November 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
This is no way to write our story, I said. Telephone shouldered to my ear, I scraped the dirt from beneath my fingernails with the corner of a new dollar bill.
Penny and I were about through. Neither of us knew how to do what we knew we had to do. We shared a large amount of debris, making the path before us impassable.
Our paths brought us together, two ships in the night, in a bar, one that projects moving images of athletes in competition on every available wall space, two lonely astronauts in a space called life, a bowl-full of peanuts between us.
I was the only one pulling the meat from the shells.
She brought her beer closer, lifted her hair out and away from her head, then looped it around a finger, closer and closer back to her temple until her hair encircled the entire finger.
We made lethargic passes at each other, fulfilling our roles as the lonely and alone. Repeating come-ons that we’d heard here before, or on screens, in jokes, in the histories of our friends who’d succeeded in love. Maybe that’s why we were willing to try out such lines. Somewhere within these worn-out things there was hope. Hope for a chance, hope for hope, together, not one, two. And what do you know? Before we knew it we shared a life, a sink, cutlery, a rotary phone, a vegetable drawer, a clock with a bird that cuckooed.
We listed who got what now that we don’t share everything.
Her’s consisted of our daughter, just our daughter, the contents of the living room—the couches, bookshelves, books and the pottery that sits on the shelves between the books. She wanted my car and when I asked her why she didn’t want our son or her own car she said, I’m stuck here. I need a way to say no.
How were we going to clear the failed nights, pastoral days, and you-never-told-me-how-you-felts?
I told her I didn’t know how I felt.
At least you should’ve said that, she said. Look, she said, silence is not an option.
It will be now. I plan on going days and days and more without talking to her if I could only start.
Also she had me on the defensive when she recited the memory of the birth of our daughter. You left, she said, when I was tubed up to the medicine bag, when my contractions hit the hardest. You left. You left to eat. For a sandwich, she said.
Will you take her back?
July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
Everyone around me knows I’m in trouble. Trouble is I don’t know it yet. That only adds to the trouble I’m in. The people around me not only know it, they smell it. Felonious acts slick on my skin. Slippery I ain’t, else I wouldn’t be in this deep water.
I subscribe to the notion that you’re not guilty unless you get caught. And catch me they did. But even with such belief on my part, I refuse to fold. I doubt guilt will ever catch up with me. I blame it on my mother. She never spent one minute feeling guilty about anything. Not the fact that she didn’t provide me with a father. Not the fact that she didn’t provide me with a sister. Not the fact that she provided me with little else than a mattress to sleep on, shoes only after my toes had torn through previous pairs, and a carousel of men in and out of the house for various lengths of time and at varying intervals.
It was these fissures that sent me on my flight. Destination unknown, at least at the time of my departure. I hoofed it right out of Dodge.
Had I left behind evidence that evidence would’ve dragged me right back. I needed to be gone without a trace. He was the first to go. That last one. Not before I made him school me in how he got that plane of his off the ground and back again. I made him believe I enjoyed where he put his hands. I made him believe it was about us, but every word out of my mouth was a lie. Like every thing that fell from his.
Mother was next. They apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so I felt nothing. No love lost. My way, yes. Even with the maps. Those they let me keep. Those are what keep me up at night. Lines of longitude and latitude define and redefine my altitude.