It was eighty degrees in Houston for Christmas. Something sinister about sticky December air; sacrilege would be apropos. It disgusts me. I paid someone one hundred dollars to hang Christmas lights; they were half-hung, the boxes discarded in my bushes–I never got around to turning them on. The kids didn’t mind, they greeted me with open arms after being at their mothers for five days. Everything is just off. Nothing feels right. Someone scolds me that it is the new normal, my new reality, telling me I need to “learn to live with it.” I can’t help but think about the weather, hoping for another cold wind, something that will blow away all the residue of the past, a hard freeze to sanitize my life, leave me trembling on back porch stamping out cigarettes with rigid fingers. It is safe to say that it wasn’t a good year. Everything kind of fell apart, but in the process I discovered something under the surface, a different person, alive but out of place even amongst friends. The process of shedding my skin is a work in progress. Every day I find new ways to read tea leaves and construct cave paintings articulating my failure as I ache and twist into something newer, different, shell-shocked and disappointed. I yearn to find a cooler place, among those who know my secrets, can decipher my riddles, always prodding, pushing me into new places. Ah…but I wait, reading the forecast, waiting for a change in the weather, waiting for the words to fall from the sky, sitting listening to the air conditioner churning its strange song. Next week it will be colder–everything will be better.
Jasper Kerkau (Sudden Denouement Literary Collective)
[Photo: Ian Curtis]