The other day on my way home from work. I was walking. He couldn’t find Pace University, and I directed him, even though I wasn’t really sure where it was. Sadly, I had prompted him in the direction I was walking. I said OK have a good day. He said thank you but kept stride with me and asked me what I do in the area. I said I live here, which made me think maybe that was a not great answer but then I realized this is Manhattan and I’m an adult and he doesn’t have candy or a car or anything good and is probably old enough to take down or outrun. We have a conversation, which chips at me some. His son is a freshman. My siblings are sophomores in college. We say things about things. He has to turn right, which annoys me, because it takes a lot for me to talk to anyone, and I’m in the middle of a sentence. I feel life is a rude thing. But then I’m glad to stop talking again.
The next day, I go home on the bus. A tiny Asian boy throws up bile on the floor, and as I’m sitting in a sideways seat, it slowly inches toward my shoes. I watch it. I don’t want to get bile on my shoes. His mother is doing a bad job of wiping it up, because she is starting in the middle of the bile trail instead of at the front of it. I feel this is unjust, so I don’t move my feet, because I don’t think my life should be impacted by this vomit. It’s not mine. It isn’t anyone’s I belong to. And I win. My stop precedes the impact, and I leave.
It was the morning, and I woke up feeling bad. Not bad bad, but a few steps to the side of right. Some dream, it must have been. She says, “what’s up,” and I say
We drink coffee and I look for the off feeling and don’t know it yet. The kisses are good but outside my windshield at times, which annoys me, and she asks “what are you thinking about?” My dog. He was so good and sweet, and then he died. I saw him die. His sister died, too, and I miss her on the forefront, because she was most recent, but I go back for him, because of how he was and how it all happened.
“Nothing.” We kiss more and more and it gets me outside myself some. She knows how to unfurl the muscles and lay it all out on white, how it takes seismic roughing and brightness in the dark, and that’s how I bring myself into today, thank the lawd, as it goes. The lawd. lol.
We get in a car to bring things to Goodwill, because she is paring down. I still can’t combine myself with these minutes, so I lay down on her lap…Jib had been laying on a vermillion towel in our backyard, and he was tired. Finally, his tongue curled out of his mouth, like forced its way out, and he let out a low moan that sounded like Snoopy. And then he shit a little and that was it, and he was so stiff. It was liver cancer. Later, I would run around my grandma’s yard with his little carbonized body in my fist, dropping some here and there, where he liked to roll and scratch his back in the crab grass…My eyes get teary, but as it happens when you’re on your side, all the crying comes out of the bottom eye, save the one tear on the top side, so she doesn’t know I’m doing it or gives me the dignity by not asking, which as we know makes it real and creates more crying. I say something random about something my sister was doing at work to dam it up, and she says a joke about something else, and I laugh. We get out to go to the store.
Everything second hand makes me nostalgic for people I used to know or never even knew, which makes me realize I’m just in it today and that it will just be a cloudy day parade. We leave the store and go to a vintage poster store, and we look at Life magazines from the 1930’s. I say, “Can you believe how irrelevant we will be in one hundred years,” and that makes me feel a bit bad but also relieved, and I already knew it, but it’s good to remember sometimes. Scarlett O’Hara. She doesn’t know about how people are riding around on single wheels with gyroscopes inside them right now, and we don’t know about the things that will come. Like later that evening, after dinner, when we ramble into the sex store, I say, “they will laugh about strapping it on with a belt one day,” and we laugh about it, and I laugh because I turn around and she’s buzzed on cider and finger banging a pocket pussy with the clerk nearby watching, and it makes for a good scene. I like a good scene, because mostly I just want everyone to laugh.
As we walk to the train, I think about his little ashes and it opens up the stomach a little, because it’s something that won’t leave me today, even though it was a good day. And actually the better the day, the worse it is for the fact of the departure in store for all of it, but it’s so nice to hold hands, and we are going to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show and drink red wine.
I touch her face long and think, make sure you know her nose bridge in case you go blind out of nowhere. The thought is also to spend some time wearing eye patches in case one eye is lost, and I need to be prepared for the worst. Nothing is wrong with my eyes, yet. Just slight near-sightedness. But you can never be too sure. Then there were so many people on those stilt-y canes today, lacking feet or legs or whatever, and I will have to prepare for that in case, too. It’s a feeling I’ve always had in my gut that someday I would have only one leg. And then so many weaves in everyone’s hair around the city, and I should prepare to have one, too, in case my hair goes awry, and I can’t manage it properly anymore. The idea is to be ready for anything, even if it means morphing into unrecognizable territory.
I think I’ll be least mad about the leg, since I’ve expected to lose it the longest. Then the hair, which I like but don’t need, per se, and then the vision. I would really prefer to go deaf than blind. However, it’s beyond my control. It’s a bit weird about missing my hair more than my legs, maybe. I’m not so sure, actually, because hats.