Al Sullivan’s Journal
May 30, 1972
It hit me with that sunken chilly feeling that isn't exactly pain, when I saw the glass and metal and stone of Kings Inn.
I didn't even know what direction we were going in, or how it managed to pop up out of the maze of twisting ramps that made up the old route 3 & 46 circle.
``That's it?'' I asked, the hitch in my voice more obvious to me than to Pauly or Hank, those two yammering away in the front seat about buying land in upstate New York. This discussion dedicated largely to planning a trip north to check out prospects.
``Sure, what of it?'' Hank asked, leaning back grinning, his crooked front teeth like yellowed piano keys, his eyes still clouded with memories of his own pain-- this neighborhood the last place for his life with Peggy. We all seemed to have crashed at the same time, Pauly losing Jane, Hank losing Peggy, and me losing Louise.
Kings Inn was the place Louise brought her lovers after her bar scene escapades at Billy Budd's. She had told me it was another bar. But the motel sign gleamed in the pale grey light of threatening rain.
A motel? There was no holding back the sense of betrayal now, the pangs of disgust as the car weaved away from the scene but the building remained fixed in my mind: a motel. What had Dwayne Hoffman said about her, how she had tried to pick him up, but he hadn't touched her: I knew she was your wife, Kenny, I wouldn't hit on a friend's wife like that, but she came on to me so bad, practically begging, it was hard to keep myself calm.
Garrick’s girl Janet said Louise went out often during her stay at their house. It hurt to think I could have been so stupid, letting her have her Thursdays away from the baby, Louise telling me she needed time out alone-- it was L.A. all over again, or at least what I'd always feared might happened. A month ago, I prayed to God I wouldn't cheat on her, Hank's car crashing as if in answer, busting my nose and his neck. Then, afterwards coming home to find her cold and uncaring, yawning as I related the tale of near death.
That was before Ed came, knife wielding Ed, her lover Ed, the one and only man she didn't bring to Kings Inn, fucking him in my own bed in my own apartment, lying to me about it later when I found them both nearly naked in separate rooms, the stains of their affair still clear on the sheets.
And now, knowing what Kings Inn was, seeing it, feeling the pain again so close to her leaving, knowing there had been many men who'd not known me or cared if she'd had a husband or not, taking her from bar to bed in a quick succession of moves, making love to her with all the passion I lacked.
``Kenny?'' Pauly said, glancing up in the rearview mirror at me. ``Are you all right?''
``I guess so,'' I said, and leaned back, closing my eyes to the passing sights, listening to the wind whistling through the slightly open window, smelling the trees just then coming into flower, aware of the growing miles between me, the Inn, and Louise.