Walking and Talking Near the Hot House
It has been almost a year since I last spoke to the lanky girl with the sunflowers. She spoke to me recently, but I was sad to learn that her words, her voice, her image... all came to me in a dream one night, while I slumbered in a place I was not familiar with, falling asleep just minutes before I was scheduled to arise to catch a long flight home. I thought the girl with the sunflowers was standing there in front of me and speaking my name. She wanted to tell me a story about one of her cats. Alas, when I awoke, it was someone else standing there, calling my name, attempting to wake me up because I was late for the airport. And my face grimaced with the first thought of that particular day, a harsh reminder that she was absent from my life, and the only chance meeting we'd have would be a lingering thought or a passing memory.
I often would get rushed by an unwarranted flashback of her bittersweet smile, or her silky hands, or the way she elegantly sipped very expensive wine in dark restaurants that I could never afford to eat in, let alone, walk in front of without shouting cruel obscenities to the lazy hipsters that lined the street side cafe-style seats and chatted mindlessly on their new cellphones to other poseurs in the same situation across town.
There were times when after long nights of writing my fingers to the bone or numbing the demons that angered my insides, I willingly passed out on the crowded early morning subways, and visions of her sunshine blond hair danced with me while I sat in a medium-sized state of awareness... not fully awake, but not full asleep ... the middle ground, where dreams are on the horizon, and faded memories become clear to the touch and sweet to the smell.
I wandered down semi-crowded Sunday afternoon streets in Midtown, past the tourists and the pious church goers, past the Yuppie couples that held each other's hands and bags of gourmet groceries, and I walked briskly on autopilot, headed South of course, with snippets of past conversations amusing me as I tried to imagine what it would have looked like if I spoke to her today.
What would I say? The soil beneath my feet is tainted with the blood of a thousand thirsty men and women? Should I say that the air I breathe has been polluted with the toxins of a million cars and the excessive waste of the manufacturing communities I so despise? Should I bring up the poisoned water that I refuse to drink? And suggest that the reason I drink vodka regularly these days has little to do with my desire to tweak my sobriety at any instance? Rather to build up a tolerance to the germs and biological entities that secretly enter our water supply each day? Can I tell her, with a straight face, that I still buy coloring books and do my best to color inside the lines, but alas, my hands always slip and I ended up coloring right off the fuckin' page?