Sunday, November 28, 2004

one minute and then the next

how is it that you can feel ok one minute and then
the next time you check, you are nowhere to be found. then slowly, like a camera lens coming into focus,
there you are. not all together whole, not until you blink a few times. my eyes play tricks on me and my brain is so willing to go along that i don’t even question the rightness of it. feelings i have are buried under so many layers of denial that convincing myself i don’t feel something is an action that i have elevated to an art form. everything is obscured until it is the color of mud and just as thick.
the rain is falling now and the wind is sending it crashing into the glass of my bedroom window. the sound is not unlike small stones being tossed onto the hood of a car from a speeding truck. once, in kentucky it was raining so hard that the truck driver i had hitched a ride with had to pull over because he couldn’t see a thing. it was a very peaceful hour, just the two of us breathing, listening to the rain. i didn’t want it to be over. he wasn’t very handsome but he sure could sing. he loved gospel more than elvis and sang amazing grace better than anyone. we talked mostly about music and broken hearts. i didn’t know much about anything back then so whatever i did say must have sounded very naive and idealistic to him, but he just nodded in agreement and sang some more. he dropped me off the next day when the sun was shining as bright as the smile he gave me when he said good-bye and good luck. i wandered around awhile not willing to break the spell from the night before. i finally went into a truck stop for breakfast. the waitress, i remember, her name was ruthie, smelled like fried everything and old stockings. she was tired and kind but when she looked in my face, her eyes told me i’d be safe there. i ordered bacon and eggs over easy and waited. i knew she would talk to me.
we recognized in one another a sameness of spirit.
it was not something i could have articulated,
just knew instinctively. she asked me how old i was
and when i said 15, she didn’t even raise an eyebrow or say anything in a scolding voice. after i told her how far i’d come she asked how far i planned to go. since i didn’t even know myself, i just shrugged and waved my arm like it hadn’t occurred to me to think that far in advance. she nodded knowingly and let the matter drop. i could only guess what her story was, but i identified with the brown sadness in her eyes. i left a big tip and slipped out of the place, already thinking of the next place, the next encounter. i walked several miles happy in my own company. i liked people a lot more back then and was interested in hearing their stories. i would talk to just about anyone. i had my money rolled tightly inside my camera case; it was too uncomfortable in my front pocket. those were different times then too, i wasn’t very worried about being ripped off. i met so many different people on that journey. i remember many of them well. the homeless woman who taught me how to keep money in my bra (even if i had no discernable chest then) and keep it from falling to the floor. the mexican boy who told me that i was the devil traveling from place to place buying up good people's souls with my camera. the IBM looking man who offered me 50 dollars to go down on him in the exxon station
and when i said no, slapped me hard across the face.
the marine who let me take his picture while he was on the phone with his mother, crying, because he missed her. the old, proud, bent woman who let me help her get a coke out of a machine that did not like her dollar. a homeless man who did a soft shoe dance in the sand in a hooters parking lot in nashville.
at a high school somewhere in kansas, i watched a team of athletes play wheelchair basketball better than a lot of people with the use of their legs. it almost made me cry but i didn’t. i cheered for the winning side instead. i felt such admiration for them. i hadn’t felt that way much before and not many times since.
late at night with the rain falling and the memories flooding, i am almost back there.
and for a while it is peaceful


Q.Rock639 said...

hello ms. v.

since you don't have much info on your profile (like me) I had to play sherlock holmes. heres what (I think)I know.
you are of russian descent, live in NY but have been around the world, and at one point traveled throught my homestate of TN.(gotta love nashville)
my question is this, do you still have the picture of the GI who was crying on the phone?

Glad you liked the EPMD bit. I am thinking of switching genres for a little while..any suggestions?

sonja said...

hmm, suggestions for another genre
that i'll have to think on
since all the music that blares
out of the radio these days
kind of makes me ill...
will get back to you on that, Q