Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Walking the grassy plank

The day begins. Candles are lighted and incense is burning. The temperature outside has not changed in well over two months. A hundred and this or a hundred and that degree Fahrenheit. Hot, hot heat. Baked people on a cracker piece of the earth. Cars, broken down, litter the highways and the access roads that run aside them.

I need to venture out and check on my mailbox. The mailbox is not in any danger, it’s just that I have not checked for letters or bills in a couple of days. Warmer than warm days.

The mailbox is approximately 220 steps from my front door. An apartment complex. The mailboxes are right near what used to be a small, kidney shaped swimming pool. Management had the pool filled in a few years ago due to stray children sneaking across the fence in the late night hours for a joy dip. Fear of lawsuits filled the pool with dirt. The grass on the dirt is a bit overgrown and greenish-brown due to the extreme heat. A grassy and flat memory of the pool is all that exists there now, except of course for the mailboxes and a couple of tiles embedded in the concrete that mutely announce the depth at which one is entering the extinct pool.

This apartment complex has been described to me by a friend as bearing, from a distance, the appearance of large sugar cubes. I took a long walk one night down by the train tracks and looked up from the valley where I stood and decided that my friend was right. The apartments do sort of look like sugar cubes.

They are all only one story tall and are white. Sweetly hidden on a hill. Hidden, yet in plain sight.

No one ever notices this place, unless of course you live here or are paying a visit to somebody who does.

I walk out my door and head past three rows of sugar cube-looking dwellings. The laundry room is being loaded up with new washers and dryers. The appliances are white and resemble what could be taken for offspring of the cubic apartments. I look forward to my next load of laundry and am at the same time happy that I did some of it yesterday as a sendoff to the old machines. Not on purpose, it just happened to turn out that way.

Sunglasses. I grab my keys and head toward the mailboxes. They do not resemble sugar cubes at all. They look more like flat, silver and gray shingles on a post. Anyone who has ever used these things will know what I am talking about.

One, two, three rows of apartments float past me on my way out. 176 steps I count when I happen upon the greenish-brown kidney that used to be the swimming pool.

Oh that that were to be a pool again. Just a few minutes of cool wetness. Perhaps the ground remembers. The…..the sprouting and at the same time dying blades of grassy foliage surely bears some recollection of what once was.

What the hell? I sit down and take my shoes off. Okay, I know I have not described my shoes, so just use your imagination. Other than the shoes I am in a white, or what was once pure white but now sort of grayish T-shirt. The shirt is not tucked in and resides just above a pair of worn jeans.

Shoes and socks are now a thing of the temporary past.

I step into the kidney and imagine the little white cells of reflections that usually go along with the surface of a pool. A primal drum beat gently stirs about in my head. By gentle. I mean slightly quiet.

The memory of the pool embraces my feet. Still, even my imagination cannot turn the thermostat down. Tepid at best.

The memory of the pool is carries the feel of bath water. Stand here long enough and my toes are bound to wrinkle. Wrinkly feet. I am sure there are worse fates to encounter in this world, but why complicate matters.

I wipe my furrowed brow and step back onto the concrete which displays a temper of not even being close to tepid, but rather a mood of scorching hot.

Socks first of course. Slip the shoes on and tie the laces. Time to wander back to my air conditioned apartment.

I pad slowly past the three rows of sugar cube dwellings. If I am not mistaken, I left the radio on. Maybe some cheerful tune will greet me upon my return. Hope so.

I open he door and let the cool air guzzle me in, oddly with the same sensation of comfort a thick blanket might offer on a cold, wintry night. Wishful thinking. Still, the air feels good in here and I smile at the absence of the unfortunately omnipresent sun. Nothing against the sun whatsoever, but Jesus! I pray for the next rain, be it gentle or torrential. Anything for a relief . As for now, the air conditioner is a friendly machine.

I plop myself upon the carpet and untie my shoes. Slowly. One at a time. The socks come off next and I wiggle my newly cooled off and liberated toes. I smile. Life can be a grand experience if one just allows it to be so.

Shit! I forgot to get the mail!


Saturday, August 13, 2011


I ran into my ex-wife the other day outside a store. We stared at each other a moment almost as if we were sizing each other up. She struck me as a little nervous.



“How ya been?”

“Good. You?”

“It’s so hot this summer.”

“Yeah, It’s hot.”

“Really hot.”

“Looks like no relief in sight. It’s hot.”

“Well, see ya.”


It has been something like a year since the divorce. First time we had spoken with one another in quite some time.

I still ponder with amazement, slight though it may be, at how stilted the conversation was.

We are two people that spent practically every waking, or sleeping moment with one another for over 12 years. We shared bodily fluids. We shared childhood memories. We created our own memories. We traveled across the U.S. together as well as most of Mexico. Hell, we lived together in Mexico for several years. Bullfights, cooking, driving, talking and laughing.

The other day it was though we were separated by a locked screen door. We could see each other and hear each other, but could not touch. Could not feel.

I am reminded of one of my favorite movie lines of all time. It comes from Blade Runner just as Rutger Hauer’s character is about to pass away:

“All these moments will be lost in time … like tears…in rain. Time to die.”

I ran into my ex-wife the other day. We talked about the weather.