Sick

“I need to write my novel.” says Lacey.

“Is that because Mike told you to?” asks Lem Billings.

“Mike?” asks Lacey.

“Yes. Michael.”

“Yes. And he’s right.” Lacey muses.

“Do you think you’ll marry him?” asks Lem.

They’re sitting at a baseball game. Lem throws peanuts nowhere in particular. Just for fun. He rests his feet on the seats in front of him.

“I’d like to. But I’m not sure if I even can.” she muses.

“Well, if it’s permitted, do you know how to make love?” he asks.

“I was married of course, but no. Not necessarily. I’ve never made love with a man in love with me. I loved my ex-husband, of course. But I imagine it’s different when you’re both in love.”

Lem looks her in the eye sharply.

“Is it different than just…sex?” *she shrugs* “I’d certainly think it is.”

“They’re one and the same. You’ve said so yourself.” he says.

“Yes, but I imagine they’re a bit different in some practical sense.”

He stops to ponder it. So does she.

It’s 1954. Outside at night.

A bug flies by her nose and she bats it away with her hand.

“You know, we’re in love.” says Lem. Lem Billings. To a woman.

He smiles at her.

“True.” she muses.

“But I’m dead.” he sighs.

“So is Michael.” says Lacey.

“True. Say, I have an idea though and it might work even better than I first thought!” His face lights up. “Gee, we’re in luck Lacey. Boy!”

“How so?” wonders Lacey.

“Well, I was just thinking, we could practice. You and I. Tonight after the game.”

“Wouldn’t that be cheating?” asks Lacey.

“I suppose it could seem that way. You’re right.”

A hush falls between them.

“Why don’t we just talk about it then?” he asks.

“Talk about what?” asks Lacey.

“How to have make love. I can explain it to you. In detail.” he offers.

“So you’ve made love to someone you’ve loved?” asks Lacey.

“No. But maybe if we talk about it together we’ll figure it out and I’ve certainly thought about it enough.” (He means while alive)

“If we talk about it together we’ll probably want to actually do it.” Lacey worries.

He smiles. “What if I restrain myself?”

“Can we really restrain ourselves in that sort of situation?” asks Lacey.

“No.” says Lem. “Not yet. You’re right.”

“If I’m not with you for eternity hopefully I’ll feel that way eventually.”

“But that’s because we’re in love.” He smiles, missing her last comment. “You couldn’t talk about sex with Louis, Michael or Harold. Or Joe. Or Elliott.”

Silence except for the sounds of a game.

“I hope no one kills themselves based on this blog.” says Lacey.

“I hope people realize the difference between true love and lust. Lust involves sexual longing, but not real desire. And…love…is a variable quality.” says Lem.

“Where are we?” asks Lacey.

“That’s Joe DiMaggio.”

“Marilyn isn’t here.”

He shakes his head no.

“She’s with Arthur Miller, isn’t she?”

“Yes.”