No one’s innocent. Mrs Kimple was no angel. She had her share of sins, her closet full of skeletons. She just never invited anyone into her bedroom, not even Mr Kimple. Oh, no. Mr Kimple slept downstairs. No, not the basement. Think inside the box. A rectangular box, to be exact. Mrs Kimple had dug through the mud that surrounded his coffin, her mind unable to absorb facts. If you look under her fingernails, Mr Kimple was still alive. She kept him alive with those three letters in front of her name, and those smudged paintings, splattered across the canvas of her mind with empty bottles and filled ashtrays. It was Mr Kimple’s fault she hadn’t gone back to work, or answered her phone or locked her front door that night. It was thoroughly Mr Kimple’s fault that she was looking Death in the eye, her mind still unable to absorb facts. How could she die when her beloved was still alive? She would never die unless she died with him, and that was a fact. Taking those facts into account, Mrs. Kimple would never die, leaving Mr Jones in quite a dilemma.
It is not common that a person should accept death, be it gradual or sudden. Death is not failure. Failure is forced down your throat while death cuts it. But is the death of a loved one failure on your part? That, I do believe, is what Mrs Kimple firmly believed. She had failed in her unregistered mission of keeping the one person she loved alive, and Mrs Kimple was not one to digest failure. So she struggled to keep him alive, in the smallest ways she could. She cooked him breakfast, made his bed, laid out his clothes, ran his bathwater, lay down beside him and laughed at all his jokes. One could only debate on the medicine she required: sympathy or a straight jacket?
They lay there, covered in each other’s sins, wondering what horrors her eyes have seen and how much blood he has washed off his hands. They almost seemed sympathetic towards each other, like teachers failing their students, or mothers punishing their children. But what tests have they written, or what wrong have they done to each other, to entwine their fates like this?
There is hardly anything that connects you to another person, let alone circumstance and blood. There is nothing that should make you feel so deeply for a starving child, hundreds of kilometres away. It is nothing but social conditioning and a guided conscience. But Mr Jones and Mrs Kimple were not social outcasts. They grew up in families, however loveless, and were surrounded by friends, however shallow. Somehow, somewhere in that mesh of blood and emotions, they connected.
Mr Jones had connected before. To one Ms Layla Poises. Sound familiar? It should. Mr Jones and I had met like every male teenager met their girlfriends: at a party. Back then we used to call him Frank. Frankie, when he wore his leather jacket. Frankie always had something everyone wanted with him- weed, booze, or a good fuck. Frank and I got together for the latter. Like I said, no one’s innocent. It would be a lovely twist to say I once bore Mr Jones’ child, but I would be lying. And when you’re as innocent as we are, you can’t afford to lie anymore. As for what happened, Frank knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it.
Frank managed not to forget my number, providing me the ego boost I was in desperate need of. We met regularly, had long chats, discussed and analyzed each other’s lives, made plans for our future, and then like every other girl who fucked Frank Jones, I woke up. Or did he put me to sleep? Frank Jones was his own security guard.
But one thing I’ll tell you, Frank Jones wore no protection in bed. Pun intended. There was something childlike and pure in his love making, perhaps something his parents never exhibited when he was conceived. He didn’t believe that the act of love making could or should be interfered with by man-made inventions such as condoms and cufflinks. He was the original love maker, the mentor and the envy of hundreds of husbands who to their dismay, found that they could never please they wives and much as some random pimp they had met at a college party could. After all, what could please the Eves of the world more than Adam’s erection? (It must have pleased the first one immensely to have populated the entire world.)
Frank fucked you like you were the only Eve he ever has, and ever will screw for the rest of his life. It was no lie either, because for those few hours, he saw you and no one and nothing else. And that is, needless to say, any common woman’s dream, isn’t it? To be desired to be point of obsession. To be loved with a love so pure and rich, however short and sticky. But was I just another common woman? It would seem so, considering how speedily he threw on his socks and tie afterward.
I had been too optimistic. I saw the world through an expensive movie camera lens, and an equally fictional script. I would be his angel. I would ‘change him’. I would rein him in, make him see, make him believe, make him, in all its on screen power and weight, fall in love. And now, nearly 30 years later, I realize that I had almost nearly succeeded.