“Must you always do that?” Sarah wrinkled up her nose in disgust.
“Always do what?” I said, glancing up from the New York Times. I then realized I had neglected the coffee and soggy cheerios before me. Perhaps I had been somewhat disengaged.
Sarah shook her head. “You’ve been so absorbed in your work lately. We haven’t had a real conversation this week. What’s going on?”
“I’ve been trying to catch up,” I responded. My eyes danced around the room and stopped as I noticed the black and white kitchen tiles that we had always planned to replace.
“You’ve hardly been home this week,” she complained, “and you’ve done nothing around the house. Why is that I am the only who does things around here?” She shook her head. “I swear, Jack, sometimes you’re impossible.”
I nodded to show her that I understood, and I did. “You’re right. I haven’t been there lately.”
“You haven’t,” Sarah agreed, “and I’m sick and tired of it.”
“Perhaps disharmony is what keeps us afloat,” I suggested with a smirk. “We’re so used to having something to argue about.”
“You’re an idiot,” Sarah responded, snatching an empty blue plate from off the table to place it in the sink.
And she was right. But then she laughed that familiar laugh, which was soft and light and reminded me of the wind chimes we placed outside the front door of our mountain abode. She wouldn’t admit it, and it was probably wrong of me to say this, but that laugh of hers was how I knew I had swayed her.
(Still iffy about a few lines, but here’s another poem. It’s not nearly as dark as it sounds…haha.)
Numbing weights upon my soles,
Steady me on this downward ship,
But my eyes dance across the sea,
To swindle yours in sadist crime.
Your brittle bones taunting me.
To taste the lips of poison.
Which animate with sin.
Sever these bloodless veins;
Feed the fire beneath my skin.
If only I could end a conversation without a bitter taste upon my tongue, without this uneasy feeling that a friend is a friend solely due to circumstance, that I have to right some wrong I’ve impinged upon another, that I have to make up for something, rather, everything, though I long so much to be close to another as the entirety of my existence is held at arm’s length, as I regroup in solitude and enjoy it dangerously so, stealing the early morning for myself to breathe easy for a while.
A touch of soft, summer morning sunlight caressed the outline of a tree branch which called out to me in the midst of a path of trees on the left of the sidewalk, across from a jet black gate. Behind this gate was the mahogany schoolhouse that my children would attend. In truth, I have not yet decided what to do about the matter of “having children” with Henry. I will be thirty-eight in exactly three months, one week, and two days, the point at which I will be at what doctors consider at an advanced maternal age; in order words, it’s a “high-risk” pregnancy. Everything Henry had desired in life had become his through hard work and dedication- except for time, which was rapidly evaporating as I loosened my grip from his world.
A feathered blanket of snow encircled a bicycle seat on the bicycle rack rested against the side of the building where the schoolyard lay; the sight of it made me smile. Dating back to my younger years, I had always had a special relationship with the snow. My days as a schoolchild would soon fade from my memory bank only to be replaced with memories of a fresh-faced infant. Henry would never notice the gentle manner in which the snow caressed the tree branch or encircled the bicycle seat, yet Henry’s child would be my own.
Henry never noticed how I smiled and cooed upon our beach trips; it was a different sort of smile than I had given him when we first met. Our cabin in the woods had been my home, and yet we had moved to a beach house on the tip of Southern Cali. This was one move of two in the past eleven years. I had sworn up and down that I hadn’t minded, which was true. I had said that he needn’t be accommodating, and thus I don’t blame him for uprooting us in such a manner. I do, however, take offense in the fact that he believed the beach to be my favorite after our arrival in Cali.
Perhaps I am wrong for placing this blame on him. I would surely drink in the salty summer air as another woman would, and I did so with the appearance of joyousness. Or perhaps it is me: perhaps I enjoyed possessing my own little secret: one thing in my life that I had not exposed or relinquished for the sake of a common dream that I had been convinced was mine. He deemed me to be the one, his lover, the mother of his child, and yet he could not comprehend the simplistic beauty of a soft, slow melting blanket of snow under a morning sky in Philadelphia, believing himself to be my soul-mate though he knew nothing of me aside from that which I outwardly expressed.
For years, we resided in textbook perfection: a cookie cutter home in a cookie cutter town with a middle class income, and I was to thrive in mediocre hell. I hated the beach. I believe perhaps I faked enjoyment because I was supposed to adore the beach, but in truth, I despised it with every fiber of being. Everyone envied my liberty, and yet what I possessed was a lack thereof; everyone envied me, and yet I hated the beach, and it was a passionate, restless sort of hate.
Everything looked animated from my blanket on the sand, and I wondered if anyone else had ever felt that way- completely and utterly disengaged. With my right hand rested on the top of the black gate which smelled strongly of fresh paint, I watched the leaves fall from the tree, lifelessly, fated to death upon birth, and I wondered if anything between now and then made a difference.
Smaller, upper back.
For the sake of stability,
I’ve let facts and figures sink in.
Staining my skin with trivialities.
For a worn-out common dream.
For a mid-life wine and dine.
Vapid talks with respectable robots.
Old colleagues of mine.
Proud owners of cookie-cutter houses.
With fine professions to discuss.
And lives void of significance.
As they converse in insipid tongue.
Drowning in the spotlight.
From a passionless existence.
Longing for something to sing about.
*Might add to this
Glancing outside the open window of Henry’s dilapidated car, Ally focused her attention on one particular evergreen in the distance. The summer sun had doused it with a soft, comforting glow, and comfort she sought. As a light drizzle of rain dampened her outstretched hand, she quickly shut the window but continued to sit there, transfixed.
“Ally?” Henry called out gently, mildly perplexed. Though she had heard his words, they had not resounded because at that moment in time, her gaze was focused elsewhere. “Are you all right?” He asked, concerned.
“Of course,” Ally reassured him with a short nod and a small smile, but he raised an eyebrow, unconvinced. Then she proceeded to shift to the right, leaning her body against the car door.
“Where do we go from here?” Ally asked breathlessly and then turned to Henry to catch his eye as she narrowed hers slightly, almost hinting at suspicion. A destination had not been set, but Ally felt as if they were nearing it. In other words, she knew Henry well and suspected another hour or so would pass before he’d grow weary.
Smiling gently, Henry shook his head. “Let me ask you something, Ally.” Abruptly, he slowed down the pace at which he was driving and swung his head around to face her. “Why do you always have to know?” He teased her with his playfully accusatory glare.
Ally sighed sharply, her impatience apparent as she turned the page of the novel in her hands that she had not yet begun to read, though she had glanced over the words time and time again. As recent college graduates, they were now on the run, though from nothing in particular and towards nothing in particular. Neither of them possessed a plan or perhaps their plan itself was to live without one. In their eyes, one possesses more courage when he or she lives freely.
“Where do we go from here?” Ally repeated- demanded, rather- for this time, the words had escaped differently than she had intended, in the harshest of tones. For a moment, she almost wished she could rewind. Her words had not been fair.
Though Henry had taken note of her tone, it clearly had not fazed him because he loved that girl, and so he chuckled in response. She was only learning to let go. “Where you always wanted,” he replied simply, grinning ever so slightly as he glanced over at her and noticed a hint of amusement in her eyes. “Onward.”