on consolation, and women

 

The old man’s advice was to lay the girls, and something so simple turned into what girl? How many? What kind?

Tall, short, rattled, stoned, punk, pixie, long, lithe, cushioned, flat, blonde, bushy, ethnic, WASP, fast, country, hip, hipped, casual, classy, salacious, studious, gonzo, prim, pouty, pissed off– and every single one of them? Goddamn lonely. Some advice, he thinks, and goes on to have a series of tragic love affairs ending in financial ruin, therapy, and a baby. There are nights when he wakes from nightmares of dying in empty rooms, and after gazing at the empty side of the bed, embarks upon another romantic misadventure. His friends envy his freedom, he envies their status as The Married, The Domestic Partners, and most dreaded, The Soulmates. He’s wondering if there’s some crucial message he missed, some brief window in which Then was the time to take that turn and buy a lawnmower and set up that timeshare and find that perfect fixer-upper in the neighborhood with The Right Schools and The Friendly But Distant Neighbors. He’s wondering if his income is enough. He’s wondering if the career track he’s chosen will take him to The Right Places. He’s wondering why he even bothers.

But most of all, he’s wondering just how much it costs to ask someone to be lonely with him.

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