A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
For Some Reason
Of course I remember the night Leonard Cohen died. It was cold and rainy and all the winds swept wet curtains over the streets. We heard them. The next morning, before we knew, we made love by mistake, soft, and sliding on the red rayon sheets, discount silk from Sears. We went out for breakfast and ordered dessert, sucking the jubilees out of the cherries like bright-eyed vampires with harmless baby fangs. Then we walked. Yes, in the sunlight, but for some reason we didn’t notice. Nora and Peter and Granger the hound found us in the window of Bean To Denmark, drinking frothy coffee and lecturing the tourists through the glass. But they didn’t tell us, so how could we know? Instead, they told us funny stories and, innocent as kittens, we laughed too much, too often.
We found out later, from strangers, in the sober wooden light of a dim dinner when the maître’d said “Mr. and Mrs.,” in that way that you know somebody has died. But we were very brave, finding our serious heads, because everyone was probably watching us. Then we went home to play his music and open some wine. And we listened, cold statues in the darkness, having our sadness like an unhappy inheritance, and heavily drinking our misunderstandings into arguments — until we cried. Then, like no one you recognized, I asked you to dance and it was a waltz, candle-flickered and old, the stone-hard tears still on our cheeks.
In the morning, we packed our stuff in your suitcase and, dressed in black, we sat on the stairs, two mourning crows on an empty autumn stoop.
Time passed. The taxi was yellow with a black roof. You got in the back, and I walked away. For some reason, I didn’t look back.
Yesterday, I went to our gravesite, like I always do this time of year. It was bright and crisp, and I didn’t take the children — they’re getting too old. Then I had a hot drink at that new place across the street while the yellow taxis prowled and paused at the traffic light.
Just so you know, I never wait long. Later, for some reason, I hummed “I’m Your Man” to myself, all the way home.