Eleanor Levine ~ The Creek and the Whirlpool

I keep check­ing Facebook, to see if she has read my emails, react­ed to my paint­ings, shown that sweet­ness that comes so rarely, but when it does, it’s like the jew­el of her smirk and lips and yet there are no words.

I need to block her. Let the addic­tion end. The hero­in or meth vibe has me recur­rent­ly going on the com­put­er and the Facebook den of iniq­ui­ty to see if she has breathed, even writ­ten me.

This is what hap­pens when you don’t get what you want. I imag­ine Machiavelli felt this way when he was in jail.

I am also locked in a jail of sorts, though this is more like a swim­ming pool, and I am flail­ing my wings, try­ing not to drown, and there is no response.

The first time you do hero­in you love it.

The first time you do a girl you love her.

But when the mania is no longer being fed, and the day pass­es with zero respons­es to your e‑mails—even though friends in Beverly Hills and Orange County, California, advise you not to write as much—when the fer­tile leer of her mouth, the kiss­ing on her limbs, the styl­ized ascen­sion of her motif as dream girl hero­in addic­tion can­not be avert­ed, you climb under a rock and say, “dear God, allow me to fire this illu­sion from my mind, bury it under this boul­der, because I will nev­er press my lips against hers.”

*

Hi, I have not blocked you because it’s so per­ma­nent, but there is no oth­er solu­tion to my ter­mi­nat­ing the con­vul­sive nature of my nerve end­ings, which stretch like octopi limbs in your pres­ence.

I don’t think you under­stand the depth of this love because it is in your absence that I feel the need to be lobot­o­mized.

It’s the osten­si­bly mature way. It’s how I get over most peo­ple I fall in lust with. I go to the retire­ment home for wet brains or sit in an elec­tric chair and burn all data that cor­re­spond to you. If not, I end up wound­ed, you end up both­ered, or what­ev­er the sit­u­a­tion may cause, unnec­es­sar­i­ly.

I sent you a book, Porno, by Irvine Welsh, and that will arrive like­ly this week or next. No need to send back, it’s fine. You can either throw out, read or give to your dog to mangle—I think she would like it.

Much love to you and maybe, when I’m not float­ing in ether in a Perth Amboy fac­to­ry, or don’t want to smoke arsenic joints, or mur­der myself by eat­ing tuna fish sal­ad in a bowl­ing alley cafe­te­ria, per­haps then—when the Earth has stopped pac­ing faster than my heart, which pumps all the way to my ovaries—we can talk. Yours, Julia.

*

I am try­ing not to use Messenger because my ther­a­pist said that I should pre­fer creeks to whirlpools, which means I should not relin­quish my bliss to remain sta­tion­ary in a divan of warm water that repeat­ed­ly goes in the same direc­tion.

*

I would very much like to caress her and put my hand on her leg or let her put her hand on my leg, but she has stead­fast­ly remained in the wilder­ness, because she is a wilder­ness girl, who likes to go hik­ing on obscure and haunt­ed trails, usu­al­ly under bridges, and inscribe her name in spray paint along with the oth­er creepy sig­na­tures that appear in diminu­tive sun­light.

*

Instead of ask­ing me to vis­it her or typ­ing her not-so-sub­tle respons­es on my Facebook page, she now neglects me com­plete­ly. Friends say, “she wants your rela­tion­ship to be more per­son­al, so she dis­re­gards your pub­lic posts and focus­es on your Messenger mes­sages.”

*

This is dis­tress­ing (because my friends tell me to wait 48 hours before I con­tact her again), and I do, and then she writes back (appar­ent­ly I’m play­ing hard to get), but then I have to wait anoth­er 48 hours, try anoth­er tech­nique for draw­ing her into me, hop­ing she might send an adorable pho­to of her and her cats, stymied by the heat, but tick­led by me, as if I’m the last orgasm left on the plan­et and we will do it when she jumps out of the pho­to.

Another 48 hours go by and we are still not at the same lev­el as last Valentine’s day where she prac­ti­cal­ly raped me after we had a gen­teel meal in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

I have tried every manip­u­la­tive tech­nique known to mankind and wom­ankind and dog kind and Kind bars, and though she is on this strict­ly pro­tein diet, where she has lost fifty pounds, and every elder­ly or not so elder­ly les­bian on OkCupid is her new friend and leave her “loves” and “likes” on her Facebook wall, she has not budged.

She did not, as before, dri­ve down to my apart­ment and leave in the mid­dle of the night, tell me to have a good life and sleep in her car.

*

I am not sup­posed to argue or press her. She is like a black bear, in that sense, and you should nev­er cor­ner a black bear, because that will cause them to attack you. She does, how­ev­er, not attack. She goes into her car and sleeps or waits for me to turn on the light, and if I don’t turn on the light, she will leave, because clear­ly, I am not an emo­tion­al mess ready to com­mit Sylvia Plath sui­cide, using my microwave instead of the oven, and she can zoom off to her mother’s house, which has, accord­ing to my friend T, always been her inten­tion, any­way, to reject me and avoid the inevitable year-long ostra­ciza­tion from her moth­er, which will occur if she leaves her 40-year-old clos­et.

*

She won’t, doesn’t want to, come out of the clos­et, because her moth­er loathes les­bians, which leads me to ask, “Does your moth­er hate you?”

What I real­ly think, how­ev­er, is that her moth­er, who said, “you’re not a les­bian, and we all despise men,” might be in love with her daugh­ter, though she’s not the favorite child, but a child nonethe­less, and if you love your kid that much, it is eas­i­er if they don’t choose a female as a part­ner, because it means less of a threat and/or com­peti­tor.

*

I look on the Facebook Messenger app, which I fre­quent­ly delete, to deter­mine if she has called or writ­ten or texted and there is just my remain­ing obscure mes­sage to her about the donut place in LA that has been there for 50 years and draws lines and I was just too fuck­ing scared to stop and get one on the way to the air­port and besides I am sup­posed to be on a diet or she def­i­nite­ly won’t want me.

*

Let her chase after you, my moth­er used to say. Mother called my obses­sions “giraffes,” because when I was 19, I sent this girl a giraffe in the mail, with a note that said, “Due to Reagan cut­backs in giraffe wel­fare, we will not be able to take care of our daugh­ter, Jubilee Giraffe. Please adopt her.” I was work­ing in a safari park and a stuffed giraffe was the eas­i­est present to send anony­mous­ly in the mail.

*

My moth­er also insist­ed I am not tru­ly a les­bian because I called her (Mom) at 3 am after I lost my vir­gin­i­ty to a male Jew from Yemen in Jerusalem. “You phoned to let me know your cher­ry popped,” she said, “and it was clear to me, as clear as the day is long and some­times short, that you are not 100% homo.”

It was okay for my broth­er Harold to be 100% homo because it meant that no female would under­mine their rela­tion­ship.

*

Still no mes­sage from her, though I hope, pray, she’d write, and we’d watch a pot-smok­ing artist per­form at a famous muse­um and return to my bed­room and she’d rape me again.

*

My ther­a­pist wants me to leave the whirlpool—proceed down to the creek—don’t be like David Foster Wallace and hang myself because she is not kiss­ing me; but those lips, those breasts, the excite­ment that occurs when we are all over one anoth­er, the con­stant smooching and hump­ing and ambidex­trous paus­es that cause us to moan and wail with hilar­i­ty.

*

Sadly, it’s reached the David Foster Wallace point where I’ll hang myself, even though he has been accused by his ex-wife of hit­ting her, and I am not a pro­po­nent of domes­tic vio­lence, though I have been known to vir­u­lent­ly char­ac­ter­ize peo­ple with words, which might be con­sid­ered “a vio­la­tion” by the MeToo move­ment.

*

I decide the whirlpool, like sit­ting in the ocean after you have peed and felt the resilient warm­ness of your urine, is not prefer­able.

*

I gen­u­flect, with­out Church attire or accou­trements, how it will be to sub­sist on the Earth with­out her or mirth or resent­ment or still­ness. It’s not real­ly a silence, because a silence con­sid­ers the pos­si­bil­i­ty we might talk again. It is just one long creek and I’m swim­ming, rid­ing down­hill with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty that she will graze my soul.

~

Eleanor Levine’s writ­ing has appeared in more than 80 pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing Fiction, Evergreen Review, The Toronto Quarterly, Faultline Journal of Arts and Letters, The Denver Quarterly, Santa Ana River Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, South Dakota Review, and The Citron Review; forth­com­ing work in Heavy Feather Review (print edi­tion). Her poet­ry col­lec­tion, Waitress at the Red Moon Pizzeria, was pub­lished by Unsolicited Press (Portland, OR) in 2016. Her short sto­ry col­lec­tion, Kissing a Tree Surgeon, is sched­uled for pub­li­ca­tion by Guernica Editions (Canadian pub­lish­er) in 2020.