Ophelia

I’ll be driving on the curve of the bridge on my way home
and at the peak my heart is heavy as the moon.
that song’s on the radio again and there’s the steady lights of a plane in the sky.
a symbol of you. you were the dream that flies but never took off. you keep happening again and again. and down here on the ground i sing to the full moon that i want you back.
a rolling tamborine and a mismatched itinerary remind me it can never happen.
so i soar on through sadness, a hopeful passenger. riding wings of faith that i’ll find the way you lifted me up again somehow on my own. the nosedive will flatten out. i’ll crash into a new beginning.

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Point B

A Harvard study from 2007 shows that the average American spends 101 minutes per day driving, assuming they begin their driving lives at age seventeen and stop putting pedal to the metal when they’re 79.
We spend about seven hours each day in our bedrooms, sleeping. We sit in classrooms or work for hours at a time. We go to restaurants, read in libraries, walk in parks. We live our lives in these places.
The average person spends 101 minutes per day using their car to get them from point A to point B, not realizing that they’re really going from point A to point C because point B in the middle is a place, too – their car.
Each person’s car has a story. If you bought a 2015 Lexus new from the dealership, well, that’s just the beginning of its story and hopefully it has a long road ahead of it. If your car has had three owners, been across the country and back, gone through two transmissions and 227,000 miles, then it’s probably near the end of its story. Yes, that’s my point B, the 2000 Subaru Outback station wagon painted in something called “seafoam green” that is now more “rusty green,” which gets me from point A to point C. Most of the time.

Continue reading “Point B”

Hands

I didn’t get much of a chance to know you but I think I would have loved you even more if heaven hadn’t wanted you so badly and I was old enough to understand maybe heaven can be a little greedy, too. I just want to say I think I have your hands. I look at pictures then my palms as I drive or wash the dishes and think that you used to do the same thing too with hands that look like mine before heaven wanted them to paint a picture in the sky. 

Preview

“I don’t think we have time for that,” Patrick said. “The movie starts at nine.”
“Sure we do!” Her brown eyes gleamed. “There’s always time for Ferris Wheels!”
His hands were shoved inside his sweatshirt. He hadn’t seen her in a year and three months. In that time she’d gotten more piercings than the digits of her phone number and the heavy handed make-up was a new touch, along with the streaks of blue in her hair. That shine of freedom in her eyes, though, that would never change.
“Okay. Fine, fine, we’ll go on the Ferris Wheel.”
“Woo!” She fist-pumped the air.
“I don’t even like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” he muttered, but they ambled up to the line anyway. He kept pushing down the feeling that there was something he was supposed to say. How’s school going? Does mom still tell you that you can’t eat bags of marshmallows anymore like they’re candy? Did learning to drive scare you? Or was it the prospect of being seen at the helm of the 1992 mini-van?
He’d already asked all those things, and they’d settled into habits of conversation like a favorite old sweater. They laughed about cavities and the nicknames of stuffed animals. But there was a big bubble in his chest, some pocket of air between them that he couldn’t blow away that said, everything is different now. Going into the military tended to have that effect on people, he supposed. He just never thought it would be between him and Teresa. She was his little sister in a big world that he had felt the calling to explore and protect. Everything would be the same when he came back home, even if it was just for leave.
“How many?” said the man taking tickets. His hairline was receding and his tall, reedy frame filled the booth like he was born for this job.
“Two sir,” Patrick said, and shelled out the ten dollar fare.
“Sir? Sir? Who are you, Patty?” Teresa dragged hum into the swaying seat and for a second it felt like someone had let out the air in the balloon – normal.
“How safe is this thing?” Patrick said as they got on.
His feet dangled off the ground and he grabbed the pole next to him, his knuckles slowly turning white.
“Afghanistan – it’s not scary! But get him four feet off the ground and he almost tosses his cookies -”
“Hey, hey, no fair, Afghanistan is not a big revolving hunk of metal that – woah!”
Teresa buried her laugh in her hands as the ride began.
It was buoyant, smooth, and scared him a lot more than it should. But so did a lot of things. Are there any guys in your life? He wouldn’t have even said that before. How are Dad and Mom doing together these days?
“See, not bad, is it?”
They had floated halfway up the world, and the city he grew up in sprawled across the background, clouds hanging onto mountaintop in the starlit sky. The outdoor mall sparkled at their feet and he guessed he could understand why people went on these things.
He wondered briefly where the ground was – after all, wasn’t the ground just something to stand on?
People below him were standing on the gum-spotted concrete, and his feet rested on the metal plank of the swing seat. And this was different than the steel cabin of an airplane. This was just you and the air pressed against your sides, the winking signs of the storefronts below. The people walking a casual pace, strolling with plastic neon bags in hand. The theater columns rose brightly next to the shoe store and the pretzel stand.
Teresa looked at it all with her head tilted to the side, black-blue hair spilling over her shoulder, content in silence.
“This is the preview,” she said.
The bubble in his chest grew almost to bursting. Can a year really turn a sugar addicted, punk-rock listening, high school attending sixteen year old into someone who wraps their viewpoints around the world like she did? She was his little sister who wasn’t that little anymore.
“What does it make you think about?”
They were at the height of the wheel coming down, and could see the tops of people’s heads beneath them.
He realized how tightly he was gripping the seat pole and folded his hands back into the pockets of his sweater. “There’s nothing like this, over there. I think about that sometimes.”
She looked up at the sky instead of at the people shopping. “I think about that sometimes, too.”
The ride was over and both their feet swung gently onto the ground.
He checked his watch. “9:01. We’re definitely missing the previews.” He pushed her shoulder playfully – she was right. This was better than the previews.
They walked to the theater, exaggeratedly avoiding the cracks in the ground so they didn’t break their mother’s back. They chose a seat in the very middle, the undisputed seating arrangement for optimal viewing.
“Popcorn?” he asked, as she was always the designated snack provider.
“Sure,” she said, then handed him a handful of something she’d sneaked in through the entrance in her purse.
He laughed when he looked down. Mini marshmallows.
“Your teeth are gonna fall out of your head,” he joked but she shhhed him because the movie had started.
She even still got the green and pink ones. He thought about how no matter how people changed, there was still so much about them that was the same, too – what’s on the outside is just a preview.