By Human Head © 2006
Her ass, wrapped in those lizard or snake or whatever-was-fashionable-at-the-time pants looked like something I would only ever see in my dreams. When my gazed moved north and caught a glimpse of her eyes, they held me like never before or after. Life got fuzzy around the edges and I knew.
I want her to love me.
Things began well for us. I had a hundred dollars and she had a promise. I had seen her with other men, also other women. She whispered promises to them and then left shortly afterwards. Some never came back and some wouldn't stop coming. During our initial time together she sat in my lap, normally a faux pas at the tables, but no one else could see. It was my secret, having her there, and no one noticed until all of the chips sat in front of me. They finally saw, even if it was too late.
It felt like she loved me.
A person with self-esteem as fragile as mine often questions the reality of things. Everything is easy when nothing stinks, enough money is in various accounts, and cartoon bluebirds flutter to and fro in the background, but sooner or later Mr. Yin makes a call to Mr. Yang and the balance sheets are once again set in order. Three discs slipped out of place, turning and swelling, causing the doctor to wince and inquire about my mobility. An all day sojourn at the hospital and an allergy to the pain pills brought a gushing and smelly reminder all over the bathroom that the bluebirds had to sleep sometime. She cleaned without complaint, even stopping halfway through to check and make sure that my mess-making hadn't been too taxing. She did not run away screaming.
I think she loves me.
We saw each other every day, often spending hours together on a playground covered in felt. She left my lap a few times, but it was never troubling. Brimming with confidence during her absence, I heard the old man shout, "I need some luck here!" His perfect conditions came to pass, a large and disparate pile of composite clay moved in the wrong direction, and the corner of my eye saw her rubbing his leg. She swore she would be back in a second. Ignore the sting and hope she wasn’t lying.
Why doesn't she love me?
I couldn't bring myself to check the Inbox, the mailbox, or any other box. The last day of the month came forward at a steady pace. It was hungry and relentless and our account could give no more. With a glassy look that said tears were on the way, she asked what we were going to do. This was not how it was supposed to be. Like so many times before, looking inward revealed no solution, and neither did looking out. The bluebirds just sat and watched, not making a move for fear of stepping wrong, and tension replaced the breeziness that had been at our backs for so long. She cried, but she put her hand on mine and said we would keep searching together.
She must really love me.
No one knew where she was, leaving me with the perplexed look and feel experienced by so many others in her wake. It didn't make sense, her leaving. We had such a great run together. We turned my hundred into many thousands and there were visions of a lifetime together, her history and her few indiscretions concerning our relationship be damned. My face flushed every time I heard another speaking of her in intimate terms. "She visited me last night, I'm up over a grand and I plan on seeing her again tonight!" Always the dynamo, she had and still has the whole world hot and bothered. The only option left was to stare at my dwindling stack, my dwindling roll, my dwindling everything.
I need her to love me. The only guarantee she gives is a distracted maybe. If she does, I know it will only be temporary.
Telling her would be hard. Self-esteem likes to retreat in times like these, at the prospect of the slightest harm. There was the urge to shit, but barely. The urge to fart was enormous. They call it a Shart, and it wasn't supposed to happen like that, but it did. In the aftermath, the bluebirds took a sick day. Garments were cleaned, and she was none the wiser. In spite of this, she must be told. There must be no secrets between us, not even the wet or smelly. Face her and find out what you must know. The tale is told and she is quiet, as if considering the very real option to run away in a fit of revulsion. She laughs and it is not derisive.
She loves me. I am sure of it.
Two women love me. One loves sometimes and the other loves every time. Mr. Yin and Mr. Yang are happy. It is fortunate that things are not the other way around, and I am happy.
Human Head is a writer and poker player from Wichita, Kansas.