Stuart's voice sounds like a garbage disposal;
like metal grinding metal.
Razor blades perhaps.
when we were a couple,
Stuart's voice was carbonated lemon juice
a trace of sweetness,
sour in a fun way.
Now his strained vocalizations cut my ears.
I'm glad because I wouldn't want to hear that voice every day.
I'm glad because now I don't want to be with him.
It would have been complicated,
his beautiful wife not going anywhere.
Stuart takes more and more vacations alone.
The more I listen to him,
my fantasies of joining him
in a California beach hotel
are sliced and diced.
Stuart and I keep talking at the same time.
I have questions I want to ask.
Things I want to say.
Stuart prefers those who listen;
listen and listen as he talks and talks
In that no longer charmingly raspy
garbage disposal voice.
I want to hit the off switch.
I want to be heard.
I also want to have sex with him.
But not as much as I did
ten minutes ago.
Stuart is into seeing tribute bands,
now that all our rock stars are dying.
He mentions them being cheaper too.
He can afford $300 concerts,
but will always have lots of money,
because he's not stupid with it.
He raves about the Zeppelin tribute show.
I hope he didn't sing along.
Stairway is already bad enough.
The last time I'd talked to Stuart
-he'd called about 16 months before-
I'd melted when he called me Kiddo
in the same deeply affectionate tone
of decades ago.
He called as he was getting on a plane.
Another vacation on his own
Miami this time I think.
We (mostly he) talked about six minutes.
Stuart is rarely fully available.
Hyper as hell.
Working his next successful business deal
on Saturday mornings
even way back then,
when I'd watch Pee Wee's Playhouse
as he left for work.
He loved that I loved that show.
Maybe because it was the simple, innocent side of me.
A side of me he would have enjoyed seeing
far more often.
as I listen to this man
with the oddly unpleasant voice
I feel his place in my heart
I hope we have many years of conversations ahead
I'd like to see him
But not for that reason...
But yes for that reason.
The practical side of me-
the side I'm seeing more and more often-
lets those illicit fantasies
swirl down the drain.
After we hang up,
I'm more alone than I was before
a storm surge of happy memories
threatens to upend me.
I remind myself of Stuart's voice.
It was really unpleasant, wasn't it?
Really, really unpleasant.