cafe mama

a domestic realist blog

three : smile . november 13 . 2012

This post is my third post in the Fortnight of Flash, a guilt-free celebration of brief memoir, fiction, and whatever else you can flash. No length too short, less than 750 words, and prizes!

I imagine you took this picture of me, in my swimsuit
I think you took this picture of me, that summer.

I go past your old house all the time.

I found you on Facebook, finally. I've wondered what has happened to you, and whether you're doing well. Are you married? Who are your friends? What is your life like? We spent two years in one another's near-constant presence; you were fifteen, I was seventeen; I take my boys downtown to the marina or across the Hawthorne Bridge or to that Safeway where we shopped for beef jerky and Pringles together and I tell them stories about us. I read something I wrote for you, from my journal, in front of hundreds this May.

Do you remember when I helped you practice the monologues from Steel Magnolias? Do you remember how we used to walk barefoot down the Esplanade? Do you remember the rose boy? Do you remember what we would order at Stanford's? We would take off our clothes by the yachts and the sailboats on the hottest days, we would jump in the river in our underwear, we would imagine fates for ourselves, we would imagine being beautiful, wearing beautiful clothes.

Of course we already were beautiful.

I suppose I could email you now, but I haven't. For some reason, what I do to stay in touch is ride my bike past your house, not religiously but often, these eleven years. Your parents still live there, I can tell by the car in the driveway (some days), the cat on the front porch, the fact that nothing else has changed. One day, someone was getting out of the car, and I waited a minute to say "hello" when she (I think it was your mother), got out, but it was more than a minute. The boys were on the bike with me; I rode on.

Today I rode past on my way to pick the boys up from school, up the hill, slowly. I had just seen a man wearing nothing but his underwear and a flesh-colored, unbuttoned shirt, fussing with a recycling bin, around the corner from my old house, and it was cold today! I was still marveling. I rode to the top of the hill and saw, on your front porch, your father. He was sitting on a chair with a cat on his lap and that hair, just like always but now gray-white, that spectacular hair of his, and he was smiling in a way that made my heart bump, just happy, and I put up my hand in a friendly "hello" wave and he waved back, hale, full of joy.

ads, which strive, which fail to yield

read my previous post . two : hearing your complaint . november 11 . 2012