It took all of three months to finally come to terms with the ceaseless needling prick in the back of my brain. It would poke obnoxiously at my better judgement whenever she spoke and I always seemed to be on the verge of hearing something that I wasn’t hearing. For the longest time I ignored the intuition, chalked it up to a pitiful and desperate attempt to escape from happiness. My psyche was a charlatan, dressing up as a relationship sleuth and beating the pavement for any clues that would reveal her as unfit or annoying. My thoughts on the matter seemed to have no substance or validity so I chose not to have them. The un-thought facts never formed any sort of rational hypothesis so there was never a reason to fret. Any time I seemed even remotely close to some kind of answer to why my mind was so troubled, a flit of her hair or wink in my general direction would rail me, sending me spiraling back to the dopey, boyish, love-struck fool that I can sometimes be.
When the pieces finally did come together, it was less relief than an overwhelming feeling of stupidity for not catching it sooner. It happened in bed after a romp and a doze. I was awakened in the middle of night by a warm exhalation of air circulating in smooth, concentric circles around my inner ear. I fought the consciousness for a moment before succombing to its sweetness. That rare first moment of realization upon waking that you are holding such a beautiful woman in your arms is too much ecstasy to sleep through. Lying there so perfectly sound and gorgeous in the most peaceful state a person can attain; it almost seems feasible that you could fall in love and forget everything you ever thought you knew about self. It would take some kind of unfeeling monster to ignore that silky charm found in the form of Woman. My eyes slit open on these thoughts and I imagined the beginning traces of a smile just at the top of my midnight To Do List.
She was out. Her mouth was open a bit and seemed to be expelling some kind of unintelligible, sexy noise from her lips, “Ahh, ahh.” Ahh? I was fully awake now and listening very closely.
“What ahh?” I asked her as I pushed back her hair from her eyes. “What’s ahh, Celia?” I hoped to persuade her deep unconscious to the surface. I must admit, I wanted to play with her dreaming brain.
“It’s your qua, dear. I’m afraid it’s … all out of whack with your aura.” What? I blinked and she was sleeping again.
My qua? I reached down and touched my nakedness. But no, she couldn’t have meant that. There certainly wasn’t anything out of whack down there. She began to snore gently as I contempleaded. What in the hell was qua and why was she dreaming of it?
I slid out of bed and crept quietly across the wooden floor of my apartment. I pulled my dictionary down off the shelf and tiptoed into the kitchen. A minute later I was staring down the business end of a hard and cold epic-phony. It began with a definition: “qua – in the capacity or character of.” I substituted the definition for her words: “It’s your capacity or character of dear. I’m afraid it’s … all out of whack.” I did a triple-take shake-off where my own brain rattled in its cage as if it weren’t connected to my skull’s walls. As much as I shook those thoughts off, they fought for their freedom and made quick time of taking over my entire cerealbrum. The only portion of my brain that was not left to wonder at these newfound truisms was that which controlled my breathing. I was frozen still and stuck in time, but somehow, my lungs continued gathering air.
Now that the cat was out of the procurial bag, the demon was loose in the carnival. The Hassidic Jew was barbecuing in the whorehouse and there was just no stopping my one-track train wreck of pure thought. Celia was a connotation clown.
Many a time she had forspoke with such furious misinformed pride that her voice often commanded the respect of definitions that weren’t sound. She used a big and slippery vocabulary, not because she had one and words came naturally to her, but because she liked the way they looked on her. She wore them with her rings and pearls, just another accessory to make her beautiful and charming. But they didn’t make her beautiful and charming; in fact, they made her silly and nai-eve! Half the time she spoke out of context while the other half she just flat-out used the wrong word. As I stood there, naked over Webster, I began to feel the first true spangle of knowledge—I was sleeping with Archie Bunker.
At parties … oh, I could see them so clearly now. The people we would talk to. How they stood a gas when she spoke. Conversations that required little more than a mild consideration for intelligence were always retarded by Celia’s jumpy speech ejaculate. A perfectly average chat about a friend’s daughter’s piano lesson came to mind now. She proclaimed, “I studied the piano when I was a child and quite frankly, I found it rather cucumbursome. For starters, what young girl wants to erect herself for an hour only to get her fingers shell shacked for miskeying?”
What had I heard, I wondered, when those words were actually spoken? And how had I regressed them so easily? It was almost a week over the three month mark and I was feeling like I didn’t even have a clue as to whom it was I was dating. Who was that woman in the other room and what did she stand for? What kind of a person says “cucumbursome” and truly means it? What was going on in her head when she spoke of “shell-shacking?” And oh my sweet Heaven, please don’t get me started on her grandiose fox pause of “erecting herself!” My mouth hung open and the clock struck one as the horror of her misbegotten sentence structures came flooding in.
“Good morning, Freddy,” she had said to me the morning after our first night together. “Did you sleep well? Well, that is, if you got any sleep, you wild, rappy scallop, you.” I remember thinking very clearly, at the time, that it was the strangest pet name I had ever been deemed. It flew around me and she continued. “I’ve got just the thing this morning to besiege you from your slumber! It’s a little homemade recipe that I’m sure you’ll just google over in awe!” She brought the plate over to the table and suddenly whipped away the enshrouding paper towel to reveal … “TA DA!!! Bacon chip pancakes!”
Ugh, the bacon chip pancakes. I think that they made such a cute and sickening impression on me that I completely ignored the fact that she wanted to surround me with hostile forces in order to release me from my slumber and then have me search the internet for something about awe.
Every time she had anything to say, it was twisted or weird. Instance after instance after instance fell on top of me at once and there was no way out of my present cum humdrum without action. As I sat there, trying desperately to remember just one time when she had actually said something that wasn’t completely absurd or nonsensical, I knew what I had to do. Now that I could see past her beauty and her charm … scratch that … now that I saw through her shrouded, creeping mayonnaise of false advertising—the body, the eyes, the face, the sex, the hair, the lovely, the passion, the adorable, the witty, the funny, the wholesome, the misguided, the silly, the nilly, the her—now that I could see Celia for what she really was—a beautiful fool with no rhyme to her reason, no bang to her buck, no star to her galaxy, all freaky to her deeky, there was only one course of action to take. There was only one way to silence my screaming emotions, only one logical next step for my own sanity’s footpath, only one way to get my self-respect back! One way to render myself hole again.
I went back to my bed and I loved her.
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