Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breaking out of a bag

Large orange jacket.
He is visibly warm.
Too warm.
He starts to fiddle as soon as he sits.
He takes off his yellow tinted sunglasses.
They are connected to a yellow rubber strap that I suppose he bought so that he can wear the yellow tinted sunglasses around his neck like a librarian when he tires of seeing yellow.
He opens his black backpack and gets a plastic bag out.
There seems to be mail in the plastic bag.
Maybe junk mail as he seems impatient and unaffected by the contents.
The bag gets rolled back up.
More discomfort.
He takes the yellow tinted sunglasses off of his neck.
He roots around in his backpack for another plastic bag unearthing another pair of yellow tinted sunglasses and puts them on.
I wonder how many plastic bags are in that backpack.
I imagine a life organized by plastic bags.
I think of the growing number of plastic bags under my sink.
The first pair of yellow tinted sunglasses, strap and all, go sloppily into the plastic bag.
Another yellow strap gets pulled out of a different pocket in the backpack but is not used for the sunglasses.
More discomfort.
Only two stops until we have to get out and be in the cold weather to change trains.
He takes off his large orange coat and wraps the second yellow strap around it.
Tieing it up like a sleeping bag.
At this point he seems very pleased with himself for the first time.
He is feeling the satisfaction of his efficiency.
He pops his collar and looks around.
No one else is excessively warm on the train.
His darting eyes don't meet anyone else's in agreement.
He would probably strip down to nothing if he could.
He may or may not have enough yellow straps to bind up the rest of his clothing and
I have never felt so still.

The first day of the rest of our lives

The man at the hospital.
Not a woman like I initially thought.
Asked me about my shoes that he thought were Keds.
My grey Chuck Taylors.
I told him they were comfortable and he said he could tell.
I liked him so much even before he spoke to me.
If I were old I would have liked him to be my husband.
Flannel wearing.
Lots of grey hair and a small, kind face.
He looked like the character in a page of my childhood jumbo coloring book about a safety dog.
He wore large white tennis shoes.
Much too large for how slight he was.
He was waiting to get chemo.
But no one seemed to realize he was there.
He was used to getting his treatment on a different floor.
Only his regular doctor wasn't in.
I wanted to make sure he was taken care of.
Much like I would if we were married.
He was the husband of my future self.
I would have put him in my pocket and taken him everywhere with me.
I worried about him all day.
My mother and I went to a different hospital room and played a hundred rounds of UNO.
When we returned and passed the waiting room the man was gone.
I should have spoken to him more.
I hope that he was taken care of that day and for the rest of his life.
I felt so close to him.
He was alone without me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hace frio at Grandma's

Seventh grade.
Rice and bean soup.
Vests with turtlenecks.
Neutrals, forest green and burgundy.
Grandma watching her novellas.
Me doing math homework in that impossibly small dining area.
Windows with thin curtains.
Yellow and white flowered.
"Come, come!"
Eat, eat.
Waiting for daddy to pull up in the strawberry red truck.
The color I insisted on.
I never felt like I knew her.
I never felt like she knew me.
Even as I sat in the next room.
"Bitch! Estupida! Aye dios mio!"
"Shit, man."
She is so short.
The house cluttered but immaculate.
I stare too long at the trinkets in the bathroom upstairs.
The room across the hall has a blood red bed in it.
A doll on top wears a blood red dress.
A small bed.
I imagine my father and my two uncles sharing it.
Why is there so much carpet in the bathroom?
So plush.
Soap shells and marbelized mirrors.
Teeth in a jar in the medicine cabinet.
I just prayed the toilet would never overflow.
I would hug it and then run before I ever saw the water rise.