It is one of those months where the emotional congestion of friends not forgotten lingers on tip of my fingers. I dance the digits across the keys, flirting with each letter, but somehow the message falls far from the feel and I feel. So many words flow out, from snort of snout and that bout, of wry insult. But now the mucus barricades my throat. Each word feels squelched and stretched beneath the firm press of the moment and at best I can only seem to suffer through a silence.
I feel a thought untangle itself from the web of dislocated disorientation. “You are far away now,” it says, and I feel the dread of every muscle letting go, “and there’s nothing left for you to do”. I hear it, like a rock crumbling loose from the cliff, “They have others and you do to.” I sense it, like water breaking loose from a damn, and finally the deluge washes over me. “This is the rest of your life.” I laugh in spite of myself, it feels like saying “Wear Blue and White, but try and forget the horseshoe.”
I see every little drop of drama slip down the veiled bottle of that old place. I see the sparkle of those once familiar cries for help. I see the shine that used to hit my eye and make me feel near blind from the rush. I see the light at the end of that tunnel I walked down, that tunnel where I would pause to gawk at the gratuitous graffiti. It was there that I would yell, “You aren’t alone.” at the fanciful hand writing of those familiar suburban warriors, “I am here.” I’d yell at them as though they couldn’t hear, just to hear it echo back.I am here, I am here, I am here.
And here I am, in a place where my phone does not ring 317 anymore. Here I am in a place where I write to others from Philly, Texas, New York, even so close as Michigan and Missouri. And at the center is the void where time and space rip. At the center of the circle is that monument to old conversations that rises up into air. I hear they dress it like a tree in Christmas and water it like a shrub in summer. They say all the old “how are you’s” start to smell fresh again…
That is, until they wilt once more in the spring and the fall.
I pick up my phone, and thumb 317 with the slow, awkward embrace of the vaguely familiar face. Then I smile a bit, and think on how long it will be until I’ve lost a home.
yours wholly, Austin R Ryan