I am on a Los Angeles city bus in the morning, going to work where I will type someone else’s letters and answer their phone. On the bus I sit and look out the window. Los Angeles is a city for cars. Every person in this city has a car and they drive it. I don’t have a car. I just got here a few weeks ago.
Jeffrey is at home, still in bed, sleeping. He came to bed hours after I gave up trying to stay awake. He watches television while he cooks, then as we eat, and I go into the bedroom, our only other room, to read. I just don’t want to watch television. I sit on the bed and lean against the wall that has large squares of mirror stuck to it.
Within minutes my eyelids begin to close. I fight it. they close. There is such relief in letting them go down.
The only other thing in the room is a heavy wooden desk with an IBM Selectric typewriter on it. I never heard of anyone having one of these for themselves at home, but Jeffrey went and got himself one. Sometimes he sits at it and types up the screenplay he has written on yellow legal pads with his left hand curled. Sometimes he disappears into writing for a few weeks. I know he is happy and excited when he is writing.
Something in me goes sad, watching him write, because I never do it. I keep wishing and waiting for it to happen but all I see is this apartment, my job in the office building, the bus I ride and the weekends that always disappoint.
I can never wait to leave the office and then the weekend comes and I don’t know if I will survive it.
“You can’t stay awake, can you?” he sneers, passing through the bedroom on his way to the bathroom. I know he sees me as pathetic, he hates me and loves me at the same time.
I go to bed early. I give up. He will be up for hours with television, pot, telephone, stereo. None of these things holds my attention. I slip away every time. I hold on for small amounts of time, sharing whatever it is that absorbs him for as long as I can stand it, and then I slip away, never to a place he wants to come to.
I try again. In the torpor of the afternoon while my boss is in a meeting I make myself write. I am at my bland office desk with its stapler and beige phone. I write on a yellow legal pad too because I like so much how Jeffrey’s look. I make up a story about a man who lives alone. He has pictures of girls – sexy and alluring – stuck on the walls of his room. I imagine him in that room at night, alone. He has no friends. He’s weird, he has no social graces. He is awkward, but I know him. I know exactly how it feels to be him.
So I pretend to be him and I write about how at night the girls come alive. They don’t leave their pictures, but they begin to talk to him. I didn’t know what happens then. I leave the story unfinished. The only part of I know is how it feels to be that man in that story and how there is one place where it is a little easier for him.