April 5, 2010

Lakewood

Lakewood

Brown hair,
cut short,
flipped up like a wave rising to crest.
ice blue eyes that hinted at a story that may never be told.
You try to hold onto images
that have disappeared into folds of brain tissue,
deep crevices of memory
that lose its connection
like a hiking trail that gradually becomes part of a hillside landscape
winds down to the bottom.
From above, its hard to believe that you could make it,
could navigate the loose rock and scree
winding back and forth
to find yourself staring
at suburban Lakewood,
green lawns,
middle school kids playing ball in dead-end cul-de-sacs,
and high school kids disappearing in back doors,
running for phones
that are still wired to walls,
televisions that dominate one room,
notes scrawled on papers and left on refrigerator doors,
covered plates,
a list of chores,
frozen vegetables moved into a sink.

When you finally wake up to the possibility of sex,
you forgive the shortcomings you could so easily spot
when she was with someone else.
Suddenly those traits become quaint,
something you desire
as you try and make excuses for being alone,
getting your best friend to leave without telling him to.
You're finally awake to the subtlety of language,
the gentle nudge of a word,
a look in your eyes to his.
Dude, I'm working on this,
you say.
Can't you walk home for once?

It doesn't occur to you that she may be damaged,
not damaged as in something left out too long,
but damaged as in dropped,
beaten,
kicked
by a father
who hangs on the periphery of the whole scenario
like Chekhov's shotgun above the mantle piece.
At some point, it better be used,
but you hope this isn't that scene,
maybe even that act
and at best maybe you're bit player
who doesn't care about the number of scenes that he's in?

Would you know what to say if you saw her?
Would you try and say that you aren't the same person?
That person seems familiar
but you are unable to come to the same conclusions,
and wonder how this lead to that,
and how rationalization is funny thing
and how it only has to make sense for just a few minutes.
And it does.
It does and suddenly you're indelibly linked to her
though she may not see it that way.
She's humming a different tune,
seeing the world,
the chance at being a grown up,
desired and in control
when so much of what happens is out of it.

She wanted control
and you wanted intimacy.
She'd dish out the intimacy like a tithing widow at a lifelong church.
And you'd lend her your ear,
laugh at her jokes,
make her feel alive like dreams.

Months later,
you no longer believed the rationalizations,
no longer could listen for hours on end
and wanted nothing more than to listen to music,
escape the craziness,
maladjustment,
dysfunctionality
of anything less than a perfectly manicured lawn,
a pair of waxed cars,
fathers that come home at exactly five thirty
and tables set for four.

April 5, 2010

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