The Love of My Life by Stephen MacLane

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Write about a reluctant party-goer who ends up being the star of the show.... view prompt


Contemporary Romance Friendship

THE LOVE OF MY LIFE [& somewhere, scribbled in this particular edition of it: "F. Scott is not dead....."]

by Stephen MacLane 

for Paola

the first night 

Call me Stephen.....this one’s for you, P. 

Walking here over to the "King's Lodge" I thought about a stream of consciousness novel, written within such mental bouts and such boundaries, but all being driven and flowing on toward you, that being, a stream of consciousness novel written by a man in love about a man in love through his unceasing and transmogrified and substantiated and compilatory love. That being, me. All this coming from a feeling of guilt, from not keeping up with our meetings, messages, voice recordings back-and-forth, and e-mails. Me needing to tell you the whole story. 

[FOUR DAYS LATER.....Up until this point Stephen’s whole family had been trying to get a reach of Stephen, whom they could not find, and whom, they were sorry to hear, P. had not heard from as of recent, either. Stephen and Paola had met while on holiday in Greece, and had, so it seemed to all parties involved, fallen in love. As a matter of fact, her and he had had a meeting scheduled on Facetime that he had missed (their biweekly ritual of lovesorts), and since that missed meeting three or four days ago she hadn’t heard a word from him, she said to his mother and father, who'd reached out to their bachelor son’s supposed lover-in-waiting (over in Italy or France or where-was-it somewhere) over Facebook (their first time being so brash or worried as to 'reach out' on Facebook to someone not in and of their closer circles, as it were); yes, upon his return from the Mediterranean he had told them he was to spend his life with her, and after his recent absence had gone on for some time, striking them as not out of the ordinary but somewhat curious, as it were, as they were his parents, they supposed he might have gone ahead with his plans, those being, from what he had said many a time in one way or another, to take off back to Italy or France or the Czech Rep. or whereabouts to be with P. But P. hadn’t heard from him nor seen him on Facetime within the past few days, no. & that was interesting, his parents thought. Where could he be now?.....] 

Walking here to the “King’s Lodge” motel a few blocks away from my parents’ house; away from that damned place, my parents’ place of dwelling, indwelling in their Boomerish quietude. That damned place where I cannot hear myself think even when alone. That damned place fast becoming a prison. That damned place, oh, that imprisons me in uncreative and base nothingness. Damned place. I came here to this shitty motel to think. To think more clearly of you, P., and to continue my explanation to you. 

I need time to figure out what’s been going on. We will see each other this year. I have the 1700 in the bank for the flight. But, I wanted to plan it better.

No, I couldn’t. I tried getting myself together enough to make outline-able some plan for staying there and working or planning some economic route, but I have been here in Los Angeles writing, writing goddammit! writing, and thinking of you. 

I’ve written about a dozen short stories, The Kitchen's Count, Varicose Nuns, Cosy Oranges, Settling a Classic Novelette, No-Spout Countertops, and Watermelon Sicklepuss and the Country Bountry, to name a few, countless poems, filled notebooks, and yet feel and know the time should have been spent planning some responsible future for the both of us. At least on the part of my career plans. I admit, yes, I’ve been keeping up with my classes, going the whole ten yards with school all considered, but I still feel, everything considered (all possibilities considered), there is something more I can strive for that will, at some point, give you a more considerable sense of security in yourself and with me. I strive for your benefit, and my own, and wreck my mind on the shores of perfectionism.

Understandable for an artist, I think. For now, here in a dim-lit room, in a motel filled with the “homeless” (& here lies a small tangent in this love-letter novella-reference on the “homeless” population here in Los Angeles, which is currently being funneled into suburban quarters like Alhambra and Monterey Park, something the city is mandating, all the while having no idea really what it is really doing), filled with grafitti (gang names, not the colorful artistic kind, either), and dirty scents.

At least I have a place to think. I have a bottle of wine, some Gatorades, and some cacahuates. For now, I will take to painting a portrait of you, for I brought some of my acrylics and canvasses, along with just a few volumes of Proust to enjoy as an appetizer (your samesmile skin the main meal, the yellows and reds and whites and sunburst oranges I mix together to get to it). Oh, Paola, I love you, P. Oh, P.

[FOUR DAYS LATER, CONTINUED.....P. messages Stephen, from her place on an island just off of the southeast coast of France. Wanting to give him his space (where is he, what has he been doing, running around to?), but wondering verily, like his parents, where he was: Where are you? He answers: On a train, on my way back to LA. Been on trains, in motels, walking the streets all over the place: from the caucuses -ha- of San Bernadino to San Diego to Santa Barbara. I wrote a novella. For you, my love. You’ve been on my mind all along. Forgive me. She reads the message to herself over again. Of course he was all over the place, my Goldmund, she thinks, smiling widely.] 

Yes, I could not even hear myself think in my parents' house. I woke up every morning (regardless of the thoughts about you which awoke right beside me) absolutely furious. Just furious. So stifling, the air there. Everything about it. No creative energy, no facilitative inspirational forces, nothing. So, here in the “King’s Lodge”. Feeling horrible because the rest of the money I had was supposed to be for a flight right out to you. I have 1700 remaining, and am pulling myself out of this miasma of vagabondage and marijuana-wine tutelary to save these funds for my trip out to see you, my love. The only thing that makes it difficult is the location of living- the living situation and its shackles, if you will- at the moment.

Oh, what is stopping me? What’s holding me back? Perfectionism? P., you are my one. Allow me to want to be at my best when I make my return flight over the grand Atlantic and back into your idolatrous arms, oh, P.

Or, allow me the silliness of wanting to be at my best. As in, instead of exercising and running 8 miles a day and studying the varying languages of that land I fly toward steadfast and work toward transferring my credentials to (those E.U. universities and patronages and acadamias), I have instead been lounging about like a smilesome viceroy reading James Joyce and Proust in toto and smoking too much marijuana and vagabonding about all over the shoeshine and nonshoeshine -Oak- hills and valleys and stark odysseys of Southern California. I have not been to the gym. My liver wails, I am full of twineweeds, and my heart belongs to you alone. Oh, Paola. Be patient. With me.  

Yes, P.

[FOUR DAYS LATER, CONTINUED.....A message from Stephen on Facebook, with a .docx attachment. P. clicks it open.....THE LOVE OF MY Stephen MacLane.....she continues reading, "the first....." .....] 

[FOUR AND ONE HALF DAYS LATER.....Stephen sits before his schisty Lenovo laptop, in a vague, brandish lobby, salmon colors abounding. He is brandishly purchasing a ticket for his flight. Depart LAX the following morning: soon to arrive in Héliport de Cannes. Where he'll damn well be close enough to her- he'll smell 'er smells in the wind, ay, he will. He does already, ay. His eyes are bright, brighter than they've ever before been- & Ay, shine, they will.....]

[also, written in the slapshot, banksying margins, on pg. 47 of this particular edition of The Love of My Life by Stephen Maclane: "GENIUS IS AS GENIUS DOES....."]

May 13, 2021 00:14

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