Day 899, November 28, 2022

What We Think About While We Ride Home in the Dark

The most wild and crazy thing we ever did in our life. 
Was it that wild and outrageous? 
Maybe it was not and only felt that way. 
Perhaps there are handfuls of those moments, 
too exotic to be memorable on these pages without an alias. 

I am a broken record when I ride a bicycle. 
Sentences repeat and conversations evolve oh so slowly. 
You speak and I speak, 
then I revise my answer, and I imagine your response, 
and perhaps it would not be so terrible if I said it a different way. 
Or perhaps it is too much to bear and there is nothing, 
only the cold, 
the passing car, 
the darkness all around. 

I start the conversation again, 
and it is about cataloging crazy things we have done. 
But that doesn’t go well either 
and I start thinking about the conversation I will have with my mentee 
in the morning. 
I didn’t reschedule so I will have to leave early. 
I don’t know what to tell her, so the conversation is short. 
I wonder if I should give her a gift because 
we may not meet again before the holidays and the end of the semester. 
I wonder if I’ve failed as a mentor because 
I have not given my mentee anything of substance. 
I think she was looking for a kind of friendship. 
Her friend, she says, gossips with her mentor. 
I do not know how to gossip or what we would gossip about. 
In that sense, 
I’m a failure. 
Instead, 
we drink coffee. 
I drink coffee and she drinks chai, 
and she talks about her parents. 
If I had a mentor, 
I might tell him about the craziest things I’ve done in this life, 
but I dare not tell my mentee, 
even through she shared she got sick on a friend’s bed. 
I didn’t ask for details. 

Maybe we will talk about thanksgiving 
and I will remember the football game where we lost, 
and my friend, 
home from college, 
gave me a pot brownie, and I had a delightful dinner. 
I think that was the same holiday, Maria, also home from college, 
told me she took up skydiving. 
I could not believe it. 

I have never done anything like that.

When I stand on my pedals in the dark, 
I feel even taller than when I stand on them in the light. 
Everything is exaggerated in the dark, 
the nakedness, 
the smell of turkey, 
the sound of someone moving about downstairs. 
Everything could be a coyote crossing the street, 
an open mailbox mouth, 
a tree branch extending an arm in a gentle caress.

A still from a Laurie Anderson video at MASS MoCA


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