daily preciousness

Saturday, September 16, 2000

silent all these years

This one's very self-indulgent, folks. Don't read unless you're ready to roll your eyes.

Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been all this time. Why have I been silent all these years? Was I ever even here? Where, then, was I? Off on a holiday?

Perhaps I’ve been off sipping umbrella-topped cocktails on a beach, curiously watching the topless women? Did I miss your sofa and your scent when I was feeling sticky in the sun?

No. I remember now. I was on a Thai beach. Hocking junk to the German tourists. Have I been peddling sunglasses to tourists on street corners, my fingernails dirty?

Was I a second-rate musician on a broken piano, the lower C badly out of tune?

Now, I am a chord in a minor key, played in a darkened room on a cloudy evening. I resonate in the floorboards of my bedroom.

Spilling out onto the courtyard through the open window, I am as luxurious as a trailing vine.

I am noticed subconsciously by a passing stranger delivering a present to his lover. He hears me and quietly pats his back pocket, to check his wallet. He is afraid of me.

No. I lied. I’m not a minor chord. I am the sound of a garbage truck that wakes up the couple who slept fitfully atop their mattress on the floor, surrounded by used paper plates and plastic forks.

The kitten is licking the remains of last night’s dinner. It registers the taste of salt from the cheese on the plate. It sits, licking its mouth quietly near the woman’s face.

The woman wakes. Rubbing her eyes, she yawns. Gently, she reaches out to the kitten, to hold it on her stomach. The creature purrs. Her lover opens a tired eye in the morning light, smiles to see her happy, holding her new pet. "She’s beautiful," the woman whispers. She's the best birthday present ever. She considers that statement. "But maybe the trip to Thailand last year was better," she thinks. But decides not to mention that. The man runs his hand through her curls. He hears the beeping of a garbage truck. It reminds him of the piano upstairs. He wonders if he'll meet the squirrel in the courtyard today in front of the library, among the twisting oaks.

Outside the albino squirrel glances furtively into the bedroom window, scampers up a branch and disappears. At the bottom of the tree, I sit quietly reading a book. He’s watching me.

I remember how wonderful it was to fall asleep on your sofa and wake warm in your embrace. You rubbed my back. I thought about roasted chicken.

I am here, now, breathing in an awareness of my frailties and forces. I am contemplating, in the abstract, my future triumphs. The possibilities spill out before me, in an eight-fold path.

I am here, now, breathing in an awareness of my frailties and forces. I am contemplating, in the abstract, my future triumphs. No longer silent, just like it was yesterday after I drank half a bottle of cheap wine.

The peppermint patties had melted in the sunlight and I sat, brown-fingered and sticky. Embarrassed, but silent no longer, I told you how much I love you.

You smirked and gave me a pretend punch to the chin, as gentle as a kitten's touch. The green candle marked "La Mano Mas Poderosa" flickered behind you and I blew it out with a single puff.

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