My mate Barney was always putting women on pedestals. He'd just be getting to know them and next thing he'd be placing them on a pedestal. The pedestals would get very high. Higher and higher. Into the heavens they'd go. Way beyond Barney's reach. 'Ah Barney, you had a chance there but you had to go and put her on one of your bleedin pedestals.' But he'd never listen to you. He always did the same thing.
Barney trying to climb these pedestals was a pitiful sight. Up he'd go, like James Stewart ascending the bell tower in Vertigo. One time he actually made it up past the cold clouds and angry gulls to find the object of his affection chatting to some bloke who had been set up there on a pedestal by some female down below. There they were, the pair of them, yakking away on their pedestals, side by side. Barney's girl had quite forgotten who he was. She liked her new friend though. Barney climbed back down and met the girl who sent the fella up there. They had a lot in common. I thought I detected a frisson. They got a few drinks in. They sat at the base of their respective loved ones' pedestals boozing away and complaining about how 'stuck up' their objects of desire were. I was right about them. Something clicked. There were sparks between them but then, well, same old same old. I saw Barney constructing a pedestal for this new girl and setting her on it as she constructed a pedestal for him and placed him on that. Off they went, higher and higher, soaring upwards and upwards into the psychosexual stratosphere. At least they are up there together though, even if they don't talk. The pair of them are too dizzied by the heights to construct a decent sentence and the passing air traffic can be pretty noisy. I hear there's this one seagull that can make it up that high. It seems to have a routine where it soars up and does a quick shit on Barney's head. I'd imagine it's a humiliating thing.
I've a feeling, over time, the pedestals will grow creaky and weaken and ultimately disintegrate. I've a feeling that the mutual illusion will eventually collapse and two skeletons will finally fall to earth. They'll land in heap of bones, one skeleton indistinguishable from the other. Intermingled. Together. At last.
Anyway, did I tell you about my other mate Gregory? He's been carrying a torch for this particular woman for ages now. It's a massive torch, a big Olympic torch. Gregory can no longer see other women because he's blinded by the flame. Another hopeless case. They won't even let him on public transport anymore. He's been done for arson twice. He has to take the torch to bed and rarely gets more than a couple of seconds sleep. It's a dangerous thing. He woke up the other night to find his flame drooping and his duvet on fire.
Both Gregory and Barney are young fellas, full of overwhelming life and emotion. I'm well past all that myself. My torches have all gone out and I can't remember who I've left on top my old pedestals. I do have one torch left but it's the one I hold for myself and I've set myself on a sky-high pedestal too. I stand there and look out over the clouds. I see other middle-aged solipsists standing in the distance. Stoic. Resigned. Too wise for words. Dripping from head to toe in gull shit.