Chapter Twenty Eight
Zev had a stomach ache. Again. He had had a lot of stomach aches over the past months. Zev once prided himself on never getting stomach aches. He had a solid stomach and could digest anything. He could even digest his miserable father if he had to. But his stomach had fallen weak from all the yelling, worrying, accusing and hurting. Now he got stabbing pains in his guts. Sometimes these pains would cause Zev to think he could die. Everything would go blank. It was an sharp pain. A pain that wanted Zev dead. He was getting these stomach aches on an almost daily basis now. He assumed it was all the distress he had been under. But when a person is in the kind of distress Zev was in, pain becomes a constant companion.
Zev hadn’t slept much on his first night on the yacht. Zev rarely slept well is strange environments. His stomach pains kept him up most of the night. There would be a stabbing pain that would last for a few seconds and then it would vanish. Sometimes the pain would be so fierce that Zev would clench his fists and curl into a ball. Once the pain subsided Zev would try and get some sleep but his mind would be racing. His thoughts refused to let him be. They were like rain pouring down. Zev tried to focus his attention on his breathing but that didn’t do any good. It was impossible to get away from his thoughts since they were happening inside his own head. Zev got out of bed and walked around several times. He smoked cigarettes and weed. He looked out into the darkness and wondered if listening to music or the radio would help. He felt waves of anxiety overcome him. Was he going to die alone out here? Was Amy missing him or was she with Arthur? Would everyone hate him for quitting the art world? What was Marissa going to do? He needed to call her back but it was so hard to talk with anyone. At a certain point Zev realized the attempt to sleep was futile. He lay in bed for hours staring into the darkness. The yacht rocked back and forth along with the sea currents and the continual rocking made him dizzy. He could smell a terrible odor. It wasn’t a good night.
While sitting on the toilet in the morning, Zev smoked pot. He had a long wood pipe that he used to smoke marijuana. The high made him feel more awake and less consumed by a feeling of fear, betrayal and heartbreak. He felt his mood enlighten. When he flushed the toilet he smelled the odor fill the entire bathroom. He assumed it must be the sewage. He would have to buy several air fresheners to mitigate the horrible odor. Zev hadn’t brought any coffee with him but he remembered seeing a café not far from his yacht. Zev put on his black jeans and a black sweatshirt along with black socks and black Doc Martins. He put on a black wool coat and a black cap to keep his ears and head warm. He took another hit from his pipe and then ventured out into the cold morning.
Zev wanted to check his phone to see if Amy had texted him. But he told himself to wait. Zev walked down a long pathway mildly populated by people walking their dogs. He avoided saying hello to any of them and wondered how the hell people could live on boats with dogs. There was a large marina that ran all along the pathway and there were hundreds of different kinds of boats. Poor man’s boats and rich man’s yachts. And then there were the old yachts that belonged to those whose tastes were not overly excessive. Many people seemed to live on their boats in Oxnard. Some were outside drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Zev lit a cigarette and smoked as he walked. He sucked the warm smoke into his lungs. He saw seagulls and seals. Several seals were sprawled out on the docks, resting from a long night spent trying to stay alive.
Terrible music played on the stereo. A young girl appeared from behind the register seeming much too happy for this time of morning. Her smile immediately annoyed Zev but he tried to be nice. He ordered a large black coffee and some eggs and toast. He thought that the young girl would be attractive if she could just stop eating the pastries and lose some weight. The young girl gave Zev his coffee and his change which he told her that she could keep. When she asked him what his name was he told her that it was Zev. She couldn’t quite make sense of the name and asked him if he said Seth. Zev said Zev and the young girl said Zeb. Zev said Zev another time but this time he said it very slowly. When she finally got his name she told him it was a cool name. She never met someone with that name before. He thanked her and wished that she was a bit more attractive. Then maybe he would flirt with her.
Zev sat at a table facing the window. A few seats down from him a man sat scrolling through his phone. He was a big man. A man whose look revealed how dumb he was. He probably lived on a boat and voted for Trump, Zev thought. Whenever the meathead looking man would scroll on a video he would watch it with the sound on high. Zev immediately hated the man. He took sips of his black coffee and tried to hide his disdain for this man. Zev hated people who did this sort of thing in public. People who talked on their phone loudly in public and people who watched videos on their phones with the volume on while in public- these were the lowest kinds of people. Zev hoped that some plague would magically come along and wipe these idiots out. Zev was already mad and it wasn’t even 8am.
There were a few other people in the café scrolling around on their phones. One older man with long gray hair was working on a laptop. Zev felt a tragic sadness in his gut. He checked his phone and saw that there was texts from Marissa, his horrible father, one of his main patrons and Amy. Zev checked the text from Amy first. Amy had written that she hoped he was doing ok and having a good morning. Zev felt bad when he read the text. He wanted to tell her about his horrible stomach pain. He wanted to tell her what a whore he thought she was and he wanted to tell her about how badly she had screwed him over. Now he was alone in some café surrounded by other men who had probably been forsaken by the women they once loved. Was this Zev’s life now? Zev was about to respond to Amy when he heard the young girl call out his name. He raised his hand and she brought him his food. He told her thank you but really meant that he wanted her to quickly get away so he could eat. Zev scrolled on his phone as he quickly shoved food into his mouth. He was no better than those phone addicts he disdained. He was just as addicted as anyone else but he wanted to get out of that café as quickly as possible.
The morning was spent smoking cigarettes and looking out at the water. Zev thought that he should get the inside of his yacht looking nice. He should clean up and take things out of boxes. There were still things in the U-Haul to be moved. Zev felt exhausted from moving the evening before. There was still more to do. Boxes piled up and things needed to be organized. He should have hired movers. He hadn’t used his muscles like this in a long time. Zev felt his body aching He didn’t want to anything. He wanted to sit there and look out the window all day long. His motivation was gone. Everything had changed. He was alone and on an old yacht by the sea. It still hadn’t really sunk in. Boats went by. People on kayak rowed past. He didn’t like anyone. He was just going to sit there and smoke cigarettes. Resign himself to inertia. He would figure out what he needed to do next later.