A minute, a fat hot day holding its breath for a handful of minutes, I'm inside, alone in the car. Driving with Springsteen in my heart, a wild free American thing with freckled on my snub nose, blue eyes, the wide angular face of a Southern girl. A face I used to think was so boring, so cardboard, so corn fields and familiar. Now there are times when I see my face and stare, not recognizing. An adult heaviness from a life of hard work. Not hard living like my old stoned friends, most of them obese, heavy drinkers, with the sadness of motels and emptied swimming pools, ashtrays and last Friday night in their swollen eyes. When I embrace them I feel the terrible desperation of their heartbeat. They look at me like wild caught creatures, raccoons inside cages in suburban garages. I know that if I could throw dust into the air, it would catch the nothingness gleaming from those grim mouths, flying hands, bodies stuffed to burst, and hang there, a skim. I can feel the heat of their livers, gallbladders, pancreas, bulging with unabsorbed fat and darkening with toxin. No one loves your pancreas, I think sadly.
I love every cell in your body, I tell Lola. I love the web of skin between your toes. I love your snot, earwax, I think your poop has glitter parties in the toilet.
She laughs and pushes my collarbone. Mooom.
I love you for existing, I tell her. You don't ever have to do anything. You don't have to be right, or wrong, or good or bad for me to love you. I might not like you. But I will always love you, no matter what.
As a child I tried to make what I could get. I made cards covered in hearts, in spangled star covered hearts, floating all around stick figurines. I made stories about animal families that lived to protect each other. I made secret hideaways in all my territories: living room, canyon, hillside, garage, bedroom. I filled them with leaves, sticks, stones, stuffed animals, secret messages, hearts drawn in dirt.
Our car is dirty. I make a right turn and see a middle age goateed man with a bandanna on his head staring at me. He juts his chin upward and smiles at me. I don't smile. I am thinking about how strong the possibility is that he has been so, so hurt in life. I can see this in the angle of his arm like a broken tree branch hanging on the faded blue of his truck. I can see this in his smile. Afterward my eyes fill with tears because I did not smile at him.
I am in the den of this dust covered car, stains on the fabric, sticky banana on the centerpiece. The sound of a helicopter shudders over the radio. I think of all the animals I know, shuffling in and out of their dens, hoarding their television programs and cans of beer and porn magazines and hating themselves in a long line of human beings who have not been loved and hate themselves, who never understand how to love a human being, who fuck and drink and laugh and belch and sleep and have all their opinions formed by the time they are twenty and who come out of their den to tremble fearfully under the wind and sound of helicopters in the sky.
4 hours ago