Monday, September 17, 2012

Last Times

I make promises that I cannot keep. You wouldn't suspect. I am so reliable to my family and friends. But I do it nonetheless. I promise that I will quit smoking when I know it is a promise that I am not willing to keep. Maybe I should just promise to think about quitting. I do that all the time anyway.

I promise to listen better but I am incapable and often have to ask either Ali or Mark Anthony to repeat the story. This is not fair. A story is not half as good the second time around. They tell me many stories. Maybe I should ask them to tell me only one story a day. Maybe then I could listen better. I wonder what story they would choose. I promise Danielle and Caesar and I used to promise Mark, when he was still alive, that I would write a book. Danielle and Caesar still ask every few months about "my book". I tell them it is fine. I write a little here and there. Sometimes I am impatient and ask them how I am supposed to write a book when no one has clean underwear and my commute to work takes several hours? Where is there room to write? They just nod their heads. Tell me they will wait. They look forward to reading "my book". I looked forward to writing it for a long time but then it seems like such an egotistical thing. Self centered and self absorbed. As though my story is any better than your story. The poor listener asking others to pay attention.

Until today, in the bathroom. I will skip the bathroom details. I hate when people include bathroom details in their stories. I know and you know what goes on there. It is mundane and basically just physical housekeeping. I do like bathrooms though, especially clean bathrooms with whimsical decorations. That I will talk about. I will remember a really nice bathroom. Today in the bathroom I thought about the Tarzan swing down by Darby Creek. I thought about how I'd play there in spring because by summer the weeds and poison ivy outgrew the banks of the creek. It was several years that we played on the swing. Somewhere before age thirteen. How I'd climb onto the swing and poise myself on the ledge of the hill. Then I'd jump onto the rope and fly over the creek, many feet above it. I am bothered because I can't remember the exact last time I did that. I played on the Tarzan swing every spring for many years and one of those times was the last time. But which time? If I had known it would be the last time would I have swung higher? Would I have let go and fall into the cold water? Would I have felt sad that this part of my life was ending? After this I start to think about other things. I am thinking about the exact last time I built a fort in the woods. Or played capture late into a summer evening. I didn't know it would be my exact last time. I assumed I would do it again. These thoughts are enough to make me consider writing the book again. This is something I can share with a reader that doesn't seem egotistical. Maybe, I think, others think of their exact last times too and maybe we are all the same in some way. A way that makes "my book" less about me and more about what is universal. Me and my characters are just examples really of all the other people in the world who are wondering at this exact minute of their exact last times.