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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

black and white (five years)

Faces, the same. The old woman in the underpass holding that yellowing and split piece of tupperware, eyes lowered. No one gives her loose change. 

There is new snow on the windowsill. I am waking up with a headache in the darkness, the black dot of Monday growing bigger. It is here now, with the stench of diesel and electricity. There are wet footsteps in the snow. E holds my hand tight, slipping on the ice as we turn corners. Walking in silence, the flakes still falling, this winter holding on and on. 

Faces are staring off at nothing with tired, pickled expressions. The wet, sour life repeats its song. 

The black dot grows and grows. Five years here now.


I was a guest in a man's house. He took us to an empty room - just a sofa at one end, and a massive stereo that sat on the floor. Drunk on good wine and limoncello, he put on Invitation to the Blues, by Tom Waits. The sound was magnificent, wrapping around us, bouncing off the hardwood floor. E was downstairs, playing with some kids. N was next to me.

I rested my head on her shoulder and closed my eyes.




Comments

liv said…
A bittersweet anniversary. Wish it wasn't so.

Winter seems to be hanging on everywhere, but it can not last forever. It's a bully isn't it? Don't let it get you, you have big fish to fry .... and eat. And limoncello - sunshine in a glass to chase the bully away. Hope it worked for at least a moment.

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