Bent Words

Bent Words

February 15, 2011

Could not have seen that curve ball coming.

"I remember you."

Dude was sitting tall with a cigar in his paw, drawing on one end and giving his older buddy grief on the other.

"Yeah, yeah. I definitely remember you."

I raised my brows in mock suspense.

"You're the girl from the motorcycle shop, right?"

"That depends," I said.

Did I get his parts wrong, I wondered. Did I rock my angry face one morning? Did I sigh without apparent cause? Perhaps I was blunt on the phone or hurried in my exit at the end of the evening.

"Laura, right? Oh, you don't remember me. After all these years. I run the laundry mat on Maria and North Street. You were kinda famous, ya know. The girl outside the motorcycle shop."

He laughed and then continued.

"I'm not too ashamed to say that we used to watch you. Washing bikes, polishing chrome, taking test rides all day long. And then you would come inside the laundrymat..."

"You were quite the convenience. Laundry while working," I recalled almost vacantly.

"Yup. I remember the guy you used to come in with. That blonde guy. He worked there, too. What was his name?"


"Yeah. Shane. He used to come in to do laundry, too."

How the hell does he remember my name when I don't even KIND OF recall his face?

"You see, we used to do a bikini car wash at our place and that's how I remember you. Like a year after we started doing that, your shop started doing the bikini bike wash gig. That's when we remember seeing you there. The girl who didn't just wash the bikes; you rode them."

"Yeah, I've been a few bikes in my lifetime."

"Come on! We watched you from morning till night. Sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, old bikes, new bikes -- you rode them across the street to the gas station. You rode them down to the interstate and revved the piss out of them past the shop. You pushed them in and you pushed them out -- all by yourself or with the help of that blonde guy. You polished the hell out of those bikes and it was just as though you were always there. The infamous motorcycle shop girl. This is my Dad here and I used to say to him that she must be some kind of woman. And here you are."

"Oh my. Well, you know, I was just doing my job."

"And what do you do now?"

"Same thing. Different department."

But weren't those the days?

To have someone remember me like that! When I, apparently, rocked the block.

And rather than continue my conversation with those on the opposite side of me, I got lost in thought.

All the days that it was all about Laura Land and the Shane Show.

How we rocked that block. All day long and all night.

And the fire. Before the fire took it all away... Shane's first time at my apartment when I was still with Chris. How he cried at the memory of a lost love and nervously swept his body against my kitchen wall, leaving a mark that would never leave until four weeks ago. The signed Pascal Picotte he garnered me after a week's worth of borrowing my Integra. The beginning of his AMA career. The binders I held onto, FOUR FULL BOOKS, full of notes I wrote to him. Gone. The notes he wrote to me, which I cherished. Burned. Our names etched into my kitchen cupboards. The bed that we purchased together -- that he picked out, for Christ's sake! The five full boxes of 35mm photos I took of him back in the first days of supermoto. The dishes I have now were the first set of dishes I had after Chris moved out and they were the dishes he bought for me because he knew I loved the color green. The framed photos of his children. The pages upon pages of research on bone marrow transplants. The cigarette burn on my floor that I never passed without being whisked back. The drawings in his Honda technical manuals whilst attempting to explain the function of forks. The rake. Not of the garden variety.

I wonder if he knows about all this. How part of him burned down, burned away, lit up the sky, grew cold and obsolete, ashed the evening, smoked the moon, with that fire. I wonder if he sees it. How it epitomizes... everything. And, if he does, does he give a shit? If he doesn't, how can I relate his influence onto all I had without interrupting?

I can't.

And I won't.

But if I could...

Oh the things we'd remember. The things we'd rattle off. The things we'd grow silent over. The things we'd laugh about. The things we'd rather not recall. The things we couldn't help but picturing because that's about all we have left.

Well, once upon a time.

And that's him.

How he catches me still off guard. Without even trying.

The curve ball that always was and perhaps always will be.


Written at 10:08 p.m.