Fiction

Post-Ironic Flush, or The End of Part 1 of AFFAIR

Photo by ranrun.
Photo by ranrun.
I do not want to go in any sense of the word, including the staying sense. The beauty of irony is one can mean what one says and not mean it at the same time. It, like I, gives expression to believing a belief and its negation concurrently. Which is good. Are any of these words mine? No, they are yours, I give them to you, I dislike even hate them, though I teach my children not to hate though they never learn and I am never home to teach them. I only utter them to help you understand though I do not know why you need to understand and I do not personally or impersonally believe in understanding or the inherent value in expressing oneself or in expression so I do not know why I am saying this except to fulfill an urge to be done with doing what I do not know if I want to be done with, what I do not know if I should have begun, what I do not know I have done, but what I do do I do for you, by whom I mean me. I am the one who does not want to go to the bathroom that I am in and does not want to go out of the bathroom to do what I have done or perhaps am doing and face what I have become. Which is me. I do not believe in irony and there is no irony in the bathroom.

There is nothing in the bathroom besides what I have said. Toilet, sink, walls, door, me, my doings. No shower. No cabinets, nothing in them, no rugs on the floor, there is a floor. No towels no mints no toilet paper and above all no soap or shampoo or body wash or hand sanitizer or disinfectant or antibacterial kiwi coconut vanilla hand lotion or anything Palo peeing before us might consider cleaning with if he had an urge or compulsion or desire or need to clean any part of himself or anyone or anything else now or in the future or in the past. There is nothing that could be considered a toiletry. No toothpaste or floss or toothbrush, let alone more than one. No drain. No vent registers or ventilation fan or ventilation. She keeps nothing, has nothing, possesses nothing. This is one quality I as Palo like about her, find attractive about her, find seductive sensual sexy sultry erotic, that is the one, about her. Fine, love about her. The floor is made of rough-hewn planks but it makes no difference. We do not have wild passionate filthy sex on the bathroom floor where we would be filled with splinters. The floor is cold on the soles of my feet if you must know because I divested myself of my socks with my boots. Because they were wet. But not as cold as stone would be. Because they smelled. Let me get this straight, a stone floor would be exactly the same temperature as a wood floor, but it would be colder. Because I do not believe in wearing socks to bed and I did not know how soon we would go to bed even though I knew I am peeing for a long time. Is that enough explanation, justification, reasonation?

There is only what I do and what I bring with me. There are the sticks on the counter and the sticks in my pants. Which I begin to remove and set on the counter one-by-one as I pee, to turn them into the sticks on the counter. I do it for something to do because peeing no longer counts, peeing longer does not count, the thought of peeing longer makes me want to divulge whatever I am vulging and say what is desired of me to say so I can be done with this everpresent apprehensive tedium, peeing no longer would count, though the thought of no longer peeing makes me nauseous or whatever the word is for needing to cry.

* * *

In the morning, the bathroom door in their bedroom is still closed.

* * *

On the way up the hill I pick up sticks I drop on my way up the hill.

* * *

Mary possesses no indefatigable belief in not becoming angry shortly after waking up, and she is not a woman beholden to beliefs she does not believe.

* * *

It is not working. I, Palo, where else I am, am in the bathroom. I cannot get out but by the door. I cannot not do what I have done. Neither can I undo. My stream, blessedly, torturously, is drying up or out or in or down. I constrict. I drip.

* * *

I have to go to work, she shouts after doing all the things she’s supposed to: pounding the door, calling his name, which is Cole or Coal or Kol or Kole, and cursing him. Her robe is undone and she knows it and doesn’t care because no one is watching but Allen and Lee and Ulster and they have seen her before from the inside. Or rather she doesn’t care because she does care in that she is unbelievably pissed off and leaving her robe open to the world is some small way to get back at him. I need to wash, she says calmly. You better be dead, she says calmly knowing he’s not because she’s looked under the door at his feet and though they don’t move much they move slightly, bare and surely cold on the tile where the filthy rug she threw away last week used to be and she believes she can hear him breathe though there is too much blood in her ears to be sure, or I’m gonna skull fuck you, she continues calmly. Lilly is screaming in her crib.

She tells the boys to get ready, change your clothes and eat your breakfast and stop listening in for God’s sake. She goes to shower in the kids’ bathroom, feeling lucky to be living in a modern and thoroughly suburban house with a 2:1 ratio of rooms to bathrooms, and leaves Lilly to scream because she feels so dirty she cannot touch her baby or anyone until cleansed.

* * *

I do not want to go. I want to go. I want to cease. I do not want to cease. I want this all to be in the past the distant past imbedded in memory or the future far enough in the future it is not even a twinkle in my eye.

I sound dismissive of my children with my unspecificity as to who they are, their names, number, sex, and birthdays. Please do not think I am not aware of it. If anything I am overaware of it, and am aware how aware I am, but awareness is no use, and awareness of awareness doubly so. I am just bad with names, numbers, sex, and birthdays. Which is no excuse and no reason. But the truth is my children are the only reason I am alive. My only reason to live. Besides Reb.

I vomit. In the toilet. The involuntary heave looses my urethral sphincter and pelvic floor and prostate. The remaining contents of my bladder, which are not insignificant in spite of everything and could have kept me going for some time, plunge into the toilet with my vomit. The muscle or whatever that was holding back tears also relaxes and a few tears drip in the toilet with my stomach broth and bladder torrent at the same time as in simultaneously as if in synchrony or as near as you can imagine to now, into the toilet, the cataract of my kidneys falling, the eruption of my stomach spewing, the wet expulsion of my eyes tearing from a great height.

My sudden volume triggers the siphon. The toilet flushes my uncontrolled functions.

* * *

My mother’s taking a sick day for you Cole to watch Lilly even though she’s not sick and Lilly’s not sick and you are not sick. So you realize what you made her do. My mother does not believe in lying. She believes in working. You owe her, which you already did. For me. And she can’t do it on Monday. She already said it and she doesn’t go back on what she’s said, she’s a woman of her word if nothing else. So back to the routine Monday. Write it down so you don’t forget and get lost in the bathroom. And I have things I need you to do this weekend. Fuck, I have to go. I’ll tell you this isn’t working Coal, I am telling you that Kol, this isn’t working, I have told you that before Kole, this isn’t working and nothing has changed or maybe it’s gotten worse but probably it just seems like it’s worse because it is exactly the same and the expectation of there being improvement, some effort at progress, some fucking forward motion makes it worse. So yeah, even if it’s exactly the same it is worse and I sent the children downstairs but you know they’re listening to every word I say and you don’t say. So just open the door Köl. Koal. This is not working. Coil. This cannot continue.

* * *

I finish vomiting, peeing, crying. Convulsing. I gasp for breath. My blood must be clean at least. My blood is well filtered. My blood is sifted dust. My blood is sand dripping grain by grain through a narrow renal capillary out of the emptying cistern of when I will have had relations, no, sex, no, knowing, no, love with Antoinette and into the never-filling bowl of when I have had relations sex knowing love with Antoinette, the contents of which remain without addition or subtraction even as I add to it, never to disappear until my last grain is gone, if then.

* * *

You flushed. Was that an answer? Was that some attempt at communication? Language? Was that a mistake?

* * *

She is naked and I am thirsty. She offers her breast and I take it but it does not work. I ask for a tall glass of cold water. She brings it to me from where it waits on the windowsill. I drink. Water, flowing from the ball appended to the top of my trunk, down through the stalk of my neck, to the stick at the base of my column. Water flows through my pipes, to wash out my mouth, to provide liquid, to provide material, to flush my system.

* * *

Kale, I have to go. Goodbye Coral. I’ll see you when you open the door. We’ll talk when I can see you.

* * *

The toilet refills as before, gurgle gurgled, gasp gasped, the high whine of the pipes whining, porcelain soiled, rinsed, waiting to be soiled again.

* * *

A door opens. High-screaming. Indecipherable. Children. A door shuts. Silence.

* * *

I Palo am in the bathroom. I cleanse myself over the toilet by means of the tall glass of cold water and my hand. Without means of towel or paper. She is postcoital on the bed. The water is cold. It drips into the toilet with our sex. I shrink. I wipe with my shirt. Which I wore not long ago. I do not know what the sticks are for. I am done gasping. I breathe at the level and stare at the wall. There is no mirror or window or judas hole. I stare at the toilet. Having done this, am I the man who has done this? I have done what Palo has done. Which is? I go where Palo goes. Do I? I am who Palo is. I do not know who that is. I do not know what knowing matters. How it helps.

***