This is an excerpt from today's "Daily Rumpus" e-mail -- which I've signed up to have delivered to my inbox. (You can, too, here: http://therumpus.net/)
Stephen Elliott's writing is fast becoming a favorite of mine.
I was thinking yesterday how people are vulnerable and the things that are troubling us sometimes rise, like from a volcano. Or how the people around us are mirrors, so we can't really know ourselves without seeing ourselves in someone else's eyes. I think I broke up with my fiance because I saw myself in her and didn't like what I saw. And I was thinking about how we take blame for things, and how sometimes that's mature and other times it's enabling. You can, perhaps, realize the role you've played in a conflict with someone, but that doesn't mean you can have a healthy relationship with them. You can recognize a problem without solving it.
Then I was thinking about this guy who was dating a prostitute. This is mostly true. She was married and he loved her and she loved him but neither of them was really capable of love. They were capable of passion. His friends robbed a jewelry truck, Tiffany's or something like that, an armored car. They stole over a million dollars worth of merchandise. It was on the front page of the newspaper. The crime was never solved and one day his friend gave him a ring from the robbery and he gave the ring to the girl. But the girl didn't want the ring. She said, So you're a client now? She thought he was trying to pay her. She didn't know she was holding the key to a famous crime. There was so much she didn't want to know. There was her husband, her boyfriend, her clients. Her clients flew her to places like Nashville, and Tokyo. She had a knack for giving people hope. She loved men briefly and they felt that if they waited long enough she would love them again. They didn't realize what she really wanted was to be desired.
So their relationship didn't work out, and the crime was never solved. And years passed and he kept thinking he saw her, a girl with black hair waiting in line, running on a treadmill, standing behind a table, boarding a bus. But he never did see her again.