At this point and time I feel like me…Mark…on a typical Wednesday after work. The font would be an outline of letters, with the intention of filling in the blanks with whatever color or colors fill the moment. Dark chocolate fills me as the flavor of the moment. Its mystery and its richness fills my soul and calms my emotions, leaving me languid. The aroma swirls up my nostrils with comfort of strong black coffee, not your regular blend, but the pack you keep in the back of the freezer for special occasions.
Yet, within that mystery and richness, the darkness prevails. The impending doom of so many ends approaches, as if a diabolical cabaret singer sits in Goth poses, plays the piano with lumbered key strokes, and sings about the loss of her lover, long dead for 200 years, hoping to return in a vampire state. The finality remains while the hope of ever after lingers like a batik print on the wall.
There probably will be another sun rising in the east, and it will cross the sky and eventually nest in the west, but not before creating a bed of purples, reds and golds…just as the day before, and before that. With its return will be the new inspiration brought to me by a muse who refuses to show themselves until the moment arrives. Until then, pondering what the inspiration will be and the muse who brings it is pointless. It shows up when you are taking a shower, filing a ream of papers into folders, or talking to friend about their dinner plans at the Chinese take out.
At this point and time, hope conjoured images of bigger dreams fulfilled. A lover’s arms that surround me, shoulders to lean on, eyes that twinkle with lashes that flutter, all surrounded by reasons without words and language without voice. Instead, it presents itself in others. The third person always sees what the first person never comes out to say directly. The gaze from one to another. The hug from behind the curtain. The soft kisses that love lips from the intended. And I hold the gaze, but not for too long so imposition is never revealed.
For now, I’ll be happy with the temporary feeling of being needed by others. You know, that feeling of being there when others need you but not returning it back. Like throwing the ball to your dog with the hope he/she will run after it, pick it up and return it…only to find he/she sits there, looking at the ball, then looking at you with that, “Really, you expect me to chase after that?” look on their face. The time will come when there will be a dog to actually chase, pick up, and return the ball back. Until then, I’ll stand by and put on a happy face or two…for the young couple who find love untainted…for the friends who find happiness in their current situation…for the friends who find the world a little difficult to bear…I’ll stand by with my happy face or two and wonder what colors will fill the blanks between the lines.
That is what Mark feels like right now…
(This was an exercise from the LGBT Narratives group on the forementioned date. The prompt I chose was how does my name feel. I added the idea of points and time as a reference. I was trying to describe a dark mood I was having that day...)
Saturday, January 7, 2012
I wish I was 7 years old again.
But only at Christmas time.
Because believing in Santa Claus still was real.
Mom and Dad would load up the Jeep with all the presents, and the cookies. There was never a shortage of both growing up. Mom used to make the cookies while my sister and I were in school. We developed a bad cookie dough snitching habit. My sister still loves raw chocolate chip cookie dough, while I love old-fashioned soft sugar cookie dough. Grandma Frances would be sitting in between us, so we kids wouldn’t fight. Mom and Dad always took forever getting ready…
Eventually, we all buckled up and headed to my uncle’s house in Rockford. 45 minutes seemed to take forever getting down there. But when we got there, it took the same amount of time to unload the Jeep.
All the presents would go to the living room, where my uncle’s tree stood. It was 8 feet tall, artificial white with over 200 blue lights and an equal number of bird ornaments on the branches. The room was always dimly lit, so the tree would glow.
My aunt’s Italian and Polish heritage has the custom of the seven fishes on Christmas Eve. At seven, it was a strange custom, since we only had fried fish at Tibbie’s restaurant, so all the different fishes and preparations were not what we were used to. But at seven, is when we had scalloped clams for the first time. They were served on clam shells with seafood forks, lemon wedges and hot sauce. I wanted a second clam, but they were the first course…
After dinner and desert, when the cookies are left out well after the coffee pot is empty, we’d all migrate back to the living room. My sister, my cousins and I would stake out our places. Garth, my younger cousin, handed out the presents. My place was by the carpeted stairs, where my cousins and I use to race each other by sliding down them…not to mention get yelled at.
That Christmas, after all the presents were opened, we heard a knock on the window. It was Santa! My cousin Garth bolted from the living room to his bed. My sister bolted to the kitchen and I bolted upstairs until Santa left. My other cousin had no idea what happened…she was in the bathroom the whole time.
We did make it home, albeit around 11:30p. Our presents from Santa were waiting for us. All were merry and bright…
My grandma Frances died over 20 years ago. I still miss her sitting on the red velvet chair in the living room with her lap afghan around her legs. My uncle died 6 years ago September, of a sudden heart attack. Christmas hasn’t been the same without them. My aunt continues the Christmas Eve traditions, but she didn’t have my uncle’s entertaining flair. The Christmas tree still stands, but it’s not as majestic as it once was. All the cousins aren’t as close as we once were, now that we’ve all gone our separate ways and they all have spouses and kids of their own, while I’m the family eccentric because I’m without both. I figured out who Santa was when the note was left with my presents the next Christmas. It was the same type used on my Mom’s typewriter. She was bummed to realize I figured it out, but she saved money buying extra presents.
As for me, I’m secretly hoping I never get to the point where I’m given the infamous soap-on-a-rope gift sets for all sorts of god awful cheap men’s cologne. I’d rather smell Tim McGraw than smell like his cologne. I’ve watched my nephews and niece, then my cousin’s kids all carry on the same excitement we cousins had when we were their age. The gifts become less materialistic and more carrying on the traditions and dreams of wonder and excitement. But every once in a while…
This year for Christmas, could I relive what being 7 years old was like all over again? Could I be with my grandma and my uncle one more time? Could I look forward to your visit on Christmas Eve with the hopes of getting presents from you for being good…or at least trying hard to be good? If I can’t actually relive it, could you make incredibly real when I imagine it?
I’ve been very good this year. I haven’t touched a cigarette in 15 years. Thanks to citalopram, I don’t drink. And I hardly drop the F-bomb anymore.
Thanks, and Merry Christmas!