Saturday, July 23, 2016

Flowers Beneath Your Touch

When it takes years to understand the significance of what it means when you find pure pleasure in gently running your fingers against soft, wet, beautiful flowers after a rain, when you've had "too much to drink"...knowing the petals of those flowers bring you nearly as much joy on a hot and dry day as they do in that moment following a downpour.
And he doesn't drink much anymore, but he says when he did he ran his fingers over the rough terrain of unyielding stone walls, waking up the next day, his fingernails ragged. No flowers there.
Though you know what waking up with bloodied ragged fingers feels's evident that he has never seen the same flowers that blush beneath your fingers in those beautiful moments, that are  just as beautiful on hot dry days. Beautiful beneath your touch.
There grows a vast empty terrain between those kinds of worlds.

The end.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Snapshot of an Average Life

So we're driving down the back road, and about 20 miles from home we see a car alongside the road, facing the other direction, an old classic, a tan Mercury Comet with collectors plates, hood up, an old man sort of ambling around it.

As we pass he sort of waves his hand, low, near his hip. It was difficult to tell if he was waving us off or not.  We drove on, glancing in the review mirror as he got into the front seat of his car...

It's hot out. 80°F. The hottest part of the day.

It wasn't long before we started to slow down...

"You know, he's pretty old. He probably doesn't have a cell phone."

"It's really hot out. He could be out here a long time if we don't turn back."

"It's dangerous to offer roadside assistance when you're all by yourself."

"He's, like, really old. No way is he a threat."

"We don't need more bad karma."

"This is going to be annoying."

"Let's just keep going."

We turn the car around and go back to help.
He was immediately thankful we stopped, as he walked towards us, rambling about his car, and whatever it was that had caused it to come to rest on the gravel and tall grass of shoulder of the road.

Sure enough, no phone, he doesn't even have his son's number, he thinks our cell phone is a phonebook...all things we discovered as it became clear this man had no concept of personal space as we stood wedged between the car door, the opening, and him...inches from us, creeping closer and closer as he tries to see the screen of the cellphone we're holding, his every pore exuding the smell of aging flesh, dirty pennies, and empty Rolaid bottles.
Just like grandpa used to smell. The pervy one who used to pat us on the bottom well into our late teens and early adulthood, skirting the lines of appropriate familial affection.

We stood there for what felt like forever, sun beating down, the smell of him assaulting our nasal passages, while we tried to use Google to find his son's phone number, an impossible task - because No, cellphones are not phonebooks - and search the number of the gas station in the small nearly town (more of a cluster of houses than anything), the name of which has changed hands in his lifetime, probably before the Internet was even a thing. Just standing there at the shoulder of the road while he spit out names of people he figured we should know and be able to contact. Because in his time everybody knew everybody and guess that means so should we, even though we've only lived in the area a few years.

Finally we asked him where he lives, to discover it's barely two miles. We offer him a ride home - he doesn't have AAA, and the area tow truck driver was not available - and at this point we can't just leave him there, he's easily in his late 80s, and we needed him to get out of our personal space.

We got him in the car and drove off to his house. When we got there he offered us a few dollars, which we obviously declined, and told us how lucky it was that he broke down where he did, and I passed when I did, because he could have been out there until dark for all he knew.

He made it home safe, and our karma remains stable.

But now all we can smell in the car, on our clothes, lingering on our skin, inside our nose, is dirty pennies and Rolaids married to the smell of slow fleshy decay.

There is no moral to this story, no real point.
It's just a brief snapshot, a retelling of an average mundane day in our life.
And a good opportunity to write a little, and put something to "paper" again.

Although, for anyone with an aging parent or grandparent who missed the window of keeping up with the rapid evolution of {communication} technology - you know the ones, they're still carrying a checkbook - make sure they are carrying important phone numbers with them at all times (like in their checkbooks).
Their memories may be poor, and it may be very frightening for them to fully depend on a stranger who stops for other strangers on the side of old county highways...even if it is a fairly attractive young lady who looks harmless enough...