Somewhere, Sunday

Jeff Rozalewicz

 

“I’m not sure what I believe,” replies the voluptuous woman at the bar to the awkward man to her left.
                      

Seems universal, really, I think.
           

Well, it also sort of depends on what sort of goggles or crude blindfolds were wrapped around your [Mind, Soul, Body (—gotta pay the (“troll”) toll (“to get into this boy’s hole”…I’m cold and…I’m frozen and my memories flow towards TV shows )…to get your place in the everlasting kingdom]…eyes.
           

And I don’t use ‘voluptuous’ to get you thinking that she’s a ‘bigger’ woman (I deny your inadequate modernity transferred to association of nicely-saying-‘fat’), although I’ll admit that with the O.E.D.’s definitions including “marked by indulgence in sensual pleasures”, it can be misleading—here, I don’t mean that she would be found lounging on her side being fed by slaves on a royal pillow, but that she had the curves and used them to lure.
           

And with his awkwardness…well, it showed. He seemed very tentative, and possibly at some degree of unease at her ‘loving-life-as-long-as-she-was-alive-and-[whatever, whatever], and this sense of clunky connectedness only seemed more apparent during the last drink (of the evening, or of life as one, or both of them as they knew it). […] Walking to the elevators now, he stalls, falters, shifting coat on arms as she pushes the UP button and offers a final, confirmatory, quizzical wobble/gesture, asking ‘soooo, you do… want to come up (‘go down’) to my (‘on me’) room, right?
           

I have many a plenty memories of awkward moments with the females, but I have to concentrate not to cringe or grimace as this scene unfolds, passes.
           

I drink my Guinness, waiting for Y. to come and save my ass from my idiocy.
           

See, I was taking the Peoria Charter home for the first time, and like a fine noob I got off at the wrong spot.
           

Hear my excuse: I thought there were two stops that the bus would be making, yet because of my last minute rush to buy the ticket I didn’t focus the information detailing the stops with much clarity, and in that rush, my— (I want to write drug-addled mind, but I’ve been reading Dr. Thompson—I was completely (completely, Jeff? Really?))—sober absent minded/short-term memory static/
           

[so erratic, gotta put the hot water in the attic/feral children being locked away/keepin quiet with duck tape during the day/shoot em up with drugs to help ‘em sleep at night/folded tight in a moldy blanket with bed bugs biting/mites in the skin/this itchy feeling’s Dyno-MITE! …Ahem/End of distracted internal rap (Amen.)]
           

/must have fizzled and sparked; I mean, does it really surprise you, with how my mind gets distracted like this?
           

Anyway, in the amount of minutes that I entered the crudely luxurious lavatory, the bus veered and teetered dangerously on the off ramp, slamming me up and off the toilet, pants down (after standing in front of the opened, shiny metallic toilet seat, hose in hand, contemplating my balancing abilities and the big red circle and line across a figure mocking my stance, I settled my pride to keep from spraying the walls and floor) and into the door, thankfully locked and secured, saving the girl sitting directly outside. 
           

By the time I got myself situated—about a minute more of falling with my pants down, standing, slamming, sitting, standing, I’m a big boy now!, aaaaand got mah pants up, zip, button, I’m relieved and ready. I exited the potty cubby doing my best to believe I was a gentleman and that no one on the bus could have possibly heard my full body weight being slammed around with my balls out. In this concentration of keeping composure I glanced out the dark tinted windows looking out into the dark of the night-blanketed parking lot of what I took for Woodfield shopping center. Now, I failed to notice that there were a handful of people that hadn’t gotten off, but in experiencing an episode of such imbalance, my selfish and blatantly ignorant defaults as a human being took charge, and those that were left behind could have ceased to exist. Except that in the next five minutes I would realize that those ‘left behind’ were the ones that would reach Woodfield, while I wandered around the parking lot of Oakbrook Mall, realizing that I could very well freeze to death (this was Friday, February 10th  just west of Chicago, when the stinging wind would numb your jaw within seconds). So, I kept breathing and hoped like hell (whose hell has hope, anyway?) for a bar, where I could drink warmth back into my long numbed, albeit gloved hands.
           

Praise Jesus for the Marriot bar, but not the concierge, bartender, or woman at the desk who couldn’t figure out directions from Woodfield to Oakbrook. I set aside my pen, and as I drink my delicious, dark, creamy beer, I wonder why I didn’t get a Jack and Coke. If I was hoping to warm myself up, that is. Oh, well.
           

Y. arrives and I buy her a beer. I’d be all ears for the crap I deserve for being absent-minded, but I’ve started writing, and I’m distracted with the atmosphere, here.
           

The rest of the weekend at home, the scene of the couple at the bar discussing faith before sex stays with me.
           

I’m standing in the shower and singing to myself the next morning. I’m really belting it out too. There’s just something about the musical energy you feel when showering in your parents’ house, when you’ve been used to the same old shower that’s been cleaned, oh, maybe three times in two years? Alright, maybe four, but definitely no more than five. So, I’m happy to be in a white, black-smudge-free space. I’m singing, something like Tool’s “Lateralus” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” when I realize that it’s Valentine’s Day weekend. It’s been (almost) exactly a year since we buried my grandma. Valentine’s Day had fallen on a Monday. Yeah. Well, I guess today is Sunday. And Valentine’s Day is Tuesday this year. Close enough. A fucking year…
           

So, the music in my head has come to a sharpened end, the needle near the core, the whir of my mind suspended and silent.
           

I think that if I ever get a book of fiction published, I’d dedicate it to my grandma, who said I sound retarded when I sing with my headphones on.
           

I don’t recall what I did the rest of the day. I’ll say I read. I’ll bet I drank, too. Coffee and donuts topped the night/morning off before going home to sleep.
           

The next morning, I’m awoken around ten. I didn’t fall asleep until sometime after six. Meh. Oh, alright, this weekend isn’t about me.
           

It’s my grandpa’s birthday. He makes sure to remind everyone it’s his last whenever anyone wishes him a happy one.
           

Right now we’re all headed to Church. I was raised Roman Catholic. Also, my parents are renewing their vows after marriage of twenty-five years. I’m very happy and grateful, but…ugh..the Church?…never mind, this isn’t the time for that. This isn’t about me. (…Fuck, of course it is. I’m sitting here ranting about the experiences of the weekend through my perspective…shit) Well, the real kick to the mental nuts was, trudging in after my family, having held the door open for them, I see my mom, who picked up her mom, my other grandmother, sitting in the second pew to the Alter (Really, Microsoft Office Word 2007, I’m supposed to give the alter a capital ‘A’? Fuck off… alright, whatever). That was when my mind reeled, and I wanted to sprint out of there. Fine, I came home for reasons out of love, but not to sit in the second pew, with my family oriented pastor having full sight of my weary, blood-shot eyes. I knew I was going to wander in my head during the mass. That’s what I do, my literary criticism goes into full-blown analysis of every spoken word, clever wording indeed, contradictions aplenty, exhausted mind or not, because if it didn’t, I swear, I’d fall straight asleep.
           

Well, the mass this time around turned out to be particularly boring/annoying; must have been something to do with St. Valentine. So, instead I crafted a flash fiction story in my head of a man with his family, sitting with his neighbors. The story is to be tense and riddled with ambiguous adjectives surrounding the customs of the mass, centering around the ‘Our Father’ prayer, and as everyone holds hands, the internal narrative of the main character reveals to the audience his awareness that his neighbor, or his close Church going buddy has been molesting his daughter, the main character’s daughter, and it’s all about the sweat that he’s trying to suppress that threatens to show on his forehead and on his palms as they hold hands during the ‘Our Father’, and in his eyes, his kind, loving eyes, as he looks into the eyes of his neighbor, his friend, his spiritual brother, as they shake hands and wish “peace be with you” to each other, the neighbor/friend/’brother’ trying to suppress the carnal images, the Gawwd-all-mighty vaginal stench of his (would he even call him ‘neighbor’/’friend’/’brother’ in his head, the rapist fucker, that is, what would he call, or think of the main character in his head?) daughter. And the bleeding heart of the story would be at the moment of the handshake, this scared handshake symbolizing peace and forgiveness, while the main character knows that he has failed his faith, and that within moments after the mass, he will kill this man he called his neighbor/friend/brother for what he has done…and all that jazz. Religion, faith, animal rage, revenge, how much can the average Catholic Joe take, really, when it comes down to what he claims he believes type of themes.
           

When the mass ended, the renewal of the marriage vows of participating parishioners began, and that was when my mind went into lighter, happier territory. It was a time of…more substantial, human praise.


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