To my darling Cecilia,
It’s all gone wrong, Cecilia. And I spend my nights lying awake and alone in my cold, comfortable bed, under my cold and comfortable duvet, tearing my memory to shreds and then tearing those shreds again, trying to pinpoint the exact moment when everything started to come undone.
Was it when I first set my sights on the distant heights of success, stood up tall and proud like my adorable monkey ancestors looking out over the rolling grass of the African veldt, and said ‘Yes, I will be a writer. A writer who dedicates himself to the wonder, to the art and the intricacy of his craft, to the dark forests of human nature, to the ravenous whirlpools of believable characterisation, and the majestic, lofty skyscrapers of interesting plot scenarios, but also, who makes a lot of money, sells film rights every week, and spends a lot of time in his Jacuzzi with at least two women?’ Was it when I challenged Frank Sinatra Jr. to a winner-takes-all pentathlon, my only understanding of the pentathlon coming from that Dolph Lundgren movie, Pentathlon? Or was it when you first set eyes on that rat-fuck Steve Buscemi, and your heart and, more concerning, your body, were lost to me forever?
I still love you, Cecilia. I still remember our first night of passion under the watchful eyes of your Chat Noir poster, in your fashionable and hip second-floor apartment, when we destroyed two beanbags and I broke my wrist. I still remember those lazy afternoons, when we lay content in each others’s arms, like basking oysters in the sun, and I kept saying ‘Man. Do you remember that night when I broke my wrist while we were having sex? Fuck, I’ve told so many people about that. Honestly, I’ve just been grabbing strangers from right off the street and telling them all about it. Straight up. Jive. Sassafras on the fifteen-hundred. Funky drummer.’
Then, as now, I had no idea how to stop once I had started using street lingo.
The slow murmurs of memory are a song that steals my sleep at night, my every pillowcase ruined by the acid of my tears. I remember how you played the guitar, your fingertips gently whispering a command to every fret they romanced. I remember how I’d be woken in the midnight hours by the sound of you inventing your latest invention, your muscular shoulders strapped tightly as you rained hammer-blows down on glowing steel.
And I remember coming home early from work to find you riding Steve Buscemi like a champion thoroughbred who has been breakfasting on finest Bolivian Red for a week and is starting to like it.
I don’t care that you loved him, if I ever see that man on the street I’m going to pistol-whip him like a red-headed stepchild. I don’t care that he’s got biceps like train carriages, or triceps like city buses, or calves like suitcases full of boa constrictors – the big kind of suitcases, and the big kind of boa constrictors. Whenever I think of you, Cecilia, and, believe me, I think of you often, your face is blotted out by Buscemi’s laughter. The laughter he laughed while he declared me laughable, as I stood in the doorway to the lounge room and I screamed ‘Cecilia! Steve Buscemi from Fargo, and Armageddon, and a host of other, equally-memorable character-based roles! Oh, merciful God, no!’
He didn’t even miss a stroke. He just kept laughing.
Fucking Steve Buscemi.
Did you do it to punish me, Cecilia? Did you do it as revenge for all the times I said I wanted a time machine so I could travel back to the day when the Breeders were filming the clip to Cannonball, so I could have sex with Kim Deal while she was wearing a wide variety of different but entirely flattering outfits? Because I only said that a dozen or so times, at most, most of which were while we were at breakfast with your friends – and I want you to know I was playing to the crowd when I used the phrase ‘and probably Kim Deal’s sister, Kelly Deal, at the same time.’
Because Kim, really, was the prize from that family.
Can’t we try again, my love? Without that sexual powerhouse Buscemi to ruin it all?
I miss you,so much. Every time I sit in the rocking chair we bought for your mother’s birthday and I subsquently decided was too good for her, I think of your smile. I remember how I laughed when you found out I had stolen the chair back from your mother’s party with the aid of my friend Harry. It was the funniest thing since Harry’s brother (Larry) asked me to be the best man at his wedding, and that bridesmaid thought that I was winking, when in fact I was blinking, because I’d been thinking.
So much has changed, my heart. My deepening madness has taken me to strange and unforgiving places, and I’m not the man I once was. I’ve been working out, Cecilia. No longer do I need two breaks to finish a glass of low-fat milk. These days I drink full-cream milk by the carton and I can hurl a half-brick through a car windshield from four blocks away.
Your new boyfriend is driving a Mercedes now, right? A black 2007 model with heated seats, triple-coil suspension, and a slight scratch on the top right hand corner of the underneath of the intake manifold? And he finds that sometimes he needs to re-adjust the seats after spending the night at your place, almost as if someone has made duplicates of his car keys and is embarking on a long-term campaign to subtly throw off his balance, little by little? So that someday, at his beloved Zumba classes, he over-extends and snaps one of his equally-beloved vertebrae, perhaps somewhere around the superior articular region?
I have to go now, Cecilia. I have a deadline to meet, and maybe, when I am very rich, you will love me again. If this is the case, please let me know what levels of affection would correspond to what amounts of money.
Christ, I love you.
I burn for you, tragically.