He holds in both hands a treasure. He says, “This is yours. But you can’t have it.” Perhaps I can earn it? I make a decision: When he hurts me I will forgive him. When he misunderstands me and disregards me, I will accept it. I will help him, I will put all my faith in him, I will be stronger than I’m able for longer than I have ever been. I will love him like he is my own heart, because he already is.
“You are a crazy joke.”
I can’t anymore. I am a crazy joke. Nothing I do is ever going to change this. This man breaks me and blames me and shames me. I feel cheated, but he made it clear from the beginning, I would never really possess what he had shown me. It was just bait and I walked into the trap.
Now, I have to remember every day until I finally forget…..my efforts were useless. He never knew me and all he saw in me was just this: a crazy joke
I shouldn’t have stayed as long as I did, I shouldn’t have given up, left that job, broken that promise, I shouldn’t have spent that money, I shouldn’t have made that call, I shouldn’t have taken that drink, talked to that stranger, worn that dress, I shouldn’t have opened that letter, sent that gift, I shouldn’t have gotten back up.
But I did.
I woke up this morning to another storm. A storm not of my making. I had not erred yet again, it was thunder and lightening and pouring rain and it wasn’t my fault. But, I have created enough hurricanes to know exactly what to do. And the storm passed. As storms eventually do.
I have become a compulsive picture taker. I see birds flying on rainy days and I reach for my phone. I see strange lights in the sky, I see street art in unexpected, hard to reach places and I am compelled to commemorate it with a simple point and shoot. I have not forced my brain to commit to memory a sunset, a smile from my child, my own lipsticked lips in how long?
I have unlearned memory making.
My life truly has become a stage. I follow a script written by an electronic author. I review my picture gallery in an effort to make connections to what I would have once had buried in my bones. I know by sight where I have been, but I have forgotten how to see who I am there. Moments are lost in their recordings.
I must unlearn picture taking.
My mother works too hard. She works two jobs hard. My father lies restless on his bed, a book in his hand. I wonder how they go on.
They were so young before they were old. I’ve seen the photos, I’ve heard the stories. They had dreams and goals and big ideas and when they met each other, they fell in love. My mother wore a dress her mother made, my father an Air Force uniform. How proud they were of their clothes, how long they took to get ready for their dates! How shy were my mother’s smiles? How big were my father’s lies?
I bet he told her she’d never have to work. I bet he told her he’d take care of her for the rest of her life. I bet he said he’d be a big man and she’d never feel lonely again. I bet she believed him and in her hopeful little heart I bet she decided right then to always take care of him.
If only they could have been young forever. If only they hadn’t been in such a hurry to find the future. I know my mother’s back is bent by my father’s broken dreams and I know their bond is stronger than her disappointment.
My father turns the page. My mother sits down on the edge of the bed. “You hungry?” she asks. “I already ate.” he replies. She reaches for the light next to her. It clicks off and my father turns on his side, he readjusts his light so it falls on the book in his hand. She lies down and reaches out, patting his back as she falls asleep. She dreams of her young man and the big man he will one day be.
It’s too ridiculous. I can’t say it. It’s true though.
Your eyes really are hypnotic. Slightly Slavic, a touch too close together, bluer than blue has ever been. I’m including every sky I have ever seen, every sea, every flower, every jewel. I don’t have a word for the blue of your eyes, I do have a photograph it almost hurts to look at. I remember the day I took it. I remember the coffee we were drinking, the wind that blew down from the mountain messing up my hair, I remember the way you stared. Too intense, too blue.
See, it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous and I said it. It’s ridiculous and it’s true.
I saw him for the first time when I was only four. His childish profile was a shadow behind my own face. My reflection in the window separated my bedroom from the dark backyard, separated me from him. It was a safe enough wall. I knew he could never break even that thin barrier. Never did he turn his face to mine, though I suspect he stole a glance whenever I turned away. Yet, each time I looked back, he was looking at something past my window, beyond my yard, at something far away from me.
I want to drop this burden, lighten my load. I want to stretch my shoulders, pop my back, bend this way and that. I want to bring you empty hands, an open mind, a heart vacant and ready. Instead scarred arms, bruised bones, tired eyes and an ancestral need to twist every moment into a thousand tiny knots weighs down even the space around me. I want to shrink to the size of an almond seed and embody nothing but potential. I want to feel the lightness of what could be. I want to let go of the too much I always am. I want you to carry me for a time. I want you to feel how heavy I really am.
I see those girls with their shimmy hips, laced up strappies. The one in the remnants bin bohemian dress says, “Let’s go dancing.” She isn’t kidding. There are three to one odds we will all find love tonight under twinkle stars, road map umbrella shelters and every single glass overflowing because no one can dance without spilling their drink. Now….can they?
I don’t imagine too often that I’ll see tomorrow night the same way yesterday night became today morning. You know, the one with the streaky sky filled with pink blue white? It astonished me that my hair woke up straight for once just like I left it when I passed out cold under your blanket, behind your back, holding my breath in case you realized I was still there after the clock struck twelve and all bets were off.
I thought I might whisper the love poems I started memorizing right around the time I got my first period and I bled all over my childhood and started planning my wedding. That was quite a few years before the divorce. Seriously, she isn’t kidding.
She dances fast, it looks like spinning. I dream I think a minute of watching and I find myself flying. I look back and I wish I was seeing only you and me and an empty room filled with deep sighs and honest kissing. Joke’s on me you’re already gone out the back and your whole heart with you and I am holding an empty glass and a road map but I flip my straight hair away from my face and I shrug. She really wasn’t kidding.