Bent Words

Bent Words

March 09, 2014

Things Iíve been dreaming about lately

The times when I was closest to my father and the way his skin always smelled of a manly musk, freshly cut grass and the burn on his skin in the heart of summer. Mingled with the scent of the lake at home; or the ocean or a pool in March as he cautiously held me close when I was small. And when he rocked me in his arms at night. Even when I outgrew his strength and his patience. I dream about it because I wonder when Emilee will turn on me and want only the strong, unwavering arms of her father at night.

The way I used to be when I used to strut. Head high, stiff legs, perfect ass. Sitting tall at the bar with my legs curled under me. Disregarding the elongated stares of those across from me. How it pisses me off that moms with extra loviní forget to strut. Even if they deserve it way more than they used to.

Hitting the shifter into first gear. The clunk of the pedal and the heavy force leaping forward below me. I never feel as though I can navigate the next curve but I know I can if I can only calm down. And then Iím mightier than most men on a motorcycle. I hang with the leaders because I know ďif they can do it, so can I.Ē The adrenaline it sparks, the stupidity it creates, the endless nights I rode. Will they know how I was now that my photos are burned, my body is broken, my reservations are present, my endurance isnít quite up to par? Will they know? And would I want them to? Oh reckless one. How I miss theeÖ

I can smell the freshly laid wax on the skating floor. The new founded confidence it brings with an altogether sinking sense that Iíll stick too much to this new floor. At least for a while. Thereís a dense, woody smell and always I am faster than I recall, spinning more gracefully than Iím sure I ever did. I navigate through crowds of people, two-stepping to the beat or slow dancing in my skates. Theyíre getting heavy now, as though my ankles have weakened with disuse. But Iím still a rock star and who could contend that the elegance that is nearly six feet of spinning beauty? For once, the only time, I perfect my camel spin. I wish I could have really. I wish I could try. Really.

Sitting on the edge of the roof of the boathouse at dusk. Fish, water, summer and sand all sinking into my senses. Itís a week night so all the Flatlanders are gone. Iím singing songs from the Little Mermaid and the Sound of Music. I replace the words with ones more relevant to me. If you were across the lake, you could easily hear my echo. But mostly Iím certain it was always just me. I used to listen to the cows on the hill before mini mansions popped up in their stead. When the lake and the land was mine. I could navigate barefoot over any surface and stay a day alone in the wild, without a single interruption save for the silver whistle when my mother wanted me home for dinner.

My motherís martinis in a tall glass on the end table. The olives would have tasted so perfect if it werenít for the vodka. Or dry vermouth? Her slender cigarette smoke swirling into the air. How I wanted to be her. Her legs crossed with perfection, her nails long and colored so splendid, her hair caught up perfectly on the top of her head. Her lipstick and perfume means sheís going out tonight and I only wish I could be a part of that gleam in her eyes. Sheís so quiet now, preparing for her evening, like a movie star painting herself with perfection. Then suddenly sheís showing me how to dance a sexy little dance because she cannot help but want to dance! I try to keep up. During family gatherings we dance together. I donít know that itís the alcohol and I donít care. Sheís mine when I join her in dance. She takes my arms and laughs and I know that tomorrow sheíll complain of the pain in her hips and her legs but tonight sheís mine.
I fall asleep in the back of the car. My father is driving. Always. They look brilliant and regal together. Tall and unaffected. My mother always put her hands on my fatherís right thigh. Always. I love how she loves him and how he loves her when he sneaks up behind her for a good goosing. I can see them dancing together at get-togethers and I listen as my mother always know what to say. And always provokes others to melt into a smile. Always.

All the notebooks I kept Ė four, maybe five Ė with his name boldly written on the front of each. They are untouched by the fire only in my dreams. I read the words slowly and feel the passion rise up through the pages. I wait for the words to grab me again and again, each night, as though they symbolize the very epitome of life. The very beating of my heart, the rise and fall of my being and the reason for my spirit. Thatís how deep it ran, how much he affected me and still does through the unconscious hours of my evening. I know that in this life Iíll never feel that way again. The river will never run quite that deep or quite so entirely. For there is only one in a lifetime. That makes everything new, everything more real, more inspiring. As of yet, I have never physically known anyone so completely Ė so fervently Ė that the very air changes composition with their presence.

Like early childhood memories, scents and sounds and certain gestures whir within me and I can feel what it was to be twenty something. Living all on my own. The sun would rise and the whole world around me came alive as it never had before, beginning from my bedroom window. I lie still. The dust floating through the beams of light. True freedom. True determination. Only half innocent but still chock full of belief. I can feel certainty in everything. The lacking apologies, the resounding assurance that this life, this adventure, is my destiny. My body is eager, my thoughts rarely travel beyond the moment and I wake to a world that I welcome in fully. The hard work, the sweat, the tears, the questions, the answers, the strife and the light. Bring it on. There was fear but there wasnít much. There was consequence but hardly enough to even make me pause. Invincible and intelligent and willing. I loved fully and I laughed loudly. And it never seemed that I tired. There was not a thing I could not do nor a thing I shouldnít. And so it is sad that I lost all the mementos of my freedom days.

But you know I suppose it wasnít a world I could live in forever. It would have surely destroyed me somehow. God knows it tried to. God knows I nearly let it. One cannot be that fervent and expect not to get burned. Love and life like that Ė on the edge Ė is exhilarating but unstable. Wonderfully wild but dangerous. Full of dreams and wishes and hopes and desires but barely balanced by reality. All the not knowing, all the lack of commitmentÖ it will drive you crazy. As you desperately try to grasp onto what you were once so certain you had, or almost had, or at least worked so damn hard for. It can all be swooped up in a moment. And thatís no life to live. So as brilliant as looking back can be, I am, in some ways, rewarded in the loss but not how you would imagine.

I am not content to say that ďat least I made it out on time,Ē or that ďit could have been worse,Ē or that ďitís just stuff.Ē Because none of that applies. And I havenít met anyone yet who knows that, understands it to a T. I havenít met anyone that doesnít discard it for luck. Those were my days that were taken away Ė the miles upon miles which I recorded. I wrote about them so intensely so that I could look back fondly and never forget. So I could show others. And anyone that knew me knew how much I loved to show it all off through stories and pictures and lengthy diatribe and song. Everything fit together. My mood with current selection of tunes. My solitary state for a bit of reflection. My written word so that I could give my feelings depth and understanding. I did not stop. I was made to stop. I was made to leave it behind, give it up, go ahead, start over, forget certain moments.

Some nights were spent in pure reflection. I burned away the night looking at my albums, rearranging my music, proud of my display of heart. I was a motorcycle sales woman with a taste for Beethoven and a love of dance, a penchant for the uncanny and a genuine adoration of words. I was long legs and riding boots, cheap sunglasses and dirt under my nails. I was sweat and tears, love and aggression. I was a tease waiting for the next best suggestion. I could walk through a store and hone in on exactly what I wanted and exit all within twenty minutes. I wore the same size menís Levis jeans and a motorcycle related shirt. I wore what I wore ten years ago. Now I donít know what I wear. I could kill it in a dress, without any effort or fuss. I could mark it on your heart without a word coming from my mouth. I could win an arm wrestling contest with a man based on how many bikes I pushed about all summer.

If I didnít know the answer, I found it. If it was a discontinued part you needed, I made it happen. I didnít sell to make money, I sold from my heart to make you happy. To not look back with a single regret. I did my best, worked my hardest and always stayed late. I found joy in everything Ė from pocket books to tire pressure gauges. Most of my home was hand-me-downs but they were mine all the same and so you had somewhere to sit, something to eat off of and a cool drink to slake your thirst. You could come over or we could go out but I didnít need you. I had my books, my college ruled paper, my roller ball pens and a glass of ice topped with rum.

Before my body was broken and aching, my mind a bit distracted with other things, my decisions based on someone elseís notion and my evenings filled with sleep.

Youíve dumped me into this new world without a paddle, it seems, and for that I fear I am sometimes ungratefulÖ You didnít leave me with a guide to my old self, an inch of my lost world, an iota of a transition. I should be grateful I have not lost me Ė well of course I am Ė but itís not easy to know me anymore when there isnít an object to ground you. Itís unstable memories, infrequent stories and reflections, blurred images and dreams. I am unattached because there were no stepping stones. The bridge is broken. The gap quite wide. From there to here is so hard because you swept away my sense of safety, my sense of family, my sense of comfort and quiet and quaintness. You gave me beautiful beings in return but you didnít give me a real good chance to get to know them because Iím still searching for me. What is left of me? What is there for reference? Who knows me now who knew me then? Yes, my parents know Ė kind of Ė but they donít know the ME in my own home, without another soul, rocking it at the shop, killing it on the sales floor, becoming my own independent person.

You stripped me of my past, my pride, my go to things. I knew what to wear because what I wore was in my closet. I knew what fit. I knew what make up to wear because it was in a bag hanging from bathroom door. I didnít need to worry about towels or dinner, music to release me emotionally (it was all collected in one place). I had worked for the best comforter for my bed, had spices with which to try new things, a moment to figure things out, a sanctuary to unwind. I had the pictures to prove who I was and where I came from and who it was I knew because I knew people, I loved people, I let it all in. I spread it around me and cherished it all. You did not take away someoneís indifferent belongings. You took away my meticulous work, my years of struggle, my shining moment and my intense sense of ME.

Not once but twice.

Everything I thought I had and everything I thought I wanted you swatted away like it didnít matter. Like it didnít have history or glow.

Physically you took away my ability, mentally you took away my entire frame of reference and emotionally you destroyed my confidence.

Written at 5:09 a.m.