Then another one went by. Blonde. A counterforce. He didn't usually pay much attention to blondes, he was blond himself (note the difference in spelling, important to some, not to him, but to some, pedantic friends of his who were always correcting him in unimportant ways and thereby making him feel smaller and smaller, a little at a time), but a blonde, a blonde. Look and see. She turns, smiles. He gets up and follows. Her hair is long and coarse, lovely, he likes it. She wears the flowing dress of a former time, and all those spangles, noisy jewelry. She keeps turning to him, he returns her look. He is not going to look away. He is going to follow her to the end of the thing, to however it must end. Well, in bed, surely. That's the way, Tobin. Get laid. A man must get laid. That's what this is all about, after all, isn't it? Well, not quite. It seems to have another dimension. It doesn't just end in spit and cum and a child on the way and then the whole dreary business but a kind of... oh, a kind of spiritual thing, at least a psychological one, plain craziness perhaps, something to get you prescribed drugs that don't even feel good and make you talk with a slur . She keeps going, he follows, watches the lovely coarse swinging hair. It could be blond... blonde, that is... or is there an element of the gray in it? Is she older or prematurely old, aging before his eyes, no, just just mature, just the right age. The sex will be good, only it will be deeper than that. Has to laugh. Deep. tobin does it deeper. No, just more somehow. She keeps turning to look, reminding him, keep it up, keep it up, don't drop off the trail and go back to that silly old thing you do, that repeater thing, peter repeater, Pete before peter, who was it said that thought it was so goddamned clever? Didn't matter, keep going, chase that chick right down to the end there, at the head of the walk where she waits. She has paused. Turned. She is standing there, waiting. Keep going, Tobin. Don't cop out this time. Keep looking right at her, meet her eyes with yours, glue yourself to her and let that thing happen this time, whatever it is, let it complete itself. Come, as we say ha ha. She is smiling. Love those full lips, look at those full lips, and gray green eyes reflecting the sea on a still, foggy day when only some lone runner is on the beach, he's dressed in a wet suit or something, or designer running gear, he is a fool for advertising. She is waiting, smiling. As he approaches he sees that she is very ,very beautiful. She is as beautiful as he could want, and just old enough. Her lips are right and her eyes, too. Breasts full, and wide hips, no doubt strong legs which will gather him in and clutch him. She is wet. He can tell she is already wet. His penis is pushing out of his clothes, out of his open fly. She laughs. And then she turns away.
A jogger passes and snorts at him.
"Hey, fly's open, pal," he laughs.
"Yeah? Yeah?" Tobin calls after him. "What's your business, you silly pimp? You silly, homeless pimp!"
But he starts to come. He comes in huge surges that force his whole body to jerk forward as he gushes all over the walk. Drops fall on his pants, his shoes. He's dropped the book, too, and it has opened up on the delicate face of a Japanese woman, a Geisha perhaps, and drops fall on her eyes, her lips, on the open kimono, one large drop comically blots out her nipple. Is that why she smiles? Is she smiling at him, about to laugh at hsi just shooting off in public like this? He closes the book on her. The book will stick together now and her picture will be defaced where he has spilled on it. There will be little tears in her face after repeated efforts to pry the pages apart. There is no other copy of this book, no negative of the photograph. The woman is lost, defaced for all time. She was so beautiful, so beautiful. And now she is an unrecognizable torn up thing. He stops on the book to make sure this all happens. He stands on it. When he gets back home he will put his weights on it, just to make sure that when the book is opened again all that he has hoped for will come to pass.
The flute, no, recorder, wails plaintively in the distance, in the fog beside the sea. It is that fool in the wetsuit again. He runs and plays his flute and laughs and makes jokes about Tobin with others of his kind, those symbols, those unwholesome ghouls who manage to stay so healthy all the time, even though they live in boxes or in caves made of junk and wat what others leave at shrines for the dead.
But the clerk from the library is coming after him now. He's got his hand out , it's funny. He's reaching out.
"Sir? The book?" he says. "Come on, now. Give it back. You can't just take it like that. Come on, now."
Approaching slowly, his hand is out. "Sir?"
Tobin just leaves the book there on the walk and gestures at it, behold, behold, and turns away.