Fidel Castro and Betty Boop

Lauren Wallach

It's not that I am anti-social. When Maxwell says that he likes to eat lunch with others, he doesn't like to eat alone, I know he is wholesome and not like me. I love to eat alone, which in my mind makes him the innocent. I know this by how easy the process is. He says: I'll meet you wherever, whenever you get here. He writes back every time. He calls me, and we speak for two hours. He asks me on a date, and another. Oh, but he isn't Hugo. In spirit I wonder, but in action there is no mistake. He's got it, and it makes me cushion a little bit. Makes me softer for him. I kissed him drunk, I kissed him not drunk. I could do it again in every which way.

He isn't Hugo, but then, Hugo doesn't call. Hugo doesn't say: you know you're beautiful, he says, not everyone is that beautiful, and refers to the blonde actress. Hugo doesn't call, but he knows what books are my life, my fortune, my future. Hugo doesn't make a plan, and I may never see him again, except I'm writing him too much, except he is becoming his own, in my book, in my future. I must accept this. I choose to know you this one way. It won't be the way I originally wanted, but it will be another, darker way. Disastrous and hideous. Hurtful and costly. The way I will know you is from a book with no ending, no narrative plot, a book where nothing happens. A cyclical book. Know him in every season. I know you for two weeks in each season, but really that's just three days. The rest of the time you float around, and I know you're there, because you are thinking of me. I either see your eyes, or you write a message: read this book. Or tell me something. I know you are thinking of me. But then it is just a matter of days. Days. And then you are gone. Since it is fall, I will say goodbye. I had you two weeks ago at the peak. When winter comes I'll know what to say. Or you will. I'll know how to wait. Or you will. If one of us misses our cue, and we miss winter, there will be no spring, no summer. It will be a terrible book. We would only read it out of remembering the other's name, from long ago, that summer from back then. But we must write it so we don't know who it is anymore on the page, so that we will recognize and not recognize ourselves. So that we will question ourselves. I think it is only in our questioning that we can get anywhere. Did you want to go somewhere? This was my plan all along. But all I did was lead us to the hotel. I led us to the lounge, to the bar. I led us to the car. You led me to the text. You led me to language. You led me to a mysterious interlude. You did not lead me to the outdoors, or to your bed. You did not lead me to your hands. You led me to your past. You led me to your head.

Well I am thinking and thinking, and there are no more leads. That's what happens when you have nothing more to write. My life is what I make it. And yours? All I have of you is a conglomeration of a few films, some poetry, fiction, some symbolic animals, a country, a few accidental confessions, a few looks too long, a few silences, a hesitation.

I had a fantasy that we went to the Halloween party together. Fidel Castro and Betty Boop, hand in hand. Except I wasn't Betty Boop in the end. And you probably didn't go out anyway. You stayed in. You wrote or masturbated, or did whatever it is you do when you lock yourself inside for so long. You wrote and you wrote. But I wasn't in the pages. And when you masturbated, it was the blonde girl. We weren't who we were going to be.