Saturday, August 24, 2013

An Annotated Life

You’ve been parking in your driveway instead of your garage for the past few nights because the battery in the garage-door opener finally went out.  You knew electricity was not matching up the way it should, but you’ve been so busy that parking in the driveway has meant nothing.

It’s been a little strange coming to your own front door and letting yourself in that way, rather than through the garage.  You’ve felt a little more important than you should.  When you come in from the garage, your cats always hear the garage door opening: they’re sitting inside waiting for you because they’re happy to see you.  You love this.

The coming-in-the-front-door way, your cats are not used to. You’ve been sneaking up on them.  You’ve been opening the front door locks with a key and looking into a foyer of emptiness.  No one has heard your approach.  This has been disappointing to everyone.

The confused faces that have met you at the door these past few nights have reminded you too much of the sink-my-battleship faces you have seen all summer, in the mirror.

Tonight you buy batteries at the local drugstore, where you’ve been striking up a flirt of sorts with the manager for the past two years.  Tonight he sells you the batteries and manages to tell you that his work schedule seems quite similar to your own, as do his waking and sleeping hours, and general interests.  He seems to be more familiar with your schedule than you are.

He is attentive and nice-looking, with a broad smile.  You escape with the batteries, thinking, this isn’t a bad life.  Fumbling on the way home, you insert one new battery into the garage door opener, hoping that it really is just the battery and not the entire front of the house that needs replacing.

You have never been happier to see your garage door go up.  Your cats are singing opera by the time you walk in, and--having had enough notice—they’ve also set out your dinner.  With fork in a can of tuna, you check e-mail to find an out-of-the-blue note to “My Loving Sweetheart” from the Nazi, saying adieu and something like
in the best case I would get tired of discussing and arguing about weird things
in the worst case I have to come before a court ... either way, I would have lost everything.

Your heart starts beating faster.  You've tried to make this most recent man-situation into just another broken heart, but you were afraid of him.

You are so glad you document your life.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t believe it yourself.  You've always been a little slow to pick up on the clues: always a party favor, never a red flag.

You’re glad this man’s name is a common name, so that every time you still hear it, it means less and less about him.  The meaning of the name disperses again every time you hear it into all areas of your brain and heart and soul and toes, because that’s where the effects of all men usually lie.

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