After we’ve kissed the little ones goodnight promise to pay the babysitter extra for staying past midnight we go giddy as teenagers headed a house party we drive two-seater with the top down shake our roles out in the wind we dance like maniacs all ten thousand of them transported to that place when we could drop to our knees lean way back playing air guitar.
Night Chicago flight home to Durham delayed for three hours due to “weather” in Missouri which sounds better than tornado outbreak but has the same effect: I wait even longer to find sleep my bed collapse.
I watch the needle creep to 75 in the 55 zone, look for red flashing lights in the rear view while miles of green stream past. When you face the sun to warm us, I squint fumble with the visor, fish inside my purse for shades.
I don’t see which blue you have painted the sky or the shape and depth of the clouds drifting above. You want to tell me something, but I can’t hear, until the rain forces me to monitor the speed of the wiper blades, take the car out of warp drive.
Surely he knew it was dangerous to lay his rounded surface on that high flat edge. To stay up would take more balance and control than his muscles could muster; their involuntary trembling wobbled his delicate shell. Was this what he was thinking when he ignored the fear in his yellow core to climb that wall, sit, and wait for gravity to work?
Rent is due. Time to scrawl half the amount in letters and numbers sign illegibly at the bottom then stuff a check in an envelope with the one his girlfriend taped to the bathroom mirror before she left for work. But her check and her toothbrush are gone and he remembers the letter he has to write.
But what to say? Does he apologize for the screams of anger boiled over from lies exposed, the unrelenting sobs that followed? The landlady used to say they were such quiet neighbors but now when he passes her on the way to the garage she just whistles.
Should he mention that blackened spot on the carpet stained with sex and vomit from vodka that could not erase the taste and smell of his lover from his girlfriend’s mind? The security deposit just one more thing to give up come June.
He needs more time to think of the right words. But for now, he writes We are moving out. This letter serves as last month’s notice.
Brightleaf plants grew her ambitions and with a lucky strike, tobacco built stacks to honor her name. When that flame died, she positioned herself in the center of the Triangle touting international educators to lure biotech innovators as we traded one drug for countless others. The Flower of the Carolinas is blooming again as the City of Medicine, as my home.
The back roads on the Harley. Your helmet heavy on my head. My doubt heavy on my shoulders Our bodies lean into the curve. I hang on though not tight. I know you won’t be back no matter how much you promise. Just go faster. Let the wind erode my mind.
He picks up the cordless then leaves my vintage chrome on the shelf. Even when I shine up real nice, stack my drill bits just right, he still takes that gaudy ol’ plastic thing along for odd jobs. All night she brags about the freedom he feels each time he wraps his fingers around her handle. My cord may keep me tethered, but I know her battery conks out before she can finish the job. Then he comes back around– looking for me to give him that extra oomph to power six-inch nails through concrete. He knows I’ll squeeze out all the torque he needs.
Every time Maggie came home from medical school, the refrigerated hummed, filled with milk, eggs and orange juice, the cupboards could barely contain themselves, stuffed with all the fixings for Mom’s famous lasagna. Mom and Dad made a silent truce not to argue over the latest bounced check. Sometimes their ceasefire would extend to holding hands or Dad opening and closing the passenger side door. I would rush home after my last class to finish homework and chores before Mom could bug me about it. Maggie and I would trade every girly detail of our lives before dinner Even our older brother, Mike, would crawl out from under his girlfriend long enough to eat with us, then chauffeur us around town – to the mall or movies or wherever it was we wanted to go just like he used to do when we were all just kids. Our family was whole again – until she left and our normal lives broke loose.
Screen name MoulinRouge number 9 Stole my boyfriend's heart and crushed mine. She was his fantasy in the flesh Her smell, her taste is what he loved best. I imagined her blond, buxom, almost six feet tall To learn she was my friend was the unkindest cut of all.
I’m IM’ing my manager on the training call while wading through the 40 or so emails that came in overnight from India. A knock on the door. No, this isn’t a bad time. I’ll just put it on mute and review the PowerPoint slides on the red eye flight to London.
~Special thanks to Susan Anderson for the real life examples
Once again tears stream down my face as I regurgitate half truths swallowed whole.
In my autobiography I walk down the same street knowing where the potholes are but still falling head first still crawling out hurt and bitter as if I have forgotten I can walk down a different street.
But I like him. His energy warms between my thighs, his cool breeze makes my arms goose bump uncontrollably.
So I walk down the same street knowing where the potholes are but still falling.
A tumble of words empty my mouth. Sorry, never, and better latch onto pronouns and prepositions, cohere into what you want to hear. Then the truth falls out like rotted teeth leaving only honesty visible through the holes.
The sun tries to coax me up But I dig my roots deeper into soil that has fed me, kept me safe through winter’s cold. I see the crape myrtle– its bright pink flowers abandoned for tiny green leaves. I feel the weight of dead petals heavy on the earth above. Daffodils droop their heads low, and in a whisper, strengthen my resolve.
Inside this lightweight jacket, pockets big enough to hold keys, license, and phone–three things you take everywhere. Before, you power walked with these pieces of your life bulging in small outer pockets, kept your elbows clenched to the side holding everything in. For the first time your arms swing free, in sync with the rhythm of each stride.