Monday, July 31, 2006

On reading info on old friends

A distant thunderclap wakes the frog. A tongue darts out and snares the flying insect too close. One solitary raindrop hits the surface of the still pond at the ripple is quickly absorbed.

An old boat sits near the shoreline holding water inside and holding outside water at bay. The oars are settled in the bottom, their handles wellworn and smooth. No one really takes the boat out anymore. Cable television and air-conditioned automobiles hold more allure.

Cynthia pauses near the boat and listens to the thunder echo through the mountains. She remembers a time when she would have felt more excitement in the changing weather. Little things have changed. Her best friend left years ago now and no one laughs bailing water from the boat before a merry voyage. She sits on the bench, feeling her pants pull against her flesh. She remembers jumping in the water wearing no clothes and feeling the moonlight on her breasts just before his hands captured them.

She hears her current lover settle beneath a tree twenty feet away. A rock lofts out to the middle of the pond and disappears beneath the surface. She hears the sound of her son’s voice when his father died far away, “It isn’t fair.” There is so much in life that doesn’t seem fair. She keeps reminding herself that no one suggests that life is fair. It’s a philosophical retort.

“That’s not fair either.” She feels the wood under her body and tries to detect her initials surrounded by a faint heart carved in the wood years ago. She feels nothing.

She wishes that she could feel what once overwhelmed her. She has only her memories. Each morning she wakes up and stretches out before opening her eyes, exploring with her senses for that one moment, that one sensation that went beyond explanation. Now she opens herself to others who believe they are filling her void. They keep pouring into her and she lets her emotions empty. It is a dance that everyone performs for their partner never once realizing that the dance is in time with no music.

Cynthia feels old age and refuses to bend to the drift. Parents and friends sneak into older bodies but she is blind to any transition on her part. Her students get younger by the minute and the old sages and poets become well-worn friends to be explained again and again, all anew. Her hands flitter through the kitchen a magician performing slight of hand tricks. She is an artist with basil and sage. She feels the salt trickle between her fingers until the right amount has licked the edges of the soft dough, just so, and her hands go to work, imagining lovers and memories of bodies that ached to be touched. Her tongue flits between her lips for a second, just then the toad catches another morsel.

Lightning flashes and she closes her eyes to the present, waiting for another sound.