Windows to the Soul
They won’t stop staring, begging me for a new home. I offered her one last week. Tall, nice bone structure. Good skin for someone who had been on the street that long. She wasn’t all red blotches or wrinkles or track marks. Didn’t look like a fresh Volkswagon hit her every morning. Half of those girls look like a fresh Volkswagon hit them every morning. It’s not easy. You try it.
They didn’t show love or approval. No sign of gratitude. It was the best I could do. You can’t expect perfection, especially not with things like this. I looked at the jar pleadingly. I needed some tenderness or some love. A bit of reassurance that what I did was appreciated. Fucking ungrateful whore. Most men would never think of doing what I’ve done. Most men would have cried drank suffered and moved on because that was all they could do. And I never said to hell with this. I never accepted the cards that fate dealt me. Maybe I hit on a 19, but I did not accept those cards.
The bitch I’d brought home struggled in the restraints, not understanding just how much I was offering. To do something about those two little marbles the color of excrement wide with fear and ignorance, showing no sign of comprehending my explanation. Doesn’t know shit about surgery and alchemy. Or love. Doesn’t know shit about love. But she had nice skin, a good shape, nice muscle tone, all things considered.
But Janine looked out of the jar, disappointed and apathetic, sickened by the vessel I’d provided. I’d done so much. I wanted to break that jar. But that’s love. You get angry sometimes. You hate each other a little and you lose sight of the sacrifices and the rufies. And the squirming whores that think they’re good as they can be and don’t know the beauty and potential they’re looking at.
So Janine was right. Not ungrateful. Not a whore. It’s just so hard. It’s so hard not to get angry. It’s hard to be a man in love. You want her to appreciate everything and to be proud and satisfied. And there’s no way to do that. You can’t always be right and perfect and do the right thing. I hate that, though. I shouldn’t be blaming her for it, but I hate that.
Wasteful. I apologized to the whore. She didn’t deserve one. It was her fault for being what she was. But I had to apologize. I’m not meant for things like this. I’m too nice. I closed my eyes as I brought down the knife the first time. The second time I kept them closed, but I was more assertive. The third time I had to look and it was just the worst. Blood everywhere. Belly open. I kept my eyes open and kept going. At this point because it didn’t matter and because I was mad at her and at me and even at Janine, even though she was right.
Under the judgmental gaze of her eyes in the jar, I cried. I do a lot of crying because I can’t help but feel like I can never make this right. There was a surgeon in Belgium that did this with two dogs. And the one dog started to act like the other over time. And the eyes of the dead are transplanted to the living often enough. And I know that she’d have seen what Janine had seen and therefore know what Janine had known and seen what Janine had seen in me. But shame on me, I started to lose hope.
I stopped looking at women that way for awhile. Stopped at looking at the jar the way I looked at it for awhile. And thinking of its contents the way I thought of them and Janine the way I thought of her. Five days I left a stinking whore in a garbage bag in the basement because I didn’t want to go down there. I didn’t want to see her disappointment and to be begged to do it again.
When I saw you at the bar last night, I noticed you cut your hair the way she used to. And that was nice. And I noticed your legs and the way you delicately dangled your shoe at the very edge of your foot the way she did. She was almost always taking her shoes halfway off, like she wanted to step out of them and relax and not have to live with the expectations of being out in public. She could adhere to the rules just barely. And I saw some of that in you.
Used to drive me a little crazy about her. Couldn’t help but feel like maybe she wasn’t right to be a doctor’s wife. She didn’t like the functions and my colleagues and their boring wives. She couldn’t stop whispering at the theater and at the movies. She drove too fast and talked too loud and when I shushed her, I would get that look, like the one I got when I brought back that whore. I always just wanted to help her. I always just wanted to improve her situation. But it’s hard for a man to not be wrong sometimes. I wish that I could take her to the movies and she could ask questions and laugh too loud and talk about what she liked that actor better in. But as she is, it goes without saying that I can’t.
And I saw some of that in you. You knew there was a way to be at that place and you knew you didn’t want to be that way. I don’t know what brought you there, but I felt lucky. I was lucky. And you were lucky too. So I just had to buy you a drink. And you came up and thanked me even though I looked awful and my beard was overgrown and I couldn’t quite make eye contact at first. You see why that is? You can hardly blame me now, can you?
So thank you for accepting that drink. And for talking to me. And for being so nice and so charming and so clearly hiding something crass and dirty and great in you. I can’t thank you enough.I swear I can’t. Can’t even try. And thank you for laughing at my awkward attempts at humor and for not pressing me about what had gotten me down. A man appreciates that. And thank you for taking me back to your room. I didn’t expect that and I needed it, guilty as I might have felt. Can’t resent you for making me join you because it was just so damn kind.
And thank you for your not making me feel self conscious about not looking in your eyes as we made love. Once again, I’m sure you can see why I didn’t. But thank you just the same for not making me feel strange or awkward or ugly or sad or crazy. I appreciate that. I cannot thank you enough, and yet here I am trying, futile as it is, because you deserve it. Just for being you. I like you. But thank you just the same for the moment where our eyes met and I know you could see into me, the sadness, the crazy, the guilt, the loss. And you didn’t look away. It let me see that you weren’t perfect.
I like you. And you’re great. And thank you for being you. But just the same, the plain grey blobs in your lovely freckled face reminded me of what I’d come to you for and that I was not going to squander something perfect. Our time together will not be wasteful. It wasn’t wasteful at first and it won’t be wasteful now. So thank you for those blobs of grey that bore me and undersell the best in you. You should be grateful, but I can see why you wouldn’t be. And really, I can’t blame you for that.
And thank you for making love to me again, even after seeing what you’d seen and knowing that I saw less than perfection in your eyes. They undersell you so. They don’t look as loving as you are, as bright or as kind, you’re so very kind. Thank you for being you and letting me be me. Janine and I had problems with that sometimes. Sometimes things are like that between men and women and thanks for not making it like that this time.
And thank you for sleeping beside me and not judging me when I cried and when I whispered “Janine” in my sleep. That’s when I knew I’d done right. Because with all her flaws, all the things that made me kill her, she’d have done the same. Which is why it was a mistake and I regretted it right away and I saved all I could save, all I’d wanted to save. I saved the perfection and left the rest behind.
A man’s wrong sometimes. I’m not too proud to admit it. I was wrong. But I’m right about you. I like you and I can make this right for the both of you. And I know this because when I look at her eyes as they look at you I see “yes, dammit, yes this is right.” It might not be perfect between us, it might be strange at first and I might call you by your name instead of hers, but you’ve got to agree you’ll look beautiful with green eyes.