Overheard… or not

March 31, 2009

“One day you’ll find someone who loves you for who you are, and you love them.”
“I think maybe I have that person. Maybe.”
“Well, you’ll know it. You’ll have that feeling. You’ll know that they love you in all of your craziness. They’ll be your best friend. And you’ll love waking up next to them every morning.”
“I think you just described him.”
“Then never let him go.”

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Celibacy.

October 30, 2008

God.
This pebble in my heart rocks around my inside and bounces off my lungs like a tympani. It thuds across my brain like a million angry soldiers crossing a battlefield. We’re going to war, they say. Across from them my sensibility, my morality and my judgement. Their buttons shined and their shoes are tied in double knots.

Picking at the skin on my fingers and chipping at the layers on my fingernails. I’m digging this concave surface to crack and peel. I would drag them across your skin, but they are jagged and sadistic.
I’ve given it all up to avoid the battle raging in my psyche. I am too consumed with marrying the next man I meet and hiding in the safety of my comforter. I guess we all want to be loved, they say. And it’s true and we know it.

Take me in your arms and let me push you away, for both of our sakes.

Mother.

September 16, 2008

“You don’t belong behind a desk,” she said. “There is something about you that isn’t meant for it… you’ll burn out within three months. I know you.” She paused, wondering if I was offended by this statement or if she had actually nailed it.
“No. You’re right,” I said. “I don’t think it’s what I want. At all. I’m just afraid to let anyone down. I feel as if I owe it to them.”
“You don’t owe them anything. You need to do what’s right for you… and if that means turning down the job, then do it.”
I smiled and knew that I could do anything. I know what I am capable of, and with her support – for the first time, her unconditional, uncensored support – I can do anything.

I’m off to see the world.

#1073

August 26, 2008

I kept thinking of you today. I couldn’t remember why. It hasn’t been long since I last saw you.
Then, as I began to pack my belongings, I remembered you again. How? I knew this time. By scent. My clothes gave off your aroma. The clean ones. You smelled like my laundry. My fresh laundry, just out from the dryer.

“We must use the same detergent.” What a simple explanation.
Something I never realized, as I was trying a new detergent. I inhaled and placed things in my suitcase;
I remember what it’s like in your arms. You tasted slightly like cigarettes and cheap booze, but I couldn’t taste the difference between yours and mine. You smell safe. You feel safe.

But I’m living on the edge and I can’t be safe in your arms any more.
I have places to go and things to achieve and I’m not going to stop my life for a man, a boy, a relationship, a person. God! It’s like asking me to stop my life, at this pivotal, crucial state of being, and… have a child or something! Give up my life for someone else. I am self absorbed and focused on my success, and I will only look back, never go back, for you.

But only you. A time in my life only to reflect on. Never to live there again.

You are lost in the shuffle, King of Hearts. I am back in the present.
Clean laundry packed, I have hidden you away.

The Circus

April 23, 2008

Their trailers roll into town, white, but covered with stains of former towns, their tires worn from long hours on the road. They park and hoards of men appear and begin unloading long sturdy pipes from inside some of the trailers. Over the course of the day, they work tirelessly to put up the large white tent in a space usually reserved for pedestrians and farmers markets. The blinding white tent rises far above the usual obstructions, and has an almost regal appearance to it. As I approach, the tent seems to rise higher and higher into the sky.

Over the past five years, I have moved nine times. Through apartments, townhouses, condos, and developments, my personal belongings have been paired down to childhood souvenirs and the fewest of personal belongings. I grew up in one of the biggest houses downtown; it took up half of a residential block with a gated yard, courtyard, separate garage, and my parents’ beautiful sprawling garden, which was recognized by several organizations and national publications. My childhood was bliss, and the garden reflected it: I saw beauty and success everywhere I went. I lived in the attic of our three-story house and would look out my skylight at the glowing sky. Like the garden, it felt as it the sky above my head possessed this unfaltering beauty, even when it was gray and rained. It was something so out of reach – something that I just didn’t understand. It was taught from my youth to work as hard and to reach as far as you possibly could. In doing so, you would get what you wanted. The beautiful sky was just something so out of reach. I settled for the ground, which out in the garden, satisfied me for the time being.

I sit near the workers to watch them set up under the heavy, dark clouds. It could rain, but it doesn’t seem to concern them. I can hear them shouting to one another over the clanking pipes, which looked worn and tired. A man climbs up the taught white surface of the large tent; he’s attached to a cord connected to the very top of the tent. He’s pulling himself up the angle and tightening hidden straps along it’s surface as he goes. I wonder how many times he does this in a year, and where his family is. Does he have a family? Does he have children? Do they miss him?

My parents divorced when I was 17, during the spring of my senior year of high school. My mother and I moved into a small townhouse in the north part of town, and a few months later my father followed to a nearby development; my parents had agreed to live nearby for the sake of my younger brother, who would live at both houses. I kept my belongings at my mother’s townhouse, but quickly discovered the things that once fit, sprawled throughout a large attic, wouldn’t fit as nicely in the smaller room above the one-car garage, which was declared “mine.” Over the course of a few months, my belongings were sorted into “keep,” “give away,” “throw away,” and “store.” I would be leaving for college soon, and my mother didn’t want the burden of bringing my things with her if she moved again. I packed my “keep” belongings into large boxes and shipped them to the dorm where I was living the following fall. My room at home felt empty, in fact, it didn’t seem much like home anymore. The clothes were mine, the things in the room where mine, and the walls had my pictures all over them. But there was no light that came down over my bed. No window to the sky. This wasn’t home.

The performers’ trailers line the chain link fences that the workers set up earlier in the day. Their shades are drawn and the lights are off; I wonder if they are exploring the city or getting a bite to eat at a nearby café. I am intrigued by their life on the road: is this “home” or is it somewhere else living a life that they are not involved in? Do their lives continue without them while their on the road? My instincts say their coworkers are their family and their trailers are their home. This is a life they’ve chosen for themselves because maybe the conventional ideas of life don’t apply to them. I wonder if they’ve ever experienced love.

My first apartment was a three-bedroom first-floor apartment in the heart of a fairly rich neighborhood, boasting multi-million dollar brownstones and notable social names. I shared the apartment with two friends I met during my freshman year. We picked out an apartment in the spring, but after the summer and move-in early that fall, things had begun to deteriorate, and our “perfect apartment” we had so envisioned was nothing but a murky distant memory. I found myself generally confined to my 8’ by 10’ closet-sized room. My twin day-bed doubled as a couch, and it was there that I’d sit for hours, looking out my windows, which took up one entire wall of the room, into the back alleyways behind the apartment. They were filled with garbage and remains of plants, and I could barely see the sky over the nearby buildings. I rarely left my room, but when I did, I felt obliged to put on a happy face. It was with this face I denied my feelings, and masked my true unhappiness with my living arrangements. I performed the “fun roommate” song and dance as much as possible in an attempt to keep the tension to a minimum. I kept my happy face on for as long as possible, but by spring, I was looking for a new place to move.

I am not scared by clowns, in fact, I am fascinated by them. There’s something about a clown that doesn’t bring me joy, but brings me hope. That one person can completely exist part of their life as someone else. Some clowns are mute, and I am drawn by their ability to maintain an optimistic persona through their silence. I can’t do that. I try to sneak peeks into trailers, hoping to catch a glimpse of a clown without his makeup; perhaps it will give me an idea of who that person really is behind the mask. I don’t exactly see clowns as actors. I see them as people that need to put on face paint and a costume to feel good. And as long as they aren’t scaring children, that’s fine with me.

My time at college will soon be done and I am planning one of my final moves. I am tired of packing and shipping all of my belongings every few months, and I have finally reached a point in my life where I can move once, and stay there as long as I like. I’m somewhat scared of this move, knowing I’m going and I don’t want to look back. I finally get to buy furniture I get to keep. I have walls I can paint and call my own. I’ll have a city where I can make a group of friends that will become my family.
My constant travel and living arrangements don’t stop me from loving my family or maintaining relationships. It just makes it harder. I am looking forward to the time in my life where I can stop, breath, look out the window for once, and know I’ll be staring at it for as long as I like.

Sometimes I walk by the tent and trailers at night in hopes of catching a glimpse of something out of the ordinary. After the show is done for the night, and the lights have gone down, it’s the time everyone returns to their trailer for the night. I pass a trailer on the edge of the circus where the lights are on and the shades are open. A man, whose silhouette is all that I can see, smokes a cigarette and plays cards. His body language makes me think that he is happy, that perhaps constantly moving doesn’t distress him. Everything he wants and needs is there. It makes me curious if I’m actually making the wrong choice with my future; should I join a circus and travel with all of my nearest and dearest around me at all times? Or is there something inside of me that needs a stationary existence for once. My body is tired, so I sit on a bench. I wish I didn’t have to move, but I know by the sky that it’s going to rain, and I have to be heading home.

August 15, 2007

I pressed my palms into my eyelids until I saw fireworks and spirals explode from the darkness.

I remember when this was better than any drink – than any substance – placed in front of me. I would sit in the car, waiting for my mother to finish running an errand, and would place my palms flat against my face, close my eyes, and press in. The rush. I felt as if I was pulling these images – these bursts – from my imagination.

Little strings of my wildest dreams in the form of indescribable colors and shapes.