I watched a movie recently about a man, a machinist, who
accidentally runs-over and kills a woman and her young girl.
Unable to cope with what heâ€™s done, the man splits off from himself,
and then begins to see another, very threatening man everywhere:
at work, on the road after work, at the cafÃ© near the airport, he
sits there every night, all night, and always orders bacon and eggs,
and he longs for the same waitress. And at home he sees first
just a little blood trickling down from the corners of his freezer door,
then puddles of blood on the kitchen floor, and then little threats:
Iâ€™m watching you, and, I know what youâ€™ve done,
on little yellow post-it notes there and here —
on the bedside table, the fridge, the bathroom mirror.
As the movie progresses, the man becomes increasingly skeletal,
as the threatening man costs him his job, his apartment,
his woman. And he doesnâ€™t sleep. And he develops a limp
and a couple of broken ribs, and scrapes and scars, and bruises
around his neck because eventually he attempts to fight-off
the threatening man, attempts to free himself from this torment.
The movie comes to a crescendo when the man realizes he is both
himself and the threat to himself, and he turns himself in, unhinged,
to the police, for the murders heâ€™s committed.
After the movie I sat on the couch and sipped wine by myself
musing, my boyfriend is in the same line of work as that man. He,
too, finds little messages on post-it notes there and here:
a string of numbers he claims is the alarm code, a list
of non-perishable food items. My boyfriend lives near the airport
and fiends for coffee, and he, too, longs for the same
waitress (me) day after day. Iâ€™ve seen him devour bacon and eggs.
And I rarely sleep well when weâ€™re together because he gets out
of bed so often during the night to take pills for his aches and pains.
Sometimes I get out of bed, too, and limp along to the medicine cabinet
with him. Sometimes we smell as if weâ€™ve been fighting, but
itâ€™s merely the stench of hard work, sweat, and metal.
Like mine, my boyfriendâ€™s eyes are very dark, each like a black tunnel,
like the black tunnel the man in the movie
drives through after he kills the woman and her young girl.
Yes, itâ€™s when he approaches the mouth of that tunnel
that he splits. Sometimes I witness my boyfriend sleeping fitfully.
One night, he twitches so hard that he shakes me awake,
and his eyes spring open, so I think heâ€™s awake, too.
Heâ€™s lying on his back, staring at the ceiling, pensive, and the tension
I feel radiating from his body tells me heâ€™s hiding something,
so I lean over him propped up on one elbow, and we are face to face,
and I look him dead in the eye — no — itâ€™s not his eye. Itâ€™s not his eye!
Rebecca LundÂ toured and lived in various parts of the United States and Europe as a musical theater performer berfore earning her undergraduate degree from Hunter College in New York City and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Currently, she works as a waitress, a freelance copy editor, and an English and Writing tutor in Seattle. Lund’s poetry is forthcoming inÂ Green Mountains ReviewÂ and she is the recipient of a 2014 GAP award from Artist Trust.