Friday, June 12, 2009

About, Time and Grace--Prelude (A fragment, 4)


I'm glad i never lived next to the water
So I could never get used to the beach
And I'm glad I never grew up on a mountain
To figure out how high the world could reach
I love the miles between me and the city
Where I quietly imagine every street
And I'm glad I'm only picturing the moment
I'm glad she never fell in love with me

For some the world's a treasure to discover
And your scenery should never stay the same
And they're trading in their dreams for Explanations
All in an attempt to entertain
But I love the miles between me and the city
Where I quietly imagine every street
And I'm glad I'm only picturing the moment

I'm glad she never fell in love with me

The trick of love is to never let it find you
It's easy to get over missing out
I know the how's and whens, but now and then,
She's all I think about

I wonder how it feels to be famous
But wonder is as far as I will go
Because I'd probably lose myself in all the Pictures
And end up being someone I don't know.
So it's probably best I stay in Indiana
Just dreaming of the world as it should be
Where every day is a battle to convince myself
I'm glad she never fell in love with me

(by Jon McLaughlin)

They were both from Ohio, and moved to Indiana. Separately. But ultimately, together.

How strange is the Midwest in August. The summer has beat it up and worn it out and hung it out, already dry.

The lush green of June becomes a crinkly golden brown.

If August days hang heavy with heat and humidity, don't be fooled. Somewhere to the north lies a cold front that will swing through in the night, maybe with a thunderstorm. You'll get up the next morning and the air will be cool and the sky will be clear and suddenly you'll remember, just for a minute, how autumn feels.

Starts the harvest, then, in August, the corn and soy beans and the truck vegetables in gardens everywhere. Fields that were tilled brown just a blink ago in May or June, now mature, their growing seasons finished. Their time, completed.

And noisy, August is--the cicadas and locusts in full scream, protesting their too-short lives, protesting their time spent underground, yelling for somebody to love them. Here I am, in this tree, they scream. Come find me.

But oddly, even as summer slows down, a new kind of year starts up--all the school kids who believed in June that summer was forever, find that, indeed, time does fly, and August means school. A new grade, a new year, new teachers, new friends, new books.

Even for people without kids, who are years removed from the school year, August holds that dichotomy: Summer's over. But something new is beginning.

Monday, June 8, 2009

About the Fragments

I'm having fun--and I'm using you.

The fragments are just some conversations and, well, I guess, story pieces that have been knocking around my head for, well, several months.

They're like ear worms of the head--you know those songs that you just can't get out of your head? These fragments are just things I have fun with...and I can't quit thinking about them, but I can't seem to write them out in any coherent way, either in a word processor or even longhand.

So I'm blogging them. You know how that if you've got a song stuck in your head, you're supposed to listen to that song? I'm using the blog--one place I know I can write a little, if badly--to get read of these word worms.

I thought about Tweeting them--I do seem to be a person made to Twitter--but 140 characters are just not quite enough.

So you get them, and I'm sorry, kind of--not sure how interesting they are to read. But it's therapy for me.

And also, I discovered I was kind of tired of writing about real stuff--my observations of life as I know it falling short of blog-worthy.

So here's the made-up stuff, just for fun, just for awhile.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

About, Time and Grace--Doctor's Visit (A fragment, 3)

Just a little conversation between two people who I keep hearing in my head.

She had hands full of coffee and files and lunchbag, plus her purse was slipping off her shoulder. She feared for the coffee, especially--Monday morning would be very bad, indeed, with no coffee.
Grace managed to slip in the back door of the office with coffee still upright; she walked down the hall to the little breakroom where she could stash her stuff and hang her jacket up; and take a minute to sip the cooling caffeine.
Then Ginny walked in.
"Girlfriend! Get your ass out here! Fast! You gotta see this!" Ginny, as usual, was dressed impeccably. She was a tiny, thin 50-something, who, at first glance, seemed the kind of person who might work out every day, eat health food, belong to Junior League and shop at Talbot's.
Looks lie. Ginny was a cigarette-smoking, junk-food addicted, motorcycle-riding, discount-store shopping maniac.
"What? Not the big Amish family with pink eye again!" One day last week, a family of 15 had tied up the waiting room and every exam room for hour. The little kids had hidden Grace's stethoscope and threw Q-tips everywhere.
"No! No. BETTER. He's the cutest thing ever!" Ginny grabbed Grace's wrist and drug her towards the glass-windowed reception area.
"A puppy? Did somebody bring their dog? Is it Mr. Tilton?" Grace's old neighbor, who got his blood sugar tested regularly, had a rescue greyhound that came in with him.
"NO. Oh, Gracie! This may be the guy for you," Ginny whispered, as they got closer to the front office.
"Ah, not again, Ginny! You are NOT fixing me up with a patient. I'm not interested. I'm. Just. Not. And you know it." Grace had made no secret about her disinterest in men since (as they called it in the office) The Blake Incident.
"Gracie, this is the best-looking man we've ever treated. Well, except he's looking a little green right now. And we think he might throw up in the waiting room. But he's so--his hair--his skin, even a little green-- He's not from Grabill, that's for sure, we think might be Italian -- Gracie, just look." Ginny turned her around and finally shut up.
Grace looked through the glass, into the square, chair-ringed space, with its kid's books and toys in one corner, the rack with magazines in another, the big ottoman in the middle, the window to the parking lot right across from her.
He sat below the window, very still, hands on thighs. He must be very tall, Grace thought; the chair looked too small for him--his legs, in faded jeans, stretched out towards the ottoman. He had curly black hair, big, loose curls that hadn't seen a brush anytime today. His skin--greenness aside--was a gorgeous mocha color, somewhere between golden and brown, a contrast to the white golf shirt that may have been slept in. He might have been asleep. Or about to throw up.
And Ginny was right. He was one handsome man.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

About, Time and Grace--The Beach (A fragment 2)

Just a little conversation between two people who I keep hearing in my head.

Beck stood up, still holding Grace's hand.

"Let's walk," he said, heading north, away from the park.

They wandered closer to the water, where the firmer sand made it easier to walk. Beck was barefooted; Grace wore thin flop-flops, and neither cared when the small waves washed over their feet.

Ahead of them was just the slightly rolling lake, the brightening sky, and somewhere, Canada.

"Grace, look!" he said, pointing up and slightly east.

"A seagull? It's awfully big--we don't usually see them that big--" Beck cut her off.

"Not a seagull, it's a bald eagle," he said. "See the curved wings, and the way the tail fans out? And its head is a little lighter color than the body?"

"Oh my God! Are you sure?" Grace twisted around, following the bird's flight as it headed towards the sunrise, following the lake shore. "I've never seen the wild, anyway. Wow. Wish I had my camera--it's beautiful, so graceful."

"They are." Beck pulled Grace along, out towards the very tip of the point, the farthest away from the resorts and the rides and crowd. It was even quieter here, and a stand of trees behind them hid the development from their sight.

"I love it here," he said. The breeze picked up, ruffling his black curls, blowing Grace's brown bob around. She smiled at him.

"Me, too. I love Lake Erie. Better than all the little lakes in northern Indiana. Don't tell anybody at home that."

"Secret's safe," he said, grinning at her.

"Beck, can I ask you about, um, your, ah..." Grace hesitated.

"My what? Family?"

"Oh. No. Not ye--not that. No, about your--eyes. I mean, I love them, but they're just so--different. Beautiful, but--strange. Sorry. I don't mean that in a bad way. I've just never seen anyone with two different color eyes. Only--" Grace stopped, feeling like she was bungling what could have been just a simple question.

"Only what?"

She looked down. "Well, I did see a, a dog once, a Alaskan husky, with two different color eyes."

Beck laughed. "No, I'm not a canine. And I know it's kind of freaky. But not unheard of. Runs in my family, actually. My twin sister has them too, except hers are a bright blue and a darker gray."

"Your twin?"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

About, Time and Grace--The Beach (A fragment)

Just part of a story about some people who I can't get out of my head.

It was the time of early morning when to the north and west the lake and sky ran together but to the east came morning.

The lake was as calm and quiet as it would be all day. Later the wind would kick up and the little whitecaps would break on the beach in a quick rhythm, but right all he could hear was a single gull crying from the distance.

The sand was cool under his fingers and he leaned back on his elbows, breathing slowly, watching the sun turn the sky in to something new. It was easy to imagine, here on the beach so early, that Cedar Point was still marsh and woods and wild animals. Even if it hadn't been that for a very long time.

He didn't hear her as she walked across the sand; only when she knelt behind him and put her hands on his shoulders, saying, "Hi," softly in his ear, only then did he smile and feel the day really begin.

"Hey," he said, and reached up to take her hand and turned around to look at her.

As she looked into his eyes--one so softly green, the other gray as the lake--she too smiled, even as she looked at him and wondered, once again, just where the hell this beautiful man had come from.

Because he sure wasn't from Ohio.