29. All I Ever Wanted

“You?” Brimsnod asked.

“Best moment? Let me think about that,” I said.

Adventures. I’ve had them. Rescuing Doris from the underworld. Chasing after Duke as he played Lazarus for three days post-mortem. But these things happened to me. Like a safe dropping from the second floor. Wrong place, wrong time. Bang, right on your head.

Whereas Brimsnod made her own fate. Not the fate I’d choose, what with the bullets in the back. But she grabbed the life she wanted with her teeth and gave it a shake.

Not my style.

My explanation is that I live in the Now. I’ve accepted what life served up, did my best to appreciate it. I come across the roses and stop to sniff. Put a glass of wine ahead of me and I’m not worrying about the calories. I’m swirling the glass. I’m imagining the hillside from whence the grapes came. I’m dreaming. I’m a dreamer.

It works. Plenty has come my way. I stick out my hand and things land in it.

Doris, for example. A night in a nasty little bar; a brief, brutal fight (her deal, not mine!); next thing you know good fortune plunks down in my lap.

Best moment of my life?

When Doris crossed the threshold of my place for the first time? Late at night. Both a little boozy. She put a hand on the counter to steady herself. The wild mess of her hair filled the room. There was blood on her blouse, this from the lug she clobbered with her pool cue. A grin worked on her lips. She knew what was happening next even if I did not. 

Meanwhile I gawked, wondered what gods were working overtime on my behalf. Love at first sight? Blinding, annihilating passion! And she hadn’t yet made her way five feet from the door.

Or was it slightly later, when we moved from the kitchen table (prosecco, chocolate, strawberries), to the parlor (calvados on the love seat, smooching), and on to the bedroom. I plopped on the edge of the bed and she, looking me straight in the eye (now her grin declaring, Let the trouble begin!), crossed her arms and tugged that blouse over her head. Like a magic trick — shazam! And then this wonder of nature stood naked before me. Oh, I could have wept. Maybe I did.

Or was it somewhat later still, when, spent, sunk into the mattress, the pillows and sheets gone who knows where, she rested her head on my chest, her explosion of hair tickling my ears, running into my nose, draping over half my bare corpus, and she told me about, oh, I don’t remember exactly, but the sense of it being that this was a door that had opened, that the space beyond was vast and we had forever to explore it. I thought but did not yet dare say, This is it. This is everything I want. Right here and now. This followed (inevitably, as I was soon to learn) by a charming snore and a rivulet of drool that ran over my arm and onto the bed.

All I ever wanted. Not millions of dollars. Not a mansion on Summit Avenue. Not command of my own legion of flunkies and sycophants. Though now I had two out of three, more or less, and was chasing down the third.

“Well,” said Brimsnod, “you going to clue me in, or you going to think about it all day?”

“Hard to explain,” I said.

“Try me.” She set her hand on my knee.

You’re dead, I wanted to say, but I wasn’t sure that made much difference to her.

Tomorrow: Say The Now is your product

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