“If they’re open, I’m going to kiss someone,” he muttered, walking up the deserted street, his voice rumbling in his chest like that of Tom Waits. He lit a cigarette, taking steps slowly, and slowly piecing together their first night spent at the cottage, and the rain that had so subtly crept upon them in their drunken stupor.
It was exactly seven. Who knew when the rest of his party would rise…? Didn’t matter though, they’d be asleep for a while, and hopefully the store would be open, and he could grab a coffee and a newspaper. Along the way, up the deserted street in Sauble beach, his eyes flew about, leaping from crow to seagull to robin, from chirp to chirp and caw to caw; he thought, “All fucking birds are early birds!”
He sighed; or let’s just say that he exhaled his cigarette smoke. He smiled, or better to say that his insides woke, and his eyes grew wider, knowing that he hadn’t been walking without a purpose. The store was open.
A couple of old men, sitting on the bench in front, didn’t even notice him, or so it seemed. It seemed that out there, in the deserted town, life hovered by in utter calm; out there, life was the subtlety of the midnight fog. He thought, “This town belongs to early birds!” and he smiled. It had been a while since he had smiled with such sincerity at something so simple. In the city, it would’ve been too early for such nonsense.
Toronto Star, cup of coffee…He stared at the cashier, smiling still, perhaps even smiling a wider smile, proud of himself and the early birds inside him. He cleared his throat a couple of times, but Tom Waits rumbled still in his chest, as he said, “Walking here I told myself, if the store is open, I’m going to kiss someone!” The lady chuckled, but that was it. She wasn’t interested in his story; cloaked in Toronto from head to toe…She wasn’t interested, she asked nothing. It was too early for conversation perhaps. Perhaps, the thought of a kiss from Tom Waits frightened her. Who knows…?
Newspaper under the arm and coffee in hand, he walked to the beach; or better to say, he hovered back, from crow to seagull to robin, from chirp to chirp and caw to caw. He hovered to the alien beach where lingering flashbacks awaited him. The birds knew all too well, and they might’ve told him as he hovered back, but he’d never know.
“They all just want somebody. Everyone has the same thing…”
“Same thing?” she interrupted, “You make it sound like a disease.”
“It is! It is a disease!” he exclaimed. They drank. He let out his usual theatrical laugh and quickly added, “No…Not a disease.”
His fingers were squirming worms looking for more and more words, and his eyes lowered in the search as well. He said, “It’s just, I see the same things in everyone. I see how haunting loneliness is for them. Everyone wants somebody, and in most cases, it doesn’t matter who. They just want somebody, anybody…” He paused. Hunger had tiptoed back again; a sip of wine to his growling gut…He went on to say, “I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Maybe ‘cause it’s all around us. Everyone has it. And I’ve lost myself while thinking about it, and at times, I aint got a clue what to make of it, and I have been judgmental, looking at them and running my fingers briefly across the haunting fabric that is their solitude. Now I think, it must be love…it has to be…”
“Right,” she said, smiling as she brushed back his wavy hair, in disarray from his semi-drunken rant.
“It has to be love, some kind of true love! Or I guess, better yet, it’s wanting love; wanting love beside you. Wanting it! Who doesn’t want it? It’s love, right? But, you look around, and lots of people these days, wobbling here and crawling there, on the edge of busting with love, for their loneliness is damp and heavy with time. They want somebody, anybody! They can love anyone, and most of them will, gliding from one set of eyes to the next, ready to plunge over and over for any flower that may or may not present itself. They have so much love that they really have no choice…”
There’s no doubt that he could’ve gone further and further, the words would’ve come along the way; his rant would’ve grown with his intoxication…Neither his tongue or the wine would’ve let him down. He could’ve gone on and on…It’s unclear what made him stop. He leaned back; or better to say, he sank softly into himself, in the euphoric air of purple pillows and wavy hair.
“Are you okay love?”
“You have the most incredible ears!” he exclaimed.
“Thanks,” she laughed, brushing her own hair back this time.
“Something in your eyes as well,” he whispered. “It’s as if your eyes have hands and fingers…No,” he said firmly, “Thank you sweetheart, for listening…”
“And… I think we’re done with the wine for tonight!” She laughed…She laughed…The word ‘tonight’ echoed back and forth, back and forth…
“She has the most incredible ears, and there is something in her eyes as well…That’s when I knew how much she loved me…how she’d listen,” he whispered, suddenly gasping into the sound of his own voice and the emptiness he was talking to. Empty alien beach of lingering flashbacks; the lake also possessed incredible ears. The sea, our distant home, knows all too well, the trails and tides that we carry, deep down inside; the flows and falls of living life and wanting to be loved.