December 2nd, 2005

Mask

Uncle

He is the kind of Uncle that called you Lolita, before you knew what that meant, and continues to call you his little Lolita, even though you are twenty five. You know that you should be offended by this, any liberated woman should be, but he is your Uncle, and between his cigars, he can say anything to you. Maybe, just maybe, you liked it when he pulled you on his lap at sixteen and asked you what you wanted for Christmas, an erection under his pants. People always underestimate children, but not your beloved Uncle; he knew that you are a deviant too.

He’s not even really your uncle, not really, just a friend of your mothers from when she was young, working on a burlesque stage. Then she settled down and took to teaching math to children, met your father and bought a house. They told you to call him Uncle before you found out he had a name of his own. He’s the guy who got your parents drugs when they lost touch with where drugs came from. Not that your parents take drugs anymore, they assure you that this was before you were born.

He doesn’t show up on holidays, like usual families do, he shows up in March or June with a gift and a story. He brought you the kind of gifts you hide from your parents, porn magazines and little cigars, once a collection of Russian dolls, one inside the other. These things all have strange labels and smells, like he got them out of another country, or another mans house.

You’re not sure what he does, they say he is an artist of some kind, though you’ve never seen him work. He never married, but he’s lived with a series of women, girlfriends that you’ve never seen. When you were little, you pretended he was a secret agent, knowing that he wasn’t. Across the dinner table, you would drop hints to him that you knew, the memory of those little words now make you blush. What a silly child, you say to yourself, and something in your stomach flips.

He’s hated all your boyfriends; from the medical school student that your parents loved to the bass player in the local punk band who was too drugged to get himself to rehab. He tells you that none of these kids are men, that there aren’t any men in your age anymore, that men were all eaten by wars. You imagine a world of boys and lonely women, roaming the globe, looking for something lost.

Now they say that you are an artist, but they won’t ever say what kind and the label changes every time you look. You realize he never told you to go here, never did he tell you to follow your dreams. All he said, just once, was that he might be a secret agent, if it’s what you imagined him to be.
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