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He brought in a bottle of wine and a small chess board. We sat down on the floor together, striking a perfect balance between thought and conversation. I'd served the wine in small coffee cups. I had laundry in the dryer and an aquarium in need of maintenance, but none of that mattered as our words increased. I put a hand on his socked foot. He had pulled the thin wool up half his calf. I'd always felt comfortable with him. Quiet and intelligent, gentle. We'd never had anything serious; he was just there 10 years ago through hard times.
Trophont sat in the dining room, cupping his face in his hands. A light breeze blew into the curtains, and a lock of his golden hair swayed in tandem. It was as if the night was calling him, daring him to let loose and give in to his passions. But he continued so be still, remembering how his people told him this day would come. Slowly, he unveiled his face and looked into the mirror, cocking his head slightly. His eyes had changed to a light violet, possessed by the elders. It was just a breeze. Nothing more, nothing less.
The second-floor bedroom was dim. Thin, white curtains spoke, illuminating the furniture in milky white hues. He sat down on the bed and slid off his shoes, watching. His long hair felt smooth, much like the experience as a whole. Alone in the room afterward, I gazed out the windows and saw unruly backyards covered in snow, separated by tall pines. He turned on the recessed lights when he returned, as if I had been watching a movie. The gloom remained when I returned home. The sensation of him having gone down like vodka. Gentle, soft, yet beyond reach.
The weakened starship raised its shields in response to a familiar spread of torpedoes. The captain initially left the comm link open, trying to reach an understanding. But the enemy's weapons continued to rock the ship; charged particles illuminating the ship's force field as they dissipated across it. Evasive action was taken as another round of photons was released. Return fire. Repairs went underway the rest of the day. Stress levels were high, but a truce was reached eod. The captain noticed repairs from the encounter yesterday weren't complete. That ship knew his shield frequency, leaving behind a certain sadness.
Maybe the garbage song came to me because I was driving up a road filled with landfills on both sides. Plates of glass fell from the top of semi trucks. Footprints made in the snow were accentuated by the sound of punctured, hollow frost. His bedroom was blue, and afterward he remained unattainable, thinking nothing of it. Smiling, kissing me at the foot of the stairs. Pretending there was some type of connection when there was none. I wanted there to be something, but couldn't grasp the edges of the facade. So I gave myself to him, sensing a sadness.
I used my day off during the week to go to the Secretary of State for a new license and tag. I was there for about an hour. The line moved slowly. Every now and then my phone would ping with my opponent's newest chess move. When it came time for my photo, I tried not to think about it. In fact, I didn't even look at it on the screen afterward because the first few times the woman said my eyes were closed. When they were open, I was just ready to put on the new sticker and go.
Sometimes I think that if I'm quiet and focused enough, things will return to they were around him. He was always settled in the evenings, picking a place in the living room and remaining there for the rest of the evening--getting up only to do necessary things, like make stir fry and rice, pop the top on a can of soda or grab a bag of chips from the cupboard. I try to be like him. I try to be like my former self. Reading astutely, watching something informative, thinking logically. But often get distracted, full of unspoken words.
The weather was about 25 degrees warmer today. I heard an unfamiliar sound, then realized it was snow melt. Water flowed out of the gutters and puddles cast rippling effects on neighbor's doors. I turned the heat off and opened my windows briefly. Pine sol traveled with the breeze as I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom and finally hung some picture frames. I kept track of the lost time as clothes and linen were being washed downstairs. I felt the new season begin to unfold, imagining how it would go. Daring myself to turn over a new leaf as well.
Not feeling the urge to write. It was a typical work day, nothing bad happened. The weather was warmer. All things carefully kept inside were coming out. The air carried the smell of minerals, the sun shone longer. I'd just introduced myself to Max, the young owner of the Brazilian Jujitsu center next door, after delivering him a brilliant red orange color for the walls. He leaves an hour before me each day. Instead of seeing a pale face seeking warmth, I saw designer sunglasses and spiked hair. A pause at his car, could he see me beyond the glass?
Saccharine. You wear me out. I wake grudgingly, get up and fall back down. Returning to the gentle flow of filtering water, warm blankets. Sometimes my dreams continue, other times I lie awake. Content with the peace. Not thinking of anything in particular, or perhaps being guided my a single idea of which I'm not yet aware. I get up and fall back down. I get up and fall back down. I get up and look in the bathroom mirror, already getting an idea of how the day will go. But I gotta keep marching forward, filling paper cups, sipping.
I struggle with telling people stories in person. Maybe because I'm under the false impression that since my life isn't that interesting, I have nothing to tell. Or maybe it has to do with the people I'm surrounded with regularly. For instance, Harry, a retired car salesman, still very youthful at 70, is constantly telling me old stories of the things that happened at the dealership. And when he's not doing that, he's telling me about what sort of drama his wife is stirring up lately. Sometimes I touch upon something to share, but it's swept away as he continues.
My friend Steve is always going to the movie theatre. Something I'm loathe to do on my budget. After work I usually just drive straight home, get dinner and see what the evening will bring. I don't want to go anywhere in my uniform, covered in paint blotches. Thinking this might be the issue, I started bringing a pull over sweater to work. My khakis are fairly clean, if I just pull it over my work shirt I can still pull off a somewhat preppy look. But it's more than appearances I realized. It takes effort to break the cycle.
I let him in as he was talking on the phone, and continued to do so for at least the next 10 minutes. Thinking he would end the call briefly, I sat down next to him, but started to feel like a fool just waiting for him to finish. So I went to my room, stopping to gaze at my fish. I came back out, but he was still talking. Yes it was rude of him, but if I had been doing something besides waiting for him to arrive it wouldn't have been much of an issue, or would it?
I missed the last few days and felt withdrawal. What were things like that day? Where was my heart and mind in some moment then? Alas, I knew what I was skipping an entry each day. The voice inside getting louder, asking, who am I now? What is going on? Whatever it was, know that our lives are lived one day to the next, in an endless succession. There's no reason to live unconsciously. Because a life is a series of moments. Because we were all given a tremendous gift. The ability to perceive, grow, mold our own individual worlds.
Sometimes losing a fair amount of control aids in keeping things in control. We march forward, content with our own view of the world, down sunbathed drug store aisles. back outside into the warmer air and yellowed grass. Driving through downtown, noticing people enjoying the weather. Running, biking, window shopping, sitting in the outdoor patio at bars and restaurants. Tomorrow's a new week but for now we all share the day off. Fridays are different. I'm the only one off, and outside yellow buses stall traffic, roads get clogged at rush hour. There's more order to be found around then.
Mrs. Newcastle hesitated at the end of the alleyway downtown. Though she was dressed in the usual: a tight, form-fitting vest and a provocative feathered cap, she sometimes experienced those moments when she didn't feel ready to make an appearance. The sound of hoof prints filled the street. Mrs. Trumball's children played tag around parked carriages as she spoke to the general store owner at the entrance. As Mary Newcastle approached, the children slowed. Mrs. Trumball and the storekeeper paused their conversation. Waiting for the vivacious woman's greeting and commentary. But today, Mary could only muster a smile, pensive.
There seemed to be a break in the solemn march forward, often known as March, today. It was St. Patrick's Day, and radio announcers were enthusiastic, along with the usual suspects. The sun was shining, promising Spring on the horizon, but strong winds kept patches of ice on the ground under the gutters. I lost myself briefly in a book about a Russian conspiracy in Cuba. Tired again. Yet wholly focused on the story, however briefly, until I agreed to go out somewhere with S. It seemed perhaps he was welcoming distraction, forcing conversation about topics best left to rest.
What to do about the type who lack common courtesy. The type who, for whatever reason, don't reply. And I'm not talking about anyone. I'm talking about someone with whom you made plans or became intimate. What can be done except to return their behavior, if there is a next time? I would simply act as a mirror, showing them the error in their ways. No matter how assertively I let them know I am not happy with them, I'm simply feeding their ego. Letting them know I care enough to have been upset. So I just continue the cycle.
Dream: S was defending himself vehemently, eyebrows raised, mind processing the undesirable details of our past relationship and transferring them into venomous words and phrases. But it was all a show, he flipped the switch awhile ago. He was just feigning the drama for my benefit and his own. He never used to pass up the chance to be breezy and forthcoming. A slight femininity in his step, throughout the wood floors of his condo where he walked on the balls of his feet, as if he was sneaking around. I stormed out, infuriated because he just let me go.
Chris noticed the sun's rays appeared more golden, more softly illuminating the trees and buildings below. His friend had sent him a message wishing a happy Spring Equinox that morning. The sound of a file cabinet drawer being shut snapped him out of his reverie.
Did you find the artifact?
he asked rhetorically, seeing Petravlka holding the glass object. It acted much like a prism, on acid. Swaths of rainbow light filled all four corners of the office. Chris moved to the desk with his partner to inspect. The letters Wa had been seamlessly etched into the glass.
For some reason, K told me about an ordeal her cousin was currently experiencing. She'd recently had to put her cat to sleep because of ringworm. I continued unloading the truck, listening. She went on, telling me how she didn't clean her house properly. How ringworm can live for months afterward. Then she told me that, while shopping for another cat, she somehow gave herself a concussion by bumping her nose up against the cage. I stopped unloading to watch K demonstrate her cousin's unsteady gait since the incident. She marched like a leprechaun who had one too many drinks.
Caught a glimpse of myself the other day in my bedroom mirror. The light shone on my face in such a way that I thought it would make an excellent picture for my dating profile. I snapped a few, but my expression was off. Whatever I was seeing, the pinpoint lens of the camera was not seeing. It saw someone frozen in distraction and boredom. So I took more, one after the other, but none of them captured what I saw in the mirror. I finally gave up, erasing them all. Opting to post a watercolor instead of my face.
Just popped an Atomic Fireball in my mouth as incentive to make an entry tonight. Heard a song on my clock radio I remembered from the last decade. It's not played very often, but it has a catchy rap alternative tune. When I got into work, I tried to remember it to no avail. But just now, after I turned off a movie I was too tired to follow, it started playing in my mind. Come my lady, you're my butterfly, sugar baby. Looking forward to catching up on some sleep now--beginning a journey soon to better health overall.
The cold returned this morning, evident by frost on my windshield. Nevertheless, it was sunny as far as appearances go. I was a little restless; there was a dizzy spell around noon as I retrieved a can of paint from the shaker. Bought some stuff to make smoothies with later: kale, yogurt, fried ice cream, bananas and frozen fruit, whey and chocolate milk. Picking up more than planned because my haircut was free. The snails don't like romaine lettuce as much as green beans. Tonight I'm feeling nostalgic, re-reading Wilbur Smith, Blue Horizon. Looking back on the last decade.
She's often moody and exclusive, yet always remains focused on the store. She critiques, often unwilling to give praise. Sometimes she engages in long discussions with the store sales rep, who speaks loudly and in succession. She's high strung enough, but the rep seems to infuse her with much needed positivity. She's burnt out. Many of the customers have known her over twenty years: doing what they do, watching her do what she does. There's an invisible wall between me, tending the machines, and the business speak between them all. This is her world. You're in it or you're not.
She seemed happy. We were playing chess, listening to David Bowie. Watching close ups of various plants scroll by on her television. Watch her! She cheats! The bf said when he got home late from work. Rather than defend herself, she glowed. I won all four games, finishing the last of my white pomegranate tea. I left, driving carefully. Even though I was only a few minutes away, I passed 5 blazing cop cars, stopped in the vicinity of a nameless sedan. I had a little time before bed, so I debated which aquarium to watch before settling down, staring.
The place sits in the middle of an old stip mall. Window marquees advertising liquor and cigarettes. The door has seen many seasons, rusted metal and glass. A sales counter ran the length of the store, and racks stocked with specialty beer and wine went back to a wall of coolers. Dillon decided on a 6 pack of Belles, Cream Soda flavored dark ale, wincing at the orange price tag. Walking back toward the counter, he saw the guy who stopped texting him. His personality wrapped tightly within his jacket. Dillon hid behind the paper towels until he was gone.
I sometimes don't appreciate the stillness of my apartment. How the floor lamp in the opposite corner throws shadows over picture frames and shelves. Shadows that lean in my direction. There's a ceiling fixture that hangs from a piece of chain. And the chain points outward across the ceiling. The refrigerator humming. Very light rippling sound from the water filter in the 20 gal aquarium. A buzz, a rhythm of the way things are now. I like to be occupied, delving into a book, but I get tired after awhile. So I sleep, do anything to avoid the inevitable now.
Mid twenties happened while you were in Florida. It all went by so fast, taken cumulatively. Yet every moment can last forever in and of itself. Can't go back. So everyday we get up, do what we need to do, as inspiration hovers like a cloud just beyond our reach. Dreams become more reserved, yet still obscuring consistent honest expectations. Xavier thought, hiding in the foliage. Though he'd already cleared all of the space pirates from the room, he was forever watchful. His visor converted to a database as he reviewed mission progress before succumbing to sleep in foreign lands.
This month seems like it was just about going through the motions without complaining much. Making the best of what I have, which unfortunately isn't enough sometimes. After the workday ends and I'm home or out somewhere, I get that invisible itch. An itch that makes me want to care and not care. It's like a door that's unlocked and waiting to be opened. When I care, it becomes an overload and I do nothing. When I don't care, I do nothing. Wrestling with the chains of daily life, as the bulbs in my tank sprout to rainbow sun rays.
I opened the trunk and sifted through the bags of groceries, making one bag for her items: milk, toothpaste, candy, cereal. Inside, an older woman with a walker disappeared into the dining room, where I assumed my mom would be too. Dinner was just getting started, and she was dressed nicely, wearing the earrings she often wears even in her pajamas. I offered her a cheek and retrieved her keys. Her apartment smelled clean, and the bonnie was grinning, still beaming over her haircut. I just mixed her some dog food, filled my mom's pills and made a quiet exit.
The Tip Jar