the best of 52|250's fourth quarter

Week #47 – Blind spot

Week #47 – Blind spot

She knows by aLnym (Aljoscha Lahner)
Not knowing what I know by Doug Bond  
The smiling parents turn their back, both at the same time, for just a
second to look at the high school boy who caught the Frisbee at the
very last moment and rolled over like a stuntman on the sand. That’s
when the toddler’s little legs get pulled under and I see it.

There’s a soundtrack playing in my head when it happens and it happens
this way all the time. Sun skitter, dogs, kites, laughter. Slow motion
pink pale splashing and the wave washing away from shore. It’s a
disease, this jolt I’ve grown close to and the wonderfully deep
screaming that looses inside.

LOOK NOW! HELP! PLEASE! Someone tell them. I can feel my mouth
opening. I’m about to…but the wave really only came calf high and she
runs giddy-scream backwards and mom and dad, still smiling, hold her
tightly, not knowing what I know, that someday, it will come to her,
in a place they know well and I won’t be there to make it not happen.

It could be a canoe, the one they will leave at the edge of their
pond, the rope swing, a rifle on the wall, an unlocked door or the
drunk man in the Buick down the street. Let me tear out my eyes,
beautiful girl, and place them where I know that you’ll need them,
like I should have know for my own little boy, who like you, was
staring straight ahead and couldn’t have seen anything other than
light.

The Line by Karla Valenti  
There is a place not far from here, a tiny spot of space where people like to go to forget. It’s always quite busy, as there are many with much to forget. Sometimes you have to wait for days before you get a turn but people don’t seem to mind because it gives them time to collect their memories. You can see them as they stare ahead, their eyes open to their past, trying to recall each moment so they can let go of it once and for all. As their turn approaches, they seem more desperate to remember and so they spend more time away. They seem to get heavier as they get closer to their turn, as if the weight of their memories was becoming unbearable. Sometimes they cry. When their turn is up, they step on the spot and close their eyes. For that one instance, they are blinded to their past, they have no memory of who they were or how or why, they only know to be. And then, the moment is over. They always look up surprised to be there and then they simply walk away. They never look back at the long line of people waiting behind them for their turn to forget.
Wife by Lou Freshwater  
On the day she died my mind was flooded with images of her, mixed up, no order, just chaos taking up space as if to hold back the absence which was beginning to take its own form and which over the next days and weeks would strike me down, not until I was on my knees but well after, grinding my curled up and hopeless body with the gravity it alone controlled until the pain and loss felt as if it was breaking my bones not by snaps, but by a slow ache and giving in to the pressure. In these days I wanted to escape the images, and there were so few ways to help me do this. Even drugs and alcohol only softened the edges, blurred the center, slowed the herky-jerky slides of her living a life she no longer had. We, no longer had. But years have passed now, and those images have changed or disappeared. What used to be a scene has broken into fragments and blips of her on a screen I can’t control or manipulate. I feel a crushing guilt about this. I wished her away. I begged her to stop coming. I could not take the pain I should have been able to endure. And now, as time unfolds in front of me, I wonder what will be left of her. Will I be able to see her when I need to, or will she completely retreat into an unbearable blind spot.
From The Balcony by Christina Murphy  
He liked to sit on his balcony and watch the people go in and out of “The Blind Spot” bar across the street. He felt he knew many of the regulars, who came a few hours after sunset when the bar’s sign flashed neon red letters that lit up the street.

He had worked in construction but was retired now. His knees began to give out after thirty years on the job, and when he could no longer climb ladders, he knew no one would hire him. It was a young man’s job, and he had too many years on his face to be the type of guy anyone wanted these days.

His hands were gnarled from his years on the job pounding nails and laying shingles and lifting heavy coils of copper in the hot sun or the cold of winter. Often the flashing red of the bar’s sign would show upon his hands and look like blood in the cracked skin of his knuckles. He’d swig down another beer and wonder what had happened to his life.

About 11:00 o’clock he’d call it a night. He’d fall asleep with the music still echoing from the bar and the red light flashing against his bedroom wall, forming bits of letters that took on odd shapes. He liked to believe the letters watched over him as he slept, filling his dreams with images as his mind surrendered to a darkness he’d accepted and no longer feared.

Back to Wk #46 – Another world
Forward to Wk #48 – Tainted love