I’m beginning to think he stood me up. Again. I made a reservation for two and I paid for it. It wasn’t cheap, either, not on a writer’s salary. I’ve been waiting here in this lobby for three days straight now, in the only suit I own – which I purchased at a second hand store, anyway - notebook open, waiting. Waiting for my Muse. I think perhaps I should change. I think perhaps I should check out of this place (and into a different kind of place)
It’s not like it’s anything spectacular, anyway. My room overlooks Highway 10. I’ve got a balcony over Highway 10 with a view of a vast New Mexican prairie. Discarded plastic trash bags play among the yellowed brush as a row of biscuit-colored mountains lay against an azure horizon.That’s not right. But I could live with that, if he’d only show up! I could draw the curtains and forget about the balcony! I don’t know if he’s coming, but I’ll give it another day or two. Call me naïve, but he will come, he always comes, just not when it’s convenient for me or in accordance with our pre-arranged plans.
I’m sitting in the lobby of a chain hotel. Patrons laze around with magazines and pastries as if they have nothing better to do. Not me, I’m tending to serious business. The concierges (two glorious old queens) keep asking me about him, since I’d told them what I’m up to. I state I’m waiting for a man. That’s all I said at first. Howerever they keep asking, as if it’s twenty questions. As if it’s the most fun they'd had in weeks. It’s fun for them because they’re making fun of me, at my expense. I think they think he’s either a prostitute or an imaginary friend because yesterday, when they asked me his name, I said I didn’t know. Well, I don’t. But hey! Lots of people have sex with people they don’t know the names of so I don’t see why it’s so different to be in a long-term (if somewhat erratic) relationship with a man whose name you don’t know. Go on, judge me.
I haven’t written anything in weeks. I keep trying. My own imagery bores me. My conceits bore me. They’re stale, they’re moldy, they stink. They beg to be composted. I keep comparing seashells to fists when really they’re nothing alike. I keep making religious pronouncements. Those don’t belong in stories (unless you’re Rimbaud, and even then) It’s this thirst for grandiosity. It’s exhausting. I’ve been feeling hollow, dissociated, like I’m out of my body but I’m not anywhere else. And my Muse, who knows where he is? Perhaps he’s found another writer. Maybe even a painter! Maybe he’s posing for his portrait right now and that’s why he’s so late for our date. Or maybe he’s a musician and they’re in the middle of a duet. Composing together. Perhaps he’s his muse, too.
Perhaps he simply desires me when I’m unavailable. Isn’t it clear to him, though? I’m always available. I could be dying. I could be on the brink of death, about to consummate my union with God once and for all and I’d hear his voice and tell the Almighty to fuck off, I'm busy.
The concierge I dislike the least is a small old queer with gray waves and gray troublemaker’s eyes. He’s mopping the putrid green linoleum diamond-shaped floor tiles and doesn’t seem to notice how putrid they are. The shape, the color, clichés, clichés.
“And how did the young man sleep?”
“Badly,” I reply, hospitably.
“Nightmares?” He asks, sort of conspiratorially, like it’s an inside joke or something. I haven’t told him anything about my dreams. “Because it couldn’t have been the pillows. I arranged them myself!”
“It was the pillows,” I jab. “My dreams were excellent.” At least this last part is true.
“My, dear, young man....” His mop stops moving and he’s looking at me and I’m looking at the floor because I’d rather look down at the putrid green diamonds then up at those blazing gray circles. “You look exhausted. Maybe you should take a nap. And put on something more comfortable. Do you have pajamas?”
That does it. Like I’m going to meet my Muse—the love of my life—in fucking jammies. Of course sometimes I can’t help it like when he shows up unexpected at two in the morning and I’m sleeping. That’s the thing about writing. Every time you sleep you’re sleeping on the job. I need a cup of coffee. Then I’m going to tell this bitch exactly what...