Joseph’s bright, white undershirt clung to his body and from a side view, his torso reminded one of the hilly countryside at a vertical perspective. His muscled stomach, a washboard of a road leading to that place she hoped to keep for herself. He turned her world upside down and all she could do was spin motionless within the memories of him, next to her, his breath on her shoulder. She could not be in the same room with him without toucing him and she wanted him in a way that transcended his emotional well being. As though she would engulf him and he would be no more.
Joseph perceived this and having considered the emotional plight and the long run, he folded her up and put her in a sack to be carried away by rejection, that cruel intraveneous cold moment that laid her waste for weeks. Her knees pulled tight to her quivering chin. Her pillow wet with tears.
Indescribable lust had taken hold of her and like a junkie who pined for a good shot of horse, she caved in, longing, wishing, remembering. Nothing and no one had ever compared to Joseph.
The nights were long and the sweats persistent. Her agony passed woefully in sombering 60 second intervals, which seemed like hours. Her muscles ached for the great Joseph, long after her heart had soured to his memory.
In the fourth week of her misery she awoke to being fully alone and the world seemed to her as a jigsaw puzzle, disjointed and flat. She’d removed everything from her small house which reminded her of Joseph. She had the carpets steamed, the mattress cleaned and all of her pillows redone. Every cell or hair or fiber which Joseph might have left behind was removed.
Years later, she would marry a man whom she loved and respected. A bright and caring man. They moved to the sea side and began their life together. Children would be born. Milestones met and the fullness of life experienced. In the evenings she sometimes sat beneath the stars watching the vast ocean and thought of Joseph. She realized her good fortune and she felt lucky.
Her husband did not know that she sometimes indulged in afternoons with the ghost of Joseph. For the wife he knew was perfectly content with him and when she traveled east in the winters to visit her mother, he walked the beach in front of their beautiful home with Heather.
Heather did not love her husband. He was a diversion from her boredom with a life grounded in a strapping gravity. And the three in their discontent, in the desert of mannered conventionality and the maze of confusion, unbeknownst to any of them, became one.