february sure is cold. "only a couple more months of winter, ayy," this guy's saying. i nod and we talk about the weather for a couple minutes before meditating on our separate sorrows. "one beer, two beers, three beers four, find myself a girl, hope she's not a whore."(more) i'm humming this type of song to myself in a cockney accent. anything to kill time. alone at a bar, seeing a friend, enveloped by cunt, hungry, tired. what is this enemy called TIME, really? five beers now. kill the body and time will cease. kill time and waste away.
even indoors, my toes are numb and the clock on the wall is tick tick ticking. there is a mirror in the bathroom, a mirror in the hall, two in the bedroom. there is one next to me buried in my neck like a tiny fleck of sand, yawning like a lioness after dinnertime. an impressive kill - the meat is followed by moving pictures of summer on a beach: a child under a fahrenheit sun, burning with the pure joy of stomping sandcastles and diving the shore for imaginary treasure. i brush the hair off my chest because it tickles. an hour later, the post-coital time warp comes to an end and my feet are numbed again by the frozen pavement.
i think now and again of the child in heat, bathed in sun and splashing around foolishly. i think of somewhere hot where it was only ever spring, summer, fall, and spring.
It was like a revelation when the song came on the radio. All of a sudden your perfume filled my nostrils and the freckles on your cheeks came into view. I had to pull over because it was all too much. I parked on the side of a busy(more) freeway and took a deep breath. Everything that I had forgotten about you came back to me in that instant.
The first time we kissed was surreal to me. I couldn't believe it was happening but there we were, our lips finally touching after we had been talking and beating around the bush all night. What was it, 3 or 4 in the morning? I don't remember anymore. At some point I remembered every single detail of that night. I couldn't let you go for the longest time.
At some point, I must have let you go and left your memory behind. Somewhere back there in the deep, dark places in my mind, I left your memory to die. I like to think that I leave the important people a place in my mind that's easy to access but you, I let go.
When the song came on I didn't know what do with myself. I remember when you asked me to feel your heart beating. It was racing and so was mine. We listened to music together. We shared everything we could in that short amount of time.
But I still left your memory somewhere back there in the darkness. I guess I wasn't supposed to remember you and frankly, my life was just fine without you, though I'm sure you could say the same about me.
I don't remember much else about that summer and I imagine I'll lose your memory again.(less)
James got sick before his new shoes even had scuffs on them. It was September.
The leaves were the same color as the school bus. The sight of them, as they fluttered to the ground, stirred in James the same ill dread.
The light in the fields w(more)as thin. The sun never rose up much over the horizon before falling back down, revealing outer space, starry and bleak. As autumn drew on James felt the same way. First he wasn't able to stand up straight, then it became harder to get up at all.
Sister Michaela, his grade 2 teacher, told him if he was going to sleep at his desk then he might as well stay home.
The next day James started coughing and couldn't stop.
In hospital he grew thin. He could pull his pajamas on and off without doing the buttons. His eyes hurt in the light. They blurred when he looked at the schoolwork they sent over. By the time he'd get halfway through his math worksheet the paper would be smudged with pencil and rumpled from his falling asleep on it. His bed was a mess of eraser bits and comics and HappyMeal toys. When he was sent home the nurses said, That's one less mess around here! But they tweaked at him as they said it and James smiled back with his missing teeth. The hospital was clean compared to the trailer, with dark warren-like rooms, the smell of fried food, the reek of diesel heat.
At home he lost a whole season. Winter traced the bedroom window with worm-trails of frost. James forgot recess and books and friends. By the time he was better, he'd lost any sense of what direction the world was moving in.
It had been a year. A year since that ball whizzed past his ear. A year since that ball had struck that umpire, killing him instantly. A year since all those press conferences, with that umpire's picture behind him as he spoke of his grief. Of losing his(more) best friend. The guy who got him into baseball in the first place. It had been a year. A year of lying in a padded cell. And all because of what? Loss of control? Nah. It was a fragility. He was fragile, and because of that, he had lost a season.
It was summer when that ball flew through the air. And now, as the car containing both him and his best friend's picture ran off the cliff, it was winter. It had been more than a lost season. It had been a lifetime. One that he was never getting back.(less)