A Portrait of Walter

Walter is married. I like that.
I also like his hair, almost entirely white, but boyish in the way it sweeps to the right and lays flat (ish) against his head. And his eyebrows, bushy almost beyond belief. Walter works. Works hard, I imagine. His blue jacket adds to the illusion of youth, but the lines of his face betray him. Asian and wise. Maybe his family descends from royalty and here he is working on this damn mountain. Looking a little tired and a little lonely, as he rides this bumpy bus home from work. Saturday afternoons should be for Walters.

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I think Christmas might always
remind me of you.
Already as I read
The Night Before Christmas to T
(it’s his favorite right now),
I think of you and your dad,
who I never got to properly meet.

Sometimes I sit dangerously,
thinking that somehow you’d see
and you’d have to say something to me
because it would bother you that much,
that you’d forget that we’re pretending
not to know each other.
I’d get under your skin again.

nearly eight years later

we started as strangers
became fast friends
and lovers faster than we should have
then somehow husband and wife
then parents
then strangers again

strangers who still slept
next to each other
who still loved
without really knowing how
and then we became
something worse

next it was lovers again
but only briefly
then strangers
then exes
then something confusing
without a name

then something like friends
but quickly back to strangers
and still co-parents
the only part
we’ve kept relatively steady
then we began to build

i’d say we’re friends now
but sometimes slightly more
with danger always lurking
because our hearts
have never forgotten
what it feels like to be lovers

*In response to Transformation.

More Fire

What would Jesus do?
I don’t ask myself often enough,
but I did today.
A young man, anxious,
just wanted to smoke a cigarette.
I told him I had no lighter.
“I don’t smoke.”
“That’s good,” he said.
He said his friend
was trying to buy one now.
His friend’s card got declined.
I let him use my phone
to check his balance – $0.

What would Jesus do?
He’d give these guys a couple bucks
to buy a lighter to smoke that cigarette.
I open my wallet
buy I hesitate.
They never asked me for a cent,
just wished me a good day
and left without anything
to spark a flame.
Unresolved.

Serendipity

I did something ridiculous today. I wrote a note to a stranger. I signed my name of course, but just my first. Chances are he and I will never cross paths again. But it was one of those moments, a moment where there were no rules and no plan, just something that resembled a cheesy movie scene (the scenes I love so much). Recalling the whole story is more than I wanna do here, so here’s the short version: I was at a coffee shop, an attractive man sat near me, after asking very politely if it was okay to do so, then once the place became less crowded, he announced that he was going to go sit on the other side of the place and thanked me for letting him sit by me, someone else took his seat later, this other guy tried to talk to me a couple times, but I just didn’t want to talk to him, he was the sort of person who talks to everyone, I’m not that sort of person. I jotted down a short note to the guy who had moved seats. I can’t recall it word for word, but it went something like “The guy who sat in your vacated seat has tried to talk to me twice. I’m not the sort of person who talks to strangers in coffee shops. But I wanted to talk to you. You seem to be magnetic to me. That’s rare. But alas, I am on my way somewhere else. But if our paths every cross again, my name is —-. Have a nice day.” As I left the coffee shop, I set it on his table near his coffee mug and said “It’s not my number, I promise.” And he said something like “Oh okay, have a nice day”. And I left, smiling as I walked to my next destination, realizing how ridiculous what I had just done really was. Sometime life requires that we be outrageous. In moments like this I realize I am so strange, but beautiful in my own way. I am the girl who once acted out a scene from the Notebook with a gorgeous young man in a city that was too big for us, in a world that would watch us fail. I am the girl who used to believe that grand gestures were the only proof that true love exists. I am the girl who learned that the grandest gesture would also be the one that would rip my heart out. I am the woman who was once that girl. I am the woman who passed a ridiculous note to a stranger in a coffee shop. I am the woman who believes our lives should be a little bit outrageous sometimes.