A plain day, in-between things, no events to mark it, nothing assigned to it. When you walk outside and cannot tell if it is hot or cold or if you should leave town or stay. I sat for a while, like sitting in a void or one of those sensory chambers the dopers used to go into during the sixties.
“There’s only one way out,” he waited for a reply, hoping he was wrong. No one replied.
“On three?” still thinking an alternative might present itself before the deadline.
“On three or where four should be?” at last a friend who understood the need for procrastination.
“On three, right as we say three. He had thought that would be easy enough to understand,” he sounded impatient but he was anything but.
“Don’t get in a huff,” added the procrastinating friend. “Just didn’t want to be standing here all alone waiting for where four should be and everyone left on three, that’s all.”
‘“There, you just said it, “on three,”’ this guy was really starting to bug. “How hard could it be?”
“Just making sure, don’t get dandruff all over your shirt.”
“Just an expression.”
‘“No it’s not, you just made it up and it doesn’t make a lick of sense,” he was thinking, “this guy needs to shut up and soon.”’
“Hey, look over there!”
“Another way!” all the tension just drained away. “Okay guys, follow me.”
“It seems like we’ve been here a long time.”
“How long you think?”
“Maybe more. What time is it?”
“Twelve thirty-five, twelve thirty-six now.”
“I’m sure we sat down before noon.”
“Well, it is their lunch rush. Here he comes! No, he’s just taking them their bread.”
“They came in before us!”
“That was those people over there, they just look the same. See she has that weird purple bag you liked so much.”
“Well it’s been at least thirty minutes, we should go.”
“What do we have at home?”
“Left over pizza.”
I love left over pizza, warm it up until it’s like a cracker and the cheese is all toasted. Is there enough for both of us?”
“Almost half a pizza I think but there’s some potato salad that’s starting to sound good. Let’s go.”
“Sorry that took so long. How can I get you people started?”
“How’s the fish?”
Orange, yellow, and red swirls wagged their tails a thousand miles into space before they were sucked back into the ball of fire. The ball of fire, so out of place in the vast emptiness. He stared. Darkness closed in from all sides until the sun was just a pinpoint of light and then there was nothing, no light, no dark, no thought.
It had been different. He knew what had happened but at the time all he sensed was change. All he had know was one temperature, one color, no smells, just being held secure and then there was change. Air, never before tasted in lungs never before filled. Air next to skin, skin always moist now started to dry. New feelings, feelings never looked for but exciting and needing exploration. He felt another’s skin and pushed his face into it seeking something until he knew, “this is it” and his mouth sucked and he tasted, for the first time. Different, new, explore, test, remember – a thought: “she loves me.” Discomfort, hunger until she comes and replaces them with softness, dryness, flavors and the beating of her heart.
Gray sky from top to bottom, people from the outside call it fog some call it smog, but it’s just a gray sky. Later in the day a spot of yellow may or may not appear suggesting something exists outside this dome of gray mist. There are days when the grey comes in close, where the universe is reduced to a bubble of visibility fifteen feet in all directions. It’s nice to be alone. But today the cars pass at full speed on the elevated freeway to the south. People in a hurry to be west of here, another group of people in just as big a hurry to be east, and I sit, without effort, at the spot they all pushed hard to reach. Confidence in the continued spin of the Earth, our track around the sun, and our hurtle from the center of the universe keeps me from being a vagrant.
She sits at the edge of the water, her pant legs pushed up to her knees so she can dangle her white legs in the pool. Just a bit of orange/red hair curls out from under the brim of a white, straw hat that shades her face in a futile effort to keep the freckle count down. Hidden behind oversized, rose shaded, white-rimmed glasses her green eyes stare, without seeing, at the reflections of light on the still, blue water. A sloppy gray sweatshirt covers her from neck to bottom. Long white fingers with pink nails reach past the sweatshirt cuffs and grip the curved edge of the concrete; the index finger on the right hand taps a beat and then taps to words that match the song that plays in her head. A lone tear escapes from behind the oversized glasses and leaves a wet line down her cheek. The index finger stops it’s tapping and with her right hand she wipes the tear away and rubs her bump of a nose. Pulling her feet from the water she stands five-foot three inches tall, the baggy legs of her jeans fall back into position and cover all but toes with pink toenails. The music inside her head still plays as she walks away from the pool.
I did some water skiing once. Got up on two skis jumped around a little, went from side to side and made rooster tails, it was fun for a while – then it got boring. I never did fall down. I think if you fall down and break something it makes it more interesting but I wouldn’t suggest it might make it more fun. I like stories about hardship, the time after the great war, hiding from the space aliens, that sort of thing, but it really bugs me if the neighbors make noise while I’m sitting in the backyard trying to read. I like to drive on the freeway on holidays. That’s about as life and death as a thing can get. It keeps my interest. It may be the most focused I ever get. Watching cars ten cars ahead. Feeling the mood of the pack I’m in. Concerning packs; people do seem to drive in packs and in the pack they are always passing and changing lanes – how is that even possible? On a five hundred mile trip we get passed by at least eight groups of cars and pass maybe two. I try to travel at no more than six to eight miles an hour above the speed limit. How fast does a car need to go to pass a car doing seventy-eight miles as hour and make that car look like it is standing still? They don’t explain everything in math class!