Picking Pebbles From My Skin

Many years ago, when I was young, that age when your body and the law consider you an adult, but your heart is like spaghetti and your brain is the best and the worst of a sponge, I was in love, of course. Weren’t you? I felt lucky and afraid. I felt as large as a dump truck, and so unimportant, like a wisp of a cloud alone in a forgotten corner of the sky. Do you remember the feeling? Yes, we do remember when we do. I was nineteen.

Her parents forced us apart in some way that, for my life, I cannot remember. It was a power, I know now, that they did not truly have, but how were we to know this then? I was a dump truck with a spaghetti heart trying to hide in the sky with my big sponge brain. So I ran. Not away. Not to. I mean, I ran as fast and as far as I could. Please, I did not run in my mind or my heart, I ran in the real world, in the middle of a dark night, across an endless and rotting parking lot, until I stumbled and fell.

How could we know our life would not end on the spot? Did you?

My knees both bled, like knees do. My palms too, and one elbow. I still have a scar on one knee, though it is old and faded. My friend picked asphalt pebbles from the wound and we both pretended I was crying because of the pain in my knees and my hands and my elbow. Ah.

I am much older now, you probably know, and I want to tell you that I learned my lessons, calibrated myself to steer against the slide and come up for air and proceed with caution and heed the highway markers. I’m not the best liar you’ve ever met. I’m a dump truck still. My heart is made of spaghetti. My brain is a sponge and I attempt, again and again, to hide in plain sight because, after all, I am just a wisp of a cloud.

I tell you this in anticipation of a possibility. It is possible that you might see me one night, running like a dump truck might run if a dump truck had legs, across some old empty parking lot. It won’t be the smooth gait of my youth. It may look labored and limping, but you will see that no effort is being spared. When I fall, which I mostly certainly will, don’t worry. These are old wounds and familiar. To bleed for a time is a blessing, we know. A friend will emerge, pick the asphalt from my skin, and share with me the lie that I am crying because of the pain in my knees and my hands and my elbow. It is a good lie.