A prompt response to “get me out of here.”
Short version — life sucks, but there are pockets of joy.
1) Horse hair lath. Dust of decades. Darkness. I scrabble away. Can anyone hear my frantic efforts?
2) The leg, it is broken. The well, it is dry. I watch the sun fall off the rim of the stone like it’s the end of the world.
3) I cannot see myself in the mirror. He has smudged me out with benign disregard. “Oh,” he says, “I didn’t tell you?”
4) The legs crowd my relief. Chairs, staid and those that rock, ladies feet, socked and shoed. Get me out of here!
5) Twelve at the table. Eating. Pass this. Pass that. Nine people tied for saying nothing.
6) It would’ve been funny if it weren’t tragic. Abominations launched. Lies tolerated and worse. Quick! Change the channel.
7) In the dusty cellar, the ten year old clutches the Bible recently purchased at a flea market for ten cents. Fifty years later she wonders, ‘do fallen Catholics have any protection during tornadoes?’
8) Sandy wore pigtails, ate her boogers, and laughed at all her father’s dumb jokes. ‘Will childhood never end,’ her brother wants to know.
9) Ronnie slobbered because of cerebral palsy. Ronnie leaned in for a fourth grade kiss. Wet. His mother where? Sandy called home. Her mother would not come.
10) At the will signing, Jennifer thought her head would pop off in panic. ‘Was it the business of witnessing,’ her therapist later asked.
11) Brad sat in the corner of the lodge, cold French fries on a plate, his wrist broken. His mother couldn’t be reached.
12) The uncle that declares ugly predictions as if doing a service. “Most don’t live for more than three years,” he opined. Her father’s staples not even out.
13) There’s Robert De Niro acting as if he’s a young thug. Only problem is, he’s got an old body. Is this ever gonna end?
14) Herculean restraint collapses and spite retaliates agains the crazy that is her sister. The silent tolerance never credited.
15) It’s 10:30 am. Her boys have been rocketing around the house since before six. Time is a liar — surely it’s dinner time?
16) She wept by the tomb, her blue robes darkened by tears. Three days is a long time to wait.
17) And behind that rock? Waiting, why exactly? Was God the Father brewing up some special elixir to elevate His Son or was the Holy Ghost off on a distracting mission in Egypt, perhaps, or Mongolia?
18) Even 47 minute masses are too long.
19) Why not give them sacks of grain? The potato blight did not cause catastrophic death and emigration anywhere else in Europe. Genocide, an old game.
20) What was her name — the girl in the well? Now we remember the scuba diver who didn’t make it out trying to save that trapped soccer team.
21) ‘Get me out of here,’ thought every single one of those boys. How polite their desperation!
22) Hamburger grease and twitter thumbs do not go well together. Can no one stop the man?
23) All the saviors fall down. They, too, might as well be trapped in a damp cave in Thailand with a flooded egress. We holler and holler for their help when they are the ones in need of rescue.
24) Can no one stop the man?
25) Traffic on the Bourne Bridge crawled to an absolute halt. There was no way out. An existential crisis. Would Jennifer eventually slide forward past the narrow rails and be reborn. Get it?
26) If I count to ten or a hundred will it go away? If I count to ten or a hundred will I go away? If I count to ten or a hundred and vanish, who will I be after?
27) The Committee chairs bored even themselves. Why keep talking?
28) The partner in the corner office humiliated her with a guffaw at a department lunch. Much later Jennifer will rail out loud: “I’d rather be a decent person than a good lawyer.” Fucking boilerplate!
29) Interminable wait. Wooden benches. Dead, hostile faces at the counter. 84. Oh god, I’m 110.
30). Wait for it. Wait for it. She’s still waiting for it.
31) Her apartment smells rank — a vile combo of garbage and urine. There are so many boxes and piles of crap everywhere, there’s no where to sit. ‘Did I want to watch CSI-Los Angeles reruns?’ she asks as if everything was normal.
32) At some point, we all shed the body.
Finally, well, there is no finally — just strings of intolerable moments punctuated by sweet spring air, a perfect omelet, the well-timed embrace, passionate release, the just-right pocketbook, friendships that endure, a cool glass of bubbly water on the deck in July with a good book, oak trees that rattle all winter, catalpas that litter the ground with orchids in spring, the devotion of dogs, the quirky affection of cats, a difficult catch made, dancing into remembrance, the blues, rock and roll, the sound of pounding surf, the smell of pounding surf, foaming surf on ankles and knees, a dip in the cold Atlantic, his clever wit, my laughter, your beauty, purple shadows on snow, the old dog relaxing in his bed at last.