March XX, XXXX
I have not missed you. I realize how ghastly that may sound after thirty-two years of not seeing one another, but you insisted (with your instruments) in teaching me not to lie. And so. You were always such an exquisite contradiction; from the basements and secret chambers in which you did your work, later worshipping and lighting candles for the dignified calmness of the reposed lying at your calloused feet, to the folds of your silk, imported skirt hiding those horrible nocturnal surprises. Often I tried to look up your vestments, searching for a glimpse of thigh or even something else, a bit higher, a bit more forbidden, but there was never any getting past the sentinel or the hematic barbed wire.
I would wish to say that I am well and well adjusted in this new land; that I have started a family and have continued the path of the dream which has been laid out for me…ultimately by you. I would wish to say that. But every sweet William I see sounds like a sad and lucky song written for you and I; a map of both of us in bare feet, without a bra, standing on a frigid floor below ground level. Me before you.
I have you to thank under my fingertips; you: a girl wanting to jump, and me: a boy obsessed with cannibalism and singed flesh. You: the Miriam, daughter of Amram and Jochebed, wanting to keep and nurse me by the side of the river first, before letting me go. Me: a feeble Hebrew boy doomed by the orders of the Pharaoh.
I could count the days since last I saw you, since last I moved your clothes out of my closet…but in the three decades that have passed I have become busy creating lists of songs by dead singers who knew what I felt before I knew what I felt, and before we could tell one another what we felt.
At times, I think you wish for me to find you. I think you wish for me to seethe with jealousy at your perpetual engagement with men who live in salt mines; with men who cannot grow teeth any longer; with whispers. I feel your macabre pull oozing from the walls, like feedback from hidden microphones grinning at betrayal and the broken spirit of an ordinary man.
Oh, but you have always been such an exquisite contradiction.
Good morning to you, my sweet addiction. Goodnightgoodmorning.
Since emigrating to the United States from Romania in 1980 Alex has worked as a day laborer, a film projectionist, a music store clerk, a journalist/news writer for the U.S. Information Agency (Voice of America English Broadcasts), a TV Director for MSNBC and CNBC, and a freelance writer. Currently he is the Managing Editor of an education assessment software system at North Carolina State University. He is also a staff writer for The Lit Pub.
Alex has published fiction in Pank Magazine, Specter Literary Magazine, Connotation Press, and many others, and is the author of the novella Short Lean Cuts, available for purchase via Amazon. The ebook version is available via Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Gif animation generously provided by Kevin J. Weir.