Big Inca

To: The Boss

From: Bill

Date: August 21

I’ve enrolled in a local history class, to look official. Moved my junk to the new apartment. Which, as you know, isn’t new. Am wondering what to do about the store, which is just sitting there. Now, for the mills. They’re intriguing. Goat-man says they’d make great studios, with those big windows and the light reflected off the water. Thor is envisioning restoration with shops and dining. Ownership seems to have fragmented over the years.

I’m working unpredictable hours. I know you’ll like to hear that. For some reason, the Company demands that I be at the office before dawn. You know how difficult that is for me.

Driving to work, I felt an incredible loneliness. But an exotic antagonism was gone. The thing that forces me to view life from the lovely mountain peak was missing. I was alone in the air.

That afternoon, I drove up to Riverbury, where Wendy, my college lover, was passing through. Around my graduation, you may remember, she dumped me and went on an emotional binge. It was terrible. But I still love her. I think she still loves me. So I went up to meet her.

With our first glance, I was overcome by a terrific emotional rush. I was afraid to touch her, and yet I put my arm around her. Her voice had changed; her hello was mellow as feather down.

She wanted me to respect her. So, in that initial period, we abstained from anything sexual for awhile.

That night, though, we made love as we never had before. She had learned new tricks; she put her legs together at one point in a very pleasing way. Then she remembered my confession about that letter to, well, you know it was a terrible thing to do. Both ways.

I must stop my “sorry” game. I am not sorry.

I reply “perhaps yes” when I mean “yes!”

In bed, who is this stranger beside me? I have never seen her this porcelain before, this transparent, this fragile. I never knew her mind in all its strangeness.

“Why did you get a postal box?” she screamed, accusing me of paranoia in this slum. Or worse.

Often, when we went out to eat, she’d be incredibly slow in ordering. The poor waitresses would have to come back four or five times before she’d even glance at the menu. “Why do you take the part of waitresses when we go out to eat?” she wept. She needs to be more considerate of others. I need to be more considerate of her.

Like “I’m OK, not freaky like you.” Like, she’s the one who wanted me freaky, bearded, drugged out, and wild. Thus I lost her.

We inaugurated a new mattress in my new apartment, the one Valerie had helped me select. My ex- is so tired of moving around the country. I’m just beginning.

The next morning was filled with her tears and then my tears, rivers of regret. “Every time I leave you, it’s death,” she said. “Will I see you again?” What a prison marriage can be, but what misery this separation is! She was bound to leave. In her wake, an evening fog soon drowned the valley. Yes, I promised. I promised I would hide her, if necessary. I told her parents she loved Bruce, and cut my heart in two as I spoke the words.

Farewell, my love. Farewell, Wendy Tyler.


For the full story, click here: BIG INCA


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