[Originally published May 31, 2013.]
I enjoy reading, travel, and cooking. Years have raced past, everyone of them a wolf circling a kill. One tends to think that it’s a matter of scale, that the years used to move slower at some point, but science would say their pace has always been murderous. Black curtains have closed on so much of what I thought I would have done by now; I’m speaking here obviously of matters love and dating, but also personal progress and things you can’t really hold measure to if you have any kindness in you at all. I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. One time I watched a drunk tailor try to make sense of what he had marked and pinned earlier in the day with a sober eye, and that night when I was watching him from my perch upstairs across the way, his livelihood was nearly destroyed by his own hand, his tearing apart the small shop, in anger and disarray, certain it wasn’t him who chalked and pinned and cut something like this. He was looking at it all, so drunk and confounded, like he couldn’t figure out who would have done it. That’s all of us, I think, looking back at what plans we had, screaming and holding our faces in our hands. And thinking: who in the hell, of even remotely sound mind, would’ve planned and measured it like this? Rollerblading, I wanted to say, is something I actually might get into, mostly for fitness reasons. Anyway, it was around the time of watching the mad tailor that I knew a girl with a pig’s heart; she’d call me, and I’d call her. Nothing between us, just two people in the same neighborhood, and someone I found myself rooting for. I have every reason to believe this girl of fouled heart died at St. Vincent’s before they started tearing it down, because this was maybe fifteen years ago now, and she hasn’t called since then. The heart, or the valves, or whatever it was that they transplanted that came from a pig, seemed like it would take, her doctors were saying. She was living, breathing, walking around on the scene and trying not to smoke or drink, calling me a couple times a week back then because I had stopped drinking around then. But then one day it seemed that suddenly these were now the years when her calls never came. That’s how the girl with the patched together heart of Frankensteined valves and stents came to disappear, to fade out so gradually, like an overcast morning. I am a bit of a beach person, I should mention, in case that’s your idea of a fun summer day. I saw a beggar outside of The Vatican once, a woman so bowed and stooped and hunched, her hand a claw of tanned hide now, permanently cupped and waiting for too little to be given too late. She looked up at me like she was casting a pox or curse and I was amazed, the beauty buried in her face, all the days that must’ve marched over her. We never think of it, do we, the way time marches on, the wreckage of how it has its way with us? It doesn’t care if you were one day a handsome pimp of the Jazz Age or a beautiful whore hunted by landed gentry and its angry wives and hounds. I also enjoy biking and have played softball on my office’s team for two seasons now.