Play Nice

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[This is where the summary would go if I'd bothered to write one.]

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The words fell on me.

I was in the closet, looking for my red jacket, the Christmasy one with the sequin ornaments when it happened. They almost took me down. It was so unexpected. I haven’t seen them in years! I’d actually quite forgotten where I’d put them. The last time I had occasion to use them was, oh my, it’s so long ago really that I can’t recall. Probably for Adam Trip’s funeral. His brother asked that I say a few things so I opened up my box of words and pulled out a couple. I wasn’t using them much then, they were a litle dusty. I mostly pulled them out for special occasions and such.

While in college they’d gotten a lot more use. Yes, in those days I used them so much they hardly ever made it back into their box. I’d leave them scattered all about, over my desk, bed, floor. Some people’s floors were hidden by their clothes, with me it was the words. Well, yes, I won’t lie; there were plenty of clothes down there too, but the mess was mostly the words.

I’d wake up late, bleary eyed, sometimes slightly hungover and I’d reach down for a shirt, shake it and the words would come loose—showering down to reunite with the others. The words were everywhere then! So much so that I took them for granted. I never doubted that all I’d have to do was shove my hand in a pocket, or reach into a drawer and I’d come back out with a fistful of letters, all ready to jump on the page and be brilliant.

They shone all on their own, I almost felt guilty about putting my name to them, because, even though I sometimes took them for granted, I never forgot they didn’t belong to me. No, that I never did.

And now, here I am, 23 years later and they fall on me.

If I was a person who believed in signs I’d say they were trying to stop me from wearing my favorite Christmas jacket. But it’s such a pretty thing. And not being one to believe in signs I’m certain that that can’t be the case.

I’m looking down at them, for once in my life.

Looking down and trying to remember what it used to feel like to have them in such abundance. They’re worn, dulled by age and neglect. I pick one up and it’s cold to the touch. This is also new, this coldness. I can’t remember ever feeling that before. The edges dig into the palm of my hand, causing pain. The calluses are gone. My hands have been made tender by years of lotions and tasks that never ask for manual labor.

I reach down and pick up some more, ignoring as the edges, the corners, prick my skin. I squeeze tight, close my eyes and try to will forth the energy, the vibrancy I can kind of remember. All I get for my troubles is a fistful of bloody words.

I splay my palm open and watch as they fall down, the lush gray carpet muffling the sound.

The search for the jacket is forgotten. The Christmas party gone from my mind. What is left is a slight tingling sensation, a vague sense of awakening. I tilt my head, close my eyes and breathe slowly, deeply, quietly, afraid.

I sway slightly, feet shuffling, a naked toe digs into the words and I feel them cold, but less so than a few moments ago.

I think. I hope. I pray.

I wait.

Published 12/13/03 in Writing • | Views: 4547 times | Print

Wow Patricia that was really good.  Bravo!

Posted by sub/ver/sion  on  12/15  at  05:10 PM

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