In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

The Coach

An old friend and former lover, the coach laughs with ease and Cheshire grin, inhaling the titters out of me. He is a stocky, dark complected man with large brown eyes gleaming in fear and amusement. He orders his world with hierarchies of God, family, faith and football, with rules and structure, even as he breaks them, breaks others, breaks vows. He is all human. But his heart is mutely echo’d in walls of cotton candied gelatin. The tears well with warm patriotic ardor and weal. Those strong, short arms once enfolded mine, vining around my biceps and wrists, making them fly a simulated soaring flight to the outside of our seedy hotel room, or back of the 79 Mercury or passenger seat of the 73 Beetle, in the park, in my bed. Sucking the world into him like hunger, the coach shouts, stomps, demands, and pushes politely with aggressive passivity, wanting others to love him and resenting them for making him want to impress them. He once said to me with pained realization after I withdrew my hand from his, “You’re cold, ” again proving plays and strategies win the field for the day and lose the love in the long days of getting on with career, raising children and growing old beyond sexual need, into erectile dysfunction and the comfort of the wife who is the worn leather silk of his favorite recliner, the one he couldn’t get out of and so sits way back, softly slouching the last cut, the remnants of the breadth of his shoulders, the line of resolution and absolution his neck and the round of his blades make. Now the coach stands loudly among his charges but has slunk from site from where he sidled up against the trunk of my hips for so long, now receded, ever in retreat. Give the wave, the signal. Hide behind semblance of distinction and cower before the potential exposure of the lie that dresses you up each morning. Yet your killing kindness and funny frailty draw my memories to the temperate comfort of forgotten forgiveness. No words. Peace.

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