a robe to hide the clean skin marked like nudity by indecency and holes. Pick her up from his basinet, soothe her, coo to her, trade her to her lulling, vibrating Jungle-themed bouncer decorated by toothy animals with demented faces by Fisher Price, bought from an enthusiastic Dave who highly recommended it at Target a week ago. Now walk to the kitchen, pour water into a pan from the kitchen sink, set the water to boil, wait for it boil, sit on the couch, third gash in the leather partitioning if you’re reaching from the right, in the back, underneath, extend the fingers, grab the last bundle left from Nora, displace four bags, walk to the desk drawer right across from you, take rig out, place it on the table, go back to check on the water, it’s boiling, take a bottle with the prepared formula out of the fridge and into the pan, check on the kid, she’s bouncing and contented by an orange monkey dangling in front of her, back on the couch, forgot the glass of cold water from the tap, return to the kitchen for the glass of water, insert needle into glass of water as soon as you’re back on the couch, draw out 30 cc’s, let the needle sit, put the powder from the bags into the metal cap, pick up the needle, 30 cc’s into the powder, use the spine of the rig to mix the powder and the water into a solution, find the cigarettes, where are the cigarettes, found the cigarettes, fucking finally, take one out, take the filter out with the front teeth, take a sliver off the filter to use as cotton, place sliver gently into the solution, put the vertebra back where it belongs in the rig, look at the kid, she’s still alright, maybe getting a little anxious, pay attention, pay attention, put the tip of the needle into the solution, draw it in, tap the wall of the rig a few times to get out any air bubbles, that shit would hurt under the skin, now it’s ready, leave it for now as something to anticipate, the soreness becomes cathartic when you know that salvation is close by, go back to the kitchen, take out the water, check the temperature of the milky formula against your wrist, warm, not hot, good enough, leave it next to the needle, take the belt out of the jeans that you left on the couch the previous night, tighten the belt around a decent vein, no Olympic hurdles looking for a good one this morning, too early, too sick, pick the needle back up, stick it in the vein, gently, gently, don’t hit an artery, pull the plunger back a bit, did the blood come out, it did, diluting the light putrid brown to a mix of crimson and decay, push, inject, enjoy, indulge, now feed the kid.
If there’s a Law & Order marathon on TNT today, we can furnish purgatory entirely of this – with enough money Nora might be willing to deliver even here.
* * *
And so the sun rose like a jagged star.
“So what are you saying?”
“Alright, what I’m saying is, yes, I suffer (a verb that should be in quotations) from a clinical, cyclical depression, and yes, I used to do drugs in order to placate my various suicidal tendencies and pugilistic fancifulness (which sounds like some unpublished Hemingwayian manifesto), and yes, I cried more when Dobby the House Elf died at the end of the last Harry Potter movie than I did when sitting at my own mother’s wake as a teenager, and yes, I still drink like the Hardy boys look for mysteries until I spit up like a ragged mutt… and yes, I did love another woman (that later turned out to be one ruthless indecision after another) while I was married and left that life to pursue something impractical, romantic and inherently tragic – but I think I’m better now, and the only holes in my arms today are from the monthly drug screens I have to undergo in order to please my ex-wife, so that she can grant me some condescending bit of visitation with my daughter.”
“And so, you’re resentful of this?”
“No, man – I completely understand the fact that she wants to indulge in belittling me from her self-righteous, despotic vantage point. I just wish that she wasn’t so humorless. I mean, sadism can be a bit of fun if there was some wit behind it. It’s like making a joke about the murder of Pasolini.”
“I don’t understand the reference.”
“Don’t worry about it – I don’t understand how you hung all those degrees on your wall.”
“With three hundred grand and a hammer, actually.”
“See, now that’s funny!”
And you, if you can find humor in any of this I’ll buy you drink, surely.
We scheduled another meeting for next week. Maybe a new memory will be ravaged out of me. Maybe he’ll make another worthwhile joke.