There was a girl. Of course there were before girls and after girls, but mostly there was a girl and then there wasn't a girl. At least that's how I demarcate, where I draw the lines. Where I drew the lines. And when I'm weak, feeling sorry, I'll say where life drew the lines.
The girl and I spent six months intensely entwined. Then no more. Then I was packed and driving, stopping in Texas only because, Why not? Distance the only prerequisite. I'd spotted her six years before she became the girl - yes, I knew, who doesn't know - but we'd only had the one night: music and drink, moonlight and pier, a borrowed blanket; water ripples I occasionally hear. We also had an unhappy after: letters and phone calls, her on a plane. Her back on the plane, two days early. Tears. Fucking sobbing. Locked doors now where before windows.
This morning I was thinking about the girl over coffee. Over writing. She's there, often, for a bit. Then I get down to business. Some days, anyways. This morning I realized John* and I had also spent six months entwined. Every morning waking to John. Talking to John. Coffee with John at my square solid wooden desk (the same desk Alan Mudd turned into a table to stack his liquor bottles on) and then hours at the computer - where today? anywhere is good, John, anywhere - and then late morning walks and trolley rides and some days coffee at Espuma with the poet: How's John, he'd ask, the poet knowing as is John as is me.
I failed at John as I failed at the girl. It should be admitted, it is true. He remains, like her, as placeholder now. When I am desperate for a certain feeling I will break him out, like I do with the girl. I told her once, the last time I visited her, when I write of love I write of you. What I didn't tell her is that I rarely write of love. And when I do, I flail at it, fail at it. Feeling like I don't know a damn thing about it. So I write of loss, that's what I understand. Of course, that too is of her. But now it is also of John.
Now, some good news: after the girl, after the reconciliation attempts and after trying many approximate girls, eventually, came a second girl. The second girl got me to unlock some of those doors. And now, after several John reconciliations and approximations, comes after John. It's become time to tell someone else's story. Time to entwine again. I have a shape of things and an insistence. That's about it for now. But the insistence is strong. Which is why it's insistence. And I like the shape. I know the shape. Or it knows me. For now let's call it some combination of these four words: low city high rise.
* John is reference to John Duff, a fictional character from an unfinished novel.