I've tried to think about my life in terms of black and white, thinking in her kind of way after we've gone and fucked everything up. She wanted me to see things the way she saw them. In absolutes and ultimatums. Tough choices. "Spare yourself. Make it easy on yourself. Please," she always said.
In our hotel room, we drank Olde English all night until we laid on our backs gasping next to the air conditioning unit below the window. It was a hot night. August. We were driving to Los Angeles to get away from things. "Come on, just forget about it," I kept saying. I was laughing but I forgot what it was about.
"How can you be laughing? Just look at you!" She was screaming at me. She got off the floor and tore the lamp out, threw it against the opposite wall. Sparks jumped from the socket and the room went dark. I stopped. She sat on the edge of the bed. I looked at her face as headlights racked aross it through the blinds whenever cars passed by on the street outside. "What the fuck was that all about?"
She moaned as she cried. Wild heaves. Clutched her shoulders and rocked herself back and forth. She breathed like some feral animal trapped in a corner. No matter how many times I've seen her like this, I never knew what to do.
"Oh god," she kept saying. "Oh god."
"I told you that I would. I told you that I'd change for you. Everything about who I thought I was, I'd let it go. It's simple as that. I'll do it." I was just talking. I had no idea what I was saying. I would have no idea what had just happened. What was happening to us.
The simplest thing we can do and believe in is sleep. I honestly believe that.
Jim came over and helped me moved the furniture out of the house. We set everything on the front porch and when we were done, went out to lunch. I didn't care if someone stole them. We went to Denny's and picked up a six pack of beer from Safeway on the way back, lloaded everything into the U-Haul and finished the beers while sitting on the driveway.
Hong's white Honda Accord pulled onto the sidewalk right in front of the U-Haul. She was Jim's wife and the only real family I had. They had always taken care of me.
We went back inside and finished a bottle of Maker's Mark I left underneath the sink and talked about maybe moving to Reno together someday. I dragged the sheets out, the blankets and all the pillows I had left and we slept in the living room. Parts of the carpet were still flat from where the furniture legs had pressed the fibers down.
We woke up early the next day and drank as much water as we could. I duct taped a sign to the lamppost at the corner of the street. "Liquidation sale...Yard/Garage" it said. I wrote it with a Sharpie on a piece of cardboard I use to lay on the kitchen floor in front of the stove as an oil pan. Hong hatched the plan last night; maybe I'd get enough to pay the utility and phone bills from last month after breaking even with the cost of renting the U-Haul.
Jim and I lifted everything out and set them down on the lawn and watched for people. I piled some old records and books on top of the box-spring. Dave Brubeck, Gershwin, Nat King Cole. She took the speakers and amplifier so I had nothing to listen to them on.
A young couple came and took the coffee table. It had a piece of heavy tempered glass that was beveled along the edges on the top and the legs were made of dark mahogany that was worked into an elongated S shape. It use to belong to my grandmother. These kids couldn't hve been more than 19.
"$20," the boy said. The girl looked at him. She was embarassed.
It was an obvious low-ball but I gave it to him. "Sure, it's all yours."
"Yeah. Go ahead. All yours. I don't have any change though."
These are some of the things that I've been doing ever since she woke up and told me she was tired, took all her things and left. I've moved to Henderson, outside of Vegas, and work as a line chef at one of the casino buffets. There's been some strange days and everything is up and down. Or in reverse.
On my day off yesterday, I fell back asleep at around noon and didn't wake up until six. It was overcast and the sky looked the same as it did in the morning. I showered, shaved, got dressed and walked to the bus station. On the way there, I glanced through the window of the house across the street. The curtains were drawn back and the light from their chandelier reached out onto the sidewalk. I thought it was strange that their entire family would be up so early until I saw the woman start to set down plates. They were going to have dinner.
I've been spending more nights on the Strip after work. The Strip is always full of people and when I'm there, I feel more anonymous than I ever was. I don't go into the casinos or night clubs. No bars. I just walk. Up and down. Up and down, from the Luxor to Treasure Island. By the end of the night, it's enough for a few miles.