Posts tagged Aaron
Posts tagged Aaron
A Single, Mighty Stomp
By: Aaron Dethrage
When I was seven, I crushed an empty soda can with a single, mighty stomp, just to prove that I could. I’d love to say that some intellectual spark fueled this, some childhood revelation of destruction and end, of power and submission, but the truth is that there was a girl—blue eyes and blonde curls, and a single, missing tooth that whistled when she laughed—and I was simply getting my first taste of a life spent trying to prove myself to them. It was summer, and I was barefoot, and the can, still cool from the ice that had held it, collapsed like the bellows of an accordion under the swift force of my little leg. There was the crunch, a gasp, and the cupping of hands over a worried mouth that lacked a single tooth. But then, a smile; an airy, whistle through a bright laugh—the fullest her little body could produce—and an unforgettable sense of worth. I felt infinite, unstoppable.
Now, at forty-six, I am blankly staring through a rain-splattered window and listening as an officer, no older than twenty-five, attempts to console and re-piece my wife, breathless, knocked to her chair by the weight of this pain. He’s reciting memorized apologies—sincere but empty—and elsewhere in town three other mother and father pairs are hearing the same, sorrowful, meaningless words. I’m drunk and furious and drained, a glass knocked over, my insides seeping into the carpet below me. I wonder what they are all thinking about, the parents of the lost, what I am supposed to think about. I loved my daughter; she meant everything to me. But I am sitting here, silent and staring, thinking about a can, about the collapse of metal upon metal, an unyielding force set against an unyielding force, and the sound. The sound echoes until it is all I can hear. Infinite and unstoppable.
“Why did your parents name you Lily, anyway?” Josiah asks abruptly.
“Oh, um, my mother just likes lilies, I think. At least, I’ve never heard anything more than that.”
“You know, I’m not sure that I would even recognize a lily if one was handed to me—if it grew outside my window, and sang to me each night as I fell asleep. But then again, I’m not really sure I notice a lot of the beautiful things around me. I think that’s why I have so much trouble being happy; I am incapable of seeing the good amidst all this noise and pressure.”
The conversation has weaved in and out of this introspective bullshit all night, but Lily sits across the porch without a word of protest There is an empty, cooled coffee mug cupped between her soft hands, and the wind sifts through her loosed hair. Her freckled nose wrinkles slightly when she talks and she bites her lower lip whenever she doesn’t want to. The moon shines down on them both, bathing the street in its blue gleam.
“I don’t know, J. It’s easy to get distracted by all of that, but happiness is always out there, usually closer than we allow ourselves to see.”
The two have been friends for six years now, and Lily wants nothing more than to be cradled in his arms and kissed gently on the cheek: to be loved—truly loved—as she has loved him. She tolerates the nights like this, because she is certain that during one of their late night talks he will notice her feelings and say apologetically that he feels—has always felt—the same.
She listens. She wants. And she waits.
But tonight is not that mystical night, and when the clock hits 3:00, he recalls his impending shift and proposes that they sleep. He walks her to the door, and with a smile and a hug, he is gone.
Lily walks to the corner, where her car sits waiting, and turns to see Josiah turn off his light. She braces her hand against the cold metal frame and leans herself against the door. Her head rests on her shoulder, and her shirt clings to the remaining scraps of his smell. She sighs out the last of her self-pity and with a smile she quietly starts to sing toward his window.
The moon, unnoticed, looks down on her from above and does the same.
We are young;
We have years ahead, maybe.
We might fall in love,
Or fall apart.
But before it ends,
Well, we should try to start.
Inspiration: http://www.oneword.com Today’s word was “glimmer.”
A Glimmer. A Spark.
By: Aaron Dethrage
Gradually, Hope awoke, repeating in her head the words which had sung her to sleep the night before: “This year. This year it will be different. This year I will change.” 2011 had been a long pause for Hope. It wasn’t her worst year—that was definitely 2006—but it had been a year of patterns, mundane and stagnant routines that she was ready to abandon. She wanted adventure and excitement. She wanted to become the type of person that effortlessly attracted those around her with her spontaneity and apparent reckless abandon. She wanted to see new places, experience new cultures, and kiss new lips. This year. THIS year.
The adventure of her glorious rebirth excited her, and she pulled back her sheets and stepped out of bed. Her cotton-socked feet touched the cold, hardwood floor resolute. In the kitchen waited a pot of coffee, self-activated thirty minutes prior. Hope floated through the house, her spirits ablaze, and poured herself a cup. On the counter blinked a bright red three, missed calls from the night before. She would sip, she would listen, and then The Perfect Year of Endless Adventure would begin. That’s what it she would call it; she had decided.
“First new message. ‘Was that it? Oh, hi, Hope. It’s your mother. I’m sure you’re out having a good time. Your father and I are just about to head to bed, but we wanted to wish you a Happy New Year first. It was so great seeing you last week. It always means so much to me when the whole family is together like that. Now make sure that you don’t overwork yourself when you go back in next week. You just seemed so tired at home, and you know how much I worry. Anyway, sorry to drag on. We love you, honey. Happy New Year. Keep in touch.”
“Message Deleted.” Mental note: Mom does worry too much. I must make sure to avoid that in my new life, and I must make sure to regularly check in with her so she stays happy. Check and check.
“Second new message. ‘Party rock is in the house tonight. Everybody just have a good time. And we gonna make you lose your mind. We just want to see you. Shake tha-”
“Message Deleted.” Pocket dial. Mental note: my new life must involve dancing. I think I’d really enjoy dancing.
“Third new message.”
I bet I look sexy when I dance. I bet I will meet more boys if I go out danc—
The air hung still for hours, days, an entire, spoiled year. Her name from his voice was all there was, all there had ever been.
“Hey, um, sorry, I must have pocket dialed you earlier. I, uh, hope you are well. It feels like it has been ages. Jesus, I shouldn’t be doing this; I’ve had way too much to drink. Um, you should give me a ring sometime. We could grab coffee and catch up or, you know, whatever you wanted. I… I’ve been thinking a lot about you. I mean—ha, shit, I should end this before I make any real mistakes. Anyway, um, Happy New Year. Call me. Bye.”
Her pink, cotton socks suddenly hardened into cement blocks and the scuffed hardwood floors became the mud she must trudge through day in and day out. The Year of whatever she had called it would not happen. She would save his message and pray that he meant it, and, undoubtedly, he will have not. She’ll arrange her life into carefully staged run-ins, where she will see every other girl that he bothered to take to dinner, to take dancing, to take to bed. She’ll cry alone to Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker and hate herself more with every night. This year will be nothing new. This year will be last year, will be every year that she has ever known him. This year. THIS year—
“Message deleted. No new messages.”
And with that: a glimmer, a spark. Hope found the brightest dress in her closet—the shorter one that the cute Starbucks barista had commented on two separate times last year. She opened her front door, stepped out into the bright January sun, and gradually hope awoke.