Arthur was spending a lot of his time at Amy’s house. It was much better than spending the night at his shitty apartment in Koreatown. Arthur had expected to make more money with the release of his new book but not that much money entered his pockets. The book of essays sold well. Young thinking people were hungry for an intelligent and absurd literary approach to life. Thinking people in America were starving for substantial intellectual sustenance. Netflix and reading things on-line didn’t seem to be filling the void. A book of literary essays written by a young and good looking man, deconstructing what most people took as normal and commonplace, was ravenously desired by young (and older) intellectuals. They were slowly and gradually rotting from inside out because of the intellectual banality of this American life.
As often happens in America, the labors of the individual worker feed those in charge. Even though The Fantastic Life Of A Disappearing Man was selling well, it was the publishing company that was benefiting. They farted out a few bucks to Arthur and promised him that at some point in the future a lot more was to come. Just be happy people are reading your book and be patient, the publishing company’s lawyer wrote to him in an email. Arthur was planning on not having to teach or find another form of work. He was hopeful that he would make enough money with his new book to be able to possibly buy a small house. Maybe he would have much more money in his bank account and be able to live as a writer. Maybe he would be able to do what most others had told him was impossible- write the books he wanted to write for a living.
Arthur liked spending more time at Amy’s place. He was satisfied not having to feel like Zev was going to come home. He could relax. It was a nice house. The kind of house he would like to own someday. He thought it was possible since Zev Bauhaus had achieved it as a painter. Why couldn’t a writer like himself also achieve it? Amy hadn’t told Arthur that the house belonged to her. That it was given to her by her parents. Zev Bauhaus played no part in the ownership of it. She didn’t tell anyone this because she didn’t want to make Zev look bad. Arthur, like everyone else, was under the impression that Zev was the owner of a very nice house. He must be successful. Arthur just assumed, like everyone else. He knew that Zev moved onto a yacht in some town he had never heard of, but he assumed that Zev still owned the house and that Amy would probably get it with the divorce settlement. Arthur didn’t realize that Zev was living on an old yacht because eventually Amy was going to ask him to leave. It was inevitable. The house wasn’t his. He didn’t have a choice. The old yacht was his home. The Silverlake home was now just a storage space for memories and objects that Zev once owned. All the furniture, books, thousands of records, paintings, stereo equipment, bikes, magazines, cassette tapes, framed photographs with other famous artists, sculptures and on and on- Zev planned to leave it all behind. It was time to move on. A man was only as rich as how little he owned.
In the beginning, after Zev’s quick exodus, Arthur stayed at Amy’s house three or four nights a week. They had fun together. They watched stupid movies in bed. They played video games for hours. They took showers and baths together. Amy would drink and Arthur would smoke pot. Sometimes they would have sex but sometimes they would just have fun together. They would make dinner and dance after. Arthur would have Amy dress up in sexy outfits and dance around in them for him as he played with his cock. He would tell Amy all about his life. Problems with friends, annoyances with work, issues with parents and economic struggles. He had a tendency to talk and talk and sometimes Amy wondered if Arthur was autistic. Amy began to find Arthur’s company somewhat draining but once he fucked her she quickly forgot about her grievances. She loved the way Arthur fucked her. He worked hard for her and fucked her as hard as she wanted so that she could orgasm. Sometimes she would force Arthur to make her orgasm two or three times. Arthur would be sweating. He would work harder than he did at the gym but he wanted to do whatever he could to keep Amy pleased. The moment she lost interest in fucking him, he knew would be the moment he was rendered obsolete. Amy was just that kind of girl. She used people for what she needed and Arthur was aware of something that kept him concerned. He didn’t talk to Amy about it but he knew that the prestige, fame and cultural legitimacy Amy received by being in relationship with Zev Bauhaus was nothing he could compete with. He was a lot younger and wasn’t making much money. He had to fuck Amy as hard and long as he could. He had to pleasure her vagina as much as he possible could. It was the only real advantage he had. That and his youth.
The days Arthur was gone, Amy began to enjoy. She liked being home alone without any interference from men. Over the years she hadn’t spent much time alone in her house. Zev was always coming home in the early evenings, disturbing her peace. This caused her to feel continual anxiety about making sure the house looked a certain way. Were the front and back yards in decent shape? Was the house clean enough? Had she forgotten to put anything away? Were there dishes in the sink or urine and tissue paper still in the toilet? When Amy was home alone, it didn’t feel like she was really alone. She had to worry about keeping things in a way that Zev would agree with so as not to upset him when he came home from work. Zev Bauhaus was a very temperamental man, Amy thought. Now that Zev had moved out, the house all hers. She enjoyed not having to share. She could leave things wherever she wanted. She could lay around in bed for as long as she wanted. She could do whatever she wanted with the back and front yard. She could live exactly as she wanted without having to hear Zev tell her that she needed to exercise more, organize more or do something more productive with her life. Now that Amy had the Silverlake home all to herself, she felt liberated. As sad as she was that Zev was gone, she loved her freedom. She felt a kind of peace that she hadn’t felt in a long time. This feeling of peace she would often prefer over Arthur’s company.
Amy felt happy during her days spent alone at home. She hadn’t felt happy in a very long time despite the fact that she was good at faking happiness. Amy had misunderstood happiness, just as most extroverts do. Happiness for Amy had become a kind of drunken hyper-stimulation, which caused a strong feeling of excitement to boil up in her. She loved this feeling of excitement that she felt when in the company of others. She felt excited whenever the opportunity for sex arose. She was sometimes excited by the work she was doing and the books she was editing. She also felt excited about her relationship with Arthur. It was exciting to be having a passionate affair with a younger man. Excitement was what she unknowingly mistook for happiness. Excitement was a kind of coping mechanism for the banality and stress of maintaining the American dream. Excitement was what allowed her to excel at her job. During Amy’s initial days spent alone at home, she learned about what happiness really was. It was a kind of satisfaction in the present moment. She was satisfied with her life alone. She loved the peace. Zev had gotten in the way of this because Zev Bauhaus could never be satisfied.
As the weeks went on, Amy wanted to spend more of her time alone in her house. To her it felt like she was living an entirely new kind of life. Because she didn’t need to leave her home for work, she could stay home. She ordered her food and other essential items on Amazon. Sometimes she ordered pizza or had sushi delivered. The only thing she needed to go out for was liquor and the occasional times she had to go into WORD for a work meeting. Otherwise she could live in her own universe while home alone. For the first time in her life she was enjoying being alone. It’s a common thing people discover when a stressful relationship ends. Amy still had Arthur coming over. Arthur wanted to come over all the time. He was even hopeful that he could move some of his stuff in and stay there awhile. But Amy didn’t need him as much as she once did. Once or twice a week felt like enough for her. Now that she was more satisfied in her life she didn’t need to lose herself in earth shattering orgasms as much. There was no longer as much of a thrill in it all, as there once was. Her sadistic tendencies seemed to be thawing out now that Zev was annoying less of the time.
Amy was hopeful she could maintain a close friendship with Zev. She never stopped admiring him. She still loved him very much and couldn’t imagine a life without him in it. She just didn’t want to be married to Zev anymore. He had become too miserable. Selling out had made him a miserable man. She couldn’t live with that kind of negative energy anymore. To be free of it in her day to day life was wonderful and she couldn’t imagine ever letting Zev Bauhaus move back in. But Amy still hoped to remain close to Zev Bauhaus. She didn’t even want to get a divorce. They could just stay married even though she no longer referred to Zev as her husband. Marriage was just a bureaucratic thing anyways. Why go through all the difficulty of getting a divorce? Why not just stay married legally but be divorced psychologically? Then they wouldn’t have to deal with all the bureaucratic bullshit and Amy could still legitimately keep Zev’s last name. After all, no last name would benefit her more in her life. Bauhaus was the perfect last name for her. It gave her credibility. Amy would do what she could to keep Zev in her life. She would fuck him. She would suck his dick as much as he wanted. She would hang out with him. She would return his texts promptly and try to show some interest in his life. She would handle his financial situation. It was a difficult balance to figure out because she didn’t want to give Zev the impression that she wanted to be back in a relationship with him. She didn’t want to lead him on. More importantly, she didn’t want to make herself vulnerable to a feeling she was trying hard to keep repressed- the feeling of wanting Zev Bauhaus back. What a mess that would be.