Adrienne Walton was 41 years old that day.
She sighed. She cast down her eyes.
Adrienne held in her hand a photograph of Pierce who was her erstwhile young lover. She and Pierce had split their differences and they had gone their own ways earlier that day.
She raised her gaze to her bedroom wall.
Adrienne then tacked Pierce’s photograph onto the wall. “With the Tack of Destiny”, she mused silently.
Adrienne stepped back and surveyed all of the other photographs of the boys and men that she had tacked up on that wall that day: a Calvary of affections.
Boys and men onto whom she had clasped hope. Yearning.
The wall resembled an organization chart. To Adrienne it was the Club of Disappointments.
Alan had been her first. They had been in elementary school. Adrienne had written innocently in chalk on the hot asphalt playground ADRIENNE LOVES ALAN. Alan had been so mortified that he had never spoken to her again.
Then there had been Harley in middle school. Harley had kissed her and had rubbed her nipple. He had said it felt like an eraser on a pencil. Harley had told everyone and then Adrienne had cried.
In high school she had liked Kagan but Kagan had said that he liked her best friend Brittany. She couldn’t be friends with Brittany anymore after that.
Then there was Charles who had suddenly told her that he didn’t want to be her boyfriend anymore. Charles’ mom hadn’t liked her. His mommy had assured Charles that he could do better.
Adrienne then had let Nolan have his way with her. He had said afterward that he hadn’t know she was a virgin. Nolan had said that he “didn’t really” want a girlfriend but that still they could “hang out together sometimes”.
Toby had always joked, “Tobee or not Tobee”. He had asked Adrienne to marry him. Soon after that, Toby had asked Adrienne for his engagement ring back, smiling wryly. Toby had been only trying to make his fickle “real love” jealous. He then had thanked Adrienne for his victory .
Holden had wanted Adrienne to join him in a “threesome”. She had not been sophisticated enough for him.
Cullen had taken intimate pictures of her in bed “so I can always remind myself how sexy you are” and then he had posted them online. Cullen had said in his own defense that any guy who took pornographic pictures of his girlfriend would post them online “whether the girlfriend knew it or not”. Cullen had been convinced that all girls fantasized about being Porn Stars.
Arlo, Cooper, Beckett, Maddox, Finn, Gunther all had come and gone, the same male in emotional disguises. All of them.
What was wrong with her? Adrienne had consulted women’s websites:
Was she too needy?
Did she expect too much of love?
Adrienne did not know herself anymore.
Picasso had said that “women are suffering machines”. She had learned that in her art class. Pierce had been the instructor.
Her tear wavered. Adrienne wiped her eye. She couldn’t go on this way. Adrienne’s Wall spanned her life. How could she get around herself?
On the other side of that wall lurked a terrifying loneliness.
Adrienne’s Wall stood until Adrienne was conquered by Zahara. Zahara was the black woman who owned the nearby flower shop. Zahara was handsome, organized, ambitious, and she went to the top of everything that piqued her interest. Zahara took one long look at Adrienne’s Wall and clawed it down.
But that was only Adrienne’s dream that night.