Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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They fished three tournaments together without breaking the top fifty before I told him to sign me up as his partner instead. At least I knew the difference between monofilament and fluorocarbon. I mean, damn.
This was what it was like to do the work she did, to recognize the person in the dying body and to stay with them — like bearing witness to light moving through wreckage, stubborn and pure.
She liked classic rock and country, while I favored singer-songwriters with whispery voices and acoustic guitars. She teased me that this was typical of kids whose older parents had made them listen to Bob Dylan instead of Michael Jackson. In fact, my parents had usually listened to silence, but I liked her theory anyway, because it suggested that my personality was not my fault.
It was after this, in the three or four weeks before she stopped coming to class entirely, that Sheila started bringing in the Murder Plays.
He was still reading the Book of Job. The prophet Jonah tried to flee from God unto Tarshish, and Isadore Lemberger was fleeing from death unto Buenos Aires.
When I first moved to New York City, I told myself that I could always leave if things didn’t work out. I’d be all in, until I wasn’t. I found a similar all-or-nothing quality to life there: the sad history of people’s failed dreams alongside all the obvious success stories and diehards who wondered what your problem was.
When Sarah’s mother, Penny, got sick four years into our marriage, we decided to move back to Mississippi, considering it penance for the sins of our youth. We signed a lease on a house, a white one-story on the historical register with a wraparound porch and angels, stars, and the moon painted on the transom above the front door.
You can hardly remember now how you would pull out the ribbons she weaved through your hair, launching them into the wind as you pedaled faster on your bike. You have left that girl behind. You believe in the power of ribbons and roses now. You are a woman.
When he tired of talking, he’d slap a red, hand-shaped conclusion to the quarrel onto my face, pressing his brand upon me, the mark that labeled me as his.
I was working in the yard, raking out the sunny patch where I plant tomatoes and cucumbers, and feeling the pot gummy I’d eaten a half hour ago start to come on, announced by an uneasy self-consciousness and a brightening little buzz.