Monthly Archives: June 2009

Billiards

Shall we play billiards?
Roger will direct my shots.
Who’s really playing?

We need a dollar.
You can get one at the bar.
Same price as L.A.

One more drink, William.
Make this one in a tall glass;
Diet Coke for me.

Clean break. Balls scatter.
Of course, you got a ball in.
Will I get to play?

Smoke rises. My turn.
What do I do now, Roger?
Easy said, not done.

Lucky shot, I guess.
My skill is not a factor.
My turn is over.

Back and forth we trade
Turns, bright smiles, happy laughter.
The game is over.

Now I must play him?
I’d rather be playing you,
But at least you’re close.

This should not take long.
My inexperience shows.
One more lucky shot.

Eight ball side pocket;
If it goes, the game’s over.
Dammit! My stick slipped.

We continue on.
I should have already left.
One more Diet Coke.

One more game? There’s time.
There is nowhere else to go.
I don’t want to leave.

Leaving means goodbye
And I am not ready yet.
So rack them once more.

I watch while you play.
I want a little more time
To memorize you.

To soak up your lines,
To etch your smile in my head,
Your voice in my brain.

Something to take home;
A souvenir of our night
To remember you.

Why’d you make that shot?
That means it is time to go.
Nothing keeping us.

Two thousand fourteen:
Roger looks forward to it.
William is still lost.

We walk to the truck,
One step closer to leaving,
Closer to good bye.

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A Good Night

The interstate stretched out before me, speckled with long distance truckers and weary travelers. My normally heavy foot was content to keep the truck merely hovering over the speed limit. The darkness settled in around me and I fumbled in the console for my Nora Jones CD. Twisting blue lights reflected in my rear-view mirror as one of whatever spit-town’s finest pulled over the weaving vehicle I had passed only a moment earlier. It seemed like every other 18 wheeler was marked with the familiar eagle of the US Postal Service; hauling bills and birthday cards and letters to loved ones far removed but not forgotten. The restlessness that had become second nature to me over the past few months was comfortably buried under a quiet contentment. I waited for my mind to race with thoughts of work and kids and things beyond my control. Instead there was only a curious calm. My typically overactive mind seemed to be at a rare rest and I could feel my muscles relax and almost melt into the driver’s seat. I thought for a moment of how we had spent hours talking on the phone; easy conversations that seemed to fly by in minutes. I don’t think I had bothered to have expectations for the evening, even still it occurred to me that the typical moments of brief awkwardness had not presented themselves, nor had we spent the night chatting away about days long past as so many old friends do; almost as if they are not sure how to blend the familiarity of the past with the possibilities of the future. I lit a cigarette and watched through my peripheral vision as the smoke danced out of the open window and into the shadows. Random images floated through my mind: the bend of your arm as you leaned against the dingy pool table preparing to take your shot, the furrowing of your brow as you ridiculously debated how to split the check. As I moved my hand to propel an ash into the wind, I was reminded of the feel of your shoulder blades beneath my fingertips. Then my mind settled in to the remembrance of your kiss; comfortable and perfectly inviting, a kiss that felt like home. I sliced through the early morning fog as the sun rolled over the tree-lined highway. It was almost six o’clock. I should have been tired. But I felt easy and rested. Nora Jones sang softly, “the sun will rise with no reprise; the long day is over,” and as I turned off the main thoroughfare onto the rough county road I could hear the songbirds coming to life in the pines. It had been a good night.

Are We There Yet?

I’ve been suppressing my aspirations with others expectations for so long, that I can’t really even remember what it is I want. But I am finally coming to a place that I realize that not knowing where I am going is acceptable. I’ve always loved getting in my truck and heading down some country road with no destination in mind; letting the wind toss my hair as the radio blasts and the sun bakes the dust and humidity on to my face. I think it is time to wander. It is time to rediscover my soul and figure out not what makes me who I am, but who I am in spite of the circumstances around me. I lay in bed this morning drifting in and out of sleep, images of the ones I love appearing before me on the screens of my eyelids, then fading to black as I slipped once again away from my thoughts. I wondered when I lost my way, when I sold myself short and settled for comfortable instead of exceptional. I’m getting too old and tired to chase dreams, rather I need to grasp my convictions and desires and hold them firmly as I make the steps to the next stage of my life. I don’t know where I’m going. And for once, I think that’s o.k. But I am convinced now more than ever that there is a place that feels like home and I’m ready to find where my heart is. If you pass me along the way and I look confused, please don’t try to point me in the direction where you think I should be going. For I am traveling my own road now, and although I don’t know where it leads, I’m ready to enjoy the ride and not wonder when I will finally get there.

The Truth As I See It

People say that the truth is black and white, but I find there to be very few actual universal truths. I think that we all have our own perception of the truth, and that is the foundation on which we base or reality. When we grow and learn or even simply look at things from a different angle, we often find ourselves feeling as if we have been misled or that we were lied to. However the realities that were always before us were just skewed by our own perceptions.

I have a friend whom with I really enjoy correspondence. I used to think that it was because he was smarter than me and more creative than me, so I found him to be challenging. Recently, I have realized that I really find him challenging because he is honest. He is honest to a level like no other. Not because he will state something without sugar coating it, but because he is honest with himself. Like many of us, he bought his own bullshit for a long time. But unlike a lot of us, he woke up and embraced that he was buying his own fertilizer. He made tough decisions, ones that changed his life and resulted in new tests for him to conquer. But honesty with himself was paramount. He was no longer going to believe the hype that those around him easily accepted.

It was very strange as I spoke to him last on the topic of my insecurities and low self-esteem. He asked me to give examples of how these issues presented themselves. As I thought about it, and thought about when I doubted myself, I kept finding that these times were difficult and that I had uncertainty, but that I worked through it because I had to. It isn’t just me, I told him. I do not have the luxury of failure. I have to survive for my children. And then he asked me if I thought I was so insecure because I had been telling myself that I was for so long? Had I slowly overcome my insecurities out of necessity? Was I really that insecure or was I human? Sure, I doubted myself on a regular basis, but I didn’t doubt myself and give up. I doubted myself and worked harder to prove that I could survive. I worked harder to more than survive. I worked harder to thrive.

I used to embrace Kurt Cobain’s theory of “I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.” But then, I would sometimes find myself adjusting myself to fit someone’s image of what I should be. Changing ever so slightly to be the person someone wanted me to be, so that I could be someone they would love. I think now more than ever, I am really happy with who I am. I see the flaws that are there, and instead of getting down on myself for not being perfect, I can just accept that I’m human and almost even enjoy the imperfections that make me interesting.

It’s funny how sometimes someone who hasn’t laid eyes on you in twenty years can look right into you and see what you have been overlooking for years.

The Neapolitan concept

So you are at the grocery store in the frozen foods and you are thinking about buying some ice cream. You decide to purchase a large container of vanilla. It is a little more expensive but it is going to last a really long time, and after all; vanilla is your absolute favorite. So you take the vanilla home and put it in the freezer. Each day when you get home from work you have a small bowl of vanilla ice cream. You love it. It is wonderful. You don’t even need to put chocolate syrup or peanut butter on it, because it is just perfect all by itself. Then one day, a friend comes over to watch a movie and they bring over a small pint size container of strawberry ice cream. Half way into the movie, you decide on a snack. Your friend offers you some of their strawberry ice cream. You don’t need it. You have your own ice cream. In fact, you don’t really even like strawberry, but you know, you haven’t had anything but vanilla in a really long time. You are just going to have a little bite, and you can go back to vanilla later. The vanilla will still be there for you whenever you want it. So a few days later, you are at the grocery picking up some essentials when you happen down the frozen food aisle. You don’t really need anything. After all, you have plenty of vanilla ice cream at home. But you see those little containers out of the corner of your eye and before you know it, not only have you put a small pint of strawberry into your cart, but also one of chocolate. No big deal, right? Variety is the spice of life. But what about the vanilla at home. You have been eating out of that container for so long. Certainly it will last a while longer. These other containers are small. They will not take long to finish, and they could never replace your love of vanilla. You just want – no you need – a change of pace. So you take the containers home and each night you have some. Soon, the new containers are empty. You get home from work and go to the freezer. You realize the chocolate and strawberry are all gone, but you smile as you see the vanilla sort of pushed to the back. You open it up; happy to see your old favorite, but to your dismay, there is a small bit of freezer burn on the ice cream. With a little work you could easily scrape the frozen part away and have a bowl of your long time favorite flavor, but instead, you are disappointed and you put the container back in the freezer. You decide you will just skip the bowl of ice cream tonight. Now when you come home, you don’t really want a bowl of ice cream anymore. It just doesn’t seem the same as it used to. And your large container of vanilla ends up hidden behind the Lean Cuisine and a bag of frozen broccoli. One night you are sitting in the living room feeling a little down and you remember the vanilla. You run to the fridge and dig it out. But as you remove the lid, you realize that you have left it for too long. The once mild freezer burn has now frozen the contents to the core changing the appearance, the texture and even the taste. You hate to do it. You hate to admit that it has been wasted, but you determine that you have to throw the vanilla away. It just can’t be salvaged.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Buy Neapolitan. You get equal parts of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate in the same container. You can have a little of one or a little of the other whenever you like. You can even put all three flavors in the same bowl. There they are, right next to each other, side by side in the same box. And after some time, if you find that you are always finishing the strawberry first, or even throwing out the rest of the vanilla and the chocolate and buying a new container, then you can start buying full gallons of strawberry. But until you are sure, maybe you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one flavor. If you do, a perfectly good container of ice cream is going to go to waste.

I can honestly say that personally, I have never bought a container of Neapolitan. My favorite is Rocky Road. Sort of funny.