© 2010 Paul Hostovsky
I like to watch people fight.
Especially couples. Especially
loving couples. I think it must be
spite. I fought a lot with my first wife,
and my second wife, too. And now
me and my girlfriend whom I love a lot
fight a lot. I think it must be me.
Then I see other couples fight and I feel
better. Do you think that’s perverse?
Do you think I’m a pervert like my
first wife said? I do have a prurient
bent. I sometimes incline towards pure
prurience. Things can really spiral
when I get the itch. Then all I see is skin.
Skin before my eyes, skin under my
nose, skin in the red light district behind
my vanishing hairline. Then all I want to do
is scratch. My first wife and I
fought about that a lot. My second wife
had a prurient bent too, so we saw eye to eye
on that. But we fought about everything else.
Now I see other couples fight and I feel
better about myself. In fact, I feel so good
about myself, I sometimes find myself thinking:
Look at the two of them fighting. He obviously
doesn’t understand her. She ought to be with me.
I understand her. I would take her hand in mine,
lift it above her head in the manner
of prizefighters and referees, pronounce her
understood in the world.
It wasn’t that he wanted to take his life.
He wanted to take his death
into his own hands. There was
a difference, he knew, though he couldn’t
articulate it. More speculative than suicidal,
more curious than depressed,
more interested than not,
he didn’t want to talk to a therapist.
He wanted to talk to Walt Whitman.
He wanted to talk to his best friend from
kindergarten, who’d moved away
on the cusp of first grade, and he never
saw him again. He wanted to climb a tree
and sit up there all alone in the top branches
watching it absorb the carbon dioxide.
He had a bit of the tree in him himself.
He had similar aspirations
and spent much of his time in the branching
ramifications in his head. But because his children
would never be able to live it down, he climbed
down from the tree in the car in the garage
every time, and walked back into his life with a few
leaves and twigs still sticking to his head.
All work is property of Paul Hostovsky.
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