I am so tired of being asked if I think some girl is hot! She probably is. In someone else's eyes. I'm just not that into her. I'm an asshole when it comes to femmes. They're play things for me. I loose interest really quick. I was "butch" in my teenage years for a different reason than butches are butch. I wanted other lesbians to know I was a lesbian.
His cane makes noises when he sets it down and leans his weight into it.
Click-clack… pause… slide of foot against the floor. Repeat.
I had initially passed him, unawares that he was so alternately-abled. I thought only of myself in that moment and my need, like a bright sun flower, to warm my face in the sun.
I, who had spent an hour at the electrologists, allowing an infinitesimally small needle to be placed into the stubborn follicles of my face, then charged with a hot sting of electrical current, to kill hair I did not want growing where and like it was. To then spend the few minutes it took to get to the grocery store to buy a salad, an avocado, a small bag of kettle cooked chips and sweet potato mash for ‘dessert’. The chilly air-conditooned air that had been keeping me cool these past few hours felt stiffling. I needed warmth.
As I sit in a solid patch of sunlight outside the store, having passed the man with the noisy cane and reading over my receipt like a page out of a quintessential Great American Novel, he overtakes my position and wordlessly passes me.
I glance up and He makes a concerted effort not to look at me or in my direction as he ambles along his way, lest his nerve break or the concern in my eyes make him doubt his choice to venture outside on his own. The same way many people look at me when they see me heading to some or another store.
He stares straight ahead to where he intends on going next, his dark lashes feathery against the rim of his bottom lid. It reminds me of eyeliner and it looks pretty… no, handsome on him as a man.
He is young-ish, maybe in his mid to late forties. His skin tan and taut over the still strong muscles of his paralyzed arm. And I am assuming it was a stroke and it had been fairly recent. I assume only because there is really no way of knowing, though I get from the way he avoids my presence that he wants neither my concern or help.
I wait a beat anyway and assess our surroundings. The sidewalk is busy and the parking lot is bustling with cars full of children and mothers fresh from work and school. I follow, not far behind and try to anticipate his next moves.
He attempts to step down off the sidewalk, then thinks better and heads to the curb cut. I almost sidle up next to him and ask if he would like me to assist him in crossing the filling lot. But I don’t. I am afraid he will feel this insulting on some level and that I will take away the strength he had mustered to make the trek on his own.
So I fall back, keeping an extra eye out, in case I need to signal a coming car to slow down or if I need to present him with my help.
A hipster, in her SUV, sipping a beverage from a clear plastic cup with a green straw, stops her vehicle and signals for me and the slow moving gentleman to cross. I signal to her that he is crossing but she does not understand this and continues to signal for me to now cross. I nod my head in thanks and extend my hand to the gentleman and she finally understands that I am waiting for him to cross, to ensure that he makes it alright. She grins broadly and sips again from her green straw and waits until he is clear of traffic.
Once the noisy-caned gentleman crosses the parking lot successfully, I turn and leave him to the rest of his journey.
The multiple threads and snippets of thought crowd in and occupy my mind once more and I continue on with my journey as well.
The exercise path I walk is about three or four miles around.
I say walk figuratively because I don’t physically walk it – I roll. It is not in my neighborhood or in my area but I make it the center of many of the reasons why I go to it. To get fresh air, to see calming sights, to see people. It is in an affluent area two cities from mine and I aspire to it. I let it be known that I will have a nice condo there one day, close to the mall and shopping and the bus lines.
The fresh air I go to breathe there is also breathed by the affluent I hope to hob nob with one day. Whereas these outings for me are about being amongst them and their wealth, they for the most part are about their exercise and well being. I smile politely as they jog, the scent of their clean sweat and sunscreen perplexing to my nostrils. Often I see their nannies, brown like me, pushing their alabaster skinned, sun screened babies. I smile at them too – the nannies and the babies.
I don’t want to be there for them – the affluent I hope to hob nob with, but for myself. There is a part of me that always feels like I don’t belong anywhere. And since with the wealthy is a place I have not yet been, I look on them and their sky high, glass homes, as a place that maybe I can belong.
I fully realize that this could all be a fallacy – that once I reach my ascribed destination that I could feel like I don’t belong there either. So I peer into their botoxed faces and their children’s unmarred by life innocence for any assurance that I could be wrong. But all I see are blank stares looking past me. I vow in those moments to not be like those rich people, but to be different, to be kind, to be open and welcoming. And then I remember how forgiving my heart can be and I lament how my as yet had fortunes would be spent trying to save the world or by being conned from it.
I sigh in resignation and continue my walk, taking in the slightly salty bay air. I feel free here, like the sky is the limit and that only my Self could ever limit me. I glance ahead and realize that I am almost to the end of the trail and all of a sudden, I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to board the bus and take the 30 or so minute ride back to my area. So I hope i just missed my bus or I try to think of an errand I need to run. But my bus is right in front of me and anyway, there is no errand left undone, so I board. And head home.Home is where the walls feel like they are in talks to suffocate me and where I feel the safest – all at the same time. Home is where I am hidden and hiding and reaching out from. Home is where I find myself not living the fullest of my life and waiting for my living to begin. Home confuses me.
Confuses because I love and hate it. Many of my dreams have been born here and have also died. Half the time I am not sure what to think or do. So I’ve been sitting, real, real still. Hoping that I don’t implode or fade away. Waiting, for what I am not sure. Content and eager for something better or more.
Out on that walking path everything is always so clear – except how I will earn my fortunes that will support me in those glass houses. That part always brings me back to the reality of what I have and how not so bad it is. Until I realize that it is not how I pictured my life being. I get sad and think back to all those people I passed on the walking path and wonder if any of their sad eyes noticed how sad my eyes were too.
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I Came To Live Out Loud Print
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