Tag Archives: yeahwrite

The boys next door

The knock at the door came at a bad time.

I’d driven for two days straight with a car full of things from my dead mom’s house–on the anniversary of her death, no less. One kid was in the bath, the other was clamoring for dinner. The neighbors were having a Sunday evening backyard party despite the drizzle and we had to shut the kitchen window because it was so noisy. The Kavanaugh debacle was still fresh in my mind and I was still angry. All I wanted was a glass of wine and to shake the knots out of my shoulders.

“It might be someone we know,” my wife said, and so I stomped to the door, ready to snip at whoever was there, and yanked it open.

“Hi,” said the rather good-looking young man on our porch. He was barefoot and held a can of beer in his hand. “We really need someone to take a group picture.”

I wasn’t exactly dressed for a party in my yoga pants and over-sized elementary school sweatshirt. I wasn’t even wearing a bra. Still. “Let me get my shoes,” I said.

The boys next door had strung up lights. Food was laid out on a red tablecloth, and music was playing. Fifteen or so early 30-somethings crowded the small backyard, trying not to step on each others’ toes in the damp grass. Jake and Patrick wore matching Hawaiian shirts; Patrick had their dog, Girlfriend, in his arms. A cheer went up when I came through the gate.

A blonde girl in a red dress handed me her iPhone and scampered off to join the group.

“Dude, did you knock on the neighbor’s door?” somebody muttered.

“I mighta,” said the barefoot beer-drinker.

“Hold on, I’m gonna take a bunch,” I said. “Hopefully one of these will turn out.”

I snapped five or six shots, hoping that everyone’s eyes were open in at least one of them. Girlfriend barked the whole time. The blonde girl came for her phone and squealed at the photos, so I guess I did okay.

“Is there an occasion?” I asked, mostly out of politeness. “Somebody’s birthday?”

“They got married!” someone called out.

In the midst of social chaos, when white supremacists and Nazis speak freely and without repercussion, where passports are being revoked and protections reversed, halfway through the reign of Donald Trump, Jake and Patrick got married. In their backyard on a Sunday night, surrounded by their closest friends, their chosen family. It was a surprise wedding, somebody told me. Everyone thought it was just a barbecue.

“You guys,” I said. “I’m gonna cry.”

“It’s okay,” said the blonde girl. “We all did.”


Last Dance

I bought the place sight unseen: two bedrooms, one bath, no neighbors. I bought it for the quiet–a place to be alone.

First it was the radio: an old Glenn Miller tune.

Then it was footsteps overhead, a rhythmic step and slide.

I crept upstairs. A shadow crossed the sliver of light underneath the bedroom door.

But when I opened it, nothing was there.


Driver’s Ed

Coach M was intense. The football guys loved him.

“Do you believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?” His fist pounded on the passenger window like a hammer pounding nails.

My hands tightened on the wheel. “Sure,” I said, praying I’d make it out of the car.



[Yeah, so I forgot to add this to the microprose grid. But I wrote it for that, so I’m leaving the badge!]

Fee, fie, foe

They keep coming: small men with their small desires. They hunger for my gold; they scrabble through my table leavings. They foul the air with their scent.

Here comes another, hand over hand to steal my solitude. Let me ready my plate.


A handful of days

I take seven pills every night. Don’t worry, I’m not sick. I’m just trying to stay healthy. A multivitamin. Three glucosamine tablets, for my joints. An aspirin because of that one a-fib incident a couple years ago. Two melatonins to help me sleep. There are too many to take all at once, and so I have to swallow them in three big gulps. Some of these things are huge.

“Horse pills,” I joke, every night.

When I travel I count out tablets into a ziplock bag. Three nights away means twenty-one pills. Seven nights means forty-nine. It looks like a lot of pills. It feels like a lot of time.

Our days are filled with activity: biking, swimming, hiking, a museum visit, even a horseback ride. Good thing for those horse pills, I laugh to myself. We stay up late; we sleep in. We hardly know what time it is. We don’t bother to count the days.

Tonight I weigh the bag in my hand. It’s light: only seven pills left. Seven pills between me and the end of our vacation. Seven pills between me and time’s inexorable pull.

Melatonin won’t help, I can tell. My brain is already tracing the route home, counting loads of laundry, making a grocery list. I reach for my glass of water anyway. The rattle of the pills sounds like the winding of a clock.