Message in a Bottle

She waited for hours for him to show up.  Moments passed by like a string of eternities as she waited for him to have the decency to call her, at the very least.

That was it.  She was done!  No more waiting for him to “bless her” with his presence.  She was tired of his BS anyway, tired his bare feet in his sneakers and how he slurped coffee.  And he cracked his knuckles … what was up with that?

Just last week he agreed when she mentioned that she was not in as good a shape as she used to be.

“You know it is good for your health to keep fit,” he said.  She knew she should hit the gym more often but it was none of his darn business if she did or not.   She didn’t tell HIM when to work out or what to eat.

“Why do I always get the losers?” she thought.  Men who don’t know how to treat a lady like a lady … are there any good men out there?

More hours went by.  It was almost 1:00 AM when he finally called her.  She was in bed with the phone on her pillow.

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?’ she began, her voice rising.  “I have been waiting here all night for you to call me!”

“Remember what you said last night?” he began with a calmness that stopped her mid-rant.

No.  She didn’t remember too much about last night.  Too much wine and too much song …

“You probably forgot,” he said, “You told me you were going to come over to my place and pick me up.  You were going to treat me to a pizza, I think.  I know, it’s a little late now,” he laughed.

“No worries.  These things happen, honey.  Just called to wish you sweet dreams.”

WOE

Kit

 

WOE

Some evening, quite soon, you are sitting with a friend, perhaps having a great cup of coffee, or a glass of wine.  It is one of those times where twilight plays with a summer day and the mix of  humidity and delicious warmth are ushering in an evening that feels like lush velvet gown.

You are settled back into a slowly rocking chair…pillows cushion your back and cradle your neck like a mother’s love.

The night unfolds with the soft cries of waterfowl on the pond not far away, as they settle in for their nightly repose.   All is well.

This is an old friend – not old as in chronological years, but old and wonderfully time worn into friendship…and wise beyond the accumulation of her years.

She knows you.  She knows your ups and downs, those ins and outs that you sometimes share and most-times hide from the rest of the human race…some even from yourself.  She knows these things.

She is the only one you trust with your confidence.  The one whose steps fall in line with yours as you navigate the crust of those deepest molten parts that keep threatening to be shattered open, neon red raw by the violence of the activity underneath.  She knows those parts.

And so, when in the silence of the sweetly forming evening, she turns to you and her eyes say, “Tell me the story,” you comfortably comply.

It is the same story she has heard 100 times, perhaps 1000 times before.  If your confidante ever tires of it, she doesn’t show it.  It is wonderfully rehearsed.  You have told it and retold it over and over, devising and revising it again and again.  Its forms are legion, it seems, different words but its conclusion always turns out to be the same, fashioned from decades of sweeping attention moving across it like polishing grit.  An eons old river stone story, its edges understandably smooth.

“Why do you want to hear that same old story again?” you ask her.  “Maybe I want to tell you a new one!”

She smiles in her special way.  She knows how well you love to tell it.  And she loves you. She is kith.

Sometimes it is hard to find where to begin, the story has had so many drafts. Then there are the revisions, expertly performed by a hired editor in an attempt to parse the material and trigger plot changes that may make the story more interesting.   And less lonely.

Those edits, lost in translation, lay discarded on the floor of a house barely lived in, now forgotten.

And so she waits as you begin to find the words.  She won’t be listening to them, regardless of their eloquence and perfect metre.  It is the untold story that she hears and appreciates.

This version begins, as always, as a tale of woe.  This time it is a man…who finds himself running but never getting far enough away from the acid breath on his neck and the champing teeth at his heels.  He runs, wild with fear, all day and all night.  He takes refuge in the highest peak he can find while battling the earth under his feet, the water that splashes in him and around him…consumed by a fire that burns hotter and brighter with each step, with each anguished gasp for air that gives life as it kills.  Above his head, suspended, is a double-edged blade that cuts to the bone.

This woe he battles with all his strength.  He cannot run away from what is always looming, smugly present and accounted for.  It seems to arrive before his eyes, always.

And so, he yells to himself from behind the wheel of his car, and “flips the bird” at stupid, ignorant drivers.  He shouts, “They are all idiots and maniacs!” He straightens books upon the shelf, organized by category and size, enjoying the symmetry and logic of it all. He asks himself why nobody sees what seems profoundly obvious to him…the painting, hanging on the wall, is 2.2 millimetres out of square.

And he believes, this time, it is time to become a vegetarian.

Is he all alone in this crazy world?

Your friend smiles patiently.  She knows the story of stories.

She knows how they begin and how they end.  She knows why the blade cuts so deeply, when it does.

She understands that silence is the only way the story goes untold.

She sits, waiting for you to tire of telling it and understand that, too.