Gatsby's Last Dive

Giles Carter

The impossible is what he had trouble with. You can see him now in his Calvin Klein swimsuit, toes at the very edge of the curved tile, looking down at his own distorted image in the blue-green water, lamenting every blade of grass that mars its perfect, tiny waves, listening as the water softly collides with the tiles-sounding vaguely like kisses he had known. He should never have put it to her that way. There must have been a hundred ways he could have gotten around to it, ways that she could have told him what he needed to hear, ways that could have been easy for her.

But he misunderstood so many things. Mostly he misunderstood the nature of love, its paradoxes, or at least its ironies. And that's why things turned out okay for him in the end. Because thanks to a grease monkey with a .45, he didn't have to face up to those complexities. He had a grease monkey do it for him. The grease monkey was highly conflicted. Or maybe not. Maybe he was a grease monkey without his own swimming pool. If not for the grease monkey, the one who did him a favor by greasing him, he would have had to face up to so many things. Like the fact that she did love him, but that she realized-where he didn't-that fate is prescriptive. She could see it coming; he couldn't. He would've had to face up to the fact that she knew love was not a thing to run to, finally.

In the end, the need for safety always exceeds the need for love. It would have ruined him had he actually learned that, come to know it in a way he couldn't shake it. Much better to swim, lie there thinking about how to make it go, to contemplate the next move.