The woman lay in my arms, crying softly, wiping the tears with the sheet of her bed, and I knew better than to speak. Her son was ten and had boarded a bus for summer camp earlier in the day and his mother was inconsolable. She got up, walked to the window, her body framed by moonlight and darkness, and I remember vividly her silhouette. 

“This is the first time in his life I have no idea where he is. I don’t know the town he’s in, I have no idea if he’s hungry or cold or sleeping, or if he’s snuck out of the cabin with some kid he just met and walking around in the woods. I have no idea where he is,” she said in a whisper. 

I got up and put my arms around her and said nothing. 

“It’s started like this, you know, one day I let some guy I met be intimate with me, we fell in love, and I got pregnant. I had a son, and now, ten years later, that kid is out there, somewhere, maybe not even missing me, and it’s like the first kiss, it’s going to lead to other things. In five years he’ll be driving, in eight he’ll go off to college or join the military, but right now, at this very moment, it’s beginning. It’s ending for me, to have him around,” the sound was nearly inaudible. 

“I so needed some time, to feel loved, to be loved beyond my function was a mom, I so wanted to experience life without a kid around, you know, for a few days, but one day it’s going to be like this for months at a time, maybe even years, and right now I can feel the distance, I can taste it  my mouth, I can smell it,” her voice was low but emphatic. 

“If you got me pregnant tonight I would be happy, I would rejoice that I could stay in motherhood longer, but eventually, it has to end, I have to define myself in other ways, just like my son is doing right now. He’s left the orbit, he’s out there doing kid things with kids, and right now he’s tasting what it’s like to be away from home. He’s going to want more. He’s going to crave adventure, and I know, don’t fucking say it, I know I have to allow it, but it’s been such a short ten years, so little time, just a blink of an eye, and now I can see that in another ten I might be a grandmother, and he’ll be a father maybe, but there’s nothing that seems longer than having kids until you wake up one day and realize they’re going to leave,” she turned and grabbed me, hugging me tighter than I could stand almost. 

/

The dream last night was me in an open office, with many work stations, and the mood in the office was one of scandal. Someone had sworn they were not somewhere, and there was a video of this person there, and we were all watching the video in a widescreen in the office. 

There were fragments in the dream, of the aircraft carrier “Lexington” being launched into space. 

Another fragment someone was talking about “Sheriff Tate”. 

Yet another involved me turning down someone’s music from my work station, using a mouse. 

I woke feeling displaced, a little lost, as if I was somewhere I had never been before, and gone were the people I worked with. 

I want to travel to some place on earth without light. At four this morning, I went out with the dogs, and the Live Oaks, ancient a mighty held a host of stars in their branches. The sky was clear, yet there is so much light from humans, it cannot truly be who it is. 

We need darkness. The stars need darkness. 

Drinking with a friend of mine who was the first lesbian who was the first openly gay friend of mine was a different experience. We both liked a lot of the same things in the same women. Sexually speaking, we were very much alike, as two people who shared an interest in women would be, but one thing that caught both our interest was the discussion of the scent of women, and how that smell has a profound effect on a lover’s ability to function normally the next day. It’s an immersion experience, a sense of being with the person still, wearing something very personal, intimate, unique and primal, that zings through the senses like a rare form of electricity, like sexual lightning. 

I find the feeling I get from finishing a book gives me that same sense of wearing that book within me, and remembering parts of it during a day has the same sort of lightning. 

“Blood Meridian (or the Evening Redness in the West) by Cormac McCarthy, now goes into the list of novels I have read. Uniquely and somewhat beautifully written, oddly and somewhat clunkily punctuated, the book cannot be said to be good, or not good, for it’s not a tome of which opinion should be formed. I strongly doubt it was written for readers, for it is somewhat difficult on the mind as far as reading goes, but rather, I suspect it was written for writers, in a way of warning, for this is madness, and likely transmissible, or perhaps, it was written in the way a man would make some figurine out of glass, fragile, and beautiful, yet thoroughly deformed and devoid of any translation from the intellect, an abstract whose meaning is not seen or felt or defined by anything but the work itself. 

Second Hand Stories

While trying to change perhaps the last incandescent bulb out of a lamp, I put my thumb through the lampshade. I bought this lamp back in 1996, when I bought my first house. New furniture, that was a must, people told me, and admittedly, the new furniture looked nice back then, and it has aged well, but now it’s all old and stained, and fragile. I didn’t foresee ever needing a lampshade, but the lamp itself is still good. 

The thrift is run by a religious cult. They get people to donate stuff, sell it, and claim to save souls, and some of the people who work there seem programed. But it’s early in the morning and as far as I can tell, I’m alone in the giant warehouse. It is huge, and relatively sorted. The lamps are right there in front, a suitable replacement is found easily, and my journey ought to continue. I have shit to do. Odd phrase that, actually, but really. Instead, I wander. 

An Italian looking cast iron statue draws my attention. It’s a woman wearing a low cut dress and she’s holding what appears to be grapes in either hand. Where did this come from and who made it? I shall not engage these people in conversation, no. A piano with a sign that reads, “Sold only to a Christian home” and I knew a man named Chester Christian years ago, and I wonder if he needs a piano.

Dozens of headboards, footboards, bedside tables, but no used mattresses, thankfully, that would be a little weird. There’s cheap new ones, still wrapped in plastic, “guaranteed new.”  I wonder how they cover that warranty? If someone gets bedbugs do they give them their money back? 

I wonder how many of these beds were points of conception for someone. Years ago I bought an old mattress to keep on the back porch for the dogs when I was at work, and when I told the woman at the yard sale what I was going to do with it, she balked. She had conceived her children on that mattress, and her husband had to talk her into selling it. The dogs destroyed it in a day or two. 

Racks and racks of clothes, like snake skins shed on hangers, the clothes of mothers, fathers, grandparents, taken out to the retirement home for old clothing, left to go to bed with the dishes and spoons, the cups and glasses. 

Can you imagine what it must be like, late at night, when the beds, and clothes, and the silverware start to talk? The beds have the sex stories, the flatware are the foodies, but I think the knickknacks, the dust collectors, and those items that were whimsical are those with the best tales to tell. Oh, and how sad now, for some mantlepiece vase, passed down by five generations, finds herself rubbing elbows with a plastic plant from Wal-Mart, cast aside for free. 

The ceiling fan, installed in the bedroom knew about the affair, knew the marriage was doomed, but never knew the wife would get rid of everything, even the fan, to start over again. There’s the rug who was bought rolled up, never used, and is still brand new, but so ugly no one wants it, and there’s the mismatched glasses, who have been together since the 1940’s who know that one day they will part forever. An animated movie about the items in a second hand store who share their stories, and at the end, a fire breaks out and burns the place to the ground, with only the iron statue remaining. The sole survivor now holds all the stories within her. 

“How much for the lamp shade,” I ask.

“How much will you give me for it?” The man asks.

“Three cents,” I reply.

“Really?”

“I’m hoping you’ll name a reasonable price and we’ll meet in the middle,” I tell him. 

“Three hundred dollars.”

“I have four bucks in my pocket.” 

“Okay, four bucks it is then,” the man smiles. 

“Got change for a ten?” I say and he stops smiling. We agree on five bucks for the lamp shade. 

Take Care,

Mike