Thursday, July 30, 2009

500 Words#2-A Little Early

I am taking tomorrow off from work. I contacted the all powerful OZ and he said I could have the sentance a bit early (Thanks Dive) as I will have limited access to a comptuer over the weekend. So here is my contribution.

The Stranger

The whistle snuck up on him as he walked down Reflection Street, a tune from his twenties, “We all fall in love, but we disregard the danger, something, something, something, why were you so surprised that you never saw the stranger? Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself” Then, suddenly, with great clarity and precision, he saw Bartleby's window and the blank brick wall before him. The whitewash that obscured the view inside was the glaringly similar to his own outlook, the blankness of the wall, not unlike his heart. Bartleby’s had succumbed to the inevitable and gone out of business. Leaving an empty shell of what had once been thriving, alive and magical. Those similarities to his life pissed in his ear as he wandered home.

She had come into his life unexpectedly, a coworker, no one special. Oh, how wrong he’d been. She shook him up, his insides liquefied. He was no longer in control of himself, no longer solid and no longer blank. She tore away the veil of his run-of-the-mill life and she had seen him for the man he was and as no one else ever had, not even himself. She has awoken the stranger. That year they spent together, the promise they made to each other while coupled on the sofa that Labor Day afternoon were real and deep and at the time, life altering for both of them. She had moved him, touched him, consumed him and oh how she made his teeth rattle!

But his life was set. The job, the one he had been chasing for year was finally his. After all a job is what defines the man; at least that is what his father had always told him. It was at the core of his self-esteem. His family; the status quo. A stay at home wife who no longer acknowledged his needs or most of the time his existence, two great boys, a sprawling house in the ‘Burbs, a couple of dogs and a the brand new sports car. You know, all that things that humans are supposed to accumulate to measure their worth. From the outside it worked. The twelve plus hours a day he spent between work and commuting left little time for a home life, which, since her he had come to realize was exactly why he kept those hours. It all came down to less awake time. Less time to be bored, less time to think about the life he had worked so hard to create and that had turned so unbearably mundane. The house, his stuff, the outward manifestation of his success, he was finally better off than the Jones. For once his dad was proud. But she was always on his mind and just hearing her voice could send shock waves to that place that lay dormant in his everyday life, sending him on a wild ride of heat and heart. To her and only her he’d showed the stranger, with her and only her, he had been alive.

He never intended for it to happen, he never expected he would have to make a choice. In the end, when that choice had to be made, he like Bartleby’s took whitewash to his heart, rebuilt his wall, moved the dog and settled into his recliner, because when all was said and done, for him it was all about the stuff.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

500 Words- Ok really 556

Well, count me in on this one at least. Here goes...

And again next day a thinly populated sky, losing its blue to the heat, would melt overhead, and the car inside would be a furnace when we got in again, and the road shimmered ahead, with a remote car changing its shape mirage-like in the surface glare, and seeming to hang for a moment, old-fashionedly square and high, in the hot haze. As the road crawled away we continued to chase it down. Mile after mile, the air clawing its way down our throats trailing its aridness into our chests and absorbing what moisture remained in our lungs. The confinement of the car was intolerable for Lo. I could see it in her eyes, that is, when she would look my way. The window being her constant companion, she very rarely took her eyes off the brownness that seemed to absorb the life around us, let alone speak. This bareness was taking its toll. The insufferable length of time caged in this heap of rusting metal was seeping into her, seeming to incinerate what was left of her fragile frame. As the cars ahead shifted shape in the burning heat of the day so did Lo.

As we plunged through the cleavage of Twin Mountains just outside of Sapulpa the heaviness that had weighted us down began to lift. Mile after mile of nothingness had crushed itself against our bodies like apples in a press, leaving behind bruised flesh darkened by the blistering sun that spit on our skin as we hung out the windows trying to catch some relief from the furnace in which we rode. Just as the wipers stripped away the murk that collected on the windshield, the gradual greening of the roadsides gave me hope that Lo too would brighten. She never spoke much anyway, but the 200 miles of silence was loud. I knew her well enough that I took no offense, knowing it best to keep my thoughts to myself. Her tongue being pointed, adding the nothingness of our drive would lend a sharpness that I was not likely to recover from. The heat always took its toll on her.

So, I drove and she sat, quietly mulling whatever thoughts tripped around her skull. With her it was impossible to tell exactly what was in there and the fact that when she did open her mouth you were never sure where the conversation would land you, I usually just went along for the ride. Not unlike our trip thus far. Odd comments, disjointed to the moment seemed to be her favorite way to pass the time. Randomness, not unlike the way we had met was the force behind her thoughts. She did it to amuse herself. If my car had not broke down, in that town, on that day, at that hour, just as she was ending her shift at the diner, I would be in LA. Alone. But randomness insinuated itself upon me that day, stripping away what anyone would consider an ordinary life. If anyone had told me six months ago that I would fall this hard, this fast and this deep for a woman I had literally bumped into on the street, in a shit-hole little town on the outskirts of life, I would have thought them mad.