Grace and Rose come by with Rose�s guy. I answer the knocked door sleepily in shorts.
Grace gives me her usual oldest-sister-acknowledging-look as she greets me with routine pleasantry.
Without breaking stride, I allow them all inside. Both Grace and Rose are effortlessly poised � fake some might call it.
Rose brings in the sounds of Philadelphia as she speaks with the new dialect. He is thickly built, with a friendly Boston accent.
�Well, obviously you like plants,� Rose says, as she carefully surveys the apartment.
�It�s unfortunate that you came while I�m on thirty-two pills� � I look to Grace for a friendly smile. �You would drop by on the worst day at the worst time.�
Grace�s laugh eases the room. I forgot how good she was at being the community leader. For years she�s taken one reluctant relative to the next, saying to each or the other, �This is called a VISit,� before knocking on the appropriate door.
�What kind of medication are you on that you have to take thirty-two pills � � Rose says later as I make room for her to sit down and work on putting my notes-and-quotes on her flash drive.
I chuckle. �You would ask me that.�
She looks at me as if I�m going to give her another answer.
I notice she has a blue-tooth in her ear.
�I don�t have classes tomorrow...� I say as I look down to make sure I�m wearing appropriate clothes. �And later I�m to write ... a scene.�
Rose acts as if she needs my �journal� for some personal reason she is unable to explain. The only part of my journal in half-fiction, half-non-fiction format is last summer�s notes and quotes from when I was riding trains; the title of the short story is �The Edit.�
�Yes,� she says to her guy with a roll of her eyes, �It�s even called God�s Country.�
In the doorway between the bedroom and living room I look down to scratch my shin and look up at Rose�s guy. �I write books, but no one reads them � � I say to him with a smile.
�Is this used for pullups?� he asks concerning the bar in the doorway.
�Yes, � I reply and do five, to show him.
�I don't know why I just did that,� I say.
I step into the living room and sit at the piano because Grace is sitting on the couch beside it.
�A baby-grand, a shiny, high-dollar tool chest right in the kitchen...a guy after my own heart...all these photographs and art...� says the boyfriend to Grace.
�I�m sorry I can�t play anything for you,� I say to Grace, wondering if maybe I should. �I already played it all out this morning.� I brush my fingers over the keys. �Plus the pills relax my fingers so much -- not to mention my vocal cords,� I add apologetically.
Grace�s Southern charm is strong, purposeful, with a genuine smile. I am light and wispy on thirty-two pills. The only innocent reason I can imagine Rose asking for my writings is for her to answer some unanswered question. Seemed bad timing to have such an unanswered question and be engaged.
�� Yeah, but our gunner man, he gets the bullet right through the eye,� he is saying, telling me of his deployment since he has noticed pieces of military gear around.
When we shake for the first time we both naturally move to do it competitively, then, remembering how we were both grown, and practically-related, we good-naturedly give shaking a shot before I see them out.
�You let them just walk in there and take it?� Guy asks.
�If my family is completely determined to destroy themselves, all I can do is step out of the way.�
�Exactly,� Guy says. �Out of the Way.�
"Yes, people look the way they do because of the way they move ..." I reply. "It was all so simple."
�In their minds you became what they feared the most.�
�If that�s true than they got exactly what they deserved.�
�The Confusionists heralded this father-son relationship for specific reasons,� Mrs. Theresa lectures.
�Now I know some of you have downright strange relationships with your fathers...�
The magnolia tree towering above Mrs. Marrissa�s apartment and back yard hints of bayou on the corner of Whitehead and Vance.
�I know --� I interrupt with two purposeful nods, �And then she took my JOUrnal and left � �
Mrs. Marrissa laughs again.
�Well, we made a pact that neither of us would read it,� Grace says.
�For some reason I felt like �They must be pissed.� So I figured if they need to know what I was working on whatever day they can look it up.�
Mrs. Marrissa cackles, then coughs, then pulls on her purple-and-brown-colored cigarette.
�I told them -- He�s on a muscle relaxer,� Grace says, her energetic laughter encouraging Mrs. Marrissa�s cackles. �We should let him sleep, so we got out of there pretty quickly.�
Grace has plants that all look Asian. Her garden looks random and balanced. �This butterfly bush has just done outstanding,� she says, as she gives the tour of her backyard. She crouches down. �Looook at it -- and I just put her in.�
All around the school students are impressed with Mrs. Seda, the young, tall psychology teacher. She teaches her class so thoroughly it seems effortless for her to not leave a single stranger behind.
�And along with this overly-possessive mother, Freud...� she says, �Had some sort of incident where he walks in on his parents having sex at a very young age.�
She gives me a look of concern, as if she had recently constructed the whole sentence.
�Plus, he had a father, who...� she pauses, looking at the ceiling, then at me again. �Who may have not been as much as a leader...�
Oh, right, I catch myself think. All these professors are Rose�s old friends from when she went to school here. No wonder she visits Wilton so much.
As I smoke a cigarette in preparation for my eight-o�clock elective, I notice in my peripheral someone looking at me but then looking away. As I pull on the cigarette I continue to notice Mrs. Seda walking self-consciously from her car toward the school�s Charlie building.
�You know I can see you, right?� she asks laughingly at the beginning of class. �You know you're in public and there are people all around you.�
�He uses a lot of imagery...� Mrs. Theresa lectures. �Without commentary...expressing a lot of ideas -- some very good ideas...But you know what I mean...No matter what religion, you have to like your sister,� Mrs. Theresa interjects suddenly looking toward me. She finishes the tangent on Revelations as if she has run out of options on how to express herself.
�So who cares your parents didn't love each other?� Mrs. Seda blurts out later, suddenly off subject, as she writes on the board, �Lots of people come from divorce. We got over it.�
My chest swells like I want to say something...maybe Ray was dumb in some areas, and maybe Dawn was overbearing with her One Way, and maybe religion did give them enough human dignity to fall in love...but I can't think of anything in retort.
(Monday, 4JUL2011, Independence Day)
(At J__�s house for Fourth of July cookout)
J__�s niece and Lance are officially engaged.
�My supervisor is a man but actually a woman...� Lance says with a scowl to Bill, Sooks� boyfriend. �He�s one of those guys where everything has to be about him. You know, mole hill and mountains, a discussion between two people becomes an entire-workplace discussion...�
�Coke?� J__ is saying to Grain, Mrs. J__�s brother. �He had a successful business of his own and -- weren�t those places all over the South --�
�Yeah,� Grain replies. �After all that he starts on coke -- I mean -- why would any one want to have it all ��
�I don�t worry so much about wealth and right and wrong anymore,� J__ says, incredulous that someone local, his age, and so successful would turn to coke. �I just want to be ... Well-off � �
�Homeschooling, huh...� Mrs. J__ says to Mrs. James, Grain�s wife, who sits beside her on the porch swing.
�Yes. I asked her about it -- you�d have to be very well-structured.�
�You know -- you should take Sara, instead of Nala � � J__ says to me.
I chuckle, refusing to take either dog home with me.
�I mean, you�d basically be on the level of a superintendent,� James says to Mrs. J__.
�Sara�s really the dumbest. Nala�s pretty sharp,� J__ continues.
�By what I�ve seen,� I reply. �Sara�s sheer motivation keeps her a genius � �
J__ answers me with a look of disapproval.
I turn to Mrs. J___ and say: �You know, Grace and I were home schooled.�
�Yes...I know...� Mrs. J__ says thoughtfully, as if Grace and I were some sort of cautionary tale.
�Well,� Mrs. Theresa is saying in aside to a student. �I was talking to my husband about taking an astrology class.�
I find my seat by the window.
��Cause he asked me: What does astrology, religion, and music have to do with each other?�
Later, in the class, Mrs. Theresa describes a term for a certain kind of storytelling: Allegory.
�Who knows what an allegory is?� she asks the class.
No one raises their hands, except for a young man in the front row who almost does. He says: �Just tell us ��
�It�s like a story that�s not fiction or non-fiction, it�s just a story...�
�Maybe the reason they wrote it that way,� I say purposefully, �Was because they felt the information to be none of the other party�s business.�
�But the author wouldn't have used people's names, the dates and places...� she says, veering off point, then pausing with silence and starting over.
�Hope you fail,� Mrs. Seda whispers to me as she hands the test out to each student.
Guy, sitting beside me, glances at me, as if I own a story he needs privy to.
�You know I can see you,� Mrs. Seda laughs later during lecture. �Some people pretend like they can't be seen, but I'm telling you I can see you.�
�Unfortunately sometimes the authors of these texts can be � � says Mrs. Theresa, explaining religious literature. �So secretive...One I read recently turned out in the end to be PETTY.�
�If you're rocking yourself to sleep to get to that safe place � that means you have Schizophrenia,� Mrs. Seda cracks. �It means your SCHIZO.�
�Wisdom writers must be careful...� Mrs. Theresa says. �They might actually find out the answer they're seeking. It might be the answer they wanted the least.�
�Maybe you weren't a Don Juan,� Mrs. Seda says. �Maybe you're not a victim, just a loser.�
�It is not physically possible for the human being to feel the 'invisible digits' of cell phone and satellite activity flowing through the air,� says Mrs. Seda.
�The South is the one of the most Bible-ignorant places in the Country.� Mrs. Theresa explains. �You have to be careful reading a writer from the South who is interpreting the Bible.�
�The way you can tell a liar,� Mrs. Seda continues, �Is people who come from such backgrounds actually say something at the time, they actually do something about it.�
�I mean, Issac Newton spent twenty-nine years of being passionate and disciplined and alone,� says Mrs. Theresa. �But then stepped outside of his laboratory, joined the real world, and later thought, �'Oh, maybe I should publish this.'�
�And what of the languages, their beginnings, the separate, distinct cast of characters beginning each culture...� I ask Mrs. Theresa, knowing the next term to be made-up. �The Tower of Babel concept ...�
It was like her face bent in two, along the nose line, two halves drooping, with the chin raised to the sky. I hadn't known the human face was capable of that.
�It takes me a year to write an accurate, journalized story because the future hasn't happened yet when the entries are written.� I say to Guy during a cigarette break. �When I was a kid it could take me weeks before I finished with one journal entry.�
Guy�s expression softens.
Her real, live, emotions are given birth according to my countenance. I do not act, but sometimes block.
Starbucks noise drowns out whispers in my mind.
When I go Dex, I don't numb down, but shut off, emotions continuing on, after the engine has suddenly paused.
She looks up from opening her sugar packet.
Instead of being apart of the scene I see the painting instead, the art, the symbolism, listening for silent sound and imagery.
When the task is done, the engine demands warming up before revving with a rush back to life.
Like suddenly closing a dam against the rush of time, channeling energy before the cup spilleth over.
She sips from her coffee, swallows with measure.
Not a movement, nothing in her languages reminds me of my relatives.
�Maybe your dream was a warning instead of a prediction,� she says.
Every movement, all her languages remind me of every crush I've ever had.
�Seems to be...� I say, looking away, rubbing my knuckles together.
The boy cried wolf three times. Three strikes, you�re out. The number three.
�What are you going to do? Write some novel that will end racism?� Mrs. Seda says seemingly to no one before class, as I read the textbook.
I look up, stunned by the odd outburst.
�Good luck. Face it, you�re just like the rest of us,� she says in the direction of the other side of the classroom.
It wouldn�t be working if it wasn�t Good, knock on wood.
Shifted to God�s Country's night where the wind blows against me. The wind always blows near me, no matter where I go, the wind finds me, demanding words written.
�Be the good son and pay the price for your loved ones,� says the Trickster as he grabs his crotch with his left and lifts �Because you already have.�
�You�ve been raised dumb masculinity on purpose so translate instead of learn,� says the Trickster slyly. "Use your own intelligence, the God in you, the best thing you�ve got and it ain�t even yours. Be your heart. Beat your heart."
J__ jokes about my having gone back to sleep after having gone to work at six o�clock to find the grass too wet.
�Well,� I reply mischievously, �I thought maybe I�d clean the Sanctuary tonight after everyone�s gone.� I scratch my chest with my left hand and smile. �But then again, maybe I�ll do it tomorrow morning, let all the employees stare at me while I work.�
J__ looks at me dumbfounded.
�I like having Billy�s old job. I didn�t realize he had it so bad, cleaning the church while wearing facial jewelry.�
As midnight lingers I squint my eyes to the bathroom light. I flick a lighter against the tip of the cigarette pointing down between my lips. With a base guitar�s bluesy �Beat-Beat...Beat,� John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison croon out the lines of a record.
�I�ve been through the third-degree...You KNOW what I�m a-talkin�bout...�
From the first instance of abuse every thought was wrong, every emotion internally destructive.
�...I�ll never get out of these blues alive...� sings Hooker. �All my life...I�ve been doomed with the blues...I�m drinking BLAck coffee...And steady smoking...CIGarettes...all night...�
Being born into war, it is one's right to win the war, from soul to flesh, God or no God.
�I�ll never come out alive,� sings Morrison. �I can�t sleep...� Hooker moans. �I got the blues...� Morrison yawns with a growl.
Last night the Trickster was insistent, blunt, through a series of dreams I try to piece together.
�If I live to be a hundred,� Morrison sings. �I�ll never get out of these blues alive...I can�t understand...Just exactly why...�
�It was so hectic this morning I forgot I was sober,� I tell her. �Lots of city-driving and errands, then school, then work. Lots of logistical problems along the way.�
�I kept thinking, It's been so long since the last time I've been out and not on something.�
�It was kind of fun.�
�These Kenyan legs...� I say to her, gesturing at the long legs stretched out from under the table.
�I need to go run a marathon just to show everyone where I got them.�
She chuckles. Her eyes brighten.
�Who cares that other people aren�t having kids...� I ask J__ as he drives through rain pour.
�But they�re telling the same story in a different way,� J__ says.
�The world is over-populated. Empires fall. What�s left of them go back to Isreal. But don�t tell God I said that.�
�Ha ha ha ...� J__ says, parking the truck, turning off the ignition.
Friday morning Mrs. J__ arrives at the emergency room with a wink in her expression as she says, �Hello.�
�You shouldn�t have left work,� J__ manages to say.
�I was just down the street and it�s not often I get an excuse to leave work.�
She laughs good naturedly. I chuckle in.
J__�s lips are swollen and flat-looking from an allergic reaction to a hornet�s bite. He is hooked to an IV pumping steroids. He opens and closes his eyes drowsy on Benadryl. The swelling decreases steadily but slowly.
I tell the story of the past few weeks to Mrs. J__.
Mrs. J__ adjusts one of the IV tubes from where she is sitting.
Even though it doesn�t matter anymore I can�t make out if Mrs. J__ is the mole; I don't know how well I should end the story.
Her expression is self-quizzical.
Maybe Mrs. J__ will think me a Yankee, winning a war only to afterward make the enemy pay for every crime committed. I never know what Mrs. J__ thinks of me on a personal level: I think she listened properly once when I mentioned that the August groom was the third person to commit suicide shortly after I met them. I think she wonders about how I never waste time arguing with people, I just leave them behind, already knowing I�ll never have time enough to slow down that much. I remember how Spence, the August groom, pulled the trigger because he realized women didn't deserve good men.
�I just don�t think I would�ve given my sister my journal simply because she asked me,� Mrs. J__ says.
�Thing is though,� I continue. �I woke up in the morning and the sky had changed.�
�That�s because you�ve experienced �Closure,�� she says.
I hadn�t realized it was possible,� I say to her. �To win a twenty-eight year war that thoroughly and completely.�
�When a person behaves THis way,� Mrs. Seda lectures. �His or her body is performing at optimal level.�
Her back is to the class as she fills in her outline on the board.
�Some experience a tragedy or event and do not heal back to optimal performance.� She turns and looks at me with a smile. �This is called Resistance.�
�Their cortisone level -- their overall stress level,� she continues. �Is now higher than normal, which is why they sometimes refer to this as their �new normal.� Since their cortisone level is higher, their immune system is weakened -- one of the many harmful and unavoidable symptoms of stress.�
They call Madame Bovary the ultimate whore. What do they know ... The spirit is the only origin sexy describes. Sexual violence accosts God, in that it forces the definition of the victim�s spirit to devastation. God is pained, mournful, even angry, but never truly devastated. In this way the victim loses faith without losing faith.
If the spirit is to exist without sexuality -- or a state of over-sexuality fought with over-repression -- the spirit exists without a physical sense of being. Madame Bovary chooses eternal struggle, disbelieving stress�s power compared to the heart�s -- God or no God, magic or no magic, science or no science, reborn or not, the heart is good.
�...If you have a personal history,� Mrs. Seda continues. �That might make a good Lifetime original movie -- and you�re pretty alright -- presently -- you might be in the Hardy group.�
A human in pain could mistake his or her reflection in psychology�s mirror, confirming their own predictions as if a mystic, ending up as barren as a psychologist, only describing Western minds, not the human brain, noticing the ones not fitting in and incorporating a series of scientific endeavors to pull them toward the place where everything meets, a place inaccessible to psychology.
�...I�m not going to argue where in the body a soul might be, the brain or the heart. If a person experiences brain damage they WILL be a different person,� Mrs. Seda insists.
The classroom laughs in agreement. Maybe over the years the soul goes from the head to the feet, humble.
�As the body bleeds, it chooses the heart over the brain. Brains have healed themselves, growing new brain cells. Scientists find it unexplainable. Regardless of trauma, the same person experiences it all -- change in brain cells or not -- There is a spirit.�
Over cigarettes, classmates from both World Religions class and General Psychology discuss their professors' behavior.
I only tell one person the truth. �Never use your intelligence as a weapon,� he says, one of the highest ranking soldier I�ve ever met.
He advises me to speak to Mrs. Theresa one on one, in order to buffer Mrs. Seda�s and Mrs. Theresa's aggressions and prevent anymore quotings of my work in lecture.
�Much obliged for your astute criticisms of my writing,� I say to Mrs. Theresa after the rest of the class has left.
�I don�t know what you�re talking about,� she replies firmly, her mystic powers failing her.
�Benjamin,� Mrs. Theresa says. �I never show anyone any other�s work. That is simply a policy of mine.�
�I know that you are lying,� I answer back. �I can tell you are controlling your facial expression.�
The Dean scrolls through the entries. �I�m surprised by how well it�s written.�
There is an awkward pause. Mrs. Theresa seems to have decided not to speak again.
�What concerns me is how much the character has gone through in such a short period of time.�
(From �Weeds,� Season 6, episode 3, playing in the background of a scene from the car radio, describing a state of family.)
-- �Hello, I�m Jad Abumrad.
-- �And I�m Robert Krulwich.
-- �This is Radiolab. Our topic today, the parasitic wasp. So, what it does, is it flies around and it looks for a cockroach. It stings it. It can�t run away. It�s like it�s lost it�s will. Well, parasites are very careful. You know, they won�t eat vital organs that will kill it. God should not be personally blamed for having created parasitic wasps. A parasitic wasp can insert its stinger into one specific part of the cockroach�s brain, that then turns the cock roach into its slave in a very elegant way. That to me, sounds like the purest description in nature of evil that I can imagine.�
Most are female puppies, clean and fit. There are only three males. I choose the old dog, the only dog close to German Shepherd, the one who won�t raise his head, over the young black lab pup.
�Do you want to try walking him?� asks the young cop.
He is golden. I allow him to take his time sniffing the hallways as the deputy walks purposefully. I tug on the choke chain.
�Goldie, Goldie ...� the brown-hued female deputy tries, as she checks us out in the parking lot. �He has Chow in him,� she says. �There�s the tongue, but especially see the skull -- wide and round in the back. The Chow is one of the closest to Wolf. It�s a dominate gene.�
He growls as a community service worker empties his mop across the parking lot. He backs up for his hinds to find me while his neck pulls forward against chain.
�See how protective he is,� she continues.
�He wouldn�t eat or drink until a little bit yesterday,� the young deputy says over the half-door separating the small lobby from the hallways and animal sounds in back. �He�s only three years old. I took him out on the leash yesterday and noticed how energetic he is.�
He�s an eviction dog. There is contact with the owners, lessened over several weeks. I sign the contract, pay the money. I am to pick Scrap ... Timmy ... up tomorrow.
I explain to Mrs. J__ and her daughters about Dylan as she pours me iced tea. �Of course you can use our yard," she says. I stand in the doorway, dirty with grass stains. Sooks talks about old schoolmates of ours befriending us on Facebook.
�You�ve been gossipping,� Mrs. J__ says to me.
�He has heartworms,� the veterinarian says. She shows me a document showing the expenses and recovery period over a period of months. �That way it's less expensive at any given time,� she continues. �At first we do x-rays because the medicine is actually arsenic and we have to make sure the dog's kidneys and liver are healthy enough.�
�The officers at the pound told of 'For the Love of Dogs' having a much less expensive program.�
�I understand it is expensive, and your dog being so young we haven't included xrays in his estimate, but what that dog shelter is doing is an illegal operation. The way they handle heartworms does not handle the heartworms and is damaging to the animals.�
I swallow as I glance at the dog, not knowing what to do.
�He has so many dogs,� the vet says. �And I understand why he refuses to euthanize. But it's not right to send people away thinking their dogs aren't going to die of heartworms, simply to buy that dog a bit more time in a proper home.�
�So then every abstract thought is God praying back to you,� she says.
She wants me to explain, explain, how it is that unhappiness is prayer.
�I might be one of those secret type-A personalities,� I say to her in the darkness. �My emotional intelligence might be stronger than my others ... frighteningly decisive.�
�Secret type A...� she asks.
�When I was born, I don�t think anyone saw me coming.�
At first she laughed as I carefully pulled her heels off, but then she lay back flat on the bed as I slowly handled her.
�This is where he bit me,� she says, showing me the small scar an inch above and to the right of the nipple.
She cries concerning the memory. She thinks my name is Jason.
�He kept on and on, tearing into me.�
I check the church doors late in the night. Scrappy ... Baron watches from the backseat of the Jeep. Poking out the open window he pants from his Old-Yeller face, though the vet has confirmed he is only a year and a half old. He growls at a passing car.
�Half-wild,� I say lowly in the street-lit, empty parking lot. Like one of those Druid wolves at Yellowstone.
With a crack, lightning explodes near my apartment, taking out an electricity pole.
On the twenty-foot leash Drew checks his boundary points with bright eyes, happy and panting at his work. The sunset highlights brown in his yellow.
�... My father was military,� she says. �My first real relationship was military ... Soldiers are always so guarded .... You're one of those people who's too smart for your own good.�
�They're being men instead of themselves,� I offer.
She asks for another cigarette.
I pull Drew to where I�m sitting on the grass between our apartments. I swing my leg around him.
�Women do what they think guys like,� she says.
Drew arrives back again, sniffs at her feet, continues on, breathing his growls.
�That�s how it works,� she whispers. �... Why did you treat me that way last night ... � she asks. � ... Like you were reminding me that I came onto you first ...�
�... Why did you think I would sleep with you, simply because you offered it ...� I tell her.
That night I smoke and stand outside with Drew in the full moon, looking for why oral history calls it: squaring your shoulders.
Inside, flipping cards: Family on this side, Self is here, the Reader is on the other side. When I'm 3D I'm as Slight and Fleeting as flipping a white Page, Determined, Dark as Knight. Smoking cigarettes outside with Drew, tarot cards forming all around me.
Grace has been a preschool teacher for years and is now a professional tutor for the disadvantaged. Her guy is nice ... quiet.
�You just don�t like anyone who doesn�t believe like you do,� Grace says.
She leans in toward the Jeep, �He is a pretty dog,� she says.
It is always the same with us, like we somehow fall into our old dynamics when we are face to face, even though upon arriving -- I had driven up to see Ms. Marie -- I walked up to her wooden screen door and overheard Grace and her talking inside her apartment amidst the sounds of kitchen work and dishes clinking.
"He lies, Ms. Marie ..." Grace is saying. "The only reason he was ever able to pass for normal is due to our influence around him. Born a freak and now he'll die a loser."
�Sometimes it lasts in love,� Adele sings, �And sometimes it hurts instead.�
I pull on the cigarette, while turning off the bathroom fan so I can hear the laptop in the bedroom.
�From time to time,� Nancy Botwin's case worker says. �I have a client, in whom I believe I see promise. I was wrong about you. You're a lifer. You will always work a system. I don't know why. I don't know what happened to you or who made you this way, but I hope you understand some day everything you lost by living the way you do. I am very disappointed I couldn't help you.�
�Yeah � I ... � Nancy Botwin begins. �Don't need your help � or your judgment. I'm fine with what I've done and I'm not � pretending to be anyone else. I'm fine with who I am.�
... the show Weeds, by Jenji Kohan, insists.
Loose on leaf, 'watched Druid snap at the hornet who then buzzes away. The dragonfly he lets stay, hopping about on Druid�s tail, then head. He flicks his ear, panting, then quickly turns and barks at the neighbor across the street. I pull back on the leash and turn him toward me, panting again.
She waves her rolled up newspaper toward me. �That dog�s got to go,� she seems to be saying.
Inside, the knock on the door is the police. The tags on the Jeep have an unpaid point against them. I grab Druid before he can bark and put him in the bathroom. I quickly flush the week�s worth of weed and don�t answer the door, feeling too loose.
It was about the dog.
�We were � � I say, innocent.
�Yes ... � she says, slamming her glass down on the kitchen counter, spilling some over the sides. She looks up at cabinets, thinking to herself.
�I don't know if you've noticed � but I've been surrounded by trouble � not to mention you showing up.�
She does not acknowledge, she sips from her drink.
I imagine her with a cigarette, like she had just stepped out of an ad.
She turns her face to me. �While you've been out flying by the seat of your pants I've been had plans.� She inhales sharply, looks away again, tears forming in her eyes.
I wonder what it is like for a girl when guys have a dynamic with her form that has nothing to do with her and a dynamic with femininity that has little to with any certain member of the female gender. Royal proved it was possible to fall in love with a guy: a girl is not necessarily lying when she says she is in love.
I do not see myself the way she sees me, some Adonis, I see the world around me instead and keep reminding to translate her twice. Not only is she a woman but she is in a man's world and knows it. Working hard, studying deep, hoping I'd find myself a new flock of women where the chances of a good woman were higher � no such thing � she is always a needle in a haystack, our paths crossing telling the same magic told in religion, prophecy, and fable. Though her eyes are mine, nature keeps reminding she is particularly beautiful � certain edges of her limbs as she moves, dictating even my least movements � seems impossible to explain what it is like, the way she has no idea, assuming my international worldliness, stepping about my apartment, oblivious. I did not know love and sex were one and the same, nor that the nature behind my animal would agree. She is the storyteller. She finds me impressive, but she lies with me enjoying owning each detail of the wonderful story of who we are right now.
�Trust your brain,� she whispers to me later. Her smooth hair smells of ripe fruit, her throbbing skin tastes of sweet salt.
�Mine studied war,� I whisper back.
Druid dislikes indoors more and more as his confidence grows.
We have chemistry now, a give and take between us. I work and he makes trips from the back door to the front door and back to me again, smiling with his panting, nodding his thick neck and head toward the nearest door.
�No ... I took you out for a long walk,� I say to him without looking up from piano keys.
He cheerily heads to the backdoor again.
With a call, the landlord says I must get rid of the dog, Druid frightens the neighbors. At the pound he is understood to be �unadoptable,� due to the snaps of his barks.
�Tell the private shelter that he has heartworms � which is true,� says the officer at the dog pound. She is the same one who filled out my paperwork in order to claim Druid. �And tell them you can't afford it � which is true. Maybe they'll let him in.�
The owner of For the Love of Dogs, Max a quick moving, bird-like man, reacts angrily to my heartworm story, though I've told it correctly. He drops the price of his medicine from two-hundred dollars to one-hundred.
�Here you go,� he says, one hand outstetched with the packet, the other open palmed, challengingly.
�I don't have a hundred dollars,� I manage, though I'm suspicious that he can afford to give out what would otherwise be eight-hundred dollars worth of medicine.
�Then you don't deserve to own a dog.�
�At this point, the pound is going to euthanize him because of his overly-protective-behavior. I cannot afford him.�
�You are not the first person to try and drop a dog off here,� he says.
After an hour of such negotiations, Druid's surprisingly frightening bark forces the private shelter to turn us away.
Back at the pound, the twenty-one year old officer watches while I undo Drew's harness and leash, leaving him free in the dog pound cage. He pants at me smiling as I pull off the leather, tears collecting as he tries to exit with me.
�He wasn't the dog for you,� Mrs. J__ says in the evening, after I've mowed J__'s lawn. �You never know where those dogs from the pound have come from, what kind of history they have � all you know is they got some kind of crazy in them.� She pours the hot tea into the pitcher and mixes in sugar. �You should've gotten a dog from a private shelter. Them other dogs think life's a fight to be enjoyed. A proper puppy would've been able to enjoy creature comforts.�
For the third Sunday-night in a row, a silent lightning storm lingers over my apartment showing off for hours.
Throbbing, she reads my veins. �This one here, water, means strength and longevity,� she begins lowly. �This one, like a sword, means fire and implies intuitive earthly knowledge.�
Between her legs I search for an exact hue of pink. Sounds to ears as taste to lips the touch of fingertips run courses as she throbs. I teach her or she teaches me, moving her like an ocean.
With Fall coming in, Wilton College has suddenly filled with freshly-high-school-graduated Stepford wives, every blond the exact same shade of blonde. There is a specific line here where each male finds himself on one side or there other, preppy or redneck.
The grounds are surrounded by large trees. The second floors with their large windows and long hallways resemble tree houses. I pass Mrs. Theresa, who recognizes me enough for me to recognize her. I look out the stream of windows to my right as I pass by her left. Mrs. Seda smiles sweetly as I pass her stepping into her office.
She wants more and more; doesn't understand me with my history to respect.
She opens the curtain and tries to video tape me shaving in the shower.
�What � that thing water proof?� I say, lightly flinging water at her.
She laughs and backs up against the bathroom counter, her left arm outstretched, pointing her camera.
I rinse my head and face in the streams of cool water, my hands checking for missed strokes.
�What kind of trouble you in anyway ...� she asks, her eyes smiling as she nears me.
�Wait ... you got to turn it on first ...� I say, showing her the button on the razor.
She slowly runs the blade under my chin, my hand pretending to guide her right wrist.
�Baby ... every breath I took --� Her left hand's fingers trail my jawbone. �Been on the grift.�
�Yeah ... � she says softly, checking the shave with her fingertips. �What happens when God finds out you got all the way here.�
�I don't know ... � I say, moving my head as her fingers inspect the down-turned head. �I don't know how I got here, my parents were so ... and I understood sons were earned ... maybe I am my own miracle, same as everyone. I don't know --- won't --- figure --- til I'm dead.�