Bent Words

Bent Words

December 21, 2007

Searching for the “Shadow of the Day” in her lyrics directory and, in consequence to the first letter, his name pops up in her browser. As though she had searched for him before, hoping to find the clues of the life she was missing – as though it were as simple as that.

Turning away sounds easy enough but no matter where she turns, it seems he turns up as well.

An old employee drops by the new shop and there she is, looking just beyond him to see the world in which they lived no so long ago. She sees the dust, the grime, the oil spots, the fingered helmets in the background. The gum ball machine he used to grab from, the air lift that hid remnants of motors, 10mm bolts from Honda crates, last week’s ice cream sandwich wrapping, a few butts from a late night dyno session – all those unnecessary things that no one else thinks about. The leftovers.

But they are not just leftovers to her. They are the truth – the reality of all those nights and all those days and all those moments in between. They are the little things that made all the big stuff so memorable.

The replacement of those long light tubes above their heads and how they flickered more than they lighted the way. The bell on the counter that no one could stand because no one can stand those damned bells (she’s still averse to using them today). The “Wall of Shame” where any humble being could revel in their own or another’s moment of stupidity and remember, for a just a moment, that they weren’t as invincible as once they thought. The holes in the bathroom walls and how fireworks somehow slipped beneath the bottom of the door.

A game of Spider Solitaire on a dirty computer in the back. The cracks in the windows where ATVs came tumbling through and the rain it caused to fall inside (and, OH! The part’s room!). There wasn’t a surface free from dust or the remnants of an engine’s angry revving.

Perhaps they were too proud, or simply too busy, to even see it. The virulence that surrounded them… It wasn’t like that then. Not for her, anyway. It was all beautiful because it was ALL real. And maybe it was only so real because of him. Standing there, striking out against the splitting stools and written on walls and crumbling parts boxes. Maybe it was just because he smiled or said ‘hello’ in the morning. Or because he worked harder and slaved longer and knew more than anyone else seemed to really know and just brought the place to life – drizzling color over the dull relentlessness of the day.

She’ll be brought back, again and again. In one day, with one conversation, because of one face or a single word or an accidental reminder. Snap. There she is.

Like an over analyzed ending when there just isn’t one. Those damned authors that let the finale hang, lingering somewhere between frustration and inadequacy. You get so close to the end and there’s just nothing there – nothing to be reminded of, nothing to cinch the deal and leave you satisfied. It’s like that for her – frustrating and inadequate, not quite finished and almost barely begun – but you have to walk away, turn your head and forget. Let those little things go, move on to something else, forge a new path into the deep, impending woods, make up a different ending just because one isn’t supplied. Snapping back from the past, letting what is gone go. Trade in the old for the new. At some point, you have to; or so they say.

He did.

Why can’t she?

Written at 9:01 p.m.