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About something in 1998, or about now

Let me tell you about a dark place all lit up. It's in here where I can go out and feel safe again. Open up the pores and not be afraid of what's going to get in. My grandpa used to say they're nothing but rocks and sticks these houses we preen and practically kill ourselves to maintain. He's right. He was talking about removing your heart from the lumber and the stone and selling when the time was right. But he was making sure we were intact around all these material things that can gobble you up. And I miss him, and all my elders, even the living, because there was a time when I could need them this much and it wouldn't matter.

So I call Sarah from work and there's silence on her end of the line. I make some noise to kill the tranquility, or what once was before frustration cannonballed into it. It doesn't have to be hard but sometimes you get snagged on things, or at least your arterial flesh does. Delicate skin on both ends try to share what they know so well. Those bits of the day that cling and bring you down. I don't see Titanics but lovely dancers somewhere around 1998. I'd driven from Portland where I was failing in radio to surprise Sarah in Durango. We were falling in loneliness, and not fond of what was going on, this love thing that had been so deft in its maneuvers. "We can do anything, survive anything," we unwittingly thought as I ventured further west. That's where I found that in the cities payphones don't call back and that hanging out in front of a 7-11 to hear about a job was as futile as being so far away.

I got back into town and I was so excited I did this little break dance move and in my white guy enthusiasm caught my eyeglasses with my dancing hand and whipped them to the hatchback of my Tracer. Using most of my partly blind vision to find them I was nearly t-boned at a stop sign. An angry guy in a Toyota truck honked and beat on his steering wheel. Asshole drivers, especially the ones that sit in the intersection and laugh. Because on the other side of that street was this pretty lady. She had glasses too, and I forgot just how they illuminated her eyes and pulled you into her skin. That skin she cares so much for, lotions and creams and dreams of Baltimore humidity, all necessary business for a girl, I guess, but all pulled away with a surprise at the top of the stairs.

In that crappy old, second-floor apartment she had no idea I was about to stumble in, and I had no idea she'd care as much as she did. She looked at me as if she might know me, and I paused to hope she did.

I remember her lunging out of love; not the kind of a momma's or a dear old friend, but that of a lover who'd snagged something along the way. And just at about the 300 block of east 5th avenue she found it, and I was so happy that I had too. And we happy danced sometime in 1998.

On that quiet phone I could hear the what-the-fuckness of mindless minutia...might as well drink if you're going to kill brain cells. We all know it, the fiddles in the orchestra. Something's not right, something's not making the right noise. And you share laughing disappointment over some appetizers before drifting into meal. Kind of hoping the night never has to end. Getting in the car and getting the kids to bed means it will. It will spin around and the gears will grind you into another day. You can't feel futility. Where there once was happy dancing, there always will. Because it ain't just off a dusty street in a mountain town, or suburban house in Englewood. Rocks and sticks you know.

But let me tell you about a dark place all lit up.

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Reader Comments (2)

Wonderful writing, Jared. This time of year is a motherfucker. Sometimes it gets harder and harder to remember the bright parts, and there are monsters hunting in the shadows.
January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClint
I am continuously reminding myself of Mr. Mac's philosophy about houses; "simply rocks and sticks", as I get emotional about the mess our newly purchased home is in as it is being painted and remodeled by incompetents. Sometimes it's hard to remember that so many other things are so much more important. So glad you did the happy dance in 1998! Just keep dancing! And now there are four in the dance.
January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Jeep

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