...and you're sitting there, alone. And it's getting late, so you try to call your parents, but they're not home. You knew they'd be at their place at the lake, but you called anyway; four days late, four days after mom left a message you somehow missed. Confused her Unknown Caller ID with the others that fill your voicemail. You wanted them to know you still lived and everything may be turning around, or at least evening out again.
...and then you crack open a beer, to cool off. It's warm in the apartment. You sit on the too small couch and do a quick evaluation. You think you got it under control, flipped back on the Safety. And you think it'll fall under the same pattern as the past. Physical space becomes mental space becomes just memories. Easier with a buffer. No misunderstandings, no ache, and no worries. Periodically through the weeks, you've checked the Safety Lever, is it really in place? Locked in? One day it looked like you may have applied too much pressure and jammed it too far. You worry you've bent the Safety too far forward and actually cocked the hammer back and chambered a hollow-tipped round; is the firing pin quivering, just a little? You look for that Thin Line Between, and truly see it for the first time. For the first time, you really see that the Line is as thin as a newborn's hair, and people have a Hair-trigger; one bad jostle and the thing could just go off out of hand, cross The Line.
...and then you answer the phone. You crack another beer open in the dark. You listen to the voice, and you listen to the Walkmen on the stereo. You make a conscious choice, you wipe a touch of oil onto the Safety Lever and ease the firing pin back into a resting position. You turn down The Walkmen until they are only a whisper from the speakers. You lean against the sink, catching a cool breeze, and smoke a couple of cigarettes the Lunch Lion gave you. You try to figure out what's going on. You enjoy the voice and the meaning behind the words and stories, and want to hear more. But not tonight.
...and you hang up the phone in a introspectively good mood. The heat pulls you out to the porch. You sip another beer, wipe the sweating bottle across you forehead. Smoke another cigarette and remember how you loved smoking. You blow the smoke to the street, and stare at the trees glowing in the streetlight. Part of the phone call got you feeling nostalgic. Faces of lovers from the past float by your Mind's Eye. Glimpses of smiles, flash of eye, and a smooth cheek against yours. That bit of neck. You remember their mouths and kissing. Snogging after After-Hours parties. Making out in the car by The Reservoir. In that grove of trees in Four Mile Square. At the park by Eagle Creek, and she asked you to prom, but you already promised another (and regretted it). In the Abandoned House where you all used to drink, scaring each other in the dirt floored basement. In the sun room at home. In you childhood room, on the floor, listening to The Cure. On the floor at her friend's studio on 3rd Ave at 34rth St. At the bar at The Wild Goose. In her room while her parents watched Jeopardy. That Hotel room in Conneticut. In her parent's bed on New Year's Eve. 76 North Congress. 17 1/2 First Street. All those dormitories: Fenzel Hall. Shively Hall. Jefferson Hall. Washington Hall. Wells Hall. That 3-way in the College Inn. That night you were too high, and she had a loft on Stewart Ave. That last night in Athens at 17 Putnam Street. That time after a 7 hour mushroom trip, and she kissed like a bird, thankfully interrupted by sirens and flashing lights outside your window.
...and you remember one time with M.R. in your room. The end of the summer. Parents downstairs watching TV. You melted into her. Her lips and tongue, the whole of your Universe. The glide and drift. Hands and hair and fingers and legs and all meshed entwined flowed rolled danced together in an unspoken perfection. Lost in her eyes, lost in her hair. You wanted to live forever. You felt dizzy. She stopped and you didn't know your name for a moment. Your vision blurred, and you laughed at yourself. Jesus! I think our Naked Souls rubbed together for a minute.
...and you pour yourself a Jameson, and smoke the last Lunch Lion cigarette to push down those memories because they feel great and feel painful all at once. You stare at the trees and try to remember the last woman you kissed. And you do. And you think about the second to last woman. It made more sense with her. And you look to the north because, rumor has it, she lives in Evanston now.
...and you finish the last smoke, down the last of the watery whisky and head inside. Maybe it'll be different now. Maybe your last kiss won't be your last kiss.