Thursday, July 03, 2008

Other People's Dreams III

The second thing I've got to go on record about is that in the moment I stood on his rented porch, sipping too-sweet sweet tea, wondering if we were going to go tour the faux Coliseum, I realized that I didn't really like Steve. I'd known him since freshman year of college. We'd roomed together for a semester somewhere in there. At different points I think we even dated some of the same girls and it never came between whatever friendship we had. But now we stood there as near-middle age men, studying one-another's face and graying hair with sidelong glances--because as a man you really can't look at another man--and I realized that Steve was a loser.

He had already burned through two marriages at the age of 36. I don't know how. None of the typical relationship-undermining factors were present in his life. He didn't drink, do drugs, go to whores, cheat with young girls or have a temper that led to violence. He always held down a decent job.

But something about him proved intolerable to women. And that made me wonder if he had something wrong with him. Something deep-seated and irredeemable.

I sipped my tea again. Steve said, "So when did she leave?"

"Two weeks ago."

"Gone for good?"

"She took the cat," I said.

"Sorry dude."

I wanted a cigarette.

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