There was a change of plans. After three blocks, halfway towards Ann’s place, Peter stopped and motioned with his hand for me to do so also. He called Ann on his cell phone. “Hello. Ann, I’m worried. You can re-schedule. It’s getting late. Phillip needs rest. A lot of things happened to him.” He waited, then continued, “He can come tomorrow. I think that’s best. You can have him all to yourself. I won’t be there. Okay?” He nodded and hung up. “She said you can visit her any time tomorrow. Come early if you want.”
I said, “Thanks. That’s going to help.”
“I know from the past what happens. You don’t want a repeat of what that other woman did to you.”
“Are you saying she can be like that?”
“She can get strange.”
“Will she be too hard to handle tomorrow?”
“I doubt it. Most of the time she is stable. When she’s in a mood, it’s usually for one day.”
I nodded. “Thank you, Peter. I apologize for thinking you were a creep.”
“I’m not your friend. I’m not nice. But I’m logical.” He winked.
I walked away and waved. He nodded.
When I returned to Georgette’s house, I made a cup of coffee and took a book from William’s shelf. I did not even look at the title until I went in bed. The point was for me to calm down, adjust my composure and let the words flow like a movie. Books were good that way. They could provide silent entertainment. I opened the book and stared at the first page, getting ready to read but I took my time and eventually the next morning appeared. I must have fallen asleep.
The time was eight o’clock. I somehow felt that if I waited until nine o’clock to go to her house she would think I was late. The weather looked cold from the view so I figured I would get ready, go over there and get it out of the way. I would not worry about waiting for warmer weather. I was mostly a lover of cooler temperatures but when a morning became too cold, that was just as bad as intense heat. I wore brown corduroys with a brown rope belt but knotted at the side and a light beige sweater tucked in and brown shoes and white socks. I tucked in the sweater on purpose, thinking that Ann and I had a psychic connection. She would wear a tucked in top also. If I was correct about the connection, she would be wearing a sweater. That was the metaphysical fiction writer in me. She could possibly wear a loose T-shirt and leggings. There was no rule stating she could not change her style.
I left without eating anything. I did not want any foreign influences on my situation. In other words, if the food did not agree with me, the damage would already be done.
As I walked to her place, the weather was not as cold as I imagined. I could have worn a T-shirt and felt a little bit of a breeze but not much. The view was still overcast in an English church sort of way, if one understood my point. When I knocked on Ann’s door, she answered. She smiled. “Please come in. I’m so glad you made it early.” She was wearing a heavy pull-over sweater jacket tucked in and her sleeves were pushed up. She was also wearing belted blue jeans. I felt suddenly nervous with anticipation, wanting to know what she wore every day of her life and if she ever deviated from that style. I was not going to ask her but I was thinking of it.
She went in the living room and sat on the couch and said, “Please sit down here with me.” She had her hand out, offering to shake my hand. Today, since I was rested and had a preview of that behavior, I was not on my guard. I sat next to her and we shook hands. She shook for a few seconds then stopped the shaking motion but still held on. Her grip was not overly tight like Stacy’s. I could sense I would be able to let go whenever I wanted to do so. I did not want to let go. Today, my body was in tune for the magical connection.
She asked, “Did you eat anything this morning?”
I said, “I purposefully avoided having any food. Sometimes when I eat at the wrong times or in certain places, my stomach isn’t too happy about it.”
“Certain places? What do you mean?”
“Sometimes I’ll go to nice restaurants and eat really nice food but then somehow I need to use the restroom. I think it has something to do with my throat.”
“It could be your throat chakra. If you’ve got any resentments or unresolved issues, your energy can get clogged like a sink. The results can turn physical. You might have some unresolved anger that makes it so you can’t eat at a restaurant without that problem. Do you think that could be it?”
“I know I shouldn’t just blame another person but I noticed immediately my problems were getting worse when I revisited blood family. I don’t think it’s true we need our relatives to help us find who we are. I think humans have evolved so we can get past our stupid ancestors.”
“Hmm. You must have resentment towards your family. I never met them and have no way of knowing if you are telling me the truth but I believe your feelings. Did they do anything traumatic to you? I notice you call them blood relatives. Do you have other relatives who are not by blood?”
“Georgette and William. I was adopted by the Kaufmans. That was my choice and I’m glad I did it.”
“Okay. Do you know the history of your birth family? Could you tell me what you know?”
“My mother is Eliza Goldman. She has a brother Paul and a sister Veronica. Paul has a wife Lily and a daughter Janet. I met all of them. I don’t know who my birth father is. The Goldman’s parents were Ernest and Mimi. I don’t know much about the grandmother’s side of the family but the grandfather’s parents were Isaac and Gretta. Isaac died shortly after Ernest was born so Gretta raised him on her own. She was adamant about not dealing with any gentiles. When Ernest married Mimi, she was Catholic and Gretta refused to have anything to do with them until Mimi converted to the Jewish faith, which she did until Ernest died and then she returned to Catholicism. Shortly after Ernest and Mimi had their first child, Paul, Gretta visited them but she had a strange dual nature. She insisted people wear the most expensive clothes on the market but would only pay thrift store prices for anything. She made sure everyone else’s house was neat and tidy in the extreme but her own place was a mess. She would throw out food from someone else’s fridge exactly at the due date but kept food in her fridge for weeks after things spoiled. She refused to let anyone else wear a wig in her presence but she insisted on wearing wigs whenever she pleased. The family blamed her for why they became neurotic.”
“Did the Goldmans – aside from Gretta – ever put any restraints on you?”
“I only know my mom, Veronica and Paul’s family. They were very lenient, not only on me but on themselves. They let huge piles of trash accumulate everywhere, for one thing. I could be messy at times and I still can be but even I could see something was wrong.”
“Okay. Well, now let me tell you something. That energy, which was so chaotic and frustrating for you, it has gone – let us say – south and my energy is north. My touching you is removing all that other junk away and helping both of us. I notice you dressed up. That is very nice. When you care enough to dress well for yourself, you are able to let the wind blow all the unwanted yuck away. It’s just like expelling air. When your throat or your buttocks feels like a subway car with too many people in it, you release the pressure and feel better. When you read quality books of the imagination and stay away from really negative news stories, your mind feels better. I would like to help you feel better and you can help me do the same.”
“How can I help you?”
“Tell me about your philosophy. I would think you have ideas about how to live a good life.”
“I don’t know if this could be considered a philosophy but I believe that people who are good looking on the outside are inherently good looking on the inside and it was probably someone not good looking who screwed them up. There are many different perceptions of life and it is not up to one person to decide who is right and who is wrong. When a person tries to screw up your life view or get in your way, that person is an energy blocker. It could be as simple as you go to the cafe because you want to be waited on by a certain cashier who will smile at you and make your day happy but a friend approaches and says you should go to a cheaper cafe. The friend is only concerned about money and not the happiness you’ll get from a cashier’s smile. Plus, since you might not want to admit why you went to the cafe, your friend will not know what you wanted. So, in a sense, people are inhibiting themselves and not exploring what they want.”
She nodded. “I agree but I have another opinion that I would like to share regarding that. I feel people are not exposed to enough things so they only have a limited sense of what they want. If a man grew up his whole life eating meat as his source of protein and he suddenly one day gets a chance to eat peanut butter and he likes the idea of eating peanut butter more, he’s made that much of a choice but maybe he hasn’t tasted almond butter so he doesn’t know if he’d like that more than peanut butter.”
“I see what you mean. But I’ll add something else. I am intrigued with the idea of eating insects. They are apparently a good source of nutrition and the people who eat them like them but there are people who get weirded out at the idea of eating bugs. In a sense, a lobster is like a bug. So maybe other insects taste a little bit like lobster.”
“When I get to talking about food, I get aesthetically hungry. I love hearing about restaurants and recipes and exotic foods. Do you have any favorite recipes? I’d love to hear about them.”
“I’ll give you a few of the recipes I made for the Goldmans. In the morning, instead of microwaving an egg until it got hard-boiled, I’d use their stove and make scrambled eggs and add grated cheese and chopped onions and clams and some pieces of lemon and garlic and ginger and white pepper. I would use just a little bit of salt because there’s enough salt in the cheese. In the early afternoon, I’d make macaroni and cheese and add mushrooms and put on oregano, marjoram, tarragon and savory and a hint of mustard. It came out really well. For dinner, I would debone chicken drumsticks and put them in a pan with kidney beans and pieces of sourdough French bread and add some salt, cayenne pepper, ketchup, tomatoes and black pepper. It came out really well. You can cook with bread and it tastes really good.”
“What about music? Who are your favorite artists?”
“I like different individuals in a lot of different musical styles. I am not a big fan of reggae because I just don’t care for the instrumentation. A lot of it sounds rigid to me like it needs to be that way and not change. The exception is Toots and the Maytals and I like some of Jimmy Cliff. But I’m not so interested in music that seems stifled. A lot of Bach and Beethoven sound rigid also. I like Brahms. I like Dmitri Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Schoenberg. A lot of modern day avant garde classical music. I like the more free form way of expression. I can close my eyes, turn off the part of me that judges and just listen. I’ll get hungry for more avant garde classical music and look into a lot of different composers, realizing I can’t hear everything and it’s hard to hear all the works by one composer. I’m like that with good avant garde jazz too. Anthony Braxton is one of my favorites. I also like some of Miles Davis’ avant garde jazz but I don’t like everything. I like folk groups like Pentangle and The Incredible String Band and I like modern day female country singers. Something about their music makes me think of waking up and smelling the fresh air and having a good egg, ham, potatoes and orange juice breakfast and then seeing my cutie wife in her tucked in plaid shirt with rolled up sleeves and belted jeans, while living in a nice small town where everyone is friendly and nobody bothers anybody. I like rock, mostly the older stuff from the sixties and seventies, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Ten Years After, Iron Butterfly, groups that were psychedelic or bluesy hard rock. So, that about covers it. How about you?”
“I’d say I agree with you one hundred percent on the type of music I like but I’d say the way you feel about country music is like how I feel about jazz, living in my penthouse apartment, looking at the view of the city at night, having a master chef make my meals, a bartender to mix my drinks and a bunch of celebrity artist friends to mingle with. I could go to a fancy show, ride up in a limousine with a big-name movie director. When I listen to jazz, I imagine myself in that type of situation. I make my own mind movies.”
“I do, too. Now, since we’re touching, I feel comfortable talking about something if that’s okay.”
“It has to do with my fetish for tucked in shirts.”
“Go for it.”
“I’ll imagine what a woman will look like when she wears a shirt tucked in. I mean, if she dressed already. I’ll think about a woman who only wears loose shirts and I’ll feel she’s someone with the potential to be sexy but perhaps no one told her she could tuck in her shirt and look really better. Sometimes when I’m in the store or the library or wherever and the person behind the counter is wearing a college sweatshirt with pushed up sleeves, I’ll think to myself it would be awesome if the sweatshirt was tucked in. Ninety eight out of one hundred times it won’t be but just that one or two times when it is, that just makes me look in amazement.”
“Do you have any other fetishes?”
“Long hand holds turn me on like when I see women with children and the woman has her sleeves pushed up and she’s holding the child’s hand and the child wants to wander off but the woman grips tight and the child cannot run off. When the woman holds on a long time and walks with the child, I have nervous anticipation wondering how long will she hold on? That’s how I’ve had inspiration for some of my stories. I observe how people dress and how people touch. I think more authors should explore the realm of physical and visual possibility in their work.”
“That’s neat. Is that why you write about that stuff, because you’re turned on by them?”
“I listened to what Tennessee Williams said when he claimed that he could not write about a character if he was not sexually aroused by that character. I won’t go that far but I find it easier to write stories if the energy in me is based somehow on feelings of arousal.”
“So, can you write without needing that?”
“I have different intents with each type of thing I write. Some stuff I need to feel the hand touch of a woman before I can write it. Other stuff I can write about the hand touch of a woman without needing to feel it. Sometimes I have opinions about the world and I want to share those opinions with friends. Sometimes I feel troubled about something so I’ll write about it with hopes of having some sort of resolution. Sometimes I need to hear nature sounds to get the writing done. Sometimes I need quiet. Sometimes I turn on my fan. Sometimes I turn on the heat. It’s all different. But the one thing they have in common is the desire to create, as opposed to not doing anything.”
“Same here. Do books influence you?”
“They used to do so more outwardly and now they influence me in ways that are more subtle. I used to read books and think that some of what I read was great and I wanted to mimic it but then other times I was annoyed at the writer for not utilisizing what could have obviously been a good aspect of the story so I would write a story with the sense of utilizing those things. Is that what you do? You’re the published author. I’d like to hear about you now.”
“I went through certain stages with my creativity. I wrote some stuff with the idea I wanted to get it out of the way so I wouldn’t have to write that kind of stuff ever again. I threw out all of it because the point was that I was writing away my toxins so I could come clean. I also wrote a lot of stuff that I guess I needed to write because it would do some good in the world, even if it did not make me feel good while writing it. It was like my sense of positive Kierkegaardian aesthetic, the good pain. I still have some of that stuff and it flows a lot better when I read it now than when I first wrote it. Then, I wrote stories that were meant to be like snapshots of normal moments taken out of context of the bigger picture. For instance, a building gets bulldozed but one wall stays untouched and good looking so the picture is taken of the good wall with just a hint of the rubble just inches away. The stories were about normal things, like a family dinner where everybody has a pleasant conversation but there’s just the barest hint that a devastating tragedy took place and the conversation is a way of masking the sadness, but I had to write those stories in a way so once the reader knew the context of everything, the story would seem like a different story upon second reading. Finally, I got to the point where I am now when I purposefully discover new realms of thought and life, presenting both my art and my reality together. That’s why I feel comfortable continually holding your hand. I don’t think of my life as just a boring otherness to the writing. I realize that writing is just as much a part of being as living. I sensed that you’re looking for the same thing.”
“I had not thought about it quite as strongly as you described but yes I am. I’m looking for a way upward. Even if that means eating at a diner instead of a fast food restaurant or riding in a Trans Am instead of public transportation, I want to know what its like to live in a realm of betterness, not only because of what I’ve already experienced but because I think life itself is about striving for better things. Not better as according to a survey in a magazine but better according to me. I want to have the feeling of tangible betterness. I’d love to be able to make a movie starring my fetishes and desires. Would you be willing to make that movie with me? If not with a real camera then in our minds?”
“I would be very willing to do that with you.”