Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Wharf Rat

It’s strange how things work out. I’ve always enjoyed driving around in the fog. It helps me clear my mind; add clarity when I’m troubled. And… I really needed that centering of my soul when I stormed out of the house in a fit of rage after arguing with Mom, the hairdresser, the know it all, retired.
   The problem is, the house is mine and I’m no longer that rebellious teenager of fifteen, but she doesn’t see it that way. I own a profitable software company and make informed decisions on a daily basis. Yet, she insists on treating me like a child, criticizing everything from my choice of men, or lack of, the way I dress, and my diet.
Mom moved in with me a year ago against my better judgment, but I gave in because she could no longer afford that ramshackle mausoleum I grew up in. Besides, in thirty years, I’ve never won an argument with her.
   Dad dumped the house, and me, on Mom fifteen years ago. She should have sold it right then. Instead, she waited until she was forced to file bankruptcy and lost everything.
Mom was never good with reality and still clings to a crazy notion he’ll come slinking back one day, fall on his knees and beg her forgiveness. Like he’s going to give up mistress #four, or #five, or whatever number he’s on, and return to a world of responsibility.
I rolled down the windows to allow the cold and dampness to seep in. There’s a strange, other worldliness of beauty about the misty fog rolling off the ocean. It’s laden with the smell of salt, fish, seaweed, and myriad other things unlike any I’ve ever known. If I stay away too long, I have cravings I can’t explain.
I drive down to the jetty whenever time allows. I wallow in the sights and smells I can’t get anywhere else. At times, I think I must have been a salty mariner in a past life. Either that or I’m a wharf rat at heart.
The condensation dripping from the deserted warehouses creates a staccato symphony that soothes away my stress after a long day at work. Mom would go into hysterics if she knew where I was. Just one more bone of contention between us.
This place was old before I was born. Time and the economy haven’t been kind, either. I’ve seen homeless people take up residence now and again, but they don’t last long. The bums and winos give it a wide birth. My mother claims it’s haunted… Little does she know what really goes on here.
I’ve been coming here for years, but I’ve never felt threatened even though it’s in a rundown part of town. Maybe that’s because of Eugene. I met him on my twentieth birthday after a big row with Mom. No matter how long I stay away, or how often I come back, he’s here for me.
Eugene died sometime between 1850 and 1870 from a gunshot wound in the back. He grows evasive when I try to pin him down. He occasionally talks about being a sailor during the Civil War, but claims he never took sides. I like to fantasize he was a rollicking buccaneer fleeing from the law.
Tonight, I’ve worn my sexiest, thigh high spiked boots, lacy underwear, and done my hair and makeup in a Goth style; lots of black makeup. I tried dressing like Scarlet O’Hara once, and he hated it. The more outlandish my attire, the more he likes it.
That’s what sparked the argument with Mom tonight. She says I look like one of her clients who claimed the best sex she ever had was in a cemetery on top of one of the graves. I told her that was nonsense. She knows cemeteries give me the creeps.
Here comes Eugene now. He’s dressed as a pirate, one of my favorite embodiments. That’s enough reflection for now. Eugene doesn’t like to be kept waiting.
Oh, Mom, what would you think if you could see me now?



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