jeremy hides things, even from himself

The balcony of the Lounge is as smokey as when I left it in 2002; a couple stands off to one side, leaning against the railing, against the wall which is just plastic sheeting, against each other, kissing. She doesn’t think he’s got enough passion. She been trying to explain to him what was going wrong with them, to change him, the way they make love, or don’t make love. Maybe it’s just the way he is. His left hand grapples with her arse and his right hand knots her hair. With adolescent enthusiasm he has his hands maneuvering around her body, travelling quickly on a big Contiki of her strange flesh, pushing aside the winter coat, taking issue with the handbag still on her shoulder. His nightmares, well – that nightmare – well it’s not getting better. He’s always seeing that car, and it doesn’t stop and there’s nothing he can do about it. When he wakes up screaming or crying or screaming crying, well, she doesn’t know what to do. I stare, because I can, and because they’re kissing so openly that not staring would almost seem rude. And Jeremy hides things even from himself. His friend is nice, I think, and I don’t think I’m being deliberately rude – maybe she has all the opinions I had at twenty-five and they’re just recycling, like every droplet of rain or breath breathed in then out and into our enemies. We battle with the nachos, the jalapenos, the dripping, messy sour cream. And sadness, which threatens to overwhelm him, even if he doesn’t have the words to describe it. And those boys were so fucking young and it wasn’t their fault, so there’s no reason they should have died. And Jeremy remembers his Pop telling him not to cry at his Nanna’s funeral. And even though he was only ten, he knew that his grandfather was robbing him of something important and valuable, and now that he is more than ten, he isn’t sure he’s ever going to get it back. It’s terminal cancer and her whole family’s in on the act now, competitively caring and proving they care by muscling each other out of the hospital ward and her guru said she should be a teacher. And they don’t talk anymore, not the way they used to. Is he using the dog as an excuse, or does he really need her? In the bed, his body is very small like a mouse, the bones are tiny and folded in on themselves, and his beard is hopeful of hiding what it is that is so small and so young about him. But he’s lost weight and you see it, and he looks a little greyer than he used to. We chainsmoke, I have a scotch and dream of Sabra and in the evening we we are looking for places to lay our heads, I feel differently about what I want. And what comfort I can give to others. Longing for something else I lie down somewhere far away and it’s a lie, but a generous one for someone else. But I lie it halfheartedly. And he hides things, in the bed, in the dark, in the folding of the bones, in the crying but not crying, in the weeping and the walking, in the day and in the dream, even from himself.

Categorized as musing

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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