Antonio, 1984

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt entitled, Antique Antics:

What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.


 

NonnoOctober 1984. Wedding rehearsal dinner.

I am a solemn captured moment of a joyous evening.

A celebration for my oldest daughter.

I am a 29-year-old photograph, snugly fitted into the corner of a bedroom mirror.

Antonio – father, husband, soon-to-be grandfather –

6 more years, you’ll see.

He’s sitting in a wooden folding chair at the table, gazing out across the table, tired,

unaware of the camera’s presence,

just quietly thinking to himself.

The party, melted away in his mind.

When the film was developed, I was probably passed around at family parties

to be thumbed through and glanced at.

Over the years of family functions, celebrations, and holidays, a mountain of pictures formed

like the accumulation of sediment over time.

It became too great, too heavy – Not enough space.

And so I was rolled into it too

to be stored in a 40 lb bin of memories,

to sit in the bottom of a cool, damp New Jersey basement

so far from where I came from. So far from home.

One day, a girl came downstairs, noticed the bin of photographs.

I was one out of a thousand. How did she find me?

Was it fate?

Or random occurrence?

She grabbed a handful

to thumb through and glance at

and went back upstairs.

She looked at me with curiosity and slowly set me aside.

I didn’t go back downstairs with the others

but lay breathing on the dining room table of a house I never recall entering.

I was taken higher up to where the air was warmer,

to her bedroom, to be tucked into the mirror, so she could see me everyday.

You see, I remind her of something – A dream.

A fleeting dream she had about 3 years ago,

way before she knew me or my whereabouts.

It was fall semester, sophomore year of college.

Nightfall. He was sitting outside a church.

No eye contact, side profile, same stoic expression.

She gasped and cried. No one believed he was there.

They didn’t even look! They just told her, “No. He’s gone now”.

She woke up in the midst of hiccuping tears, alone,

mind like an turbulent ocean.

Because as Antonio looked out thoughtfully on the wonderful day,

everyone was unaware of the silent ticking clock counting down in the background:

9 years, 2 months, 6 minutes, 30 seconds.

9 years, 2 months, 3 minutes, 11 seconds

and so on.

So when she looks at me in the mirror atop her dresser,

she thinks back to the man she never knew, or rather

knew too briefly.

She misses him more than anything, gets teary eyed from time to time.

It’s difficult for her to explain why, only that she has this innate knowledge that he loved her,

this inner frustration that she can’t go back, or change anything.

It’s not easy to talk about.

She’s forever scarred by the stroke he suffered right next to her – December 1993.

She was 3 years old

and it was the last time she would ever see him again.

the message no one wants to hear

it’s like no one cares

so why try?

gravity is sitting on me today.

you’d find it hard it believe.

and it’s so easy to disassociate

who you think I am

with what I’m feeling now.

so go ahead.

the only truth is your own view.

it’s completely subjective.

and it hurts –

life, giving life, being life.

I’m afraid to stop trying

because what if I miss out

on something great?

it’s this stupid fucked up idea

that I think I can change you,

think I can help.

and I want to do that – all of it.

but I fumble with the words,

unsteady hands,

trying to smile and look brave.

it all feels alien today.

I want to be that genius kid.

I want to prove you all wrong.

I want to surprise you in the best way.

it’s the message no one wants to hear.

it’s the tears I keep bottled up ’til they burst.

I’m embarrassed by it.

but if I were to tell you, you’d never believe me.

it’d sound fake. it’d sound like I’m making it up

but I’m not. I swear it.

it’s these moments strength is a weakness.

I just want to mean something to someone,

to anyone. Not beg for the attention.

because that’s so messed up.

it doesn’t work that way.

it feels like plastic and gloss.

I am the lioness in the tall grass –

unseen, but seeing everything.

but when it comes to me it’s all cloudy

like the weather in real time.

accurate metaphors.

those are the best kind.

because in this information age

feeling is all we have.

It may be swayed and manipulated

and faked and flipped off,

but they can never take away the essence –

the exploding electrons, sparking nerve endings

shooting up

fireworks to the limbic system

at arousal, at anger, at absolute serenity.

so this is my new thing:

having my fingers do the talking on an impossible wednesday night

(sign language, type language)

nothing leaves my mouth and I can make mistakes and you would never know it

because I just press backspace and the white is clear and pristine as before.

I like it ’cause it’s not real. It’s not really how it is outside the screen.

here it’s all square, all perfect.

and for a moment it all seems beautiful, all seems okay.

but I still have what they can’t take away from me.

it can’t be fixed. I’m stuck with it.

I can’t amputate the shitty feeling that’s weighing me down this evening.

I bring the sideways L to my temple and bend the thumb down

in jest, in play, pretending to restart and start over.

games are so misleading. they always are.

huxleyhuxleyhuxley,

you have scarred me for life.

pop rock heart

if you cut open my chest

and put pop rocks on my heart

i think it would tingle nice |

cover the whole thing

in crystalline sugar gems

good enough to eat |

when I’m all patched up

i’ll rise, they’ll fall

throughout my body

dip into my bloodstream maybe

being sucked up like black holes |

pixie stick through my nose

as a fifteen year old

all i got was a cold |

kool aid smoke

hit my brain

I got angry then |

it’s all i have

it’s all i want

it’s all i know |||

My Colorblindness

My eye doctor didn’t believe me. Though the nurse had done the test less than 10 minutes before, he did it again. He wanted to determine for himself, see with his own eyes, that I was colorblind.

It’s a hereditary trait on my dad’s side of the family. In fact, my dad has it too. The reason why my eye doctor wanted to be so sure was mainly because colorblindness is extremely rare in girls. That’s what he told me, anyway.

Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between green and brown, blue and purple, green and yellow, red and brown, grey and green. They’re those in-between shades; The ones that border on another, those ambiguous colors.

I don’t see black and white. Well I can see black and white, but that’s not all I see. There was a kid in my high school like that. Could you imagine your waking life appearing like a 1950s sitcom and having no reference point that in fact it does?

Sometimes when I look up at the sky, I wonder if I’m missing out somehow. I wonder if the blue is more blue to someone else and I’ll just never know what that looks like. And even though this thought practically kills me, I think I’ve gotten used to it. Because at least I have eyes. At least I have eyes that work.

So if you can see the number in the colors, remember there are others who just can’t. All we see are tiny, different-sized circles. We try to make sense of them, to connect bubbles and find a pattern. Blankly staring, thirstily drinking, trying so hard we’re practically drowning. Scanning it over and over, darting back and forth, up and down, blubbering out “ums” and “ahs”, trying to fake it so the doctor won’t see there’s something wrong.

And we are the flawed (or so they say). We experience life in a dimmer light, perhaps. We won’t be able to fly planes, and it may be difficult to coordinate clothes and accessories, our blue sky might end up purple if we paint it without looking at the label.

But what else is there to do but go on? We have to live in the world and say yes to who we are, even if it doesn’t add up to our perfectionist ideals.

That’s what I keep telling myself.

Colorblind Test