one version of the story

by sophie

there was a time in my life when every piece of paper close to the mirror had a kiss mark on it, each kiss a different color. it was the first year where i felt like an adult, though i’d been one for awhile. i was imagining that someone in the apartment complex next door was playing the harpsichord, though i knew it was some other instrument, and decided not to know. you know when you decide that something just didn’t happen? liz asks, and then someone asks you about it, and you lie, but it’s not really a lie, you know? because you already decided it was something that didn’t happen. and of course, i knew. i know, i said. you know that’s not something normal people do, decide that something simply didn’t happen? and we laughed like kid twins laugh except with a tinge of desperation in it, a tinge of acceptance, a tinge of we’ve-seen-worse-it’s-been-worse. i think it rots in you, i said, the thing you’ve decided hasn’t happened. i’m not sure we can protect one another by lying, by omission, by melting two women into one.  i’m not sure transparency is the best option. deciding to live with a secret, who wants it. in my family tree there are dead children i keep learning about every few years. perhaps there are even more i don’t know about. someone tells her boyfriend she’s dying, and he has to live with that, and a few years later when she admits it’s a lie, he has to live with that too. nothing surprises me anymore; i walk around seeing everything, and astonished. los angeles astonishes me, the rattle and gutter and song. there was a time in my life when someone sent me flowers for the first time. and soon thereafter, there was a time in my life, i was sent flowers for the second time, the same man, the same flowers. the note in the first bouquet said love love love and the second spoke of time, just the present, only now.  little green heads timed to bloom in a few days. that’s how the company sent them, unopened flowers, so that what you got was not an armful of color but a sense that in the morning, what you had would be changed, would keep changing. the last bouquet lasted six weeks, or at least it was six weeks until the very last flower died. there was a time in my life i kept a box next to my bed and every morning before i put my feet on the ground, wrote a little note to the universe and put it in the box. it was a box covered in pink paper, and couldn’t be opened unless i ruined it. every morning, the note said the same thing, and everyday, it worked, putting that note it the box– i felt a little better. in the apartment complex next door, a kid and a lady were singing a song together in another language, or maybe not. in any case, it was something i didn’t understand. something sweet, probably about birds, a simple refrain. when i don’t understand something, i assume it is about birds.

here is a part of a poem, i won’t say who it’s by, so maybe you can just take it and hold it as something the universe gave to you today: There is a part / of this poem where you must / say it with me, so / be ready, together we will make / it truthful, as there is gracefulness / even in the motioning of those / leafless trees, even in // such motion as descent. 

there was a time in my life i was learning how to let go of things, and how to keep moving at the same time. there were so many women in my life, and i didn’t know how they all got there, and seemed to love me. my room was full of stones and perfumes and thin bracelets. the photograph of a house in a field. the poem in a frame with a hill and a fishbone. so it goes.

 

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