In the fidgety, rustling empty of what we'd just done, I asked,
How old are you? She answered, Twenty-nine, and asked me back. I said,
Fifty-two, is that going to be a problem? I don't know why I spoke in the
future. She didn't say anything back. Was the problem my age or was it the
future? Neither or both? I didn't know if she was thinking about my question,
four other things, or just being polite. Or moody. I felt an ache in my balls,
a drip from my dick. So far, so good, right? I said. She laughed. And then she
said, You're funny.
It would mean giving up Beth and the house and all of it. Beth
never said I was funny. Even when I made her laugh. Her genuine laughter always
choked into mocking. Expressions of exasperation. That was a good one, I'd try.
You really chuckled. That would stop that.
It would mean even greater uncertainty. But there was this, the
ache, the drip, the laughs. There were pills and drink and high bridges.
Natural limits. There was the fact that these things are never easy, and never
fully in our hands.
So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood