When I had my mental collapse, I do believe my brothers were somewhat concerned that I might go completely insane or off myself. Though I don’t believe we talked about it any. But one brother I know did try to look after me a bit, and I think it might have been my first quarter working for the PhD, and I was down to Casa De Oro to pick up some books and he made a strong point of my showing up for a drink at the local Club 94. So I went when he said, thinking I might not see him otherwise.
I came into the bar to find him and behind the bar itself a youngish woman with large breasts accentuate by a somewhat tight t-shirt. She had red hair, like me, so immediately a narcissistic thing was at work, and then I realized that I knew her—and said so—and well you might, she indicated, since she had been a cheer leader when I was at high school. Whereupon I made a roundabout libidinal connection, remembering I had sat watching her breasts bounce up and down while sitting on the bench at a basketball game.
She was quite friendly and I sensed that my brother had set me or, or should I say, attempting to set me up with Jane, let’s call her. And she allowed, upon inquiry, that just possibly that was the case. I felt awkward though drinking a good deal helped with that, and we established some sort of connection, so that when the bar closed down at 2 she asked did I want to come over to her place. Sure, I said, and she drove since I was a bit inebriated.
Her place was an apartment about a mile away, and upon arrival, she shoed out her sister, maybe it was, fast asleep on the sofa, who left still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. And then Jane said she would going to check on her son down the hall and would be back in a little bit. I said, could I smoke, and she said yes and gave me an ashtray, and I sat there feeling sort of vaguely depressed and unlibidinal, smoking one cigarette after another, until she returned attired in come-hither night gown and not much else.
While I am generally completely stupid about such matters, the signals in this situation clearly indicated that were I to engage her in amorous activity I would not be met with resistance. She reclined Cleopatra like on the sofa, and we began to talk a bit about people we had known in high school, and when I mentioned this one guy, she just launched in calling him an asshole and a mean mother fucker, etc. Whereupon, we moved briefly to the subject of her husband, also a major league asshole. And something about the way men general treated women lead her to tell me about how her brothers would push her down to the ground and pinch her breasts till they were black and blue.
I guess I talk too much because whatever remained of my libido was just a shadow of its former self. I sat there paradoxically full to the point of breaking with a sense of emptiness. I lit another cigarette, and noticed that she had gone to sleep. I sat a while longer, got up, and covered her against the morning chill, kissed her on the forehead (as I remember) and left.
Outside the sun was coming up and I found myself standing opposite the old Junior High. I had not seen that place in years having no occasion to go down the street it was on. I walked over to the steps of the Junior High and looked back from where I had come. Once, looking where I was looking, there had been a big empty field and on the opposite end of it the Catholic church and school But now the whole area, filled with apartment buildings, was just unrecognizable.
I walked back to my car but it was only as I said about a mile away parked in front of the Club 94.