The Last Spark (the Twenty-Third Chapter)

Hola maestro. I’m out front here in the lobby waiting for your yoga class. I guess I’ll see you soon, and you will read this after, when you get home. I’m going to write you another e-mail about the Fire Girl. I’ve already written about her quite a bit. None of it good, really, other than I insist that she is wonderful, which she is. This mail will recap a lot of that, but with a little different context, and include some of the complaining about things I have done in recent e-mails and really throughout the story. After this mail I am going to write you one about Mayra, and then I am going to bring the story to an end. Frankly, I’d rather be writing assignments about Don Quixote than about my own life anymore.

So another account of the Fire Girl. I’ve already told you that she is my soulmate, that I love her, that she is a very important person to me. I’ve also told you about how she helped ruin my military career in 2010. I mentioned that after all that, we’ve come full circle to being close, talking every now and then. But we’ve had developments recently, and this ties in with some of the more frustrating threads of this story. Yeah, the story has some mind blowing adventure and a few moments of hilarity, but there has been a mountain of frustration and a whole lot of sadness. It ends on a happy note, though. I promise. And it’s going to end soon. But please bear with me, maestro, because the bad things that happen motivate us to the good ones. So put on a smile and perk up your ears for another lovely account of how a woman behaved like a bitch. Since it’s been a while since I have talked to you about Fire Girl, I will remind you a bit about her life. I don’t want you to just think she’s solely a bitch and nothing more.

This e-mail will probably be disheartening, but at least it will be short. In any case, as you read it, don’t forget that this morning I had a very pleasant conversation with her. But although as of today we are friends, but the main topic of this e-mail is desertion. That’s why it is entitled The Last Spark. I’m sorry that the last e-mail about Noah’s brother was disappointing too. I don’t like drowning you with letters of sadness and complaint, but it is necessary for me to explain to you what my situation was in the summer of 2020. The last couple of mails talked about the isolation that came with COVID, how it was almost like Israel, and made something of a dent in my idea of Mexico as a paradise, though it didn’t necessarily diminish Mexico as a distraction and temptation. But without further ado, I will dig in.

Since then Fire Girl and I were not able to interact as before, freely, as we wanted, we had to meet secretly. That is why you can imagine, maestro, I don’t like it when people tell me, “you are forbidden to speak to this woman.”

As you know, the Fire Girl is my cousin. She is the daughter of my father’s brother. She is a year younger than me. We met when I was eight and she was seven. We always had a strong connection. During our youth we saw each other every year or two. When she was 16 we had an affair, but it didn’t last long. The family found out and we were immediately separated.

Right as she finished high school, Fire Girl got pregnant by some random jerk in New Braunfels, Texas. As for me, I had dropped out of high school and, after wandering the streets and clubs of Dallas for a year, I joined the military. I was about to leave to start my basic training when I learned that my Fire Girl was expecting a baby. Since we were now adults, I proposed to her, but family pressure forced her to reject me. Yeah, maestro, I don’t like family members pressuring the women I love to hate me. Finally, Fire Girl ended up finding a lawyer that everyone in the family basically insisted that she marry. Naturally, she married him.

I’ll just quickly remind you that they divorced, she lost custody of her son, became a stripper, married a millionaire who divorced her when things got real, then she married the guy who died in the hotel of a meth overdose, whose image inspired me not to take that fatal puff with Marcus and Melinda in that hotel in Scotttsdale. Finally, she left the stripper life, became a Christian, and married the atheist who freaked out when I got back in touch with her after my divorce from my own ball and chain who wouldn’t let me talk to people.

With my now ex-wife involved, things were silent for at least a decade. I don’t think I saw Fire Girl again until our grandmother’s funeral in 2001 and didn’t speak to her about anything of substance until 2010, during my last years in the military, when everyone’s expectations drove her to report me for harassment. I repeat this with some concision because I think you will appreciate how I don’t like being reported for harassment by people who I love and who love me because someone in their environment has some expectation. And as you can see from my many comments about how I have forgiven Fire Girl for playing a significant part in the ruin of my career, I never blame the person who is driven to do something against me by pressure from some hostile force. I blame the hostile force of pressure.

Anyway, now I want to continue my story about Fire Girl beyond that time in 2010 when she was forced to act against me. Let’s move forward to 2016. That was the year I decided to contact Fire Girl again. And this time she didn’t reject me. In fact, quite the opposite. She confessed that she loved me, that it had always been so, and told me about all the pressures that she felt that motivated her to do what she did to me during those last days in the Army.

She explained that she had been afraid to contact someone with whom she had had an affair. She was afraid of her husband’s reaction. The Fire Girl loves secrets. Since the men in our family have very strong personalities, the women of the clan have often felt the need to preserve order by keeping secrets from them. Remember if you will the fight between myself and Dominic, my other cousin and her brother, where he called me up screaming and hollering, and I threatened to kill him. The guy took me shooting jack rabbits when I was ten, for crying out loud. But I tell you, if this had not been over the phone, well, I can’t say anyone would have died, but shit very likely would have gone down that people would have talked about at family reunions for the next couple of decades. I mean, we’re Texans, maestro. So you can imagine the women scurrying around saying, “we just can’t let stuff like that happen.” A lot of them put a very large amount of effort into making sure the men knew absolutely nothing about anything whatsoever because Bailey men are entirely too dangerous and stupid to be allowed to have the first clue about the slightest thing at all.

The point is, I reestablished contact with the Fire Girl after ten years, during which time she told everyone that she hated me. But it was not true. She loved me and was only afraid of her husband. Although she told the Army and the whole family repeatedly that he did not want to know anything about me, in her heart she loved me deeply.

I understood and forgave everything in an instant. I was happy to have my soulmate back in my life. We resumed our old friendship. Obviously she did not want her husband to know anything, so we only met once in person, thanks to the fact we were only in Phoenix at the same time for a short period.

Yes, maestro. I have experiences with young women. X-23. I know what it is to love women who do not speak to me for long periods. Fire Girl. And I hate it when I can’t talk to who I want to. Fire Girl. And I blame idiotic family politics for causing women to lie and harm me when they really love me. Fire Girl. So mix three Fire Girls with an X-23, and you have the perfect recipe for fatally loving Noah van Ouwerkerk.

Now back to the COVID days of the summer of 2020, already in Mexico, I tried to contact Fire Girl more than usual, especially during the very long months of the COVID summer. I called her at least once a week. I was always talking to her about Mexico, Israel, drugs, and the meaning of life. I was also talking to her about the Electrochemical Girl. Yes, I was talking to a woman who loved me deeply, and who would only ever be my friend because she was bound by God to another man who she loved equally deeply, about another woman who I loved deeply. Can you feel the spectacular messiness of this, maestro?

Eventually she told me that she had to take a break from our conversations. And she was not lying. She stopped answering my messages or taking my calls. Only occasionally did she give me some pale sign of interest. In six months she wrote me a single sentence: “I’m still here.”

I confess to you, maestro, I felt abandoned by her. Although now I understand her perspective better. I would find out later that after she let me know that she could not continue talking to me, she had various problems. She was even very ill for a few months. I admit that I abused her friendship. I called her too many times. I included her in things hurtful to her. But regardless, her absence caused me excruciating pain.

The pain that I had felt from the women in my life, culminating in the disappearance of the Fire Girl, sunk me like a wooden ship ground to shreds on a jagged reef of hopelessness in a dark and tempestuous storm of grief. I lost hope that she would ever understand me or come to my aid. The Electrochemical Girl came back to my mind, but this time I convinced myself that someone who didn’t want to talk to me treated me to their silence because they didn’t love me. Noah did not love me as a lover, as a friend, or as a stranger. She didn’t even love me like an enemy. It appeared to me that refusing to talk to me is abandoning me, so I gave up all hope of ever knowing anything about the Electrochemical Girl again.

My decision was based primarily on anger and disappointment, but I took this new distancing with my cousin as facing the fact that the girl from Israel had never been in my life in the first place.

It’s not easy to put my desire to talk to the Dutch girl into words, but you can imagine it. Remember what I told you before. And think about it within the context of my story about the Prince and the One. Again I tell you that the Prince stated that reality is whatever comes out of us; whatever we dream up. While the One said everything is written by infinite perfection; God. Also remember that on the one hand, my love for Noah was merely the product of my love for Chloe and of my love for Fire Girl. That would be what the Prince would tell me was the case. In that event, my behaviors were just the product of a morass of psychological complexes. Poor Noah just happened to be there when everything exploded. It would be a pathetic story. A sad story about a man rightly committed to a sanatorium. But on the other hand, if you look at it from the perspective of the One, all of these prior events and patterns of my personality and past relationships have written me to love Noah van Ouwerkerk with all of the light and heat of a thousand suns never to grow dim even with the passing of an eternity of eons. I would never know, of course, because Harold was mad. Good Christians never did things like this, so he would say. And after all, I had said a mean thing or two to him or about him.

Maestro, it was all too much. The only thing I could do was lose hope and seek to live a normal life like everybody else. The Prince had won. Satan had vanquished me. I was just a neurotic madman like you and Harold and everyone else tell me I am.

I have recapitulated a lot in this e-mail, and I don’t want to tell my whole story again, but you just have to contemplate what I have written. I went to Israel and experienced a full frontal assault on my greatest weakness: my inability to bear being treated like a stalker, a result of my PTSD and my experiences in the military. I took drugs and ran into madness that no one ever put into any textbook or diagnostic manual anywhere, ultimately suckling the black breast of unfettered lunacy from the pits of hell. And still yet I had a passionate and deep relationship with the playlist of a young woman with whom I had not exchanged a word, all before I inhaled my first cloud of methamphetamine vapor. I had no idea what was real and what was not. My salvation would only ever come from a friendship with the Dutch girl, but I did not receive even a whisper. And her archetype, Fire Girl, had abandoned me. Who could dare to believe that God had written such a thing?

The year before, I had lost my sanity. I had experienced many states, different expectations about the limits of the possible and the real. Little by little my mind was coming back to me. But it came back in a darker way than before. A truly misogynistic way. My reality was governed by more forces than before. Physicists say that the universe has four primary forces: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, gravity, and the electromagnetic force. They are the laws of the material world. I have one more, from the world of the heart: the force of “women don’t help.” It acts as a universal law that I cannot resist.

Absolutely lost, I had no idea how to continue my life without answers or help. During the COVID era, Mexico was not much different from Israel. The Mexicans were all with their families and their friends, but I was alone in a different country and couldn’t find a trace of purpose. Under these conditions I looked for and found Mayra Arroyo, my girlfriend. And I’ll tell you all about this in my next e-mail.

See you soon, maestro.

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