Dark glasses, out of style boots with big heels, a scarf made of wrinkled poly. She strides up the walk clicking and swinging her sex like a billboard for milk as I pass close, too close to remain unnoticed and stop because I feel obligated like there are rules for this sort of thing. My fifty, maybe sixty rapid-fire words representing not a transaction but an insistence of ignorance and hope are received with the worldliness of a second-generation whore in her first decade of grist. With tentative motions I steer as though a learner and duck into the prescribed laneway, follow instructions and wait, jump, fidget, wait, and reverse my commitment to this non-entity, without compassion, and find her blocking the exit in time, just out of time. The door clicks not entirely shut, her handbag laid without emotion on the carpeted hump of the transmission of my mother’s Dodge. She’s wet with sweat, not sex, and mumbling about irrelevancy as she pauses by design to remember the cash, the cash that I count and lay out on the dashboard to watch as my pants are yanked without passion, exposing my ignorance glowing blue as is the case in the Dodge but not the Pontiac that is soft white. The repeated raking of her teeth and a ghastly cough almost leads to my abandonment in disgust but for it being too late, well into the chasm of commitment that precedes the crash, gasp, heat. With expert timing she avoids soiling her face, lips, eyes, hair, blouse, ruining my fantasy and fulfilling hers, mine being of five years breadth and hers of an insignificant instant, in a tissue that I cannot be sure was virgin.       

           I travel uptown, the seat further back than the trip down, my wrist resting on the apex of the wheel, my mother’s radio station squawking about politics for ten minutes or more before I notice, the window too low for the sharp bite of air, the occasional flurry losing its colour on the windshield just inches from where the cash, the cash lay before. Time changes my status from spectator to major-leaguer, filled with courage and history to flaunt and lie for all to see forever. No longer guessing and lying and thinking aloud at night.

          Flying horizontal flashes of exposure blur the stark truth of day where sounds are modified by sub-orders of black and bitter, familiarity that I will not give up as the years mount and decay. I try to push regret down far, consider time lost, the compassion and forgiveness of my youth. I am guilty of damage. Effecting, causing, damage. Toying with life. Interrupted only by diverting my eyes, caste, power, and abuse— yes abuse, certainly abuse. I feel inescapable regret. Irretrievable acts spent on hormonal highs and consequence not avoided. A life affected. Thoughtless, inconsiderate acts, selfish abrupt lasting acts, offered without thought or provocation. I drive the dark streets of her past with knowledge of contribution, unable to outmaneuver the reality of my visit, the impact of youth, unforgivable ignorance and hunger.

One thought on “Hunger

  1. You got the character type down pat in this: Chandler’s cynical idealist, who, despite his lost naivete, can’t stop thinking in that idealistic black and white and can’t forget how to help people. It’s one of the great character types in fiction, and Chandler repeats it because it’s sublime. I don’t know if the writing style (though good) is as pat of an imitation: enough run-on sentences capped by punch-in-the-face lines, but not enough similes. Ol’ C. tends to blend ’em together like the eye does with Siamese twins standing side-by-side. They jam.

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