Walking along I came to the end of a rainbow. “Well damn!” I thought surprised though there should be a pot of gold, well; at least in all the stories I’d read. “Isn’t there supposed to be a pot of gold, and King Brian, where’s King Brian?” He stood taller than me, had he been by the tree I wasn’t sure but strong built, a non-threatening air and welcome said his grin. I looked up at him into smiling eyes. They did, well, they were. I couldn’t help thinking, “fuck me it’s true; he’s taller than I tho…”
I stirred and saw he was sitting lighting his pipe. With a leg extended he gave a kick. A jingle sounded like coins falling on the ground. So distracted by his eyes he tilted his head, I followed his gaze and looked. It was a small pot but not a cauldron, nothing for brew… well, not that kind. His arm around me gently pulled me close in, “well now it has been quite a night…”
One beautiful, lightly breezy, 70° sunny day, a woman was sitting on a bench in a shady area of the quad on campus reading quietly to herself. She didn’t get the time to read as often as she liked and was so absorbed in her book, she didn’t notice a tall, handsome man walking by her. He did notice her though and thought to himself, “I’d like her to be my special friend.” He kept on walking but his thoughts were now about how to win her over. In the meantime another handsome man happened by, noticed the woman and decided on the spot she would be his special friend. Instead of continuing on past her he lifted her off the bench and carried her over his shoulder.
The woman was startled from her reading and while clutching the book tightly so she wouldn’t drop it, asked the man why he was carrying her over his shoulder. He started explaining to her how good life would be and how happy she would be as his special friend while he kept walking. The first handsome man came back to begin the process of winning the woman over to be his special friend, he had come up with a really good plan, and noticed she was gone. Before these two men had happened by, earlier, another handsome man had noticed the woman, she was so into her book she didn’t see him at all, and went off to get some gifts he thought would help win the woman over, but on his way back noticed the second handsome man pick up the woman and carry her off. This made him angry because he really wanted the woman for his special friend. He dropped the gifts, ran after the second handsome man, knocked him down, caught the woman who was holding her book tight so she wouldn’t lose her place, put her over his shoulder and started walking very quickly down the street just outside of campus while telling the woman, who was trying to continue reading her book in spite of all that was going on, that she’d be much happier with him, although he didn’t know the man he’d just knocked down at all.
The first handsome man who came back to talk to the woman to convince her she should be his special friend, saw the third man who really was the first man knock the second man down and take the woman. He thought to himself though he really didn’t know it for a fact, “I saw her first!” He ran after the third man who was really the first man to take the woman away from him. He caught up with them; grabbed hold of the woman and a tug-of-war ensued while the woman just held on to her book so she wouldn’t drop it. The second handsome man had gotten up, ran toward the first and third man who was really the first man, which means the first man was really the second man and he was the third man, having a tug-of-war over the woman still holding on to her book, because he wanted the woman back to be his special friend. He started pushing the other two men out of the way, which caused them to drop the woman on the ground, but she held on to her book, didn’t drop it, and managed to land on her backside which was endowed enough not to hurt that much if something ever happened causing her to land on it. The three handsome men were so caught up in their heated argument they never noticed the woman get up off her backside to begin walking home so she could continue reading her book, which she was going to do in the first place but then had decided to go outside to read because it was such a beautiful day.
The men argued and fought a long time, and as they wore each other out finally took the time to notice the woman wasn’t there anymore. That made them calm a little and gave them time to think, which helped them to recall that during the skirmish, she’d been dropped. In fact, they were so involved in arguing they realized no one noticed if she’d landed on her endowed backside or if she had gotten hurt when she hit the ground. They walked back to the bench but couldn’t find her there or any place else on campus. They stood on the edge of campus looking down the street but they knew there was just too much ground to cover and they had exhausted themselves from bickering and fighting. All three became angered and started saying unkind things about her. They decided unanimously everything was her fault, and if she hadn’t been sitting there none of this would’ve happened. Women should stay inside at home and not be allowed outside where they can be seen, and when this is put into practice, these kinds of things won’t happen again. Not even saying goodbye to each other, wearing frowns they went their separate ways home.
The woman had made it safely home, changed her jeans that had grass stains on them, put on a comfy pair of sweats, started a wash, made some espresso and sat quietly in the living room sipping coffee and reading her book. She thought that later on she’d go out shopping.
I’m reading this upscale magazine. Upscale. What’s that supposed to mean? Anyway, I’m reading this magazine that’s supposed to be higher-end writing and I find this hideous, painfully long piece of prose about ankles, ankles in boots and I stopped reading, stunned, thinking, “That can’t be what they want.” They’re so reserved, conservative, they say upscale but maybe that’s underlying. Looks to me like someone knew someone who published their work, you know, slid it in under the radar. Maybe this would be the time to submit something and they’ll even publish me! Ha! I had something written I thought too risqué but who knows.
What I wanted to say:
My Father is dying, Dad, wasting away. At 125 he’s developed so much the doctors can’t keep track. No he’s not 125 years old but down to 125 pounds, not that he was a huge man to begin with, still he weighed more than that.
He’d be on my unit if I were still in medical, Skilled Nursing, in a family of multiple train wrecks so he wouldn’t be alone. After writing these few words he might be down to 100, maybe less. We stopped getting along a while ago; he couldn’t make me anymore yet I thought, “What will I do when you’re not here for me to be mad at?”
Well, not really mad at better to say just taken aback by.
There can never be another, you’re one who’s unique, there’ll never be another you. That song you taught couples to sing at encounter meetings so much like AA, to convince them they should stay married and for what? They found they don’t like each other anyway and they know without a doubt, “I’ll never find another you. Maybe one of us ought move out. Shouldn’t have found you in the first place – ha, a mutual feeling setting one free. We, together, don’t want to find another you, each other, what are you doing here with me?” Interesting concept.
But this is nothing like reading about ankles in boots.
Getting back on track. So, who will it be to cause me to be taken aback? Who will others use to be better than whom I portray? I’m a lot like him you see. If he were a girl he’d look like me. It’s been a long hard road this life we’ve had and I can’t get distance enough between us but I know I’ll never come across someone like you in the most euphemistic way. If we weren’t so alike I’d be free but I’ll never find another you because that’s me.
I never knew someone who hated a parent, not personally, not firsthand. Always examining I looked inside myself and knew I’d never hated, knowledge is so unfair, I could be surprised and hurt but not for one second was love ever gone or just not there, nor for less than a second. “You might not have made it”, I’d thought, “now that you’ve passed”. Of course you would have. With the design quite grand I crossed the Plain of Lethe and drank deep from Mnemosyne. I knew I accepted the overall design. It’s just something I’d do. I could remember even being born. I was sent back by something greater than us both, a creator of a masterful plan.
It wasn’t necessary I be appeared to, no manifestation necessary for a secret to be revealed. Nothing mystical really but everyday, it had always been clear though my thought following after was “how do I tell him” all the things I always understood. “He’s not here anymore, or…” Imagination being what it is I put my head on your shoulder and said, “We’re ok, you and me, you know we really are, I’m sorry I couldn’t be there when your time breathed its last.” No retrospect would inspire nor dictate another path. I am whom I am you see that I know, and of that truth I will never let go.
I came into consciousness on the floor. Slowly I got to my feet, looked around in the pitch black of what I knew was the living room and drew a complete blank. Where were the light switch and my clothes? How many times had I been here, why couldn’t I find anything? Staggering a little I made it to the kitchen and looked out the window at my house where my children and his son slept. I’d never liked this arrangement, never liked being separated from them. The night was breathtakingly frozen, trees covered in ice, the drive in plowed snow. I found my way back and put my hand on the arm of the couch directly onto my keys. How did they get there? Breathing a thank-you I grasped them tight. Not caring about anything else, I firmly positioned the one in my hand that would unlock my door.
Making my way back to the kitchen door, I breathed in, opened it, stepped out and ran. I let my body tense forbidding the cold to touch me. My feet didn’t slip as I became a mythical creature of the night bounding a few graceful strides to the front steps. I slid the key into place, and the door opened onto a vision of children asleep under piles of blankets. With the final stride I entered and slid under with them as it slammed behind me. No one stirred. My body began to tremble from the shock of below zero; I calmed my breathing and felt warmth begin creeping up from my toes.
I awoke a few hours later, the sun blazing through a window onto my face and no other sounds but soft breathing. I rose, pulled on a pair of men’s sweats, a cowl neck sweater, my favorite oversized flannel shirt, slouchy socks, and walked over to the phone. I had one chance that he’d wake and let me in so I could get what was left behind. He answered on the third ring and I crossed the drive. I gathered things together surprised at how close they’d been to where I’d stood. Arms full, I teased a goodnight and left. The children slept peacefully as I made coffee. I walked to the window with my steaming cup and looked out on a perfect frozen morning, stunningly brilliant, intoxicatingly crisp.
EAT PIZZA! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!