Friday, February 19, 2010

Instead of Sleeping

When I woke up my head filled with an old and jagged story. A night spawned phantasm of a forgotten school friend-a short boy who often got caught reaching for the high-shelved honey, a boy who later became red-faced and chubby, squeezed into snug slacks with lint at the pockets.

The unsettled piece came one day when he lied to protect me after my theft from the corner store. I gave him over without flinching- Quick and painless. He was just the fat kid. We did not speak again. It was done, I thought.

Last night, instead of sleeping, I dream-chased him down, twisting the story, adding a deleting words to soften the ending. To bend consequence, to step out of time- to adjust impact with adverbs and passive voice. No trick of language could staunch truth's red flow.

That I was a traitor to that forgotten friend, that he must have forgotten me as well and if not, had he forgiven? Oh, please, please, this was years ago. I paid my dues and I am not that cowardly boy from decades ago who once sold his nobility for convenience! But the old lie bit hard.

I dipped in and out of fitful sleep and unsuccessful re-considerations. Each bend opened onto more unresolved ebbs and tributaries and these sought a bigger river of action linked to reaction and of truce coming in the calm of black solitude. Even in surrender I hugged my pillow close and let the river flow as it would.

February 19, 2010