Friday, August 9, 2013

Exhume and Resurrect are not the same thing.

Those who know me, know that I say weird/mean/bizarre/racist/sexist type . . . stuff. A lot. By far my favorite personal expression surfaces when people ask: "Whatever happened to so and so?" I don't know, who does? No one, that's who. So I respond: "Oh, they're dead." Nonchalant, and on I go to something else. It's just easier than trying to figure things out. Some people get it, some don't. There are at least a dozen occasions where people have asked how the person died. Come, people, get with it.


Really, we don't care what happened to a person. We really don't. No matter what anyone thinks, the only reason we want to know what happened to someone we haven't talked to for years is because we either want to make sure we are better off than they are, or we need to make sure that we have all of our facts together, so if someone else asks us about said missing person, we can be the know-it-all informant. Because we are fact collectors. We love lists and lists of facts. Individuals are nothing to us, except when they can be compiled into various categorical definitions comparable with other individuals.

I mention this because my day has been completely thrown off. Here's how: I'm sitting in the waiting at the doctor's office, no big deal, just waiting. I hate waiting. I fidget like a four year old, kicking my feet, tapping my thighs, shifting positions every three seconds. But then I stop, because I see this blonde girl walk up to check-in station. About 5'10", thin build. She looks very familiar, but I'm not quite sure. You never can be, can you? Unless you go up and talk to the person, hear the voice, confirm your rising memory buried years ago. This happens to me all the time, and it's only a 50% chance that I know the person. So I don't say anything (all of this a matter of seconds; besides, she's too far away for it to not be creepy as hell), but then she opens her mouth. And I hear her voice, and her name, I know. It's her. Morgan Clanton. Well, married now (huge ring on her finger), so the last name's different, but I can't hear it. I just stare. What do you do? No way she remembers me, 12 years since we last saw each other, out on the pole vaulting mats. I remember those spring days. Lots of short spandex shorts and sports bras. Not much left for the imagination. Paradise for any teenage boy. I try to look way just enough to keep her in my peripheral, but to hide the fact that I'm examining her. What is wrong with me? I can't stop watching. And for a brief moment I think I see her look at me, recognize she knows me, maybe even remembers my name, the years together in school, all the hugs we shared, the one time I called to talk about nothing, how I "loved" her with a school boy kind of love, how we never dated but always should have. Maybe. I hope she remembers me, because I remember her. And everything. She hasn't changed. Still keeps the platinum blonde hair. Still wears spaghetti straps (this on turquoise) with the bra straps showing (magenta). Still wears those really short booty shorts (black; it looked like a mini shirt at first, but it wasn't, just really ugly short shorts). Some ghost straight out of my brain. Terrifying. And not in a comical sense. My heart starts pounding. Breath shortens. I get confused. The wife sitting right next to me, and I am weirded out by this phantom, so I tell her. I knew that girl, back in high school. How strange it was to see. Steph giggles, and we talk about friends we lost track of, never knew what happened to them. That was it.

All these feelings erupted from somewhere I can't place. I had a huge crush on this girl when I was 14. I don't know why, she wasn't nice. Most girls at 14 aren't. When we were kids, fifth grade, she shoved me for some reason I can't remember, and I totally ate on the sidewalk in the front of the cafeteria. Bashed my head against the gray cement. Huge lump, but no blood, no broken anything. Could not have been more embarrassed. And she was almost a foot taller than me. And pretty. And way out of my league. Had kissed people before (I hadn't). But, whatever, she was hot and I couldn't help liking her. But here's the thing: all these feelings came back to me, sitting there in that uncomfortable waiting room. Feelings that disappeared almost overnight when she moved. Feelings that pricked my brain stem from time to time, see if she's still alive, what's she up to. Nothing much. I get that way about a lot of people. But seeing her and that surge of emotion startled me. At first. But what baffled me even more was that they were dead. Those feelings. Corpses of feelings that I had, somehow still whole and disguisable from other feelings, but lifeless. Not even memories, but the idea of memories, or memories of memories, or even constructed memories around ideas of something that never really was. I don't know. But we were there, in that room, together but not at all together, and I felt everything for her, everything I used to feel, but deceased feelings long since ignored. I didn't like that feeling, the feeling I still have right now, typing this, why I'm typing this. I didn't like feeling emotions that have been locked in memories, hidden away so that I forget them. I didn't like that unexplainable zombie-ish draw. I don't know. I don't know what I'm saying. My day is just all muddled now.

It's just easier to keep memories were they are, wherever that is. Buried deep where I can't find them. It hurts too much to remember, sometimes. To know what you should have done but didn't. To know that what you used to be isn't who you are now (for good or bad). To know that you still live with your parents, at 28, being married, with a kid, and still only working part, trying to make ends almost meet. To know you aren't really an artist, no matter how much you wish you were, and wish other people thought you were too. To know, that in the end, it's the surfacing of those dead memories that makes you feel like you are nothing at all, because you still want to be that 14 year old boy, confused about everything, in love with every girl you see, happy just to get a hug and have your faced smashed into a girls small chest because that's as far as you'll ever get with any from the female species. To know that in the end, your life is amazing, that you have the sexiest wife there is with the best kid there is living in the best country there is (that's debatable), but you aren't happy because something is eating you from inside and you don't know what it is. To know you will die and still be wishing you had done more, been more, helped more. To not be who you want to be. Alone, even with loved ones, still alone underneath your quaking skin.


Melanee said...

If you tell people that I am dead will you tell them it is from a freak hang gliding accident or something cool like that?
I always love to read you stuff. Thanks for putting your work out there and reminding me I can, too.

Melanee said...

When you tell people I died will you tell them it was from something cool like a freak hang gliding accident? Or that I was at a museum of modern art and one of the installations fell on me?
I always love reading your thoughts. Thanks for reminding me that I should get my thoughts out there, too.