She had many lovers for a woman of twenty-three. It was expected of young women to debut in this way. Many lovers until confusion set in and one found themselves in a jet plane chasing a letter from the east.

The letter had come…not now, not yet….we will wait until Jim wakens. The letter was addressed to him.

Erika had many lovers and they had been typical individuals from the television shows and movies (Jim was aware of this and wasn't sure at this point whether it was sentiment or illness but he was talking to her constantly about staring at screens.).

Paul was the first. He read to her from Marcuse and though she hadn't understood a word he had a fine voice and intellect that interpreted Marcuse, fitting the man's themes into the center of events taking place at the time.

The interpretation of events was, after all, another angle of attack into a woman's heart. Every woman loved the prophet. It was either that or destroy the poor soul. Either way a woman was alert to the interpretations of the times and he did his best to keep up with the various interpretations. After all, there was a political one, a religious one, an economic one, a geopolitical one, a social one, a crazy one, a non-provable but entertaining one. New ones were popping up all the time.

They would play with one interpretation, then another, another until the whole wheel of them was emptied out. It made them feel clever but eventually the man lost his credibility because the woman figured out that the reality was always bigger than the interpretation and, with some experience, it became obvious that no interpretation altered the fact. They merely allowed for that premium quality, security in a world of dread and threat.

There were times when Erica admitted she, "really didn't know how to interpret the world. It's not black and white that's for sure." But her main concern was to get the secure life, one she watched on films where the characters did nothing but live as they pleased with little arguments to create the dramatic tension. They lived as they pleased with no apparent jobs. Money never seemed a problem and they kept themselves as beautiful as could be. It was a life worth aiming for. She had come to that conclusion long before, had gone through a winnowing process, and was now to the refinement process where there were only a few models. At the begining everyone was thrown together; that is, the porn star and the famed actresses with the meaty roles. Then some version of discrimination cut in, probably after experience taught her not to be so large and giving. The real test came with what she called a "real man" rather than all the actors the wonderful actresses had to put up with. The bumbling, lying, murdering, smelly males were portrayed with wonderful strokes of comic genius and it was the woman who had to subdue them and make them better. Her heart swelled up when she saw the process unfolding on the screen but now she wanted to skip this process as too demanding and get to the real man asap.

There was Pete, John, and Charley. There was Ahmad and Dewy, James and Antoine. As long as they correlated with a few of the images she gleaned from the screen the man thrilled her.

Jim now woke up. The letter had arrived and was open on the desk. He struggled to get up. He knew, vaguely, what was in the letter. He now imagined the world without her, it took some time but he waited, then got up to get dressed. "No, she wasn't a whore," he thought to himself while shaving. "Whore is a strange word, what does it mean, after all?" She had to have her mark of distinction, he thought. Each man represented a color, a mark, a tatoo, a feather, a bead and all sorts of dinstinctions people came up with. "She's not yet in the main of things, she hasn't tasted the power of goods. No, she collects experiences." He didn't blame her. After a while he threw up his hands, "she can do anything she wants to do," and laughed, watched himself laugh, thought it was a bad look and went back into the bedroom.

He lingered in the kitchen for a while and then reappeared in the room and snatched the letter up and scanned it. He made a face and his head bounced back and forth as though he had known all along what it said, there were no surprises. In essense it ended the relationship, she still cared about him, blah blah, blah. It was standard fare, a trope in modern life, he knew he would get it almost from the first time he met her. He could now plant the letter in his brain and move forward, a little piece of life had died and he shoved it down below a few pranks he had commited in college.

She was friendly at first before she got cold and cruel. He was quite free of her until he wasn't. He drove to her apartment complex and spied on her from the bushes to see what man she was with. One time, drunk, he had grabbed his rifle and thrown it in the back of the car. Once he even urinated in the open windown of a guy's car who was staying over night. He felt ashamed later but cahtarsis was its own reward.

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David Eide
January 24, 2014