As a child, you imagined that clouds were solid and that tomorrows would always come. On Sunday mornings, you’d watch planes drag lazily across the sky. You couldn’t understand how pilots could be so skilled. How do they dodge the clouds, mommy? Shut up and stop asking questions. You’d nod but you’d still wonder about those amazing pilots. Skulls and crossbones mean pirates and poison, but it seemed that mommy forgot which bottles were which because her pirate juice, the one that made her words sound funny and her snores loud like thunder, it was full but the poison left a dried ring of froth around her mouth. Tomorrow didn’t come for mommy, but she must be living on a cloud now. On the top, you know, so you can’t see her, but she’s still there.
A lawyer now, you lost the magic of solid clouds and pirate juice. You know our mother left you. She couldn’t help it, they say. She was ill, they say. You know, they say, pointing to their heads and turning their fingers around imaginary locks of hair. You nod, pennies filling the back of your throat and dwindling from your bank account.
Sunday mornings are quiet as death now. You imagine death is actually quiet. No more screaming babies on the subway, no more overheard arguments through thinning, half-eaten drywall. Just quiet. And dark. Like those sensory deprivation tanks, only you can’t be deprived of senses if you don’t have them. Just like your mother believed she couldn’t have her life stolen out from under her, ruined by a child she never wanted, if she didn’t have a life.
In the darkness of the deepest night, I thought I saw an Apology once. It wasn’t near as scary as people had made it seem. Actually, it looked quite nice. From what I could see in those shadows, it was vast but somehow seemed to take up very little space. Its mouth was turned down and its eyes were wide and glowing. Funny, I didn’t see any fangs. But as quickly as it had come, it vanished.
A few nights later I thought I saw it again, but it was only an illusion, like those dark shadows that seem to flit away at the edge of your vision. Apologies are like that, I think. They’re illusive, which makes them very valuable.
I’d heard once about a man who saw so many Apologies that he decided against their significance and favored instead the monstrous Cold Shoulder. These beasts are much larger than apologies. Their icy skin seems to stretch on for miles, cutting through and destroying anything it its path, especially Apologies. Cold Shoulders are the only known predators of Apologies. Well, besides humans I suppose.
So, one day, I decided to try to create an Apology. I tried to put an Apology together with the crease in your brow and the downward turn of your lips. I pulled your silence into bunches and tried to fashion them into the body of the Apology. I gathered hateful words and slammed doors and cloudy days, but none of them would fit into the Apology mold. I didn’t let this stop me. I’ll keep trying to fashion an Apology for you because I don’t know when I’ll be lucky enough to see one again.
Your city is 2,192 miles from mine, so why
do I feel you trying to crawl into bed with us, clawing the
sheets away from my naked body, pushing yourself closer
to him, wrapping your arms around his chest possessively,
as if he were yours to begin with.
Desperation clings to your skin like yesterday’s perfume,
coating the oxygen around us with toxins, permeating everything
like so much smoke from a fire you lit yourself. And I
wonder if my name tastes as bitter in your mouth as
yours does in mine.
I hope it does.
I hope you choke on it.
It gets better. You will not feel this inexorable poison flooding your veins for the rest of your life. It does get better. But then it gets worse. One day you’re feeling buoyant and happy and the next you’ll wonder how you’ll persuade your muscles to propel you out of bed. It will be as if the pain never really did leave you, but rather simply took a break to regain its strength. You’ll wonder where the fucking light switch is when you need it and you’ll wonder how in the hell people put up with you anymore and you’ll bury the feeling that you’re really actually dying underneath piles and piles of sweat soaked sheets smelling of sex and silence. And all at once, after the sex and the cigarettes you’ll never actually smoke and the room full of crumpled litanies, you’ll feel okay again. You’ll find solace in the scent of his skin on yours and the taste of the fall days rolling by in a haze of vanilla lattes and in the way you’ll fall into an idea, running for years with it clutched within your desperate fingers. You’ll be okay until you’re not. Savor your fall days and lattes and ideas. They’ll be there until they’re not.
My teeth are cemented together but the breeze slides through them like a man’s fingers through his lover’s hair, begging to know her as only long-distance lovers can. The wind traces a cool finger across my skin, kissing my jumping jugular with lips that are thousands of miles away, creating in me a longing that I hadn’t known existed. Iron-clad vibrations drifting in from four sides only remind me of airplanes, and of all the places I want to go, and then of you. You as you pull me in so tightly that my breath runs and hides, chasing itself down railroad tracks that somehow pass for a spine. You as you laugh with me (such a free sound, like a song I had once known by heart but had quite forgotten until now), our backs to the frozen ground and our faces open to the sky. You: so unlike anything I have encountered in my trek through decades, yet familiar as a childhood memory glimmering behind my consciousness. It has always been the deep blue oceans that held me in place as time lapped at my shores, corroding me into someone else entirely. Who would have thought, or even guessed, that the patterns we create so independently and so full of self-purpose and preservation, were never quite so independent at all?
The Daily Prompt for today is “What bores you?” so here goes nothing!
Metallic ringing dries the wet
putrid air with its
desperate clanging attempts at
Black and white letters play
silently across a screen splashed with
faux bold colors and
mouths miming the words they cannot say
A slow drip funnels through cracks
and splashes with the time of a
metronome set to a sluggish largo
Even fiery blood deafeningly rushes
through arctic blue arteries
in the silence so thick
I can taste it
Perhaps this best captured not what bores me, but my actual boredom. Anyway, enjoy!