No such luck.
Tonight I was going to MAYBE hook up w/my pal Tim and go see Mike Fiffe's art show at IGNITE, a bar in the east village. Afterwards, Cooly C's band TORTURED SOUL was playing at a local venue. Two good reasons to travel into Manhattan during this killer winter vale and Code Orange threat to America. I support both my homies but took out the balancing scale and justified hanging out w/SBX instead, who is flying to Florida/Disney World w/her kids and parents for 8-days come Sunday. I opted to neglect my pals to spend quality time w/her.
SBX was in New Haven, CT, all day at am Alzheimer's Facility. Her job is producing an Alzheimer's video and scouting the location. We originally planned to meet and eat in the lower east side, try to catch Fiffe's show and then split back home for a snuggle and sleep over. But, my day was going slow and in the midst of inking a page that had to be completed or I would be way behind my deadline. I put off these tasks only to pay for it in frustration and anxiety, later. I suggested we meet in Brooklyn a little bit later and keep it close to one of our pads. If we ate near me, we could hang at mine for a few and take a cab back to her house. If we ate near her place, it would be an easy walk. Either way, we'd be spending quality time before she splits on her trip in a few days. We settled on a great Thai joint called JOYA in my neighborhood. We'd meet at 8:30PM. That gave me an extra hour-and-a-half to finish inking my page. I get a call @6:30PM from SBX. She is exhausted by the depressing Alzheimer’s day and travel, and wonders if we could just meet at her house when she gets back into Grand Central Station. I'll get her under the covers and read her a book. Maybe we'll watch another episode of '24' [season one]. All she really wants is a cuddle and sleep. I wondered aloud if we should skip hanging, but she insisted that she wanted to see me. Cool. I can work with that. That's all I want, anyway. To be wanted.
So, I ink away and 8:45PM rolls around. SBX calls and is almost home. I should hop the F-train, grab grub, and meet her downstairs in the TV room. I kick myself for not finishing the inks and miss an F-train by 4-seconds. I wait for the next subway wondering if I should have ridden my bike, but the bursts of frozen air that exhale from my lungs underground, remind me that I'd be a fool to bike in this weather. I read a story in TOM STRONG'S TERRIFIC TALES #6 and get out at the SEVENTH AVENUE stop in Park Slope. I swing by RED HOT for a box of pork-fried rice and a container of hot & sour soup, and briskly walk to SBX's house, entering @9:30PM. I get downstairs and SBX is curled up with a tray of food watching the beginning of an episode of WILL & GRACE. I kiss her hello and she smiles at me. We watch the entire episode sans intellectual banter. We barely catch up w/each other's day, letting network television's passive powers rule our brain waves, stifling our tongues. Still, I came over to hang with my sugarplum and wanted more than just a cheerful acknowledgement and bad situation comedies. I wanted to knock boots. Ahh, but she just got her period and didn't feel like "going there" tonight. Fair enough. I could always knock sugar. I'm easy. The phone rings twice and she ignores it. WILL & GRACE have a bit about "babysitting." Demi Moore plays a babysitter hired by one of the fags to baby-sit him. "Life is hard out there," and he just wants a break; someone to take care of him. SBX and I share a peripheral glance. We know of what the homo speaks. Bad situation comedy ends. '24' never makes it out of my bag.
We head upstairs and SBX checks her answering machine. Seems that Mr. Ex wants to speak to her about something urgent. I crawl into her bed with an Ames book [MY LESS THAN SECRET LIFE] and a porno comic [Colleen Coover's SMALL FAVORS #7] to read to her. She gets into it w/Mr. Ex and ten-minutes later she's eight grand shorter. In the divorce, they're negotiating terms and property, etc., and she's getting hit hard with a house fine that was his fault. Only, the house is hers from the settlement and so, she eats the bullshit that comes with it. Yay. Bummed, she lights some candles and crawls naked into bed. I still have my jeans on, ready to read her something quick to get her out of that funk. Too late. She's got those Chinese eyes. Cracking half a smile to tell me she loves me but doesn't have the strength to show me, much less whisper the words.
To keep the ball in the air, we talk...about anything. She asks me if I'm going to the war protest w/her and her kids on Saturday. I say "hell no." It's a waste of my time AND theirs. No war was ever circumvented by a protest. Plus, it's NYC. It's going to get dangerous and ugly. No peace will be served at that rally. She disagrees. She wants an outlet to express herself. I assure her there are better ways to express herself AND spend her time. The time she never has to give me. Us. Stop the violence by pressing lips.
She fades. Fast. Rather than get crazy, I leave her to sleep. I know I can't just lay there and crash w/her because I'm fucking up my job and the only reason I'm ever willing to risk it, is to spend quality time with her. Quality time w/SBX isn't necessarily sharing a bed to just sleep in at the end of her day when mine still has three hours more to go. If we lived together and I had a studio, saw each other/ate dinner everyday, that'd be a different story, but, not tonight. Tonight I needed her to stay awake for another half-hour and be my gal-pal. Baby-sit me while I babysat her. "Sweet dreams."
As I locked the door behind me, making sure my woman slept safe, and walked back to the F-train, back to my art table where those blue pencils were beating back my black brush, I looked at the clock on my cell phone and stopped. Scratched my head, composed myself, and continued to walk towards the empty subway.