17 April 2011 § Leave a comment
We must have walked across downtown six or seven times before I noticed that I missed the sunset. I’d been keeping an eye on it, wanting to head back to the ocean as the sun dived between the Lake Clark mountains. The determined ice floe made its way south from the glaciers. It made a mess of the glass sea, littered it with dirt-covered golf balls and styrofoam cups and books and whatever else we leave on the living room floor when we have a bad day.
We walked in circles, and I wondered as I passed businesses I didn’t recognize how long they’d been there and if they were fronts to launder money or abducted women through the ‘system.’
I asked her to tell me a lie, because we were wading through all that honesty and I wanted to hear something that didn’t make me look the other way, or close my eyes, or toe the dirt as if I was putting out a tossed cigarette. She said she failed P.E. in 6th grade, and that her family has dinner with loan sharks.
When she spoke, she looked bewildered, as if in front of her a ghost was murdering in cold blood the two bums we passed by earlier that had offered us a shot from the bottle of Monarch they were sipping on (we’d declined, but only to be polite), and there was nothing she could do.
We’d established that guilt was useless. Not pointless, because it makes us feel as if we’re still good people, but definitely useless because no one else could see it – all they could see were the actions that caused the guilt, and negativity never solves anything.
I stepped on the cracks in the sidewalk with hopes that the earthquakes would come. Just the other night, there were quakes in Japan, Tanzania, and somewhere in South America, or so the iphone flickered to us as we talked about rolling joints and leaving a permanent mark on humanity. Maybe one would hit Alaska and Fourth Avenue would drop ten feet again, just like in the pictures in that old theater. Then I wouldn’t be so inclined to tell the truth, to say things like why I always have to have a reason why I’m doing something, especially when I know that no one’s going to ask. Just in case, I tell myself. Just in case someone like me comes along.
I mentioned that it was amazing how much a walk could teach you about yourself. Me about myself. I told a story from the third person about this time I was proud of someone else. I had no reason to remove myself, but I wanted to be detached from it, just to see how it felt. I liked it. I am not my story, and I have no need to be.
What about that time I introduced myself as Trader? I could have been anyone. But I was me, just with a different name. And the power it gave me back then!