After the demise of a prolongued relationship, you may feel that you've been taught a dispiriting lesson: that you are worthless and evil, and so are humans in general. Or, that no human emotion has an equivalent value in any sort of objective reality. Or, that it doesn't matter what you think, feel, or do, only whether you feel good or bad. If you are incapable of feeling good, life is bad. This is the lesson you may have been taught.
A tiny flashback: I touched her shoulder across the bed. I think I have some kind of wound in my chest, I said. She said, don't say that. I do, I said, I can feel it bleeding internally. No, no, she answered. She took my hand and pulled it towards her, then clamped it between her thighs. I tried to pull it back but she was strong. The insides of her thighs were sweaty against my hand. We rested for a little while.
Then I wanted to say: I really think there's something wrong with me. There's a pain in my chest, and my arms are tingling. She sighed and said, you're just anxious. Nothing's wrong. I tried to pull away from her; she had curled her back against my chest - her back was stuck to me. I tried to push my finger into the elastic band in her underwear. She murmured, go to sleep.
I have to get up, I said. I think I'm going to throw up. I got out of bed and walked into the living room. I sat on the couch. The television was turned off but it emitted a staticky humming sound. I got up and opened the refrigerator. There was nothing to drink - I remembered that I had checked a few minutes earlier. Back on the couch, the fabric started scratching my leg. I felt the strands of fiber jutting against my flesh like wires.
Oh man, I feel shitty, I said to myself.
I stuck my head between my knees and rocked back and forth to see if it would calm me down. When I yawned, my jaw popped and my eyes started to water.
Later I was back in bed. She was breathing evenly. Her face looks less beautiful when she's asleep, but still innocent and beautiful.
When I closed my eyes, I felt like the bed was starting to tilt. The foot end would rise off the floor and towards the ceiling as if the mattress were attached to a centrifuge.
I remembered a girl that I used to have sex with. I imagined sitting at dinner with her and saying, please have sex with me. I've masturbated about you every day for a year, but now I'm starting to run out. If you have sex with me, I'll be able to keep going for a while. I'm only asking because I think you're a good person and I really like you. We were sitting in a restaurant and the girl had been crying.
She was saying, why don't you love me? How could you make love to me if you didn't care about me?
The tears made her face shiny like the face of a synthetic doll. She was beautiful.
I'm sorry, I said.
There is a hole in your heart.
One day someone reached in and then your soul leaked out. You filled it up with drugs and caffeine and television and drugs and pornography. But you should exercise more, instead of watching television, which you do for several hours every day. Mostly the programs don't matter - if it's part of a series and you've seen a previous episode, you'll watch it.
Or, you'll be in your room, masturbating. Your friends from work call you up, but you don't answer. They leave a message, saying they're worried about you. You are not going back to work. They don't know it, but you got fired. Your boss, a small man with a thick beard and small glasses, said he was very sorry. You're both suffering from motivational exhaustion. If he could fire himself, he might do it.
On the way out, you went and grabbed a free soda from the company refrigerator.
In your free time, you go on lots of dates. You meet girls on the subway or in the street and ask them out. Sometimes you're too shy to talk to a girl, so you write her a note:
I think you are beautiful, am paralyzed with longing. Would you like to go on a date with me? Check box for yes. (I would like to take you to dinner. It would be my treat, and I expect no sexual favors in return.)
The key to happiness lies in falling in love with so many people at once that your heart can never be broken. Sex is the most important thing in the world. That's why people go to work every day, to their marketing jobs, or retail; to achieve success, which leads to sex. The more successful you are, the more attractive you become to prospective mates. By sex, I don't just mean fucking and making love, but everything relating to your sex drive - the currents of attraction and instinct that make you stare at a woman's ass through a light summer skirt and watch the way it sways, as you're following her for blocks in the heat. Women want to show you their cleavage, and their thin, tan arms, or the back of their necks. This makes them feel powerful and eases social anxieties.
However, they don't enjoy sex as much as men do. They like it okay, but it isn't really a necessity for them, the way it is for men, unless they're nymphomaniacs (the majority of convicted sex offenders are male). Women have sex because it increases their self-esteem. If you can't increase someone else's self-esteem, you may as well fuck yourself.
It's difficult to understand that there may be something wrong with you: perhaps you are the type of person that is missing an ingredient. This makes your life like an animal's: there's an endless stream of necessities, but no fulfillment. Instead you buy groceries and stick them in the fridge. You take the garbage outside and leave it. You pay the bills for your house and the things you use.
There's no reason or meaning behind any of this - the world is too complex, and no one is smart enough to understand it. Instead you involve yourself with various machineries. You have no control over the past or the future, and without those reference points, the present is a cage.
What do beautiful women mean? They let you return to some sort of idealized childhood, if you can fall in love with them. They also let you exert your biological imperatives by having sex with you. But who are they? You can't enter their consciousness - their needs are separate from yours.
What else can you do? You must keep wanting something. Once when I was out walking, I saw a man get hit by a car. He fell on the street, and people rushed up to him to see if he was okay and to help him. But when he stood up, he was shouting at them, angrily. He tried to hit someone standing close by. The bystanders were frightened and confused, just like the man himself.
It helps to carry a weapon in this city, because then you have an excuse to talk to strangers. Express your inner self - don't let your fear or your need for conformity suppress who you are! Do not adjust to other people's reality, just because you're afraid of being alone. Don't be afraid. Your fear is useless.
Instead, be good to your self.
Getting rejected by someone you were in love with, especially if that person is unusually attractive, can make you feel worthless and sad.
But these emotions are only a temporary effect of being alone after a period of binary completeness.
Remember that you were alone for years before you met the person who would later break your heart.
Also remember that unhappiness cannot kill you unless it leads to symptoms like starvation or suicide.
You have wanted things all your life, and usually you didn't get them. The failure of a relationship is no different than being denied an expensive consumer item. Love is like the merchandise ruthlessly marketed to children during the holiday season: As a child, you wanted some sort of action figure transporter vehicle, or the secret headquarters built inside a plastic rock - an object that could ensure your happiness even beyond the post-present Christmas afternoon crash. You tried to persuade your parents to buy it for you, and when they refused, you felt utterly betrayed and frustrated.
Remember, you don't deserve to be happy. No one owes you anything. If at some point you are happy, it will be due to a strange coincidence.
Another flashback: It was at home, slippery with sweat. The heat came into the window and filled the room like wet cottonballs. Oh, beautiful desperate futility, I was thinking, twisting toward the little ventilator that was blowing hot air against my naked ass. I wish I was in a hospital, with air conditioning, wearing white slippers, and socks.
The girl was lying with her arm against mine, which made the hot skin touch. I kept trying to roll away from her, but the bed was too small. Please, I said, forgive me. I pushed her very lightly towards the edge of the bed. The sheets were sticky with sweat, but they still swelled warm and sweet, like clean bodies.
I'm so sick in this heat. Maybe we should leave the house. Anything might be cooler. I want to stop drinking so much soda, I explained. The amount of money I spend on it is ridiculous. And it's all sugar, rotting through your teeth. I can't stand the disgusting taste it leaves in my mouth, and I still drink the stuff every day and walk around twitching and thinking about all the things I want to do for my future, like a fucking wind-up toy person.
Look, I can't lie here like this. If we go to sleep in this heat, our heads will swell up and we'll drown in our own blood. Please.
I tried to wake her up, but she was all the way asleep. She'd fallen asleep after I came inside her, immediately. Maybe because she couldn't bear my presence any longer, or the embarrassment of how she'd screamed and grunted and held onto my body like a baby clutching its mother. Or maybe she was happy.
You're beautiful, I thought. I felt like I was in love with her. She had soft skin and wide skinny shoulders and hips. I wanted to wake her up and have sex with her again. But it would be too hot.
Usually she didn't want to have sex with me. I could offer to pay her. I wondered how much it cost for her to have sex with me again, and this was my way of expressing a desire I knew I couldn't satisfy.
She could ask for two thousand dollars, because she knew that my parents had sent me money to pay for school, or she could say: that will cost you ten dollars, or a pint of chocolate icecream, or a foot massage.
It might also be something vicious, like calling a woman from work that I'd admitted having a crush on last week, and then being mean to her on the phone while my girlfriend danced naked on a chair. All sorts of things.
Sometimes kissing is more than just a symbolic gesture. Some girls have soft, gentle lips that curve around yours like warm slugs, which makes kissing them like riding a hot boat in a lake full of melting butter: you are engulfed and completely absorbed. You may miss kissing someone like this years later. When you see them with someone else your lips may pucker involuntarily, out of some dumb animal reflex. But after a certain point, it's safe to say that you will never miss someone again.