Misplaced love...
Tom Arbuthnott

I hate this feeling. Woman - basically unknown to me, some shred of sympathy, therefore? Evenings spent in my bedsit mulling over her, challenging her to make my move for me. I set out to fascinate, and display, peacock-like, my availability and enthusiasm. She must call, she?

Love is a wasteland of twisted wrecks, placed by an unseen hand in the same scrapyard. A brazen sunset in the sky, with family vehicles passing down the freeway to the West. The broken automobiles remain, unmoving, hoping for healing hands to be placed against the corroded metal.

I can see Jane on the other side of the scrapheap, a smoothly painted Cabriolet with a hole where the emotions ought to be. I'm sure she can see me and I like to think she's looking. We pull towards each other as hard as we can but movement fails.

We meet in a tiny shabby office, a shoestring telephone counseling service. She works there - as a secretary, volunteer, factotum. My bleeding heart took me there, breaking out of the straitjacket of office life. We work together now on Sunday nights. We'll sit in a small room together waiting for the hurt, the angry, the bereaved, to call our number, and we'll advise, cajole, enthuse them with the idea of happiness. We talk, artificially. I feel sympathy coming from her, impeded by a crabbed sheet of iron. We tell others how to love, how to cope with love's existence, without knowing how to do it ourselves.

First published: February 14, 1999
comments: knobs@iceflow.com