Melindra called: they agreed on when to pick him up at the New Congress.
She seemed surprised he was still living there. Full time now, she asked?
The night approached when Bobby told Rosemary he would be gone awhile.
She didn’t ask where or how long. She said she would be at her place.
That might be the last time he saw her. Or so he felt in his wary bones
his life went. Maybe it was all a circle. Like the wheel of life, as some said,
you die and come around again: who knows what you will be, or why . . .
His first love was Cathleen, as Irene was for Floyce Alexander, that hayseed.
Cathleen was somewhere in the world of fashion, her head above the water,
Venice, Rome, Paris, Berlin, London, to and from San Francisco: everywhere.
Irene Castenada was lost to the farmboy with his chalaqui y mejicano claims.
If Floyce was all that, why wasn’t he with her now? He was just like Bobby,
a class traitor, a poor boy who didn’t look after his own, just another stoolie
for secrets deposited in poems or prose and called stories when all they were
were what the people would call lies if they didn’t know they were the truth.
That was where he was, but was he anywhere? He was still in love with Paula.
So what? She’d never live with him again, he was lucky they were friends.
What did Cathleen feel in her heart for him? Was Earlene happy, her son alive
as fully as he hoped? Where was Connie, in whose bed now? What of the lives
he could not name now? Melindra still cared what happened. But did he care?
The night came. The last set over, Christina blew him a kiss. Melindra waited.
When you’re out in the dark and go someplace you feel you don't belong, why
do you weep when you remember, say, Rebecca going backward into the lake,
Katya suddenly appearing between sets in that hotel way out in San Angel?
Why are you sad when you were so happy when it happened and now grieve
as though someone died? When Rebecca did die her weight pulled you down,
you drowned whatever you were, had ever been, would ever be in spite of all
happiness left to surprise you: Paula loved, Katya loved; you were well loved.
(revision:18 September 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander