You could not possibly want me for the rest of your life. You could not listen to me say "fuck it" five hundred times a day, nor tolerate my alcoholic father or my drug addicted mother or my crazy grandfather, the one who whistles Christmas tunes because this is the only thing left in his memory. You will imagine that I will one day be just like them, that I will sit in front of the television watching reruns of Colombo, drinking rubbing alcohol and aftershave. When you lose your passion for me, you will find another pretty, neurotic girl to call on the phone. You will meet her at a bus stop, on your way home from the office, fall in love with her on a whim and bring her home to supper. You will expect me to make her leg of lamb because you told her what a marvelous cook I am. You will think about how I once used to rub your shoulders, you will rub her shoulders like you once rubbed mine. She will look like me; she will have long brown hair; she will be thin and tall. She will read Hemingway stories to you in bed at night, with the lights turned off, just you and she underneath the covers, a flashlight resting between the pillows.
Then one day you will begin to wonder why you still sleep on the same pillow, my pillow, the one I bought at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Third Avenue. This will haunt you, day and night. You will buy yourself a new pillow, from a different store, like Kmart or Sears, and you will give my old pillow to your new girl. This will at first make you happy; you will think you have solved a considerable problem, like world peace or starvation. But, eventually, you will not be able to stand the thought of your new girl sleeping on your old girl's pillow. One night you will wake up, angry, and snatch it from underneath her head. "That is my old girl's pillow," you will shout, but she will not wake up. She will sleep on, dreaming of icicles and Pudding Pops. You will take this as a sign. You will get in your pick-up truck, in the middle of the night, and bring the pillow back to me. "It is your pillow," you will say when I answer the door. "You deserve to have it back." You will think this makes you magnanimous. But I will not be sitting in front of the television, drinking rubbing alcohol and aftershave as you once thought. I will not be watching reruns of Colombo on television, and I will not be alone.
Days later you will see a pillow on the side of the Interstate and you will convince yourself it was the one you just gave back to me. You will become paranoid; convinced I still harbor some deep-seeded resentment for you and our lost love. You will imagine the many different scenarios: the relationship left me suffocated; the pillow was a reminder of that suffocation, so I tossed it out the window; I did not recognize the drool stains on the pillow as my own and intuitively knew that you had let your new girl rest her head upon it, and tossed it out the window. You will drive back and forth every day, taking the same route to work, for a year. It will rain and the pillow will grow mildew around its edges; it will snow and the pillow will become covered, but you will know it is still there because nothing much changes in your life. In the spring the snow will melt and there it will be, in the same place, just as you thought. Then you will get a crazy idea in your head, that one day you should stop and pick the pillow up, bring it back to me and lay it on my doorstop like a dead animal. You will make plans, you will call me day and night, hanging up just before I answer and say hello. You will leave messages on my machine: "Your pillow will come back to you, bitch."
You will plan and plan. Seeing the pillow lying there so placidly everyday will make your idea seem a worthwhile endeavor but you will never quite develop the nerve to stop and pick it up. This inability to "do something" with your life will make you depressed. You will begin to wear black: black pants, black shoes, black socks and black underwear. You will dye your hair black and wear a black trench coat, even when it is hot and not raining. Your new girl will not like this new look and leave you in the middle of the night, taking your new pillow with her. You will begin saying, "Fuck it" every chance you get. Your boss will not think this is particularly funny and he will let you go but he won't tell you it was because of the cussing or the dressing in black or your obsession with some neurotic girl you dated for three months some two years ago. He will tell you it's because of the economy that you're being "let go." And so now you will develop a hatred for George W. Bush and then you will develop a habit of saying "George W. Bush" when what you really mean to say is "fuck it."
And all this time, the pillow will still be sitting on the side of the road, my pillow, the one I once shared with you, the one that has caused you such pain, the one you had intended to deliver to me in the heat of passion. Finally, one day you will stop to pick it up, but by then it will be too late. The city, due to complaints from local concerned citizens, will send out a giant John Deere to mow down the grass along the Interstate. The city employees, being like they are, will not stop the tractor to pick up the pillow, instead they will simply mow over it, again and again, in solid straight lines, and for the next three weeks, as you pass by that spot, you will notice its soft downy insides, slowly floating skyward, thrown and scattered by the whoosh of passing cars.
[Karen Ashburner does this.]
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/londonlibrary.html]
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