Thursday, January 26, 2017

nameless


What else would you want us to know about her and your family, he asks.

There is a pause over the line...

All I can picture is 8:23 PM.  Grainy surveillance footage of Beach and I jumping over clumps of gray snow turning to slush as we enter the 7/11.

I see wet brick-like tiles.
Smell burnt coffee.


Hear the greeting given by one of the many cast of characters behind the counter.  They all call her Little One.  They call all the neighbor kids that because they don't know their names.  They know she is "something", that she does "something" but none of them can remember exactly what.


Why this pops into my head is because of what I told the man on the line next. " We are a west side family, with a west side socioeconomic status. Gymnastics is an elite sport with an elite price tag.  Gymnastics is practically unheard of down here."

Beach slips from this side town to that side.  Unnoticed. Nameless.


We pass the mechanic shop and the abandoned house at the end of our block. Drive over a set of active train tracks that burst out from between the cinder block buildings flanking the street. The crossing is naked; it does not have gates or a signal.

The trains that run that line ride their horn as they approach.  We call it the canal train and try to forget the terrifying shine of its headlight at it rips out for the darkness and across the road.

We pass between the army of semi-trucks getting on & off the 9th west exit.  Driving a stretch of road that seems lawless. No posted speed limit, no rules, and in the ten plus years we have lived here I have yet to see a cop do anything more than speed pass it.


Sometimes I watch the children in our neighborhood as they walk to or from school.  They no longer know "the girl" is here.  The Girl they played with out in the grass.  The one they would shout about, "the girl is better than you" "look what the girl can do" "the girl is winning". They have forgotten about her.

Like the boy in the bubble; I even think she has forgotten about them.


Our closest neighbors seemed mystified by our schedule.  The ones with children around Beach's age think I am some sort of pathological liar for as many times I say, sorry she can't she has gym.


And over there on the east side... she is one of them.  One of them, after she makes the muddy trek out to the chicken coop to gather eggs; after the wood is split and stacked; after she trails behind her mother at the grocery store unit pricing and seeking manager specials; after she brushes saw dust off her jacket and drives the industrial juggle out.

And if out is the goal there is a problem. 

Last month Beach sat on the floor among her mates listening to the college recruiting meeting. The next day she announced she was not interested in doing collegiate gymnastics. I let it settle.  A few days later her reasons slowly slipped out. The price tags on the media and promotion needed scared her. 

While her teammates worried over the warnings of inappropriate social media or following academic guidelines she was doing the real world math.

What would I want a film production crew working on a micro documentary piece featuring my daughter to know?

That no one knows really knows what or who she is. 

That being half blind is the easy part. Being half poor is what really makes it hard for her to see.

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