Sometimes I'm the one that texts her, and sometimes she's the one who texts me. Half an hour later I hear a knock on my door. It's Helen of Troy. Damn, Helen of Troy looks good. I crawl into bed while she gets ready in the bathroom.
Wearing nothing but a sleepy smile, she steps into my bedroom and walks toward me on tiny footsteps, her figure moving like a silk curtain in an open window. Silently she crosses the foot of my bed and looks at me. Her shadow falls over me, radiating a dark heat that only I can feel. And then she lies down beside me. I lick my lips and am literally melted alive by her warm legs and fingers, her round waist and wet body, the tiny paradise we make beneath the covers.
I can’t believe that I’m actually fucking Helen of Troy on a semi-regular basis. I’m amazed. I speak to her in iambic pentameter. I buy her cheap necklaces and earrings that she accepts out of politeness. Occasionally I feign indifference towards her, because some girls are really into indifference. She tells me to stop trying to impress her. Sometimes we stay up and watch the sunrise.
In more intimate moments she tells me how her mom was raped by a swan, and I tell her I’m sorry that happened, that’s fucked up. She tells me she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She tells me that in a little bit she has to go back home and I say “why” and she says “because.” The discussion never advances beyond those two words, although sometimes we repeat them over and over for a long time.
This isn't magic, she says. She isn't a princess or queen, she's Helen the Bank Teller, and I'm not going to rescue her from anything. Don't make this complicated. Don't turn this into some bloody, ten year war. Don't start writing epics. Faustus, please don't get your goddamn heart broken. This kind of stuff happens all the time. They are as common as stones, these love affairs.
Driving across thousands of miles of interstate, past cheap hotels and midnight filling stations, over bridges and the endless fields, under sun and starlight, into the new city at last. To get to New City, you cannot avoid traveling a long road, more interminable and unknown than even the curving burning halls of Dante’s infernal city. To get to New City, you must abandon all hope, forgetting yourself more and more with each approaching step. No more old names to whisper when you’re alone in the dark. No more hometowns or mothers. No scroll of sins to drag behind you. Nothing to know and nowhere to be. Surrounded by light.
There is a cliff so steep that even the stars fear it. It is there and nowhere else that you must throw yourself: to edges, to air, to naked light.
I stand at the foot of my bed and watch myself sleep.
Throw away your life, your heart, your hands. Blow kisses at the wind. Give up these tiresome streets, and move through the world like an underwater eel.
Stuff the walls of your brain with cork and xanax and smoke until you make yourself a nest of perfect silence. Speak in a soft voice, too tender to be heard. Close the door of your bedroom and stay there, for another year.
Approaching the moment of truth, a blindness fell from her open naked eyes and bright light entered her.
The light bleached away all bodies and shapes until the only thing she could see was the hum and blur of spinning particulates.
Every name she knew and mumbled fantasy, every song that had made her cry, every ache of bedroom love, every wail of astonishment, every lonely sigh, every curse word, every earthly thing that ever touched her was in a moment dissolved and obliterated.
She did not feel regret.
Regret is something that only the living know.
The last thing she felt was the sad mysterious lovely grace of vanished things.
She drifted into the air.