I work hard from time to time, trying to believe there’s a God or even gods, as there seems to be several. So far, I’ve been unable to do it. I test the concept of this omnipotent something, spirit or… I don’t know what. “Have faith,” they say. “Nonsense” I say. At the same time, there is a large collection of physical evidence that evolution, not god, is the reason for everything.
I think about the mosquito, tiny, annoying, and potentially lethal. When god said Let There Be this and that, were a pair of mosquitoes included in the creation? After all, a mosquito is a very complex creature. It flies, it seeks flesh which it penetrates with a miniscule tube. It takes in the victim’s blood and takes off with it to lay eggs by the thousand. It is only the pregnant female that stings, because it needs blood to procreate.
I think to myself, that’s a hell of a system god designed there. What made him even think of that? And why? What overall function can that have in the balance of the fishes and the creatures of earth? Besides the suction tube, wings, and the body that can balloon full of blood, the mosquito has several legs. Each leg has several knee-like joints. These are tiny appendages – did god design them, or did they simply ‘become’ when god said, “Let there be…”?
The mosquito has equipment to help its species continue. Did god assign the ideal physical characteristics? It’s much more likely that over the span of time from the big bang up to now, that chemicals and conditions of every possible kind, melded and mixed in heat and cold, created all things on earth, including the mosquito’s knees.
I first noticed my second wife because of her walk. I was a writer in an ad agency, and she was a temporary secretary to cover someone’s vacation absence. I’d sometimes be able to watch her walking down the long corridors in the office layout. From the rear, she looked wonderful. She was petite, about 5’2″ and 105 pounds.
There was as rhythmic sway to her walk that exuded sexuality. She swayed, but there was also an endearing little irregularity, in that she didn’t go in a straight line, but staggered slightly, side to side. It was cute. I spoke to her a bit at the coffee machine. She’d been born in Israel while her parents were making their way from Poland to Canada. Her older sister was born in Poland, and her younger sister was born in Canada.
Naomi had a shapely dancer’s body, and the sweet face like an Asian doll. I felt she liked me, and one day I did a reckless and illegal thing. She was walking down a corridor, carrying a tray of buns and coffee for some executives in a meeting room. I came up behind her and reached around to cup her breasts. I expected her to accept it, and she did. She laughed and admonished me gently that she could drop the tray. I went back to my office.
Later in the week, she came to my office during a break. We made a date. I eventually left my first wife and took up with Naomi. I got the punishment I deserved. Soon after I let her move into my apartment, she left the office temp job and became a stripper. She was very good at it, and she made a lot of money for working just an hour a day. She performed four 15 minute dances per day at about $100 each – plus tips, stuffed into her G-string.
Anyway, years later I realize she’s a sociopath, and doesn’t feel anything about anybody. I remember that early in our relationship, she told me she didn’t know what love is. I should have paid attention. She doesn’t know what any emotion is, because she’s never felt them. She was a beautiful, wonderful lover, and a disgusting, amoral person. Good luck to her.
I took the Szentendre train twice each week. Early Monday mornings I stood at the station near my home and waited for the train to take me into Budapest, where I was an assistant professor of anatomy at Semmelweis University. Friday evenings I caught a train back to Szentendre. Between the two short train rides, my life was bland, grey, boring, and repetitive. In Szentendre I did my grocery shopping in the open market and prepared my meals for the week in the city. I was able to rent a cheaper flat in the city if I didn’t need cooking facilities. In Budapest I spent most of my time in my flat, and the rest of my time with my students.
Last autumn I began to wonder about my life. I had been on vacation for the summer, and the return to the routine of city life and work was objectionable to me. Weekends at home were no better. Lonely days and nights, some so lonely I just sat around my house and cried for hours. It took all my will to go to the train station in Szentendre that first Monday morning in September. The usual scattering of people was there, waiting for the train to Budapest. I kept my eyes down as always. I was not in the mood for idle small talk. My spirit was in turmoil. I wanted to be left alone, to avoid social contact. At the same time, I wanted love, affection, attention, and sex.
My husband… my former husband… was a dentist. He had run off with his office assistant three years before. I didn’t see it coming, and it put me into a deep depression. I wasn’t interested in anything, and I simply buried myself in my work. It had not always been so, but I was thirty-nine years old, living alone and longing for love. I would have settled for any old fool of a lover, just to be touched by a warm, tender hand again. I was grey. My hair, my complexion, and my spirit were all grey. I was a colourless lump of average looking, depressed, slightly overweight middle-aged female meat, and I felt like shit.
The first week back at work was the usual mess of misunderstandings and scheduling conflicts and what have you. In spite of the lonely, empty house in Szentendre, I was looking forward to getting home to my garden and my sculpture studio. I like to make pottery or sculpt animals and human figures in clay. It’s just a hobby, but it was satisfying in a way, and helped to pass lonely hours. I worked in my garden during Saturday and Sunday mornings and in my studio on weekend afternoons and evenings.
The first Friday night of the new semester, I boarded a later than usual train to Szentendre, because the hectic first week of school left me with some extra duties. Evening was settling in when I took my seat. The coach was empty except for a young man seated across the aisle from me. He looked at me and smiled with a slight tilt of his head. I averted my eyes and stared out the window at the passing scene that was fading in the descending evening light.
I had never seen the young man before, and I wondered for a moment why he had smiled at me. I was one of the first passengers to leave the train. I hurried across the platform toward home, and didn’t see him disembark behind me. When I arrived at home, I made a small supper for myself and did a bit of housework before I went to sleep. Saturday morning, I busied myself with my garden and my studio. The weekend passed with the usual boring loneliness, and by Monday morning I was ready to return to the University. At least I had some human interaction at my job, even though it was only with the students in my anatomy classes or some professors in the lounge.
As usual, I kept to myself on the platform, waiting for the commuter train to take me into the city. Most of the scattered people were reading newspapers or talking quietly to each other. I tilted my face up to the rising sun, closed my eyes, and let the warmth soothe me. I heard the train coming, and I felt the people around me moving about in preparation for its arrival. Someone stood next to me, almost brushing the sleeve of my coat, but I did not acknowledge it.
The breeze from the moving train touched me, and I opened my eyes to climb aboard. I took a seat and looked up to see the same young man I had seen on the Friday evening ride home. He again smiled and nodded at me. I half-smiled in return, took some papers from my briefcase, and pretended to read them. I didn’t understand why the young man noticed me, and I dared not look at him long enough to see if I knew him. I doubted he was a student in one of my classes because I know each of them quite well. I had the impression from my quick glances that he was tall, broadly built, and with a good-looking square face. He had a high forehead under thick, blond hair that he wore tied low down on the back of his head in a long ponytail.
The train rolled into the Budapest station. I did not hurry to leave my seat because I hoped to see the young man from a different angle, when he couldn’t see me staring. I pretended to be searching in my bag for something when he got up and went to the door. His legs were long and his ass was absolutely beautiful. The muscles in his thighs were tight in his jeans, stretching the denim. I could see on the back of his red windbreaker the symbol of the University of Fine Arts in downtown Budapest. He left the train and turned right toward the exit that leads to downtown transportation. I turned right toward Semmelweis University. Before I left the station I stopped and looked back, hoping to see the red jacket in the flowing crowd. I was stunned to see him standing in the middle of the people rushing this way and that all around him while he looked back at me. Flushed with embarrassment, I turned quickly and rushed up the stairs with the crowd and out onto the street above.
The week dragged so slowly, I was insane with impatience for the Friday evening train to Szentendre, so I could see the young man again. By Wednesday afternoon I was beside myself. One of my students even asked if I was feeling well. I hadn’t realised that it showed. I was building up a volcano of curiosity, a lava flow of desire, a fantasy of romance that was ridiculous and I knew it. My mind was filled with visions of myself in my studio, the young man naked on a platform while I drew him and sculpted him and painted him. I saw myself walking around and around him, casually viewing his legs, his ass his arms and chest and finally, his cock, hanging like salami over his plump balls.
Suddenly, in the middle of my final Wednesday class, I had a thought: maybe he didn’t take the train back and forth only on Fridays and Mondays. Maybe he took the train back and forth every day. It’s only a half-hour each way. I spent my weeknights in the city because the University provided a living allowance that almost covered it, and the house was just too lonely to live in alone all the time. At least I could occasionally enjoy a good restaurant meal, or a concert, or just walk anonymously among the strangers in the square.
The final class ended, and I impulsively rushed to the train station and got there just in time to see the train boarding. I looked everywhere for the red jacket, but could not find it. I decided to board the train anyway, and go home for the evening. Maybe the young man had taken an earlier train on Wednesday. Maybe he would be on the Szentendre platform in the morning – with me also there… on the platform. I went up and down through every car on the ride home. I tried to pretend I wasn’t looking for anyone, in case I saw him. It was ridiculous of course, because what other reason could there be for a foolish old woman to be wandering up and down a whole train, if not looking for someone?
He was not there. I walked home on the dusty road, unlocked the front gate and carefully locked it behind me before I went up the stairs to the door and let myself into the house. I felt like a real idiot, going on like this about nothing. I was obviously emotionally screwed up, or I wouldn’t feel weak as a kitten just thinking about…who? Thinking about this stranger who is young enough to be my child. I had to do something to keep busy or I’d go crazy, so I got a bunch of vegetables out of the refrigerator and cut a slab of beef into cubes and made a pot of gulas.
I knew a woman that did anything that a ‘gentleman caller’ liked to do. This was not a young, pretty woman with a nice body. This was a woman around fifty years old, with a puckered, homely face and a pear-shaped body. An outdoors man was dating her. I don’t know why, except that she was sexually available and she was a research nurse working on the HIV epidemic. Perhaps, because of that, he felt that she was a person safe for coitus.
Despite the fact that this woman was the complete opposite of an outdoors person, she went along with whatever he suggested. She preferred to sit in dimly lit rooms, reading by a single lamp. She rarely left the heart of the city. However, when this man suggested a day in the country, she accepted and was off for an outdoorsy weekend.
When parked by a river in a secluded spot, he urged her to join him in an impromptu ‘skinny dip’ in the river. Her natural habitat was a dimly lit room with one light by which to read romance novels. She has the poor judgment to pretend she also likes what the man likes, wallowing naked in the outdoors, her pendulous breasts bobbin on the surface. I don’t know how the scene unfolded, but it set my mind to thinking about what might the future hold for that woman.
In the unlikely circumstance that the man wanted to share his life with this false front of a woman, how would she handle it? She would be asked to go wilderness camping, canoeing and portaging and maybe sometimes shooting the rapids. Gathering firewood so food could be cooked and coffee made. All of this is totally wrong for this woman. On the other hand, if she had been real, the man would have had dinner with her, seen that they were incompatible, and a pleasant evening is all it would have been.
If that woman would be real, she might be browsing in a bookstore, or attending a gallery vernissage, and meet a completely suitable companion. They could discuss some books, or comment on artworks. Perhaps, some day, they would co-habit, and enjoy quiet evenings in a dimly lit room, with two small reading lamps and recordings of chamber music playing softly in the low light. At bed time, they would enjoy sex.
When we consider the sliver of time during which humans have lived, and the even more insignificant time given to each individual, we mean nothing. It’s true that we have pretty much ruined this planet, and that’s about the only thing that’s significant about our tenure.
This recent photo of exciting events in the universe prove that we mean nothing. It’s a toss up as to whether or not we will continue to evolve and somehow become good, or we will wipe ourselves out with filth or fighting. So don’t worry, you’re as important as a billionaire because a billionaire is no more important than are you. Just imagine Taylor Swift wiping her behind. See? Everyone’s the same, in the end.
When she was sixteen, Elanna Goulding had a face and a figure that could take your breath away. She was the most beautiful woman any man ever knew, personally. She needed no cosmetics, no figure enhancing garments or undergarments to be a stunning beauty. She was also from a wealthy family. In spite of these advantages, young men that sought her and dated her did not do so for any great length of time. It seemed incongruous.
When she finally married, in her early twenties, it was to a wealthy associate of her father’s who was ten years older than she was. He used her as arm candy and treated her very badly in private. However, they did have a son and a daughter together, although the children’s contact with their father was sparse and burdensome. Elana left him after a decade of unhappiness, and went looking for love.
Elana’s social life soon blossomed again, and again, no romantic connection melded into a meaningful relationship. A stunning woman with money and taste, yet no man sought to make her his own. Elana began to peruse the “Lonley Hearts” columns in magazines and on line, and dated several gentlemen that ceased to call after two or three dates. Elana subscribed to a dating site and spent evenings reviewing men’s ads. Again, she dated several, and each failed to follow up after a few dates.
Imagine you receive a gorgeous package in a box from Tiffany’s. Gently, you unwrap it because it is from the most famous jewelry store, and is probably a gift of diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Almost salivating at the anticipation of beauty and value, you finally reach the contents. Within this incredibly beautiful package, you find a cellophane bag that contains a plastic spoon, a plastic knife and a plastic fork. These boring items are the same utensils you get free, in any fast food outlet. That is how one of Elana’s dates described her.
Three of the men that dated her agreed that after you get past the stunning beauty, there is nothing there. Showing photos of Elana and her family from the Internet, he pointed out that each person is absolutely gorgeous. He also pointed out that none of them are ever doing something. They are posing. That’s all, in every photo, they are posing. There is nothing to these people but looks. Elana, in her seventies shows a gorgeous face. Eye wrinkles are hidden with tinted glasses. Neck flab is hidden with a fabulous, expensive Hermes’s silk scarf. Large, loose, black garments disguise the bloated body.
In the end, she went off with a large, handsome black man. His job was to pretend that he loved her deeply, as she believed she loved him deeply. The façade of love was actually a ‘deal’, and the man was actually a gigolo. Elana convinced herself that it was real. She was not intelligent enough to perceive the false emptiness of her life, even when her paid lover went off and married his true love, a black girl from the neighbourhood.
Elana lives alone in her splendid high-rise apartment, furnished with the best of everything. Every wall and cupboard door is mirrored. Any way she turns, Elana sees herself looking back. She never learned that there is more to life than looks because looks are only skin-deep. A plain looking woman with a bright personality and an intelligent outlook is easy to love, because the most attractive part of a woman is her brain.
My wife pointed out to me that I don’t have any friends that are not strange in some way. It causes me to look at myself, because if I like them even though they’re nuts, maybe they like me because I’m nuts. I know I’m not typical nor do I live an average kind of life, but I think I have the “nuts” part of myself under control and properly directed. I’m much too productive to be totally nuts.
First, there was Harold. It’s difficult to know just what’s wrong with him, but if one watches for it, one can tell that he’s on a rusty track. He is often out of work, because no sooner does he acquire a job, than he starts telling the boss that his business is doing everything wrong, and he, Harold, can straighten it all out. Although Harold is very intelligent, he just can’t inter-act with anyone, including women. When he’s out of work, it’s because of the interference of others. The Asians are to blame. It’s the blacks. It’s the Italian immigrants, or the Estonians. It’s because of them.
When he was a boy, Harold could not abide anyone having a preference other than the one he prefers. I remember a time when Michael from down the street was wearing a Detroit Red Wings shirt. Harold freaked out. We had all been friends for years, grown up together, but Harold said he was through with Michael. It was obvious that the Toronto Maple Leafs was the team to adore, and Michael’s preference for the Red Wings deemed him unworthy of Harold’s friendship.
The crises over the hockey teams passed, and several years more passed. We were all into sports cars and sports car racing, and most of us participated. On the fringes of our group was a girl, a woman, really. She was a bit older than we were, and she had a 12 year old daughter. She liked race car drivers, and slept with some of them sometimes. Eventually, Michael, who was about 10 years younger than the woman – I think her name was Christie – announced that he was going to marry Christie and adopt her child. Harold freaked out again, and that was it for Michael forever as far as Harold was concerned. Poor Christie came to me and asked if I would attend the wedding, and I told her I would, of course.
Harold was very good looking, and was a wonderful storyteller. Women were attracted to him, but he did not respond. He was not gay, he just could not deal with an emotional situation. He liked sex, and he liked prostitutes. Good sex (he thought) and no involvement. It takes all kinds, and my kind of friends are kind of nuts.
I will write about another crazy friend, and another, and another, sometime soon.