Monday, August 31, 2015

flowers in a bottle

BC sent me an email: 

Got some flowers for you today, fresh off the mountains

They dance in darkness as if the wind is blowing. The way the light reflects reminds me of the eyes of the antelope running across the sage lands that dusts the neck of the Simpson Range. 

My guess is BC didn't bothering to stop to photograph them or check to see if the pictures turned out. I have no doubt that they were beautiful in their moment. Simple & wild, never threatening to be seen in the frosty glass of a florist's shop. Desert weeds, the only thing stupid enough to be growing in my garden this year. A flower that chances life by rain alone. 

And something about all that reminds him of me. 

 His photos of the lake they fished are easy and clear. 

 He caught 3 fish and he called home late to say good-night to everyone. 
I sent him photos back but he never responded.

I didn't fall asleep until well after 2 am. I had a dream that the bank of wild land smoke resting on the mountains had come down into the valley. It pressed on the mid-line fence like a wall of dirty snow. 

I had a dream that I just gave up & walked quietly away.

an indian childhood

At nearly 12 yrs old she asks, "Would you like to see a menu or do you know what you want to order?"

Coyly she slips me my ancient U of U staff ID so I have a card to pay with when this is all done. 

I set the book I am reading aside. 

"No, I need a menu please." I answer.  

She hands me a binder with pictures of food in it that she has cut from magazines and written prices beside in red marker.

"On special is our Dan tacos salad..." [I am pretty sure she hasn't tasted a taco salad in real life but there is a gym joke that goes along with it which means the salad in this particular case is actually make from thumb tacks] "...and all of our burgers." [she has never had a hamburger either]

"Okay, I will have this turkey burger." I say pointing to a burger on the page. "And do you have pizza?" 

"Ah let me check with the kitchen- we might be all out." 

She ducks out of sight behind the sofa then returns smiling. 

"We do have pizza. Would you like one?" 

"Yes please."

"Terrific," she twangs, "I will be right back with your order."

I'm tired. Sundays are always the hardest days to be alone and this particular weekend hasn't gone so well.

But it won't last forever. 

Beach is skating on the thin edge of her childhood. I can see it in the photographs she is taking; hear it in the complexities of her stories. 

So when I finished my meal I signal my waitress. 

"Yes, I would like to order some dessert now. Can you tell me about your specials?"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

weekending the end of August

post cards home

Ries Builders: The Solle House Moab, Utah

being Darwin

Beach caught a wild mouse and named it Ninja but we all called it Crack. She kept it inside a wooden framed box with thin wire netting for sides. The box was meant for bees but it kept the wild mouse trapped on the same shelf that holds Darwin in his brightly colored plastic cage.

It was never assumed Ninja would still be there the next time she checked.

Darwin was store bought. Labeled "fancy", which in comparison to the wild one meant stupid and boring: reliably tame.

After a few days Beach felt bad for the wild one who seemed to wilt in captivity and she let him go in the far field. 

She doesn't feel bad for Darwin. It doesn't occur to her that he might want out too. 

She makes him tiny salads and teaches him to trust her hand. She counts on him being in his cage, waiting for her, waiting for scraps of food and scraps of time.    

I was married at 18. 

Had 2 kids by the time I was 21. 

I look at Sarah and I look at me and I can't figure it out. 

I once told her she was seeming very overly domesticated and was beginning to pace the cage. I had been right. Within days she slipped the bars. After awhile of free running she settled back down & reset all the traps.

I cook hot breakfast for the kids & let my coffee get cold. I do laundry in bare feet on a cement floor- even in the winter. I cut toast in triangles, sandwiches into rectangles, and I ignore uneaten crust from both.  

I drive our little souls around while they sing and gossip in the backseat. At break the Little Giants file pass the desk. Most pause long enough to at least call me mom, or ask if I was watching them "when". As if they believe I can hold each of them forever. Maybe I can.

I slip out for the house to run alone but I never really get to leave it all behind. It is not in my nature.

But what I wanted last night was very simple. It showed up in my dreams and left when the morning broke. I think when today ends....

Sometimes I hold us up to each other, Sarah and I, and I try to see the reason behind it all. Sometimes I just lay her image over my sister's shadow and wonder how much separates us. How thin is the line?

I don't know what makes us different, or the same.
I don't know what makes us not see the truth in Darwin.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

truth in soul lending

I picture him reading the newspaper. Sitting on the back steps, barefoot, wearing cuffed jeans, probably smoking. 

He has the hands of a man who works; deep wrinkles, strong-set like canyons traversing the saddle landscape of his skin. But it isn't from hard labor it is from washing his hands too much- that's not to say what he does isn't hard because it is, just not in that way.

I can see the morning light as it swirls in the sheen of hair on his forearms. It glints like salt on caramel. He wears a silver watch and a thin leather cord bracelet. He rolls up the sleeves of his unbuttoned oxford leaving his t-shirt untucked. He could use a shave. And at his neckline the gray is just starting to march in. 

He reads paperback novels that he viciously folds in half.  
He fishes for the scenery not the catch.
He loves the way gravel sounds under the tires of his truck when pulls off the side of the road but he would never really go 'offroading'.
He hates lightening.
He eats corned-beef-hash at least 3 times a week. 
He drinks his coffee backwards; it's too hard to explain.
He sleeps with his hands tucked under his head like a child praying.
He prefers dogs but if a cat is bold in the right ways he will pet it- as long as no one is looking.
He has a scar that runs diagonally down his left should blade. He tells those who ask about it that it was from slipping under a barbwire fence fleeing a cow pasture. He's told that story so many times he believes it himself.

Part of me wants to sit beside him. 
Read over his shoulder and feel his hand on my leg. 

I get in these moods where I want to tell him I was wrong and he was right; I should have given him a second chance.

But I never will because there is a flood where my words would be. A rush of images and feeling that break loose together whenever I think of confessing this to him. 

I can see him drunkenly balancing a dark bowl of spicy noodles floating in salty gingered broth as he tries to convince me to eat with him after a big fight.  The warm leathery smell of his car the night he split open my elbow pushing me back into the sharp corner of his stove as I was trying leave. The heat behind his disapproving glare across a conference table because he didn't like the dress I was wearing or the person I was seated beside. 

I know I was right not to give him a second chance but it doesn't change what I miss about him.  It doesn't change the broken parts of me that found comfort in his peremptory. 

I didn't have to think.
I didn't have to hide. 
I didn't have to try.
He did it all, and then some.

He tallied all the details. He set every scene. He ordered for me, picked our movies, our music, he bought my clothing, & he nagged me about the length of my hair until he got his way. 

He watched and listened, always hunting. He was relentless and I could sleep there with him knowing the price of everything. 

Predictable, strong, and steadfast- in all  the wrong ways.  And when it didn't feel like drowning, it felt so very good.

Over the phone line I hear myself say, "I think I miss you." 
He lets out a sigh I can feel the intensity of it from 4 states away.  I picture his head in his hand as he answers, "Feeling self destructive are we? You don't need me for that. You have always been your own worse enemy." 

I know he is smiling. I can hear it in his voice. And I can hear him typing. "Hmm," he grunts, "Flights between here and there don't look so bad...."
"If you come I won't see you." I remind him.
"I know." He says; we both feel the deepness.
 We are silent then he starts to laugh, "Sweetness, I think I miss me too."

I picture him sitting on the back steps, his laptop beside him, the phone to his ear.  

He loves mayonnaise and sweet pickles.
He scrambles eggs with a fork.
His mid-western drawl gets heavier when he drinks.
And the diagonal scar on his back is from a failed suicide attempt when he was only 12 years old....but I try not to think about that.