Last night Loss came by for a visit. She came in the backdoor where I had just come from. I had been out looking at stars, waiting for spring, thinking about poetry. I was sitting on my bed watching basketball when she came in, so I said "hi" and she said "hi," and then I said that I hadn't seen her around a whole lot lately and asked her what she had been up to, and she just shrugged and said "you know," and I smiled and said "yeah, I bet I do know."
She came over and climbed onto the bed with me and started our conversation. She started slow. "Remember that baseball game you didn't go to because you were tired? or that time you faked an injury so you wouldn't have to finish that race?" she asked. We laughed. She talked about lots of stuff. Sometimes it was dishes that I hadn't ordered in restaurants, sometimes it was about not putting up a Christmas tree for four years straight. She talked to me about phone calls I'd been too scared to make and all of the great things that could have happened if I had just called. I was starting to get uncomfortable. Then it got intense.
Loss turned me over and started to rub my back. "You're so tense," she said. Then she leaned down so that her breasts pushed against my back and whispered in my ear. She started talking to me about all these friends that I'm not that close to anymore; some that are just gone. She reminded me of the last postcard they'd sent me, sometimes ten years ago, and she reminded me that I had never answered back. She asked to see pictures of my family and forced me to tell her that I didn't have any pictures of them, not one. That got her started on death and its inevitable toll on the living. I'm pretty sure I could hear "I Still Miss Someone" in the background. My head was spinning. After this, she told me about the daughter I had almost had and told me that she was fifteen now, what subjects she liked in school, that she was a swimmer, that she was a daddy's girl. Loss was literally purring at this point.
She turned me over and laid her head on my chest. Her hand was down the front of my pants. She was dreamy, sounding more and more satisfied. She told me about train trips through the Pyrenees and Argentina that I could have taken. Described the house I could have been living in and the friends that would have visited all the time. She rattled off every single time vanity or pride or pigheadedness or the temptation of immediate gratification or bad habit had ruled my decision-making process and she told me exactly what it had cost me each time. Finally, she took my face in her cool soft hands and imitated perfectly a girl I had once loved; a girl who had loved me back but instead married someone else; someone much more suitable, and said "I just wish we had at least two lives to do at once. One doesn't seem fair."
Somewhere I fell asleep to bad dreams. In the morning she was gone. A Tom Waits CD was playing.