To be completely honest, I probably haven’t written since my last blog post. But I love this poem- it’s a variation of the story of how my parents met. I was thinking about how much like my mom I am and how I’d totally do something like this, but also just thinking about them as my Dad’s birthday approaches and how close it is to the anniverary of my mom’s death. Anyway, here is my favorite love story ever:
I deeply inhale the last puff of my cigarette
And toss it into the street
I long for another one to calm the racing in my heart
And the turning of my stomach
I see you in the corner of my eye smiling as you call out names for hotdogs
Soft brown curls bouncing as you laugh heartily
I pull up the pants on my bright pink pantsuit
Double check my face in my compact
To be completely honest, if I have to eat another grilled hotdog from this cart I might die
But at least you’ll remember me
I add another coat of lipstick, take a deep breath and make my way towards you
Slowly but wanting to run
James Brown comes on and you dance back and forth, swaying your hips and snapping your fingers
The line is short and my mind has little time to prepare itself
Because it’s too busy alternating between if I look okay and how impossibly fucking cute you are.
And I can feel my heart crawling into my throat as I breathe uncontrollably
As my cheeks match my fire truck red lips.
My mind wanders,
And in the longest and shortest moment of my life I realize it’s my turn to order.
I stumble over every word I’ve ever learned searching for hello in the back of my mind.
“Hey Judy- the usual?”
I give my best flirty smile as my face flushed, embarrassed you finally realized I’ve eaten the same thing for lunch over the past 3 weeks.
I wonder if you realized that you are the common denominator.
“Sounds good,” I say handing you my dollar bill.
You turn around to throw the dog on the grill as I fight with myself for only pulling two words from the pit of my stomach.
I’m the last person left and as you call my name to hand me my lunch, you tease me,
“Don’t you ever get sick of hot dogs?”
And for some reason I had clearly left my brain in my desk at the office or maybe I never had one to begin with because the only words I can find are-
“I hate them but I like seeing you.”
My heart slips back down my esophagus in a slimy liquid form and nearly out of my body as I stand paralyzed.
And then our lives suddenly flash before my eyes,
And I said our because from that point forward they are forever intertwined.
Our first date where we laugh for too long over cheap burgers and cheaper beers
Our small wedding in my parents’ home on 4th street in a pink floral dress on my 24th birthday,
My brother in law as your best man.
Our smaller home by the fairgrounds filled with plants and our Doberman puppy, Lightening.
Where we’ll make a billion mistakes a day until we’ve both made the unforgivable one a million times and you leave me.
And the day you come back, choosing to forgive me.
And you love my two kids as if they were your own, until we both almost forget that they aren’t.
How you loved them- spoiled them with gifts and affection and took care of them as I got sicker.
When you let them skip school to see the Quarter Horse Congress
How you were there for everything- watching them play sports, perform poetry, and graduate.
And when we finally lose you, as you crash into the overpass on 1-71 on your way home from your shitty second shift job you only took to provide for them once you retired.
Three years later I when the cocktail of diseases finally take me.
And on your 71st birthday, when our daughter writes this poem at the bus stop, missing the both of us.
Laughing at how much like me she really is
And hoping that one day she’ll find someone just like you.