The Train Of I Don't Know
“Help me. I don't know if I can last much longer,” Branson said.
Susan looked at him cautiously. “Help you with what babe?”
He lay back on the bed. “I don't know. I really don't.”
“What is it?” She said.
“I just can't find...”
She moved closer and took his hand in hers. “Find what?”
“Find a way to make love without being high.”
“So,” she laughed, “Get high, who cares? Who's watching?”
“I am,” he said. “I'm always watching.”
They were in a tiny room on the sixth floor of the Hotel Lennox, in Paris. The aroma of fresh bagets floated up from the street, up past curtains fluttering in the summer breeze. Sweat dripped from a nipple to her thigh. It ran in a river down his chest. There was little about the scene to indicate the trauma inside Branson's head.
She pushed him back on the bed. He closed his eyes, an automaton. Not wanting to be here, he thought back to when he had read the symptoms of child abuse.
Difficulty with becoming aroused and feeling sensations – Check.
Sex feels like an obligation – Check.
Sexual thoughts and images that are disturbing – Check.
Inappropriate sexual behaviors or sexual compulsivness – Check.
Vaginal pain – a big NA on that one.
Inability to achieve orgasm or other orgasmic difficulties – Check, often.
Erections problems or ejaculatory difficulty – Check, sometimes.
Feeling dissociated while having sex – Check.
Detachment or emotional distance while having sex – Check.
Being afraid of sex or avoiding sex – Check.
Guilt, fear, anger, disgust or other negative feelings when being touched – a big double check on that one.
Sarah slid over with a spliff the size of a carrot. He took a big hit, held it in.
Little puffs of smoke rose up as he said, “That's better. Thanks babe.”
He held the smoke in until his lungs felt raw. He exhaled and looked at his face in the mirrored doors by the bed. Blood red eyes, pudgy, cellulite dimples on his ass, pretty disgusting all right. But he was hard as iron once again.
Sarah smiled as he entered her. The heat of him melted her plans of playing coy. She raised her legs as high as possible, while he rocked back and forth. After a few moments, he stood on his knees. He turned her over and lifted her ass, exposing the peach slit between the cheeks. He rubbed hs penis against the warm moistness of her before thrusting deep.
She pushed back against him. “Faster, faster. Oh yes, fuck me babe. Fuck me.”
The slap of his thighs against her ass drove him to madness. He thrust ever faster until he collapsed on top of her, pushing her down into the sheets. She came moments after he released himself between her legs.
“That didn't seem like someone who has a problem with sex,” she said.
“But, that wasn't me. It was the smoke.”
“So, you sayin' that wasn't your dick inside of me?”
He slapped her ass and fell forward next to her. He laughed.
“Yes, it was my dick. But it was a pothead dick.”
“I like your pothead dick.”
“But, you know I'm not supposed to smoke pot.”
She rolled over and put her arm over her eyes.
“Not that shit again. You know, you really must like being miserable. You do it so well.”
He bit off a fingernail. “I just don't want to go back to the hospital. I think I might have to if can't get past this sex thing. And it looks like the only way past the sex thing is to smoke pot. Maybe it would be best if I went back in. At least in there, I won't hurt anyone any more.”
“Fuck.” She said and leaped off the bed.
She was dressed by the time he got out of the other side of the bed. She had her sandals in her hand. They were the one's with the plastic pink roses. The one's they had bought last year at Corpus Christi. A little taco vendor had set up a booth next to the hotel. His wife sold the shoes. She cut plastic bags into roses and stapled them to sandals she wove out of palmetto.
“There you go again,” she said. “Drifting off to wherever it is that you go. How do you do it? Just three minutes ago, we were fucking like rabbits. Now you're where? Saturn? Pluto? Somewhere else anyway. Somewhere, where I can't reach you.”
He sat slack jawed. A bit of drool rolled from the corner of his mouth.
She set her lips into a thin line. “Okay. That's it. That's it. I've had it.”
The door startled him awake from his stupor. He was devastated. At least somewhere within himself he felt something that knew it should be devastated.
He got up and went to the bathroom. In the mirror, he saw the murderer. The one who had killed every chance at happiness he had ever had. How the murderer came to be. What created this Moosbrugger of joy that lived in his mind, what caused it to evolve and become evermore powerful, he could not tell. It was an ancient beast. Placed there before he had words to name it.
He no longer wanted to blame anyone for its existence. He no longer wanted to chastise himself about it. He simply wanted to be free of it. As the reality of Sarah's departure settled in, death was the only freedom he could imagine. He could hear people's assessment of his farewell performance.
“What a coward.”
“What a selfish bastard.”
He did not care. They did not have to find their way past the mine field inside his brain – a place hiding so many unseen dangers that he did not dare take a step beyond where he now stood. Frozen, he could hear a train coming. He felt it's approach. The train of fate, that would carry him to a land of eternal winter. It was a land of his own making perhaps. He accepted that. Still, knowing he might be the self-named Yahweh of his empty world did nothing to alter his despair. The train cared nothing for despair, or joy. It was not merciless, it was not filled with mercy. It was simply a train. Set on its journey by forces that he could not name. It was the train of “I Don't Know” driven by the engineer of where the fuck are we? He might seek guidance on how to avoid the train. He might learn the secrets of its wisdom. He could practice train dodging, train racing and train detection to prevent being struck by it, but it would hit him nonetheless. He heard the certainty of its approach in every scream from its damnable whistle.
“How could it not hit me?”, he thought. “Why can't people see that the train isn't something I chose? Who are they to say I must continue a life that is nothing but suffering, while I wait for the train? Why do they continue to blame me? If they think I am a coward, if they seem me as selfish and self-centered, then why don't they help me to die? Why not save themselves the trouble of continually arguing with a shit like me?”
Outside the door, down the hallway so he would not hear, Sarah bent over and cried silently. She felt as if she was going to throw up. What was she going to do? She hated this. Hated, hated, hated it. She almost made it her car, before the string linking her soul to his pulled her back up the stairs. She banged on the door. Nothing. Banged harder. Still nothing. She stood back and kicked near the handle. The door jab brook.
He lay on the couch. The joint was still in his hand. Motionless. He seemed dead, but she could see his breath lifting his ribs.
“Thank God, baby,” she said. “I felt so bad. I thought you were going to kill yourself.”
He took another hit. He blew the smoke in her direction and sighed.
She snuggled next to him, seeking warmth. She felt the coldness within him still. But she couldn't leave. She just couldn't.
“I am so glad you didn't die honey,” she said. “So, so, glad you didn't hurt yourself or kill yourself.”
Another hit, and he coughed. “No need to worry baby. I'm okay. The killing was done a long time ago. So long ago I don't even remember when it was.”