Monday, April 18, 2011

she.

some mornings, too many, i look in the bathroom mirror as i rub the soap into a lather on my face and i wonder...who is she? who is this woman whose greatest joys are experienced mostly in her imagination. she is not me. no way. i have seen me, in photographs—smiling, laughing, making silly faces, in different cities, with friends old and new, running like a child chasing the kite tail of my dreams. where did that girl go? she has been hiding for nearly five years now, leaving me with this other woman.

this woman, she is so tangled in what could be that she loses count of the hours of the day and forgets to do all the things she should have done. this woman, she paints possibilities in her mind—in oils, so they'll never quite dry. she has never seen her garden... but knows it is small, humble, neatly arranged, overflowing with creeping tomato vines, spicy peppers, 2 or maybe 3 kinds of lettuce,and more basil and cilantro than she'll ever be able to use herself. she has never learned to can green tomatoes with the old calabrian recipe that calls for a huge crockery pot to sit full of garlic, spices, olive oil, and tomatoes sliced paper thin for two weeks before it's time to fill and seal the old mason jars...but she has already picked out the fabric for the squares she'll put on the lids so she can give them away as gifts like her father does. she has never entertained friends in the home she has created all on her own, the one with a swing on the front porch that is lush with flowering plants, rooms warmed by picture frames of loved ones placed on vintage end tables found at estate sales, paintings and sculptures made by her friends, candles clustered in the space where a fireplace once burned real logs...but she sees the dining room table filled with friends and ceramic serving dishes and she hears the chatter, which becomes more off-color as the wine bottles empty. she hasn't seen the ocean for 10 years or a lake for 3...but she pictures herself sitting on the sand or grass or on a dock, watching and listening as the waves say shhh as they lap against the shore. she hasn't had love in 9 years and only barely tasted it then... but she fancies a notion of love again, one that fits who she is and not who she should be, a love that is colored outside the lines the world has drawn. she has never traveled to new orleans, but she can feel the moss through her toes as she sits with her knees against her chest, under the canopy of a live oak; she can taste the sweet crust of a beignet around 10 in the morning before the drive back to memphis on a sweltering july sunday.

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