Inherited traits

A trip to the desert and back. My head pounds from the lack of sleep, laxc of nutrition, lack of excercise. Not the lack of connections, though, where I did not foresee them.

The cousin always on the outskirts. The sibling I could not connect with. The family I could not understand. The messages I missed and the warninhs I pushed righht past.

Until now, did I ever wonder why.

I’m beginning to comprehend pieces of the past that were concealed to me. Beginning to see the pieces of myself that came from these half-told truths and well-pushed-down lies. These little incoherencies that started to define these uglier aspects of me.

Until now, there was no way to know.

I no longer wonder at my hatred of dishonesty, manipulations, deceit. I have, for so long, tried to conceal his. But why? Because I was inadvertantly taught that nobody will love the you inside yourself. This only applies if I keep myself hidden under blankets and falsities that make me appear to fit into their controlling societies.

If I stand on what I stand for, then the world will take me for what I am. And if I find myself alone at the end of that road, then so be it. It’s better than these stagnant, infexted pools of self-degradation and regret.

I’d rather be offensive versus fake.

Practicing

I walk like I’m biking for three miles, and then another – all before the morning sun is up. A cup of tea warms my fingers in these cut-off gloves, but I’m working on not feeling the cold. The rain picks up just as we get to where we are going.

All aboard and the plugs at our seats don’t work right. But in this view car, I’m seeing more than I ever have.
Open your eyes wide. What, if you relax, will you find?

A red sail boat
A white speed boat
A person kayaking
A gull white against waves and a white bridge
A murder of crows
The trashy trappings of our back yards and front lawns
A bag over a car, a tree, moss and the grass.
An individual standing, waiting, beverage in hand as we pass.
Markers tall and black out in the water.
A clutch of tiny black birds in amongst a dozen ducks. Mallards, all of them.
Three orane cones shoved together and heavy construction machinery.
Blackberry bushes creating brambles through the underbrush.
The trappings of this post-industrial, modern, consumerist life.
These are the things we see along this coastal line before the starlight comes.

In the night, we will sleep in two chairs, sitting up.
Off to California, the desert, the deserted life again.

And the memories of a childhood spring before me. To you, it was the middle of life. But how did I know then? I had no terms, no words, no way to gain access to the thoughts then. Only now do I know.

I come only to show my appreciation, my respect.
I come out of some deep kind of love.

Hiccup

So. In creating this writing project, I had not expected the following:

I began to loath the project itself. In six days, it managed to completely crush all of the writerly spirit out of me. It pushed me from lackadaisical straight through to vial hatred. If you’ve ever tried to sustain a craft, you know what’s on the other side of this.

Productivity.
Well, okay. At least for me.

Then, I started actually working on my extended projects yet again. Whether this is purely out of a desire to avoid said project, or whether the actual project did the trick – who knows? But, the point is that I have spent the last two days doing significant work versus shitting around – and that’s all the different.

Or enough of it. So, project on hold. Possibly, done. It didn’t take long.

It never does for me.
Far shorter than I ever think. This thread that runs straight through me is easy enough to pull. Easy enough to tighten back up. I just need to find my grip.

Grip found. For now.

Six

A change to the project, as it was going stale. The following is a character study instead of any sort of plot-based short. —
Three people at a table talking in muted tones.

One is small-framed in a wine colored sweater. Reddish-brown hair, something like the heart of dried cedar. A darker, more purple windbreaker is thrown over the back of the chair. It’ll be swung over shoulders as soon as this party departs.

Another wears a faded ocean green canvas hat. Underneath this billed cap is completely grey hair poking out in fluffy tufts all along the back. A hunter green sweater with the collar popped up keeps their neck warm.

The third wears a bright yellow polo. Long hair, pulled back in a pony-tail, frames a heavily bearded face. Hair just as silver as the latter members, but less tame. There may, also, still be a black hair or two in there. It’s of no consequence, really.

They came for lunch, ate, and stayed through the hour. Their conversations are muted against all the background noise,which post-lunch is significantly low. They lean in together whenever someone speaks. They lean back when sentences are over, thoughts complete.

They all three sit triangulated around the their table of choice.

When the three get up to leave, a red and black checkered sweater that goes down to the knees is slipped over that yellow shirt, subsuming them in its wool woven immensity. The sweater dwarfs even the width of their beard. It is impressively thick. It must keep the rain off quite well.

They leave altogether through the back upstairs door of the shop. They will, most likely, get in separate cars and go to their various places of residence, job, or recreation.
No way to know now. They have departed and I am, yet again, alone.

Deer and Clocks

These memories feel like pictures from a different life:

Blackberry jam, sourdough bread, and the perfect fried egg. If not for you – I’d never have flipped them in the pan. Two years of culinary school later, and I’m still the better.

The fan spinning backward as I stare up at the ceiling. Shift my eyes to the right and I meet a buck’s eyes. Turn to the left and it’s all computer screen. There’s a TV in the middle there somewhere where I used to watch something. I don’t recall what. It’s not a part of the images anymore. But the a/c and the smell of the living room and the feel of your softened water all are.

The clock in the hallway – it’s a grandfather – and it goes off on every chime. Late into the nights of my childhood, I could listen to this chime and count time. At thirty, I have the melodies memorized. I can hear them ring out, even now.

You taught me to blow the centers out of eggs with my mouth, then paint their shells in black wax and brilliant colors. Your patterns were always so intricate, so careful. You made tall wooden giraffes that held papers while I typed essays in high school. You made¬† a light-box that rarely got turned on. You made baked beans and always got up before anyone else. I’d hear you making breakfast for yourself and pretend like I was asleep.

The last time I saw you, you were smiling. We talked about hunting and the land where we were headed. I learned more about you in those few hours than I think I ever had. Now only if I could learn to hunt, I think I’d be doing something right.

You and I don’t share blood, but we share a lot of traits. I’ll learn them from you any day.

Goodbye, Goodnight.

 

Faking it

I have a problem with doors. Oh, and relationships. Interaction. Making friends.

Y’know that honesty thing that’s so important? Why the fuck do I have such a hard time when the confines are changed? You put a new wall in front of me, and I can’t just get myself around it. I’ll stand there and stare, and stare, and stare. I’ll ask a lot of questions:

Why is this here?
Is it my fault? Did I built it without even realising?
What is it made of? Can it be broken? Could I crack it?
Is it penetrable? Am I meant to just walk through it?
Is that how everyone else does it?
Do other people have this problem? Am I alone in this? Am I fabricating it?
If I closed my eyes, will it go away?
If I move, will I circumvent it? Is that even possible?
Is this what’s been wrong with me, all this time?

And still, nothing is different at the end of all that.  Just the light slowly fading. It takes less time to realise that the most unattractive feature is imperfection Рright?
It feels that way. Just look in the mirror – are we pleased?

Hardly.

Possibly worse than this is self-pity.
So buck up, Nigami. You’ve dug yourself that hole. Are you really just going to sit there?

Goddamn me.

Meanwhile, someone else’s perspective helps:

“I wish I could just warn you of my incomplete, shaken up reality.
But I might have lost my mind.

I always wind up with boxed up over-critical motives.
But I’ve made my mind up, my mind up.
And I couldn’t care less who’s turned off.”

Five

Maple and Fin meet here every Monday for lunch. This, in fact, is how and where they met. The location is the corner cafe. They always sit in the same position – like they did the first time. If that table along the left wall, overlooking the street, is full -they’ll wait. Both have Mondays off, so it’s never been a problem. Sometimes, the best fun they have is during the long waits.

Today, the table is open and the pair take food to the table and sit. Maple brushes salt and pepper curls out of the way, over a shoulder, in preparation of this Monday delight. Fin sits down, squirms, gets back up.

“I have to pee,” and the departure is swift.

There is this brief consideration of waiting. It lasts about thirteen seconds before Maple shrugs and bites full-force into a veggie sandwich. Thin slivers of carrots spill out as the sammy compresses far flatter than it ought to. Maple chews while picking up carrots and stuffing them back into the edges of the sammy. A brown booted foot tucks up under the other leg. A sign that Maple is really enjoying this. A chip tossed in between grinning lips crunches.

Maple is half done by the time Fin comes back from the bathroom. Fin takes one look and nods, slipping into the black rain slicker that wasn’t really necessary for today.

“All done? I’ll take mine to go.”

At which brown eyes pout up at Fin. “I’m sorry,” mouth still full of half a bite of lettuce and tempe.

“No, it’s fine. Let’s go.”

Maple starts at this, fingers awkwardly reaching up to twirl a necklace. What Maple is thinking: let’s go? What does that mean. This is a terminal experience. They’ve never departed together. That would spoil something, wouldn’t it?

The expression on Fin’s face seems to be thinking the same thing. As if the words came out of their own accord.

“Sorry, I-” Fin tries to backpedal.

Maple is happy to assist. “No, it’s fine. I…” but there’s not much to say, is there? This is uncomfortable.

“This is uncomfortable,” Fin goes ahead and admits with a nervous laugh.

Maple readjusts the color of the wool sweater that it’s way too warm out to be wearing. All manner of polite, genial things go through Maple’s head. Ways of smoothing this over, being suave, recovering. Instead, all that leaks out is an abrupt. “Yep.” Honest is the best policy, right?

Fin coughs a nice fake throat-clearing deal here. “We can sit again, if you want.”

“No, no,” and Maple is all head shakes here, tousling about those salt and pepper curls, sending them dancing across shoulders.

Fin is about to say something clever here, about to come up with some really honest, straight to the point recovery, when it’s all blindsighted by someone else calling: “Maple, is that really you?”

And Maple turns from Fin and this awkward uncertain situation to a world of knowns and security. There’s no thought, no registering of this switch-over. It just comes naturally, easily, fluidly. The smile on Maple’s thin lips is so instantaneous.

“Hal!” and a quick flash of a look to Fin. “Look, I’ll be right back.”

And with that, Fin is left beside the table with an empty box ready to be filled with these left-overs. A dreary sigh as Maple’s voice drifts across the small cafe. Things like “oh, god, I’ve missed you.” and “such a wonderful time”. Things like “get together again” and “can’t wait”.

Time on the clock melts away. The food is cold by the time Maple taps Fin on the shoulder. “Hey, sorry. I have to make it to the bank before it closes.”

Fin stands automatically, without thought. It comes so naturally. “Of course, of course. I’m taking this to go, anyway.”

“Yeah, good. Okay. Well, have a good one.”

“Next week?” and this is a real pathetic stretch here.

“Um,” that deadly hesitation that says just what you don’t want it to, “sure. Yeah.” All positives, all smiles, all plastic and see through celophane.

“Great, I’ll text you,” and Fin is really not planning on this.

Maple doesn’t even notice, just tucks the two edges of that wool sweater together like its bracing cold out. “Okay, next time,” arms all tight across the chest, all uncomfortable and strange.

Fin nods. “You bet.”