inviting hitchhikers over for milk and cookies,
their smell stays long after they are gone,
stuck on our white couches and matching cardigans.
The carpet gets soggy as the warm rain keeps us awake
underneath the bridge and crystal chandelier.
The walls blow away when the bomb explodes during prayer time.
It scares the puppies each time.
The screaming as the water rises, entering the gaping mouths…
it all gives me nightmares.
I have nothing to say to them,
We are out of milk and cookies.
We drive 3 hours to buy a T.V.
with a broken screen, to watch cooking shows at dawn,
when the bats fly back to their caves and under bridges
that we traverse,
secretly fearing that it will crumble,
the river below
swallowing us whole, taking our bodies,
still strapped with our life-protecting seatbelts,
out to the ocean
for the sharks and octopi,
but we don’t think about this as we stop
for breakfast sandwiches and black coffee
on our way to buy a T.V.
with a broken screen
to watch cooking shows,
even though we don’t have electricity
in our apartment
I don’t even know how to toast bread
without burning it to a crisp,
yet we drive and drive and drive
listening to disco music
and thinking about the journey back.
Do you fly when you dream? Or do you fall? Silence heavy like humidity as the man waits for someone to answer his question.
Fly. Fall, Fall, Fly, Fall, Fly, they answer, one and then all, voices overlapping.
Fall, I reply.
Not a surprise, he replies, looking at me and then out the window to the empty street.
His response upsets me, as if he knows me, this stranger. As if I am obviously someone that would fall. I have never dreamt of flying. In the delicate haze between wakefulness and sleep as I lie on my back I often feel as if I’m sliding off my bed into a strange dark hole into the unknown. Jerking awake, I lie on my side, now fully awake. In truth, I have often thought that my life is a dream. Not as in my life is perfection, but as in every moment that I have experienced is a flash forward into a potential future. My eyes have never seen, my lungs have never taken in worldly air, my hands have never held, my nose has never smelled, my tongue has never tasted and my heart has never ached. I know what life could have in store. I can prevent hurting those that matter, I can avoid wasting time pining after a boy that will never care, I can avert so many mistakes, I can choose to avoid life altogether and let my soul evaporate, rising high above the mountains. I have seen the fall. I have fallen. I am a little miracle in the womb and when it’s time to choose fall or fly, I decide. I am ready to fly.
He was quiet and she could feel the closeness of his body, tense. It was not as if they were at a loud concert, two among hundreds, making it nearly impossible for her to hear him. In fact, they were in a silent space. They were all alone. In truth, she could smell him, grass and pine, but he was not there. She was in a gray room at the hospital, looking out the frosted window at the white nothingness of the snow covered street, repeating his last words over and over in her mind, waiting for him to realize the mistake he’d made when he dropped her off in this place where the nights were filled with screaming and terror, where she was slowly becoming like the rest of them: gnarled fingers, matted hair and dead skin.
The colorful images from the old box TV reflected light off our faces as my heart silently froze. You both laughed. I knew it from the moment I walked in. The way your bodies moved, close enough to touch yet not. I sunk into the too soft couch which I shared with a stranger, while you two sat together. Oblivious to my stare, the tension of your hands moving together maddening, a marriage of your fingers and hers, I clenched my teeth. Laughter at the TV. It made no sense to me; none of the happy images of that fantasy life were attainable for me. The heat of the alcohol in my drink burnt my insides as it blazed down my throat. My hands remained cold. Distant like a lonely planet on the edge of the universe, I floated away, the sun no longer the center of my world. Lost, I turned inwards for solitude and comfort and I found, with no surprise, that I had become hollow.
Dearest love, I knew you were special when your hair caught on fire. The glow of the flames around your once so beautiful and happy face, your eyes the eyes of a wild stranger, mouth moving and making sounds didn’t make sense to me. I was not afraid; the smell of burning didn’t disgust me. When I put out the fire by roughly patting your head with a towel, you crumbled to the floor and I was there to take your hand and wipe your hot tears away. God was shaking and grumbling in Spanish about how you would never listen, you would be the death of him. “Don’t worry, angel,” I said, “I still love you.”
Photo Courtesy of Lord Joey (http://lord-joey.deviantart.com/art/Fire-Poi-Halo-Of-Flames-134805089)
What never happened must have happened because there is a memory of it somewhere in my brain, tucked away. Looking up at the starry night sky, my breath vaporizing, mixing with the crisp air, I have never felt so insignificant, so exposed for a meteor to come crashing down on me. Is it true what they say? That we are not alone? In the misty morning, between the dream world and the material world I heard someone. It was the priest and the straying nun. “You must pray for forgiveness!” he said and she wept. I felt the pressure of her body against my feet beneath the covers I knew I must stay hidden. Imagine dying and being gone forever. Lost. You might never reach the end of the universe in forever. Time is ticking and it’s never slowing down. It’s actually going faster, increasing speed by tiny grains of sand that it’s hard to notice if you aren’t paying attention. Sometimes, I feel like two hands and one head is not enough. Hold on or to let go? It’s no use, trying to change the mind of some people. Their minds are beyond reshaping, like clay that’s been left out to dry. It takes eight minutes for the sunlight to reach the Earth. Eight minutes before we find out there is no more sun. Are we alone? Do we pray? Eight infinite minutes or sped up minutes? Will someone hold my hand?
If I were to die and be reborn I would want to be a wall in a house, a beautiful white washed wall in the busiest area with family pictures hanging up and the little marks that show the height of the little girl that lives in there, marked in purple marker. I would like to be built across from a window so I could see the light from the sun sweeping away the dark night, the first few hesitant flakes of snow floating in the dim light of evening. I would bear witness to the pain of the child as she cowers behind the couch, covering her ears from the sound of her mother’s crying. Her tears drip onto the wooden floor, leaving tiny drops that catch the light from the muted TV. I see her do this many nights. I would be a constant voyeur, from lovingly watching her dance to the theme songs of Saturday morning cartoons to blushing when she would sneak her boyfriend in past curfew and they would whisper sweet declarations of lust on the couch. Eventually she’ll leave me and although her mother and father still live in the house it feels empty. I want her to come back. If only I, a white wall, could speak. I wait wait wait. Until one day, she walks through the door as if she’s never left! I watch as she sits on that lusty couch and reveals her tiny child with tiny hands and tiny feet. Another life I might get to watch unfold before me… oh the joys of being a wall!