One a the two girls I ever loved left me with a few words: She said she just couldn’t imagine me the father a her kids and walked out on me.
I could understand that. She was a perfect girl and I wasn’t so much of a perfect guy.
But it hurt like a bitch. I spent the next eight months drunk off a booze and high off a paint thinner.
There were other things, too. A lot a things she thought but she never would tell me in order to spare my feelings. I always thought it boiled down to one word–asshole. As in: I’m an asshole and she ain’t. She was the first person ever call me that. But I wasn’t too much a one back then. Although I been proving her right most a the days after she left me.
Now, I’m stretched out on a apartment floor in Paris, France, thinking about all the shit with that One Girl that meant something to me. Me and this other girl I just met are beside each other on the floor, watching a movie. It’s some French thing and I don’t give a shit about. I just came up here to get laid. Our elbows is touching, so’s our legs. Ordinarily this is the type a contact that tells me she wants me inside her. But tonight it ain’t working that way. This touch, the way our arms is just touching, is just like that first date I had with The One.
Usually, I would a made my move by now, been slapping my balls on her chin. But I’m laying here next to her just as still as a corpse with these troubles in my heart that have nothing to do with high cholesterol.
See, this asshole right here is thinking about that one girl, and the first time me and her went out when I should be putting the moves on the new one. The way her legs looked in them black high heels that first time we went out and the way I told her her legs were meant to wear them things. These things I just can’t get outta my brain. And the way she got cold on the way home and how I didn’t think a nothing but her all night. Then we laid on her apartment floor watching movies, and our legs just touched and so did our arms and I was happy to lay there just with our arms touching as long as it lasted forever. But then I kissed her forehead and moved down to her mouth…
But I don’t wanna think about that no more. That was years ago when I laid beside her, an entire lifetime ago for some sonofabitch like me.
(Remember I said I wasn’t gonna pine for you the rest a my life? I guess I was a liar.)
Sometimes them memories come back like I’d just lived them yesterday. I close my eyes and see her and I smell her just like when I lifted the back a her hair and put my lips on the back a her neck. Then I’d let her hair fall over my face just so I could breathe. Now she’s gone, far away, and a stranger to me now.
But here I am with this new girl and all I can think of is the Special One. Maybe it’s the situation, the way we’re lying on the floor, touching in the same spots I was touching Her, that’s making me think of it. Who the fuck knows? She’s probably got her house by now and the kids she always wanted and I’m still up to my old tricks. For a while I might’ve looked like a stable bastard with my little job, but she figured me out: I ain’t respectable. I’m a vagabond. A girl like her wants a respectable guy, a guy who’s here to breed and not much else, one a them defeated guys or them guys that don’t have no fight even if they been in the military. As Margaret Mead said it: “Woman want mediocre men, and men are working hard to become as mediocre as possible.”
Women left Hemingway, I tell myself, hoping to feel better. Here was this guy who was world class at what he did and not even Hemingway could keep one around.
That’s just the nature a things, ain’t it? The nature a women. They do the picking and the choosing. 500 years ago it was behind their men’s backs, now it’s just out in the open. But it ain’t really a change–they do the same thing only the style’s different. When a girl is out a love, there ain’t no bringing her back.
If Hemingway couldn’t keep one around, then I really gotta ask myself what a woman wants out of a man. Seems like most a the guys in happy marriages for years are pussies on some level. They might be big and burly and look like bikers but they got this squishiness about ’em. And they ain’t no good at nothing, not usually. They’s maybe average at their job and that’s okay with the women, I guess, but that’s all. They just wanna keep that bread on the table and go to their job for that steady check and don’t want nothing else out a life than to spend that money on a house, a car, and some vittles.
It don’t pay to be good at nothing if you want a woman. They’d rather you be mediocre and cool with a job than be good at anything. And they wanna dominate you to see what kind a fool you’d be for them. All the hard work I put into becoming a good writer don’t mean shit to women. They’d rather spend their lives with some safe and stable sonofabitch, and then have affairs with someone like me–just to know what a 11.75″ cock feels like.
They’d rather get a man who takes his order with his balls hidden in his stomach.
Since I picked up writing, the word’s been more faithful to me than any woman.
Still, I lay her next to this new girl. She’s good-looking enough. When she glances at me, she’s got these nice big eyes that say: Are you gonna make a move or not? She’s got these nice juicy titties and a hell of a ass.
Am I gonna make a move or not?
My answer: I just keep laying here thinking a Her. No moves tonight, honey. Not when I’m thinking a The One.
“Where are you going?” She asks when I get up.
She looks at me with that hurt in her eyes that only comes from being rejected. Frenchie, I wanna say, you do not wanna get mixed up with me. You’re a cute girl but you ain’t Her. Don’t get mixed up with me, I ain’t nothing for a woman, except for a night. That’s my gift, the only further my skills go. I got Big Ole Cock and I ain’t got nothing else to give you. So don’t you get no ideas about me.
Even though this ain’t the way Bob Collins operates, leaving available pussy untapped. When a girl gives herself to me, I take take take until she won’t give no more.
But not tonight. Tonight I can’t think a no one but Her. And I ain’t fucking someone else when she’s on my mind. It’s the last bit a loyalty I got for her and I’m gonna keep it for Her.
The new girl tells me to stay, but I’m already out the door, down the hall, out on the moonlit Paris streets before she knows it. I hope to run into Her somewhere, but she can barely get out a bed let alone out a the country. I walk up to the Sacre Coeur so’s I can look down on all a Paris and how the gray city is dotten by little lights. I wanted to take Her here one time, wanted to sit at sidewalk cafes while she smoked and sipped coffee in her beret, and I wanted to walk at night with her her hand in mine, like we did a long time ago, along the Seine, and dance in front of the Eifeel Tower until the lights turned off. But it ain’t gonna happen now.
It’s never gonna happen now.
It’s all over.
So I gotta go find some beer. Maybe two cases to make it through the night.
And that damned Willie Nelson song haunts me:
“You were always on my mind. You were always on my mind.”
And that’s no lie.