My school time memories are bittersweet. I am glad they’re over!
The highschool library had a series of tables we had to share. There were no cozy niches. The lights were so bright they reflected off the tables.Everything was brown or beige. The drabness of color and lack of pattern was constipating. A patterned curtain or floor rug would bring a much needed enema to the room. I started in to memorizing facts for an upcoming test.
Then Lacey sat at my table. I moved my five or six books toward. I had to take every book I had to every class. I got lost in the halls a lot. I forgot my locker combination. I had a notebook and some unlined paper and a bag on the table with my coat in it. I brought every thing to every class. Everywhere. All day.
Lacey was writing a note in what looked like fine calligraphy- except for her whimsical heart embellishments. She had braces and long frizzed hair and she knew how to talk to everyone. Her bust seemed way too large for such a small frame. If we both died and our skeletons were preserved and hung side by side in Science rooms for observation, I figured her skeleton would turn heads. Hers would be the skeleton that the Scientists preferred. The buzzer sounded when Mitch came in the room. He was fashionably almost late for class.
Mitch Waters! He didn’t have a single book. Just a lot of swagger. He looked around the library. He summed up a row of books. Then he pulled one from a shelf without looking at it. There weren’t any empty seats. Except the one at mine and Lacey’s table. (I practiced in my mind different ways to say hello to Mitch.) Hello Mitch. Hello there. Oh hi. Heeeyyy. OK that was a bad Fonzie imitation.
I’d seen those eyes of his before. They had specks. I’d studied him in the lunch room. Never had I seen such exquisitely formed lips. When they parted in an arrogant smile, I saw his shining white teeth. Ping! His chestnut brown hair feathered back at the sides but was shoulder length and hung in his face over those light eyes. I heard kids say he played guitar. I could imagine that. I imagined that a lot. He came my way, smiling because he saw Lacey. Hello. I see we have the same lunch period together; I practiced in my head. “Hey”, he said at Lacey.
“Hey”, said a distracted Lacey who was too smooth to look up from her note. She covered it with her thin hairy arm. Mitch looked at me. I melted, a frozen Dali clock, hands poised above my book, stuck in an unnatural position, hands slack and palms up.
“Move your f#@kin’ books!” he said, leaning over the table to get into my face.
“Mitch you’re so bad”, clucked Lacey who smiled and never stopped drawing her curly-cues.
“She carries the whole library wherever she goes. It’s fuckin’ retarded”, Mitch said to her.
He was smiling when he leaned over and looked into my eyes, the way I’d hoped he would. I had the chance to look into his. Gosh but they were pretty. I saw what was behind the speckles as I moved my book-stack. Behind them was ugly.
Here is a poem I wrote about what it was like to play on a tumble of boulders at the edge of the woods with my childhood home in distant view. I used to set up discarded trash and play house.
The tumble of boulders near the shaw
where He tossed them not too far
from the highway and billboard ads-
where rats ran randy
and woodchucks climbed the whispering sandbank;
I climbed too.
Queen’s treasure! Shattered glass,
scattered by Humankind: gutless TVs
and ceiling globes- I collected
shards of sparkling
brown and green;
dead wine cherished bottle fragments.
Slimsy cloths of faded use,
where I draped them
in scant trees
of withered branches-
between a rock and a hard place;
My world’s curtains.
Chipped mug with Joe’s Place logo
raised dirt-encrusted by My hand
with upturned pinky finger held so-
invisible quite real ladies gathered,
hear My rants; and sip from Their mugs
At the hollowed out TV no glass remains-
(they threw it). I rearranged
it on the sentient flat worn rock
‘If You Love It Set It Free;’
there stares the Child Me.
They bask in patchy lot beside the rocks…
My kitchen nook with makeshift broom
of string-ed hay and faux stew gathered:
chipped white wood makes ‘chicken,’ leaves are ‘salad.’
I sweep the ‘marble’ ballroom floor-
quaint snakes’ boudoir.
Sometimes today the sparsey shaw
where rabbits hid and once I saw
a black cat wrestle a snake
and win- and the sentinel boulders not forsaken
in their tumble, My Stonehenge; all
appear in My dreams where He put them-