I sat with the squatters. The elbow boys. The ones who watch from their dark corners, five o'clock shadows and tall boys resting in their hands. It was creepy. Lonely.
From my favorite padded black bar stool, where my fanny hardly ever rests, I became one of them. The Friday night parade marched by, "How to do? How are you?" Kisses on the cheeks. Leaning in for hugs. But it was different. Tethered to the stool, crutches glaring out in the dark, I couldn't jump in for Jack Flash, first one on the dance floor, and my eyes searched the crowd for who would take my place. The dance floor was empty on the count of four, eight, nine, ten... then finally I could breathe again. I smiled. Clinked!
I noticed how very smokey it is when you sit very very still, bodies swirling around you, kicking up the dust and cigarette haze like cat hair everywhere. I studied the floor and for the first time, saw cocktail stirrers everywhere, like a game of pick-up-sticks abandoned mid-sentence for a better game. I read the signs. Climbed out of my Friday night skin and the concrete block around my ankle and pretended to be on the dance floor, good foot moving to the music, shoulders swaying, hair swinging in the smoke.
And then I knew.
And I cried. The slightest trickle of rain, falling from my eyes. "Are you o.k?" "mmmmmhmmmmm" and I smiled. "Is it your foot?" "uuuuuh...uuuh" "Your leg?" "uuuuuh..uuuuuh" and I smiled again. Because I had to, Grabbing the stainless steel stilts, like a pointy little pocketbook, and swiveling out of the chair.
"It's my heart".
And the shadow people...
Dancing with their ghosts...
Wallpaper on the Friday night walls.
When I can walk through the front door on two legs, both arms free, I'm gonna hug 'em.