Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I don’t know if any of you out there have ever been thrown out of the house, bit by bit, on a Sunday morning, while hearing ‘Coffee House Blues’ by Lightnin’ Hopkins?
Didn’t think so.
if I didn’t like you at all, I’d say try it. Yeah.
It’s quite something, hearing some old black man screaming into a microphone about his parents toppling on social disruption because of some shopping-list misunderstanding. Because that is exactly what me and my ‘sweetie pie’ Glorine had had a dispute about that morning.
I didn’t plan it…
The blues CD had been in my car since Tuesday when it got stuck and I don’t even have close to enough money to take it in to get sorted out. A big screw-up. Screwdrivers and tweezers haven’t worked on it at this point even. The tweezers were a whole-nother episode, but, yeah…
This lovely woman -I had known her all her life.
She was a glorious angel-faced wonder to behold. It was hard to relate to though -at this point- because she was hurtling an old vase that I had made in high school right at me, sending it shattering on the sidewalk while my car blared the ironic song loudly and uncontrollably in the background.
I remember the conversation -the first time she saw that vase- going something like:
‘You’re making a vase?’
‘Yes? What the hell’s wrong with that?’
‘Nothing… but… What time’s knitting class though? Don’t want to be late if you’re still gonna tease your hair before you go, bro.’
‘Screw off! Men made pots of clay in ancient Rome, you know.’
‘Men screwed each other in ancient Rome and had special rooms for puking in too. Vomitoriums, I believe.’
Glorine sure knew how to end a conversation…
I’d always secretly admired that about her.
Strong-willed and dedicated, she persevered the bar exam the full ‘district-allowed’ seventeen times over eight years. Even after being banned from further studies in law she still persevered and started running her own little ‘practice’. Best thing is, she can claim entrepreneurial tax on it as a business aswell. So she says…
‘Business’ was worse than ‘fuck’ for everyone at Glorine’s ‘firm’. The coffee had recently stopped working on her at home aswell, and the ‘humble budget of this house’ was apparently a bit too ‘bohemian’ for her ‘medical needs’ -most of which included spray-tans and ‘cough mixture’.
Glorine had… become a tad uncouth in the mornings, so to speak. So much so that we’d both decided that it was better if I made the eggs instead.
After what happened with the neighborhood-watch coming over that one time to ‘investigate the cries and crashing sounds’ and all...
The other people in the house never made food in the morning -Billiard and the kids. But food was always eaten in the mornings, and I mostly made most of it, on the frying pan that she kicked across the floor now, sending it bouncing off the wall with a loud ‘pang!’. Lightnin’ Hopkins doing his thing…
We’d all known each other a long time, except for the kids ofcourse, who mostly slept out, much to the relief of everyone else in the house. They mostly had ‘band practice’. For five out of the fourteen years that I’d known those so-called ‘talented’ little beings they were always ‘practicing’. Never played anything or anywhere in particular. But loved practicing moodily behind closed doors, as if the rest of the world weren’t good enough to hear their fabrications. This could always be light-switched by the dull, solemn expressions on their faces and their low, bored tones if one entered and dared intrude. When they were five, they stopped becoming social for some reason. Billiard never seemed to mind so Glorine and I never seemed to mind either.
The large diamond sent her over the edge, I think though...
Some would have speculated that it may have been the tolerance developed to coffee coupled with all that tasty kiddies cough mixture and skin-cell destruction via spray-tanning, mixed in with mid-life crises and self-admitted severely disturbingly bad taste in clothing all erupting into one chaotic moment in time... I believe it may have been the diamond, though, that finally did it.
Just as ‘mama got mad at papa’ in the song…
I didn’t dare to go in the house now, ofcourse.
It was vampire rules now.
And Glorine had become a bit of a banshee, switching between episodes of whimpering to herself and scowling at me, as she marched back and forth throughout the house, searching for my things. Like I’m the bad kid who must now leave the crèche grounds, and take my ‘stinking toys’ with me. Only this was the cage-fighter version, where I could physically get hurt if I didn’t ‘just get out of her goddamn way at once’.
I didn’t dare to mention the words ‘crèche grounds’, ‘bad kid’ or ‘cage-fighter’ to her though.
I knew this was over. No need to stab at a corpse, I guess…
…Well… after my little Buddha incense holder came flying through the hallway and exploded on the sidewalk steps into mockingly small shards, it was definitely over.
‘Can’t you turn off that fucking racket for a bit?’
Glorine spoke at me as she marched yonder with an armful of clothes on fancy plastic hangers, ready to toss them all in one big cardboard box lying in the middle of the floor.
‘I can’t no, the car radio is stuck and it stays on while the car is running, if I switch it off now…’
I tried to explain.
‘Yes yes okay whatever! Everything doesn’t have to be an epic discussion… Why the hell is your car blaring forth that music? You hate blues, don’t you, because you’re a goddamn racist remember?’
‘Wha… A never—racist? That shit’s uncalled for Glorine, screw off with that. I just don’t like the music… whatever… The disc was printed incorrectly. I bought a CD of old commercial jingles, and when I put it in, there was blues on the disc instead and now it’s fucking stuck and I have to take it in sometime next week.’
‘You just had to explain yourself there didn’t you.’
‘What the hell do you mean Glorine?’
‘Who the hell listens to old—commercial—jingles? Who goes out and buys a, gets a CD of that? …And see what happens to you like, all the fucking time! You are a vortex of impossibly bad luck! You make the worst decisions of any living entity that I have ever known of, and you remember I once had a pet lemming that one summer we lived at that farm…? I’m including Lemmy in that equation!’
Glorine violently kicked the box my way as her eyes grew wild, mentioning her suicidal pet.
No one else was home, thankfully. It would have hurt too much.
I was going to miss Billiard.
He had become like a real friend to me over the years.
Although he starched the collars of his shirts and wore his fuck-ugly ties so that they hung just off the center of his chest… he’s a good guy, and doesn’t deserve all this.
‘What were you thinking!’
Glorine kept the welling tears extremely well hidden with her sinuses.
She had always been a good swimmer. I always loved the calf muscle explosion that would occur when her legs moved -running or kicking. They were like marble and flesh, smooth and precise.
The box came flying toward me on the ground and skidded to a slow halt just before the steps at the front door. I wasn’t thinking anything at all, except disappointment and its circumference of relevant thoughts…
Was all I could manage back at her.
Truth be told I was really listening to what old Lightnin’ Hopkins was crooning. His mundane problem comforted me. It made me see the anger and the reflection of utter chaos in Glorine’s face. The emotion she was hiding from the world.
‘Do you see this!?’
Glorine held out her hand to blatantly show off her ruby encrusted ring.
I knew she always liked diamonds more, so did Billiard before he had proposed to her. But he liked the ruby ring more. I never told Glorine that, and I’m not sure if he had confessed to it yet. He was away a lot doing his business in other towns and cities. Leaving Glorine alone at home with the kids and the ruby ring she wore because it was given to her.
That was where I came in.
We hadn’t consoled in each other for years, before I moved in. Not since I was in high-school. I was there those nights that Billiard didn’t phone to say goodnight. Those nights that the kids needed medicine and to be rushed to the hospital. The night Glorine passed out in the kitchen, after not having eaten for three days during one of Billiard’s out-of-town stays.
Don’t get me wrong, Billiard’s a great friend, but he wasn’t ever a very good husband or companion to Glorine. Besides, I’d known her longer.
‘Yes I see that.’
I said, not looking at the ring but rather at her wide angry beautifully round eyes, as she stood there -alone once again- in the hallway.
‘This means that I’m married! Don’t you get that? What about the kids… what about Billiard? What if he found out you even asked me?’
Fuck Billiard, I thought…
I felt harsh for thinking that, as he was a good friend. He’d let me stay in his house after things had gone wrong. But now things were looking up again -until recently ofcourse, that is.
Work was coming in again, and I started making money. I could support a family. Much better than he could any day.
I bet some of you may think, ‘With friends like this guy…’, right?
Well fuck all of you too then, Lightnin’ Hopkins understands my pain.
Glorine was mine long before anyone else ever got to her.
Now she reminded me of herself in high school: the time that she found out her boyfriend Marc had kissed two other girls who were in her group of best friends. The family had always wondered -behind her back- whether it wasn’t a ‘passion to prosecute men like Marc Caranabie’ that drove Glorine so deep and oblong into the judicial system. It was shortly after high-school that she’d written the first exam and failed, that she’d heard the news of Marc Caranabie getting married to the beautiful and dangerously fertile Gloria Pastifinous. A ‘girl with a glorified version’ of her name, as Glorine had sulkily put it for two months afterward.
Before Billiard, I was there.
I have always loved her.
‘I’m not sorry’
I said -and I wasn’t.
I was rather sorry that I hadn’t tested the fucking CD in the hi-fi first, however.
The track ended and after a loud bleep it started again.
It was on a loop.
That was somewhat of a relief, because I wasn’t sure if I could handle anyone else serenading the demise of one of the most important relationships of my life right then. More Coffee at the Coffee House then, I guess…
I was willing, secretly -deep down inside- to do anything right then to just even calm her down, then let her understand my love for her. I was willing to say and promise anything, but the promises were being made for me instead, and they weren’t too fruitful or in any way pleasing.
‘Promise me something. Right… right now…’
‘Promise me that you haven’t… always felt this… way…? Tell me this is some sort of sick joke I’ll never forgive you for? C’mon…’
I couldn’t do that…
‘I can’t do that…’
Glorine winced, and in her graceful elegance kicked some of my things right off the entrance hall table in one swift motion, not even caring -as she usually does- about her large useless glass vase filled with lemons for no apparent fuckin’ reason. Lemons and glass everywhere. One shard darted into a rogue lemon and sent a sour squirt into the air almost as a final insulting pinnacle to a demeaning act.
‘Do you even realize how fucked up this is! Get out… get out now…!’
Glorine commanded with a Hitleresque forefinger rigidly pointing somewhere across my shoulder, far into the outside world, away from her.
I thought of asking for a ‘goodbye kiss’ but even as a joke it would have gotten me physically injured just then. Glorine had almost kicked me in the balls before when we were both eighteen and I asked for a ‘Happy New Year Ending to my eighteenth year on earth’. She thought I was making a lewd joke, and reacted with an overly defensive mocking attack on me.
She replicated the mood of that attack now by picking up a lemon-soaked MP3 player and tossed it onto the bonnet of my car, which sent the alarm off aswell. At least that I could turn off, but there wasn’t time to retreat anywhere, because Glorine shoved one of my large boxes into my arms and looked me straight in the eye, wanting me to see her anger up close and eye-to-eye, so maybe I could understand how disappointed and unwilling she was to believe my feelings about her.
Her eyes are beautiful, even when they’re having homicidal thoughts against me. Some people would have called her current eyes ‘a murderous blue’, whereas I prefer ‘a mulling-things-over-cerulean’.
‘…If you continue living this life of denial you’ll end up being the end of yourself. You deny yourself greatness, and you have been for a long time… I have lost so much respect for you, and it’s been a long time coming.’
I’d lost respect for her fucking dress-sense years ago.
There was one outfit that had made me almost squeal out-loud once in a crowd, of over two hundred people however -her drum majorette outfit. It was a one-year thing, before the swimming took precedence. Two very good first years for me, personally, in her life. Glorine hadn’t known about my feelings -on the surface at least, I believe- until we both were seventeen. Well, like I said, at least I thought she’d known. Glorine has always been good with hiding things, but then again, so have I…
The fact that Glorine had no idea about any of this, and that Lightnin’ Hopkins just sounded so goddamn HAPPY that things were erupting in his home grated down my back like a rusty but comfortable threaded metal pipe. That’s why I didn’t like blues. It never had anything to do with race. I just can’t understand how someone can usually sound so happy about such unlucky occasions.
Despite all of this, I felt happy that I had proposed to Glorine. It would have killed me someday, if I hadn’t. But now, she drove me away.
Well, I figured, at least I’m not Marc Caranabie. I’ve been closest to her, her entire life. Surely despite everything, she could understand that at least?
‘I tell you what. I’m gonna take this…stuff… and go now. But let’s not say anything more to hurt each other, okay…?’
‘Jesus Ammon! I mean you’re my BROTHER for god’s sake!’
Glorine also knew just how to start conversations, and I’ve always admired that bout her aswell -quite secretly.
‘I can give you all the love and attention and… JASMINE-fuckin-SCENTED TOILET CLEANER you’ll ever need! The kids… fuck I’ll build them a studio! Or… you know… just buy them each a guitar or something… Jesus Glorine… don’t you see?’
‘See what, Ammon? That you’re an incestuous freak?’
‘I know you say that out of love, Glorine—‘
‘LOVE? Are you listening to yourself Ammon…?’
‘I am, I’m listening to the sound of my heart!!’
Which right then wasn’t one hundred percent true.
I was half listening to the unfolded story of ‘Mamma and Papa’ who had reached such an un-dramatic ending. ‘Papa’ promising to buy ‘Mamma’ a ‘Coffee House’ if she shut the hell up.
That shut Glorine the hell up. She shut the door on me and I haven’t seen her in years.
Last month I posted the letter to her. The birth certificates. She wouldn’t have believed me otherwise…
We didn’t share the same parents.
My life changed the day my mom and dad brought home little blue-eyed Glorine. My sweety.
She’ll phone any day now, I’m sure of it.
And then me and her can start our own little Coffee House!
We can call it… The Lightnin’ Blues Bar!
…or something exciting like that!