For The First Time In His Life
Jay found himself questioning the wisdom of always turning the other cheek, insisting (as Mary would say) on seeing the best in everyone. In that moment he longed to see how it might feel to be rude and judgmental for once. But just the thought of hurting someone’s feelings caused his reflux to rise, his heart to hurt.
So even on that terrible night, when his long-devoted girlfriend said she’d had enough of his fire walking, flame swallowing and other crazy stunts, not to mention how he’d been way too forgiving when some jerk put his hand on her ass at the pub. She’d longed for him set down his chalice of craft IPA and smite that yahoo on his ugly visage, but he’d just lectured him about decency and respect instead.
“Look, babe, your sweetness is part of what I love about you,” she said, tugging a charmingly wayward coil from his ‘fro, “but you always seem to care more about other people’s feelings than mine.”
Though it grieved him, he wasn’t sure he could honestly promise her that he’d change, be the man she wanted him to be. But as he watched his beloved MiMi walk out the door and stride straight-backed down the street, captured in the vivid light of Polaris and the full moon, her linen-cloaked body casting a dramatic shadow, something in him broke. For many minutes he lay paralyzed on the splintery floor, weeping into the warm, wooly coat of his Jack Russell, Muttonchop, until she shook herself free of him with an irritated bleat.
Startled, he rose to his sore, calloused feet—toughened from his daily, contemplative, barefoot walks through the city. “Fuck it,” he said with uncharacteristic force, causing Muttonchop to jump and stare at him as if there was something she wished she could say. “It’s now or never.” Without bothering to change out of his muslin robe, he struck out into the night in the same direction his beloved had departed, but then veered toward the village where that miserable rogue with his roving hands resided. Guided by the same bold light that had graced Mary moments before, Jay clenched and unclenched his fists, resolved to do the one thing that might bring MiMi back to him. Humility be damned.