Tag Archives: Room to Write

On Borders

Look, I’ve known him for years. We are the best of friends. But, he doesn’t let me into his room. I’ve never been in his car. He sends me the best emails. But we rarely talk. I mean, offline.

I don’t know why he is this way. But through all my breakups, he was there for me. He wasn’t a shoulder to cry on. But his words were always touching. He is a poet and a dreamer in words. Like a fish swimming in language. But flopping around in the dry air of life. We met on the bus.

We were reading the same book. A memoir about Rachel Corrie. On a Powell’s bookmark he wrote his email. Getting off at his stop he handed it to me. No eye contact. Just the bookmark. But he knew I had seen him reading. Two people reading the same book on the bus always see each other.

The first contact was cold. We talked about death. Then shared thoughts about freedom and politics. About America’s role in the world. I’ve been a fan of Bill O’Reilly for ten years. He was a fan of Noam Chomsky. We disagreed in the best ways. Our words were full of respect. But his roommates didn’t understand his quiet nature. His long walks in Forest Park led to him being called John Muir. A title of honor for him.

When my roommate moved away to Texas. His roommates were having parties every night. It was simple. He moved in with me. I never even posted an ad.

He has had girlfriends. In fast he has one now. She lives in Washougal. They see each other on the weekends. And she isn’t what you would imagine. It is like he opened his heart and world to one person. And it was her. I’ve seen them together, and he is normal. He can be in a group of people, and feel safe with her. She is a translator. Taking him the world, and him to the world. You know Einstein was a terrible misogynist.

A few times a month we will watch a movie together. Sometimes we go down by the river and walk. But still words are rare. I’ll see him in the corner of my eye. Then he will point to a cloud. Down to a boat in the water. Or an interesting person passing. His eyes say it all.

He has his borders. They are firm and should be respected. They may limit his life in the world. But they don’t hold him back from living. And he is happy within his bounds. And isn’t this what counts. You can try to drag him out. His roommates tried and failed. I’ve seen others try and fail. The harder you pull the more he will dig in deeper.

I think we get along because I’ve never tried. He has always been a mystery to me. I can’t imagine him any other way.


There were so many borders. He crossed the Sierra’s and ran out of gas. Down the backside he coasted. Then hours later it was the state line. An ocean of desert to be crossed. More mountains and miles and miles of road. But those were borders.

The real border was the front door. The end of the drive way. The day he told her he was moving. The real border came weeks before as he accepted the job. The far away job. Or the day he applied, wanting to be far away from her. The borders were crossed in his heart. Many times, and many times he came back. Would he return to her love again?

The cat slept on his lap as he drove. The radio playing a Lucy Kaplansky song about the road. Clearly she had also done travel at night. Her magical voice was holding him tonight. The music was a hug. The cat slept peacefully at last in the car. But it wasn’t an easy start for her. She cried and cried and cried. Like he wanted to cry and cry and cry. Maybe they both missed her. And all these years later he wonders if Baby Girl misses her like he does, at night, alone.

But maybe no being could miss another in the same way.

Years before he lived in Yosemite. When not crossing the high mountain trails he wrote. So much sad poetry and prose. So many long and pointless hours of cutting his own wrist with a pen. Bleeding onto the page, onto the screen. Into the snow, cold and unwatched. But he crossed a border in the park. It was the place where he learned to let M go. He moved beyond. And beyond he remained until he returned from Wyoming. And then borders were crossed again. There was no on in his heart for him for so long. Now she had crossed into his love.

Nevada is a land of barren beauty. A place unique and magical in a sparse way. Maybe one day he’ll live in a hermit shack off a dirt road in Eureka. Not the left-leaning town on the California coast. The dusty town hanging to the side of a mountain in Nevada. He passed through the town on this trip. And later trips. But tonight it was just a moment on the road. How many moments on our roads we pass through blindly. But for someone else the moment is dear. The moment lasts in memory. The touch lingers like a kiss on wet lips.

How many borders did he cross driving in the night. And in the heat of the next day. His heart had for so long been barren like the desert. Empty, uncrossed by human love. At least this is how it felt to him at times. But she was there like a dream. A well in the middle of the vast plain. Driving he crossed state lines. He crossed county lines and city lines. And each line was a step further from the one he couldn’t cross away from tonight.

Even after the granite valley of Yosemite. The strange orange land of south Utah. Through the dark of night and the heat of day. In Utah the temperature drove the cat to seek a place to hide. And she didn’t mind being wet for once. Like he was learning the lessons of having a wet heart. But he could never find a place to hide. The heat was so strong between them at one moment. It burned like the sun on his alabaster heart. And now he was peeling. One of his borders was slipping away into dust around him.

Maybe it didn’t have to be this way. Maybe it couldn’t be any other way. A voice inside told him to turn back. Cross back to safety. The comfort of her heart. But the clear sad truth was this border couldn’t be crossed anymore. He could cross Nevada. And later even crossed it in a snow storm. But the storms and the cold winds of live were driving them now. And each on a different current. The land he drove across was once at the bottom of the sea. In a time which feels so far away now. But years from now, across other borders so will today. The feelings, the journey, the borders crossed. It will fade as a memory. But she will never fade.

If Only…

If only I hadn’t gone to the job fair. I’d recently moved to Vancouver and needed a job. At the job fair I met Tye. And we talked about working at Walmart. Three years later I am doing good at Walmart. But if…

If only I hadn’t had the crazy roommate move in with me. I thought having a roommate would help. But she was crazy. Thought I worked for the police. Ate all my food. And then wanted to have sex with me. Craziest thing of all really. But then I wouldn’t have moved to Vancouver.

If only the weather hadn’t been so cold in the spring. If only the workplace hadn’t been so cold. And then so loud. If only I hadn’t had a great friend in Vancouver.

If only I hadn’t stayed in touch with Michelle. We met years ago. And had been close ever since. She’s been an amazing friend. And I’ve been a wandering fool. If only she hadn’t stayed friends with me all those years. I wouldn’t have had the option to move to Vancouver.

If only I hadn’t met her at Burgerville. It wasn’t a place either us belonged at the time. But we were there for a short time together. We got to know each other. Became friends and became close. If only when she asked to be my friend I had said, “no.” It would have been a sad mistake. But it could have happened.

If only I hadn’t gotten fired from the deli downtown. I worked for a Korean couple who barked at me. The man said women were trouble. The woman said I made her feel stupid. But I worked and worked. Coming in late every day. I didn’t know the clock was set fast. If they hadn’t fired me one dark day I wouldn’t have gone to Burgerville. And I would never have met my best friend: Michelle.

If only in the wet of winter I hadn’t moved to Portland. Starting out in the city wasn’t easy. I had to really work hard and rent cheap places. When I could rent any place. I had at one point planned on moving to Seattle with a woman. But it didn’t work out and I landed in Portland. Why Portland, I didn’t even know the place. But I knew, M, the girl hated the place. And it was close enough for me to afford a ticket on the bus. If only she hadn’t hated Portland. If only I could have afforded to move to Austin. If only I would have moved to another town.

If only I had stayed a week longer. I had been camping by the river. And the night I left the water flooded my tent. A couple years later I went back and found it. It was under a deep layer of mud. I’d never thought the river could flood. If only I had stayed another night. It might have been my last.

I had met M on a lonely night in San Francisco. I had turned while walking to talk to a friend behind me. But bumped into M. She was looking for someone for talking. I sat down and we talked for hours. We blew smoke bubbles. My heart was feeling light like a bubble. If only I hadn’t bumped into the strange girl. If only I hadn’t fallen in love. If only the night was just the night. But we stayed together for weeks. And then later went on a long trip. If only we hadn’t been so close. I would never have made plans to move to Seattle. I would never have moved to Portland. If only on one night in San Francisco I was walking on the other side of the street.

She had left home to see her favorite poet. Allen Ginsberg, was alive when she when she left Seattle. But he was dead when she got to San Francisco. If only she had loved a different poet. If only she hadn’t been feeling lonely. If only she had never left home. There are so many unknown if only’s in her story. If only her family had been closer.

If only I hadn’t been cruising around the Bay Area. If only I’d never started on my experimental life. I left college to be on the road for a while. But I never left the Bay Area until I met M. If only I had never met her. If only I had stayed in school I would have a totally different career. But there had been a longing in my heart for something different. If only I had been happier with my life choices. If only I had ignored the call of the wild.

If only I hadn’t been in San Francisco. If only I hadn’t met M. If only I hadn’t moved to Portland. If only I hadn’t worked at Burgerville. If only I hadn’t met Michelle. If only I hadn’t moved back after many years. If only I hadn’t gotten a job at Walmart. If only so many more things I can’t count or recall. And a few I am not even aware of right now. I wouldn’t be here writing this, and you wouldn’t be here reading it.

I for one am happy all the “if onlys” worked out the way they did.

On the meaning of “new”

“I hear you got a new car.”

“I did, I like it a lot.”

“What is it like?”

“Well it is the company’s new model.”

“Wow, that must be exciting.”

“And it drives like a new car. It has a good engine.”

“Did you pay much at the dealership?”

“I bought it offline, but I got a deal.”

“So you should come take me to dinner in your fancy new wheels.”

“Actually the wheels aren’t very fancy. It is one bummer about the car.”

“It has new tires right?”

“Yeah, the put brand new tires on before I bought it.”

“So is it from this year or last year?”

“Oh no, the car is like ten years old.”

“But you said it was ‘new'”

“Yeah, well it is new to me.”

“But you said it was their ‘new model'”

“Yeah, the company hasn’t put out any models in ten years.”

“I see, well you don’t have to pick me up for dinner.”

The New Couch

There it was, as amazingly new as he dreamed. He took out his phone for a picture. Moments like this were for sharing. And Instagram made for this sharing. There in front of him sat the new couch.

His old couch was gone. He had left it outside like trash. How many movies had he watched. How many girls did he kiss. And nights he slept restfully in its embrace. But in the end all those moments were pushed out the door. And left by the curb. Like trash.

After a cold night someone came and took it away. It was for their dogs. Which was just as well. Because it had rained hard all night long. Where it had been soft before it was failing. Maybe it felt the loss of being cast aside. It no longer was wanted or needed. There was a new couch.

When he sat down the couch didn’t sag under him but was firm. The arms weren’t torn, but smooth. And there he sat looking out the window. The truck with his old couch pulling away down the street. This was a new day. It was his day. For today he felt like an adult with a new couch.

Time for a selfie with the new couch. Soon his phone was ringing.

“Yes, come over and see my new couch,” he told his girlfriend. And she came with her puppy. The three of them had been watching Lord of the Rings for the last several nights. Curled up like a cuddle puddle on the couch. The puppy went to jump and instantly he blocked his small friend.

“Maybe we can keep the dog off the couch,” he suggested. His girlfriend’s expression spoke to her feelings and it wasn’t good. So he pushed the couch back and they watched Netflix on the floor. After an hour she took her puppy and went home.

The couch awed him as he pushed it back to the center of the room. He grabbed the remote, placed it on the arm of the couch and went for food. When he came back the remote was on the floor. He picked it up and put it back on the arm. After going to the bedroom for a blanket he came back. And the remote was on the floor.

His old couch had large soft arms with a small patch of worn fabric. He would rest the remote there and it didn’t fall. But the remote fell off the new stuffed smooth surface. He pulled the table closer, and set the remote on the table.

But he felt restless after a moment and got up. Moving towards the kitchen he banged his knee on the table. Then tripped on the table leg. The table tilted and the remote and diner fell on the floor. He wasn’t watching his show. Now he was cleaning the carpet. This was a rental after all.

Note to self, he suggested sitting down. Be more careful. But the firm couch while comfortable lacked comfort. It was soft. But wasn’t warm like he start to recall his old couch. The news was on so he got up again, and tripped on the table leg. Again his remote fell on the floor. Where he left it. Time for bed. But it was early, and his bedroom was cold. His girlfriend has always turned on the heat because she got cold. But tonight she left early. He could turn the heat on now. But it would take time to heat his bedroom.

I can sleep on my new couch he thought to himself. But laying down he couldn’t find the right position. His arm was in the way. The couch arm was in the way. The cushions were in the way. The table got in the way and his remote fell on the floor again. He bounced around under the blanket. But never was able to settle into the over stuffed couch. This new and amazing couch was what he had wanted. But now it was turning against him.

He sat up and thought about going after his old couch. But it was too late. And all he could do was sit there and think about where he had gone wrong. He felt like the trite character out of a children’s book. The careless sap who throws out a gem. At least the dogs would be sleeping in comfort. He turned on the TV and tried to relax into his new albatross.

Write about home

I was home. But it wasn’t home. Is this why they say you can’t go home again. Walking down the hallway it all felt smaller. Could everything have shrank? Was this the same house. Well, it was never a normal house. But it was always home.

This hallway was a play space for my sister and I. We would wedge our feet on one wall and our backs on the other. Then shimmy up to the ceiling. But my legs don’t fit across this hall. And the ceiling is so close. Hardly the peak of excitement I recall. Sometimes I would drop from the top to the floor. And it was a fall.

At the core of our home was a mobile home. A modular home is what some people call them. This is where the famous hall was located. Along the hall we would run at times. And others we would walk in shame. At the end of the hall was the bathroom. This is where we would get our punishment. It was a small bathroom, the kind you expect in a trailer. And now when I walk in I notice the sink is so low.

But growing up it was never about the house. I lived on the land. Outside the door was a world of adventure. Like when I turned the driveway into a city with small roads and little mound houses. Or the many times playing games with my sister and friends. As we got older we played at night. Sometimes we would play hide-and-seek games in the darkness. The idea you could hide in open darkness was new to us. As I got older I learned how to hide in the open light.

At the other end of the hall was a small dining room. But it felt big with the table. This is where I learned how to salt and eat plain avocado. My sister still eats it the same way. And in the kitchen there was a toaster oven. At the small kitchen table before bed sometimes we would make English muffin pizzas. We would put hot dogs and ketchup on an English muffin. Then pop it in the toaster oven. This is what home is about right?

After the regular toaster caught fire we never replaced it. Pop-tarts with icing on them had over heated.

But I also remember eating cereal for breakfast. We would take a basic grain like oatmeal. Then add yeast, and nuts and raisins and sugar and I don’t even remember what else. It was hardly oatmeal anymore. Eating was fun and comfortable for me when I was young. Things are different now.

In the kitchen sink we would get our hair washed. I’m not sure why we weren’t trusted to wash our own hair. But the burn of the soap in my eyes etched in my mind. The kitchen had a window on one side. While it used to open outside. It now opened to part of the house added later. The largest part of the house had been added years ago.

There was a large room, a living room. This is where we would gather after meals. It had large windows and lots of light. The windows weren’t glass. But large sheets of thick plastic. In later years glass was place in the frames. And along the outside wall was a long couch. From this couch you could see the yard. But you could also see the mountains far away. I would sit for hours on the couch. Hours staring at the mountains. And thinking about my life and future. It is here I knew at a young age if I didn’t get married by 24. I would never get married. And I was right.

When I looked out the window at night. I could see the lights from stars and houses. The mountains and the sky seemed the same distance. I could see the small lights on the hills far away. And I could see the larger lights of the stars. Their light from much further away. And I was the one who felt far away.

There was a wood stove in this room. It was used to heat the whole house. A giant wood pile was in the front yard. When it was covered with a tarp, small lakes would form in the low spots after the rains.

Next to the main room was a room we used to play and learn. It was where my sister and I had our desks. Mine was full of drawing from imaginary hotels. I had created my own imaginary chain of hotels. I’d look at maps and find cities. Then make a drawing of a building for the hotel in this city. I already understood you could take money from one place and use it to create more. But I still don’t know how to create the money to invest. I’m not sure how many cities my hotels he conquered. And it never occurred to me as a child to place more than one hotel in a city. Even a large city like New York City.

Our small book shelf was in this room. And it had a collection of Bible stories I wanted to read from the start to the end. But I never did. Even as a child I set goals for reading, and didn’t finish. Maybe it is better than never having a goal?

Out the back of this room was a small storage and laundry room. When I was young I remember it having an old florescent light. You had to wait for it to light up. A big freezer was in this room, where we stored extra food. Some of which was meat from cows raised and killed on the land. It was thirteen acres. Then out from this was a smaller room. It was here the yams were pooped on by the kittens. And I have never trusted yams much since.

Then outside was the trail to the barn. But there was also a shed and a couple small buildings. These were just bedrooms. When young you don’t think about home. Like a fish doesn’t think about water. But then you come back and it is all smaller. And you see things in a different way. It isn’t home anymore. Someone else is living in your home. They are creating new memories. Different from yours. It is their home now.

(I kind of hate this one, but I did spend almost an hour when I should have been sleeping writing it so I will post it.)

Time to say Goodbye

She saw him coming. Walking alone on the sidewalk. She sat alone.

There was an older lady drinking coffee across the room. And no one else. She put her head down. He opened the door.

She could feel him. For the last hour she could feel him. As he made his way through the city. But she didn’t want to see him. His feet scraped the floor. He pulled the chair out. He sat down.

She could smell him. His breath in the air around her now. A scent of toothpaste in the wind. It was the tube she bought him. She looked at her hands. The aging hands. A broken love line.

He didn’t say a word.

But she could see his hands on the table. They were bold. And strong hands. She loved those hands so much. And now they were removing their ring. He put it on the table. She rolled hers around like a barrel in a river. Over and over and over. And she was drowning inside.

Take the ring off her mind whispered. Then louder, and louder and louder. Until it was all she could hear. But she wanted everyone else to be gone. The older lady drank her coffee and folded her newspaper. As the door thudded close behind her they were alone.

Years ago she had read a book. It was called “Breakup.” A beautiful and tragic story of love. All those years ago, when she never imagined this moment. The perfect wedding in the redwoods, yes. The children born a year apart, yes. Having a husband who could support her art, yes. And support her as a stay home mother.

The children flashed before her eyes. One of college, one in the Marines and one traveling in Europe. The nest was empty. And she was going to have to learn to fly again. Fly like the bird she never had been.

She took the ring. She slid it off her finger. She looked at his hands. Then again at her own. It looked naked without his ring. But it was done. The ring was on the table. He tried to reach out to her, for a moment. But the moment passed so quick. The fear, the pain, the sadness were so real to her. She missed the moment and he was gone.

Years ago under an oak tree they planned their lives. They even planned this day. Though she didn’t imagine it was real. Like when they planned to be rich. Or when they planned to star in their own movie. But this wasn’t a happy movie. The stars of the film have not been true to their roles. The husband has been hard working and supportive. But not loving and caring. The wife, a nurturing and attentive mother. But she forgot how to be a friend.

He found a friend some place else. And she found love with someone else. Now their rings are on the table. The paper work has been signed. They’ll sell the rings and give the money to the children. They are grown and on their own adventures now.

There is dirt under my nail, she thought. And the door thudded in the back of her mind. Where would she go now?

A Room to Write exercise on Death

You know you will die one day. Well, we don’t always know do we? It is something we think of as far away.
Do babies know about death. When did I first think about death? When I was very young I drank some water with poison. It didn’t hurt me, but I remember thinking it could kill me. And I didn’t care. I feel like I have wanted death as much as feared it. Of course it is one thing to say you want to die, when the chances are you won’t. And another when the chance is high you will.

Do you ever think about killing yourself? It is the mental health question everyone asks. I’ve always thought about killing myself. And I still do. I’d thought like Sylvia Plath I would do it one day. Not for any reason but being bored. And tired of thinking about killing myself.

I’ll be crossing a bridge. Walking along a cliff. And in a moment, I’ll be gone. Why? Why not? I’ve told people a simple story a couple times. A wise man wants something written on a ring. It should make him happy when sad and sad when happy. The answer is: this too shall pass. Nothing lasts and nothing changes. We come from dust and if you’re ready to go back to dust. Why not?

Okay, put your phone down. I’m not going to answer any crazy calls. And given this had been in my mind for almost 35 years, chances are I won’t die. Soon.

And I wonder, about death. This whole piece isn’t at all what I planned to write. It was an exercise from Room to Write. I was going to imagine my own death. But then I starting typing and I knew I already had.

High school was rough, and I didn’t kill myself. Being homeless was rough and I didn’t kill myself. I’ve been through a lot and I haven’t done myself in. I even read The Bell Jar twice, and Girl Interrupted twice. And I didn’t kill myself. Though I still love Plath’s logic. My favorite painter is Van Gogh.

When you read this is must sound dark. But tonight I don’t feel dark. There have been nights when I wanted to sleep and never awaken. Once I took sleeping pills to make it happen. But they didn’t work. Another time I bought alcohol and sleeping pills to try it again. But I changed my mind. One more day, one more day, one more day. But one day I’ll give up on tomorrow.

They say when people really want to die, they don’t pontificate about death. I guess the fact I’ve written so much points away from my desire to die. There have been times I’ve felt my life was in danger. And I took steps to be safe. But some of those events were the result of poor choices. Like drinking water with a cleaning toxin. Choices I made not wanting to die. But not caring. I wonder at the last moment, if I had to choose. What would it be.

But we don’t get a choice. Our brains are not wired to give us the choice to live or die in the moment. When you are faced with a risk – your brain takes over and keeps you safe. I’ve felt this was the case for me before.

And I guess it is a matter of how I would die. Shooting oneself can be so messy and unsure. What if you don’t blow off enough of your head? What, oh yeah, a gross thought to be sure. But there you are thinking about how good your life was when you could move. How good things were when you weren’t bathed by someone else.

And if you jump. How high is high enough? Maybe it would be really scary as the ground races towards you. Do you really want to die in a state of terror. Sure, when you are at the top. And you see the view. The wind is in your hair. Things feel good and the choice feels right. But on the way down fear takes over doesn’t it?

Pills. Which pills? And you know if you don’t take enough they lock you up. They say, tut tut poor guy. They take away your knives and your belts. You’d probably lose your job. No one around you would ever see you the same way again. You’d be the one who tried to kill themselves. And no one wants to be that person. Because I think people would express concern. And people would be friendly. But they would also push you away. Because they would feel guilty and they wouldn’t want to be close if you tried it again.

Right, so I couldn’t cut my wrists. I’m weak when it comes to pain. And I know it isn’t quick. This not being quick holds the same trouble as pills. Someone could find you and stop you. And to be honest if I ever were to kill myself I wouldn’t want someone to find me. I wouldn’t want to scar someone else.

And yes I would feel bad about people left behind. But really when I am depressed I don’t think anyone would care. A voice in my head just tells me no one would even notice. What about my job? Of course they would notice. But is work the only thing worth living for in this world? Not for me.

There have been times I cut myself off to see if people would notice. I think to myself, if I died who would notice and when? But I use Facebook all the time now. Of course there was a period when most of my posts were preprogrammed quotes. I programmed them out months in advance. I guess being alone is what makes me most feel like going down into the basement forever.

But I know the voice is wrong. There is a better part of myself which knows people care. Yes, even people at work. They would care about not just my not working, but about me. And there is family – not close and far away. There are a few good friends in my life. I fail at being a friend to them, Simone, but they still love me. There are probably more people than I know who are touched by me. Not in the It’s A Wonderful Life sort of way. But in an ongoing way.

See, things are looking up. Right now my mood is good. Of course the scary part of all this is mood. The sun comes out and dries the rain. Life is full of green grass and flowers. But then the storm rolls over the hills. The little spider falls down the water spout. Life is cold, wet and dirty again. And tomorrow isn’t worth waking up for.

Okay, I’ll go to sleep now and you go to sleep later. And really, don’t call me tomorrow. Well, you can Simone.

From the desert

She hides behind an open door. Like a Monet painting. It pushes you away.

In the morning she races into her day. A rush of smiles and hellos. The friend of everyone. The friend no one knows. People think they like her. She speaks to this person. Shares a laugh with another. Always a friendly tone. Always a friendly smile. If you sit down and talk. She’ll talk about the weather. Or she’ll talk about you.

But she won’t talk about herself. Ask her the most direct question and you’ll get the more direct answer. And a broad question will just be dodged. Are you from California? Yes. Where have you lived? Around.

You think you know her because she knows you. She listens to your problems. Gives an understand ear and a kind word. Then she shares a joke. Jokes are the smoke screen of her life. Like everyone she has problems. But no one knows her secrets. No one.

What about the social network profile. A see of information. So many data points a super-computer would be lost. The most superficial facts shine like the sun. And the real details get lost like the other stars. There is no night. Not in her world. Because at night you would see the truth. The fears. The darkness in her soul.

In a world full of people. In a life full of connections. She lives alone. In her own cell.

She isn’t the one writing this, she would never. And I write without a name. Who am I to tell you these things. Can you trust me as a source? But I protect myself from her awareness. Her anger.

What drives her most is fear. It pushes her to be everything – to all people – everywhere. People must love her. They must want her. They must need her. So she won’t be alone. Rejected again in her desert. Like a demon. She has felt the world’s cold shoulder too often.

At night she has herself. During the day she creates friendships which aren’t real. The smile and short exchanges are enough. In fact they are almost too much. She doesn’t know more than small talk. Because small talk bonds enough to pretend. But not enough to share. There isn’t anything she wants to share. Not a single truth about her life.

One truth leads to another. And another. Somewhere down the line the Truth could see the light. All truth must be hidden. Because who knows which one is the Truth. Or could suggest the Truth is out there, or in there. Hiding.

You can talk to her. And joke with her. Even insult her. But never ignore her. And most important of all never touch her. The body is where she lives. She doesn’t like to be disturbed. Why are you touching me? I can touch myself.

She knows truth is like water. Or like light. It finds its way where it wants to go. There is a fear she can’t keep secrets forever. But she must try and try and try. If she must let something out, she will. But the stress and regret are instant. And a growing feeling of relief as no one cares to notice. Because people think they know her, they are easy to fool. They are easy to mislead. No, she is not a liar.

Lies are just another form of truth in disguise. The truth is a better mask than any lie. You can mislead with information more than anything else. Give people too little or too much. But whatever you do, don’t make it clear. Do not put it in context. And never make it about her. Leave her alone.

You know her name, but I can’t speak it here. Because then she will come. All this will be lost. This moment we have had together will be lost. Whatever we may know about each other now will be lost. Even thinking about her name now. I feel her shadow behind me.

(A Room to Write Exercise)

And the two become one…

The two stood on the bridge. The Kissing bridge was theirs. Under it the creek rolled past. They held hands. And kissed.

“I think I fell in love with you here.”

But it wasn’t on the bridge. It wasn’t in the park. Not even while doing yoga. It was the small town. So romantic. It felt like anything could happen. Even love.

“I may have always loved you, even before we met again here.”

It wasn’t the first time they had met. But the first time was brief. The time they spent together in this place lasted longer.

They pulled each other close. Listened to the creek sounds below. A child could be heard running in the park. And their dog was nearby. They didn’t live here when they met. And if they fell in love here, they moved apart. They both left alone.

But like the old legend. Love is a thread connecting those it bonds forever. And they returned, one at a time. To the Kissing Bridge. To love.

They didn’t need starbursts. They didn’t need marble halls. They had each other now. And life in a mountain town. And the Kissing Bridge. It was a part of their daily walks.

“I love this bridge.”

“And I love you for loving this bridge.”

Some people feel like love comes and goes. Then it won’t come back again. And yes, before this love had mostly gone. But one of them learned a valuable lesson about love. It was a lesson the other taught. Maybe the bridge itself taught. Time can teach many things to an open heart. Most of all the lesson was how closed their heart had been. For years.

It was like a door. You imagine it to be wide open. In fact you feel the draft. But all the time it is only a crack. A small un-inviting crack which people pass and don’t notice. Why not come in, they sat on the inside wondering. Why not love me? But love is open. And the door was not open.

But they were together now. Together in the magical park. It was their bridge. Of course others used it. They walked dogs. They rode bikes or jogged. Some even paused like they. But it was only their kissing spot. Only the most romantic place in their world. It was just a bridge. In a park. Crossing a small creek.

But even the most simple places can have deep beauty.

“Are you ready?”

“I’ve been ready for this moment for a long time.”

They were both ready. And they were both nervous. They had each told their families. But their families didn’t understand them. And many didn’t bother to show for their day. They didn’t see their love. They didn’t understand the connection they shared. Some felt it was a mistake. And wrong.

If they could stand on the Kissing Bridge, and kiss. If they could know the passion the two felt. Then they wouldn’t think about right and wrong. It wouldn’t be a world of men and women, black and white, rich and poor. The truth would be clear. And the truth is only love is real. Everything else is a lie. There isn’t gay and straight. There is only love.

But we don’t live in a world which understands this truth. And this world hadn’t made it easy for them to be together. But through it all. All they could see was love. They never saw problems. They never saw judgement. Just love, their love. And today they were going to share it with the world. As much of it willing to be a part.

They stood a moment longer. The Kissing Bridge was comfortable. In the park friends waited. A group a chairs under a tree. A pastor friend who saw their love. They released hands. Tradition had to be changed because they weren’t traditional. One walking down the isle, and one waiting. They wanted to walk together. And they did.

They believed in ceremony. In ritual. In the power of bonds, like love. But they wanted to make them their own. Because they were not like those many before. Through the ages many have loved. But they had chosen a different path. They knew it and couldn’t deny.

In the future they’ll come back to this spot in the park. They will still have the Kissing Bridge. But now they have the love tree. The place where they turned a moment into eternity.