It’s hot, one of those sultry steamy days in the south where the sun caresses rather than sears.
The neighbor boy ambles up the street, dressed in long dark jeans and a blue thermal jacket zipped to his throat, like a turtle ready to disappear. He smiles shyly as he passes. Like his parents and seven siblings, he won’t speak to AnneMarie unless forced, not anymore. The world has become “them” and “us.” Continue reading →
She was that woman, procrastinating on life, until life raised its middle finger and laughed.
When they’re dead, it’s too late to tell them you loved them, you never meant the words you said, beg for forgiveness. When they’re dead, all of the unsaid words, best intentions, half-hearted gestures, mean nothing.
And how do you forgive yourself when you believed you had all the time in the world?
I have sketched us in charcoal on stark white. I have obliterated lines, assuaged others. The charcoal coats my fingertips, chin, and cheeks. Lines become blurred as I adjust, change, smooth angles. Your eyes, your smile are not right. I sketch you again, and somehow, my own image becomes fragmented, disjointed, a smear of darkness. Frustrated, I draw myself. Yet, when I peer into the mirror, my eyes haunt me, but I cannot convey this on paper despite my attempts. Ignoring the mirror, I start again. You and me, side-by-side, but somehow, despite numerous iterations, we never come together.
Granddad’s bucket list is going to kill me. But a promise is a promise. Personally, I think he’s also trying to cure my fear of heights brought on by his brother because he feels guilty about leaving me with him that day.
Last week we did skydiving. I think. I squeezed my eyes tight, felt my ears pop, all the while tightly tethered to a professional who knew when to open the chute. I did open my eyes just in time to get my legs under me for the landing. A win.
This week it’s air balloons in the Blue Ridge. I think this will be easier. I just have to stand there, right? And not look down.
But life isn’t fair, is it? The guy checking on the balloon is Jace, my ex-, the only man I’ve ever loved. A quick glance at Granddad, who averts his eyes and begins whistling Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away,” tells me this is not an accident.
I guess it’s not only my fear of heights he’s trying to cure.
All of this before me. The shorn off mountain, devastation. A woman tossing peanuts to a ground squirrel next to the sign that prohibits feeding of wildlife. Laughter. Selfies. Children giggling, fighting. A man dropping trash. A couple groping while sitting on the stone wall. Continue reading →