Sunday, September 02, 2007
Sweet Friend of Mine....
It was a ten speed. Spray painted by thieves, and then, unclaimed, sold at the Sheriff’s Auction for ten bucks. We scooped it up and I had wheels.
They brought me here kicking, screaming, pouting, listening to “A Horse with No Name” on the staticky AM radio. I wasn’t impressed. The cobblestone roads, before I fell in love with them, were just bumpity and made the little Toyota we had inherited by chance, sound rattley and cheap. Piled in the front seat, with Skinny sandwiched between my legs, I watched the fancy yancy houses go by, the “isn’t it just beautiful?s” and cringed. I hated it here.
The evening of the Sheriff’s sale, I took off, spiked pedals piercing my flip-flops, blonde hair flying, cigarettes stuffed in the back pocket of the too-tight peanuckle cut-offs. I didn’t have smoker’s cough then, and I flew. Around Brewer Hill, and down, and down, and down to the water.
They were standing, shirtless, at the end of the drive-way,leaning up against a cheap little car, smoking. Just down below. Two guys with long hair billowing, lounging , blowing smoke rings, and laughing at the sky. Stoned probably. I fidgeted my fanny on the seat. The electrical tape wrapping the seat, transforming it from orange to black, stuck to my upper thigh. With my right hand I yanked the bent and crumpled pack of Kools from the thread bear pocket, poked one in my mouth, and dug deeper for the lighter.
Faces coming into focus.
In the wind, flying, I tried to light the cigarette. At sixteen I was cool enough to do this, and maybe, even, flirt, on the fly by.
And so of course, I crashed. A mangled heap of stolen goods and a skinless chin at their bare feet. They barely even moved. “I’m Christian” he said. “Nice to meet you”…..
We spent years playing driftwood in the ocean, floating until we washed up, sun burnt and stoned. I giggled with him through his affair with the next door neighbor, Mrs. Robinson . I painted his bathtub in psychedelic colors and we planted fish there. We danced on tables and hung from balconies together. He taught me to drive a car, we traded poems back and forth and stuffed them in a manila binder…. “Our book”…….
He proposed to my best friend , beer-giddy on bended knees. We toasted. I stood by him when he called off the engagement and told the truth that sent her heartbroken, into the fast arms of a passing Navy Base Boy. I was there when his Father poured a scotch on the rocks, and his Mama, the one he gained by chance, stirred the drink she had been nursing since noon, and held her husband’s hand. I was there for the announcement, the Hush that blanketed the house, their hearts, their dreams. I was there, when in acceptance, they celebrated all he had become, the circle he had created…..
I don’t know how many years it’s been, I don’t know the date, the anniversary of his leaving me. But I know I miss him. And in the quiet of the walls tonight, I felt him here. Today, Orhan reminded me I had guardian spirits visiting ….And he’s not kidding…..
Rest in peace, sweet friend….
I hear you knockin’…..
And I'm listenin'....