Thursday, April 3, 2014

Depth

The word help exits my mouth. My right arm waves in the air. A car passes, then another. Help, I yell. Help, I wave. The snow bank blocks their view. The frozen air (it's minus 3) chills my voice. Face down on ice, I squirm forward with one arm and two legs. The other arm (or wrist or both) drags along after a fall. Something bad has happened. Snap, crackle (and maybe pop) I heard on contact. Pain never felt before fills me. My body stills. My mind buzzes. Two dogs (my own) watch me. They sit relaxed while I make sounds never heard before; sounds never before made. My body stills. My mind talks. Call out your voice again, it says. And so, I do, from my gut, from somewhere under the belly. Raise up your arm again, it says. And so, I do, from my shoulder, from somewhere across the chest. And people hear me and see me. Two trucks, higher than a snow bank, stop. One is white like the snow. The other is blue (or black) probably like my injured limb (covered in parka and mitten). One driver jumps over the snow bank. The other rushes up the sidewalk. The first handles the dogs. Please take them home and remove their coats, I say. He goes away with them and returns with my backpack, wallet, keys. The second holds me up and walks me to his truck. You're gonna be okay kiddo, he says, and lifts me into the cab. He heads to a nearby hospital. They delivered my three children, he says, and glances at me. Maybe you should sit up, he says. I try, but I want to throw up somewhere other than here so I stay low, my head too heavy to lift. How did you see me, I ask. I heard the commotion, he says. We arrive at the hospital's emergency room door. He supports my good arm and removes me from the truck. Easy-beezy, he says, and places me in a chair the next helping strangers roll away.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Location

He finds himself in a rush. That must be the reason. Or he finds himself unable to see in the movie theater darkness as a preview (Charles touching a woman, not his wife). That must be the reason. Or his seat must be the same every time. That, for sure, must be the reason. Or maybe he sees everything and everyone and finds himself full of mischief. Yes, that must the be reason. Nobody except him (maybe) knows the reason he selects an empty seat among many (dozens, maybe a hundred) in front of a family with a child, three middle-aged adults, and one grandma. I sit behind grandma. I see just over her head. She reminds me of the British chimpanzee lady, especially with her silver-gray hair pulled back. He, this man in a rush, full of mischief, or anxious about missing previews, chooses the seat in front of grandma. Not to the left or to the right of her, but directly, spot-on, in her sight line. Family heads turn to each other. Eyes, then voices make contact. I see the wonder, the amazement actually, on their faces that shows in reaction to the man and his choice. More whispers between the family members and then they get up and move around each other. Grandma switches two seats to her left. (No longer can I discreetly gaze upon her and pretend that she is Jane.) They say nothing to the man who hears but doesn't hear the exchange of words, the shuffle of coats, the scuffle of shoes. He (with a reason or not) must hear the sounds of movement, displacement, resettlement. Hearing or not hearing, he keeps his eyes towards the screen and watches the last preview (now forgotten). I watch him and I imagine my own storyboard featuring me rising in the dark and placing me next to him. Empty seats all around, I'd say, then open a box of candy (probably chocolate-covered mints) and offer some to him. Too comfortable and ready for the main picture (a man alone lost at sea), I instead settle for a story of someone else's making.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Distance

Cedric knocks on the door. I do not know Cedric. Not his face, voice or dreams. In this moment, as I hear his hand tap on painted wood, Cedric remains unknown, unfamiliar and unstoppable. He repeats his knock. I look through the window pane. Cedric stands at the bottom of the steps. I open the door and step outside. We make introductions. He shows me a Certificate of Identification. I note khaki pants, white shirt, tie. You worked hard for this house, he says. It's not my house. But someone worked hard for it, he says. Yes, maybe someone worked hard. Yes, probably someone worked hard at some time. But you worked hard for what you have, he says. I pause. I think of what I have. I wonder. Have I worked hard? Yes, maybe I have. No coal mine, but some work, at times hard, most often not hard in the way hard can be, I say. He's working hard, he says, to stay out of trouble. He travels the country and sells magazines to stay out of jail. He sold drugs, he says. I flash to a popular television show. Selling drugs would be bad, bad, bad. Probably hard, too. No, Cedric should not sell drugs, be locked up. He gives me the magazine list. I see some that I might read when I'm not working not so hard. Most people, he says, decline the subscriptions. They give money and ask for nothing in return. Not a donation, he says, but money to help him on his way, away from drugs and jail. He hears my dogs. A stranger on the steps, they say, with their barks, known, familiar, and unstoppable while I listen to Cedric tell his story. I miss my dog, he says. What? You have dog? Where is it? With my mom, he says. Yes, this is hard. Being away from your dog is hard, I say.