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Rain, and his choirboy young man face, bed shadows, temptations in the Joining of ourselves and midnight ticking to eight a.m. when he would go off on a plane and we would be apart for seven weeks. Love, he told me again and again, it’s only seven weeks, can’t help it, it’s my big break, it’s the shot at the golden ring I’ve always wanted, you wouldn’t begrudge me that, would you? And me, no, of course not, I can’t tell you how happy I am and in time, if it works–no–when it works–I’ll come out there and we’ll be together in happy southern Californ-i-a. And we hugged and he went to sleep peacefully. I had no idea how to tell him he wasn’t himself. I had no idea how to tell my love that he was not even me. But something less, something apart.
I held him against my left shoulder, feeling him dizzy and drugged with dreams, the ones that perpetuate, the ones than incubate inside a person who is adept at being an adaptee, who is adept at being a psychic morph, who is himself as long as it is formed of pieces of others, an empath who is not at loggerheads with self or with this formless identity that hides in the shells under eyelids that do not see, shells that pretend at eyes. And in the raven dark night, in the tapping politely of raindrops, I see nothing but the mottled pebbly ceiling of our bedroom. I feel the warm of him. I feel the characters he portrayed to keep me happy, to keep me with him.
His name this week is Julian. Last week it was Joel. The week before that, Daniel. Then back and forth. There is nothing of time in him, in my friend whose real name I can no longer remember. We lie in a cubicle, a surrender that is made of plywood and plaster and longing and an inability to heed the past and move from its cradle, all nailed in by ten penny gleaming silver staubs. He thinks he is a would be actor. I think I am a would be writer. He thinks he is a would be human being who fell in love with a man who had never laughed, for that was to be his job, his duty, his one life goal, to make me laugh. To break the stone face. I tricked him. He thinks he did make me laugh, but I made me him and he was the one who felt the lightness of soul, the feather giddy tickle of happiness, but I in him felt nothing but the stoniest of silences. He is no one. I am him. I am the dream in him that is not his dream.
This is the last night of winter. The cold is in rags, has been for some weeks, little snippets of winter whir in and then warm weather beats them back and into submission, they fall without whimpering. Julian was a man who hurt me, therefore Julian last week hurt Daniel, while Joel looked on, and in the body of one was the body of four, the fifth one, the man beside me, in the dark, whining, while we played larks inside his body that was no longer his. I am a thief. In a way I am a murderer. I didn’t intend to be. We thought we would have some fun. The Village has always been a nice place to me. Always been colorful and filled with bright lights of brass dreams that can come true on sidewalk easels under the artist’s palette, while strolling couples with their handkerchiefs in the correct back pockets of their tight blue jeans stroll past, eating a hot dog or drinking a cup of warm beer. The sun on the shanties of the mind and strollers become minstrels, while there always seems to be music about from radios in apartments of open windows and from cars and from stores with doors open for the noon day sun and people in their peasant clothes that seem inviting and cool. At least they did when my love and I met at an outdoor cafe, as he found me frowning, sitting at a metal oval, drinking a glass of wine, as he sat down sinuously, like a carved snake, coiling down into the wicker chair next to mine, but his face was kind and unscarred, his eyes were friendly, his voice sounded like it had butterscotch in it.
Mostly in the past what I have attracted is pain, but that early Fall afternoon with the blue and green and magenta and orange marmalade colors all around us, with the music soothing us in upbeat, and the sidewalk crowded with people who had found someone at least for a time, a world of no shutters or screens and the calling out of first names met with cheer, met with the wave of hand and the touch of lips to cheek that gives me even a heartening feeling, he sat there and he put his elbows on the table of circle, his cambric shirt with its sleeves rolled up past those elbows, as he put his somewhat pointed chin in his hands and looked at me, it made me feel good. It made me feel that he knew and it didn’t matter at that point, that he knew he would be a sacrificial lamb. Not to the slaughter but to my airy room with its wide opened windows and the linen curtains blowing in the cooling September breezes, as we lay on my bed, as he put my Snoopy doll to the side, as he leaned over to my face, as we began our celebration of the day and how it would be. He didn’t become the first of the pain until mid October when he became Daniel. He never knew. He never knew he was am empath çankaya escort or that people loved him and would have always loved him because he was the second chance that really came. In himself. But bogus nonetheless, because most people have little imagination and began to resent his power after a time. It made them feel cheated. Like they had been tricked.
When what was needed was a torque on their own imagination, in order to meet his. I saw Daniel Green Eyes in him when he first looked at me, this man here, once named Mark, beside me in bed, after he had kissed me and we had held each other and dusted each other with love and sexual teasing, and then as we lay perspiring in the cool room with the wave of cresting and receding voices outside that reminded me somehow of milk deliveries in the early morning city in old movies I had seen, and how nice it had seemed to imagine lying in bed when it was still dark and the clinking of the milk bottles being put on the front porch or inside the hall, the door opened and closed furtively, and then the carriage or the truck moving away for its next delivery down the silvery little misty morning streets. Daniel Green Eyes always for a laugh, always for a joke, always for a need of being approved of, and I would approve of him for a time, watch him preen against the blue skies of his dreams, till he believed it himself, till he knew he could make it with better goods, had gotten his patter down, had tested and utilized and then had gone into the world to make his fortune.
For we are not talking about dead of night here. We are not talking about fights and squabbles and who is dancing with who too close to the boom box last night at Freddies’ Steel and Girder Bar and Lounge, no, we are talking about the little turns eyes take when they want out, when they feel the fever that is brought in waves of something not quite right. A look not quite interested enough. A touch not tentative and appealing and suggestive as it once was, but, instead, too familiar, not shadowy, too possessive even in the slightest sense. There is a Daniel Green Eyes in everyone’s life. A fabric of pattern and crosses and arms akimbo leaning out on the window ledge just as you get home from work, the body turning away from the window too quickly, the face too surprised, if only a bit, enough to throw the scales off, and you know he hasn’t been chatting with Mrs. Grady across the street about the block’s new launderette. And that first night of Mark’s and mine, he slept, and I said hello Daniel Green Eyes.
Though I hadn’t figured it out yet, he was already more to me than a desire to have sex, to be with someone attractive, to have on my arm at the spring soiree or whatever, he was not Mark, he was Daniel and in time I saw that he was Julian the personable but with the knife hidden behind the polite words, the bite in the eyes looking for a way not to hurt but to have, and if it meant having me for a time, then he had put up with that, because there is more than a certain season with one person, there is always an admixture, there is always a knitting skein that connects everyone. I would think later on it might be funny if Mark once Mark no more Mark were to meet any of the triumvirate who had changed my life and embittered me and captivated me and filled me with such rueful love, if he met them while he was still him, would they know the difference? They were years from me and were not themselves anymore, as neither was I, and neither was Mark. That is the human condition and since nature sets it up that way, I had decided I was not to be blamed for my little games with my loves’ empathic abilities. But then what was not funny was if they did not see themselves in him, if it could be close enough for them to recognize, and they would not, what about me in Mark? Would I recognize me?
Mark had been in several off Broadway plays, loft plays, cause it got Dustin Hoffman “Midnight Cowboy” didn’t it?, he would say endlessly. Mostly though he liked the light stuff, the Neil Simon and the old musicals, he loved to sing and dance for he was lithe of limb and almost as tall and willowy and graceful when dancing, as Tommy Tune who Mark had met once and could not stop babbling about to me, and in his babble as I fixed coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches, the room cool in October night with the winter grip just in the wings to flay down on us unfettered in canyon reverie, I saw Joel, my Joel, sweet and young and wide eyes and supple and boy enough still and open for anything and everything because he believed the whole world was a playbox of toys made just for him in mind. A boy who loved to be tauntingly giddily babblingly naked and winsome, and he and I then to see the videos and then imitate them, making them somehow beloved with depth and endearing, on the projector of him with gold and silver currents and which took me to the mountains of winter and left me quite adrift when the snows came and went and Joel went with them one fine early Spring day and left escort etlik me huddled and more scared than I had ever been in my life. He had been the center of me and when he held me and kissed the nape of my neck, I had never known how alone I had been before him.
And Mark became them, one at a time, slowly, subtly, clumsily, because I was slow in learning how to work Mark, how to use his powers for my own purposes. We always had fun and we were together as often as our day jobs let us be and his nighttime plays and afternoon run to auditions a million of them each week it seemed, allowed us. I saw Mark disappearing in others, the memories gotten wrong, the puzzles gotten badly put together, the pieces some of them jammed into the whole of it because they wouldn’t snugly go down at all though I racked my memory trying to get it correct, and Mark was not a Frankenstein monster in any of this, and we were warm and caring and we ate cheese and crackers in bed while watching TV and listening to Mrs. Abbertone in the apartment below us say, in one form or another, to her cat, “Anton, if you would like to live elsewhere, then you are given the freedom to do so, but if you would like to live with me, I would prefer that you not play polo in the sandbox every day when I am at work.” And we would laugh and we would listen to that thick Italian accent, and Mark would dream his dreams of being in a European film, being a huge important European star of the CINEMA and he would not forget the little people who made it possible and he would tap me in the center of my chest with the holding end of the cheese knife and we would giggle and tickle and wind up of course making love.
And all this time, he was from S. Fulton, he was from New Jersey, he was from London, and he was so rarely himself, and yet there was more of him there than I had thought, because I believe he had always been prismatic, had always been not himself, because everybody used him, and this is the thing–not to steal from him, but to add to him, not to make him yearn for what he could not have, but to give him their greatest gifts, until they realized that he had been turned not into a projector of their second chances come again, but into a trash sack in to which they had tossed their left over dreams, making him something of a sin eater, and thus their disillusionment with him steps up to a deeper level of discontent. But I knew him somehow almost from the start, so when I added Joel’s boyishness and cuddly toy sex, and mixed it with Julian’s proper very stable very reasonable and logical way to everything, adding that subtext of the silken knife ready for my chest at any moment (“my real friends stab me in the front”–Ambrose Bierce) and when I touched them up with Daniel Green Eyes’ obsession with his looks and his appealing qualities and how he could make them more appealing, his coquettishness that had calculation like a dress pattern all over it, I did not take away from Mark. I was not disillusioned.
I was enthralled. Then I put me inside him, to chase after those other ghosts and I put Mark in me to be alone in vastness and fear and doubt and more than a little shame, and tonight, I lie inside him and he inside me as he dreamed his dreams of Californ-i-a where I would be heading tomorrow on the great silver bird in the sky and he would be left back here to live in the illusion that I would be living in reality. I had lived in my illusions of others, now it was my turn to have someone live in mine. It is a terrible thing to always have someone as a dream and that alone even when they are with you, why not, for once, let me be the dream? I would let Mark live in me in L.A. and when he would be seeing studio secretaries who would show him the door out to the glittery sidewalk with the stucco palm trees and the toy yellow/red smoggy sun, he would think it was him in actuality, but he would be hooked up to me instead. I would not leave him alone and flat, and that would be an important thing for me to keep reminding myself of.
He stirred in the night, and there was laughter down the corner or round the corner and there was some music over in a distance, the always traffic sounds of course, the flash of lights on our bedroom wall, the flash of cold shivering me making me climb under the percale sheet with Mark, sushing to him, putting my head on his chest, hearing the rapid heart beat, remembering going with him to auditions where there were maws bigger than the lofts, like huge other dimensions, to drown and gasp and swallow dozens of actors or legions of actors who trooped through with their “Dramatists Play-Service” or “Samuel French” gray bound plays in their hands, the covers half worn off, the pages dog eared, the books open to the passage they would read to the director, their favorite Odets or Inge or Williams or whatever, the speeches and dialogue marked with pencil and sweat and fear, their knees knocking and their voices trying oh so carefully oh so actorly, which is what it’s ankara demetevler escort all about, being someone else, being more than someone else all at once, that is acting par excellence, and that was my Mark who would take me into worlds I had never heard of before, who would put me before film cameras and make me 40 feet tall on the silver screen, and I would be rich and live in a mansion and I would be able to see the tallest building around and know that my talent was taller. Hadn’t enough people stolen from me after all? Wasn’t I being far kinder about it?
Because in L.A. I would be me, for I would have to be, for Mark could not act worth anything, and naturally that’s funny as can be because he was fulfilling all these parts for me, in addition to all the other parts he was ad hoc already fulfilling for former lovers and friends no longer in the picture, but he could not act. On stage he was clumsy and stilted and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth and he looked like Robot Boy from fifties kiddy show TV, and he was a stumblebum walking, speaking, for even a moment, but when he was in “real life,” and when he danced, on stage or off, he was always with clarity and sparkle and joyousness, the kind of joyousness that was in his soul even in the down periods during our time together, for he always believed that those warm brass carriage lamps that lit up the entrances of brownstone townhouses not far from us but miles away from us, would be the carriage lamps that would light us home from his first world premier, but since dancing is not the greatest calling card for movies these days, I knew I could tackle the acting, because I saw the depths in him that he did not, and perhaps that is my great shame, my only shame over all of this. All along, I knew Mark, the real one, was there too, begging to be let out.
When I kissed him, when we embraced, when we held each other on our first cold winter night in our brass bed with the sagging mattress under our quilted blue and red and green covers, when we lay naked on top of each other and our tongues danced, when we were the ocean and sea fitting together so perfectly it seemed we were meant to be the same road after all under the comforting moon seeing us home, when we made love, I saw the depth behind the Daniel Green Eyes.
Seduction 101 and hope they don’t get to Seduction 102 till I get a look at the test, I saw beneath the Julian I am so proper and so world weary and you tire me with your talk of love and faith and charity when you have to be a much stronger man if you mean to hold me longer than you will be allowed, and beneath the Joel love and fun and giggles and arm noogies and seltzer bottles squirted at each other and laughter sweet fragile laughter, I saw vague and distant but somehow distinct still and all, Mark, what he was, the richness of him, the fullness of him, and tonight I think as I put a hand to his flat stomach and massage him gently so as not to wake him, were the others types?, were they little characters inside their tight black lines and never meant to get outside them?, or did I just see them as that?, character actors with no character but gimmicks and prizes and needs that were so longing they virtually hung off of their suddenly very visible souls. Was Mark more than them? Or was I wrong about the whole thing, all along?
If Mark could incorporate them inside himself, as he undoubtedly did so many others for all his life probably, was it because he was more than them in total? Was it because he had actor inside him, the real kind, the empathic kind, who was kind to strangers and small dogs and smiled at little children and made them feel wanted and loved when no one else did? Mark once told me that there was a sentence he had heard on a TV show once that summed me up perfectly. It was that of two young men, an older brother and a younger one who was so lost and frightened and followed his brother around like a puppy: “You’re just a little kid with a great big broken heart.” Mark repeated that to me as we knelt on the bed as we held each other, and I put my face beside his o so warm, and we stayed like that for a time, silent and contemplative, and he was no one other than Mark. Mark who would go to L.A. tomorrow, who might not have known what I was doing all the time we knew each other, who might have intuited it, a secret even to himself, and as I thought these new things, how brave Mark was and how cramped I had made him, all of us who had stuck our dreams in the personas of those who were far less than he was, that we has pushed inside him and he had been gracious enough to let us, and how I was filled suddenly with a rush of love and sadness and need and want. Him. Mark.
I would wait for him. I would stand at the airport tomorrow and I would say goodbye to him. And he would say it’s only seven weeks, it’s enough to find my dream, my golden ring on the merry go round, and I would believe him because this night I hereby give Mark to Mark and he will be the best damned actor there ever was. And me going away after watching the plane rise off, me lonely to my apartment for one. But lonely for a reason and that makes it a whole different kind of animal altogether. Gives it a purpose. A form. Makes it something I can live with.
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