“Now Clive, are you sure it was your dad? Like, ‘hand to Christ’ sure?” asked Douglas, placing one hand high in the air and the other to his breast. “You know I don’t believe in that stuff Douglas, but yeah, I’m sure. It had to be him” Clive sheepishly responded. “But what about all that ‘egg jazz’ you used to describe them, m’man? I mean, doesn’t one egg look like any other? How could you ever point to one particular egg n’ say, ‘yep, that there is one of my kin’?” Douglas inquired, affecting a southern accent towards the end that was hardly worth the effort. “Well they do, in a sense, all ‘look alike’ Douglas” Clive responded, ignoring his attempt at lightening the mood, “but each has a certain – well – a “center” to them…” “You mean like a yolk?” interjected Douglas. “Yes Douglas, very funny. No, not like a yolk – but yes – I suppose sort of like a yolk. They each seem to have a different essence buried deep within them. A unique stamp. Maybe even a soul? Truth be told, I never gave it much thought before, because I never really ‘recognized’ any of them until yesterday. Yesterday, when dad showed up.” “You’re still pretty wrecked about it, hmmm?” Douglas plied as he gently placed one hand on Clive’s slightly trembling shoulder. “Yeah” Clive admitted, remembering the puzzling tactic his father had taken of questioning his sexuality. Why? What had it meant? What had he been trying to accomplish with that, Clive wondered. “Well, I find it simply Christ-on-a-cracker stupefying that in all the folk that have dropped in to pay you a visit, not a one until yesterday was anyone you recognized” Douglas exclaimed a little too loudly to shake Clive back to reality. “Well, it is a big world Douglas, and there’s been a lot of death upon it since the beginning” reasoned Clive. “Clive, really m’man, I just can’t see why someone who loved you in life wouldn’t have popped in to visit you again by now. None of the others have been shy about it. It just don’t seem to make sense. Unless of course, there’s certain ones you can see, and others you can’t?” “What does that mean Douglas?” “Clive, I’ve no idea – just bouncing ideas around, until we can untangle this lil web you seem to have gotten y’self all wrapped up in” Douglas replied, while stroking his chin in an attempt to look philosophical.
“We are many, we are legion.” The words came to the forefront of Clive’s mind again. She had looked different from the rest. More “real.” And not like the man with the red hair. No, for all his airs, he was still just a memory. A something no longer human, trying to appear as if it still was. The girl however, almost seemed weighted. More human than human. Clive would have to think on Douglas’ words more when he was alone. There was something to them, something there that he just couldn’t quite see. Not yet. Clive was interrupted from his thoughts by the not-so-gentle tap Douglas had just delivered. “Clive, I gotta tell you, there are times when I sing to m’self, ‘here I am… just a walkin’ down the street… just me n’ my zombie friend.’ Did ya ever think that maybe all these cats are visiting you just because they think you’re one of them already? I mean, look at ya, m’man. Pasty white all over – ‘cept for the rings under your eyes of course – looking like you just lost your best friend. But only after he had just lost his. AND his puppy, to boot. Moping about like your spine fell down into your leg. I mean, Clive, I love you, but you could do with some serious sunshine m’friend. You need to get y’self laid!” Clive smiled at the thought, giggling a little as he replied “oh yeah – easy, breezy Douglas! I mean, mopey pasty white men are all the rage right now. I’m sure the chicks will just come running as soon as they hear I’m on the market.” “Number one Clive, you don’t want a ‘chick’ – they ain’t worth it” Douglas cautioned. “You want a woman.” “What’s the difference?” asked Clive, honestly ignorant. “Well, a ‘chick’ is someone who follows ‘the rules.’ Plays into the idea that a woman is only worth what her potential suitors think she is. Only accomplishes what Madison Ave. tells her she can. A real woman however, is someone who knows who she is, and would respect herself even if every last ounce of sex appeal was squeezed from her like a sponge. She don’t give a shit what the advertisers think, and she relies on her mind, instead of the body that holds it up. Clive, in short, a chick is someone who says ‘Yes’ – even when she doesn’t mean it – and a woman is someone who says ‘No,’ but only when she does.”
Clive was so intrigued by Douglas’ explanation that he didn’t see – and as a result – slammed right into a woman going in the opposite direction. Forcing her to drop her handbag, which in turn vomited its contents all over the sidewalk. “Oh my God! I am so sorry!” Clive hurriedly exclaimed “can I help you with your things?” “No.” the girl responded curtly. Then flashing a smile a touch on the mischievous side, “of course you can, silly. You’re the one that caused this after all!” Clive bent down and helped her return the purse’s contents to their rightful place. Douglas stood firm. Ladies things were ladies things, and Douglas felt much better not knowing anything more than that. Knowing Clive never would, once everyone was straightened back up, Douglas said “Hi, this here is Clive, and I’m his friend Douglas.” The woman smiled before saying “kind of like a horse and his boy, right? He causes all the trouble, and you do all the talking? Well, it’s a somewhat painful pleasure to meet you both. My name is Tia.” Her smile settled in on Clive, much like a warm blanket greets a cold body. For the briefest of moments, time almost stood still. There seemed to be – well – “something” about her. A something Clive couldn’t describe, but still desired after, and for the first time in a very very long time, he found himself smiling from deep within. After years of the world dragging him down, he was almost sure that in her, he’d find sanctuary. Douglas noted Clive’s smile as well, and abruptly announced “well, as we’ve inconvenienced you, I feel that we are simply propelled to take you to lunch Ms. Tia. It is ‘Miss,’ yes?” Laughing, Tia responded “yes, it is ‘Miss,’ but we’ve a problem with lunch. You gentlemen seem to be going in the opposite direction than I am.” “Miss Tia, directions are meant to be changed” responded Douglas confidentially. And with that, the three of them went off to grab the one thing Douglas cherished even more than Clive – lunch.
For his part, Clive couldn’t believe his good fortune. Not only had he literally ran head-first into a beautiful and intriguing woman, but he also spent an entire morning with nary a single visit. Had he only known the truth of it all, he would had felt much different.
© t – 2o12