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JWR 3.8

 

My friend Scott calls me and informs me that this girl we know--not well, but know nonetheless--killed herself just this past Thursday.  To hear those words in my ear, it was strange, but somehow I knew they were coming, you know?  I said, ďWhat?Ē in a loud voice lined with surprise, but I was not.  Itís not sinking in.  Itís not...I donít know what the word is.  Who could have guessed?  But I did a moment before he said it as he searched for her name.

 

I havenít known anyone who had the balls to commit suicide since high school.  Although, thatís probably not true, Iím sure there have been others whose paths I have crossed who no longer walk that line, but have crossed of their own volition.  And if thatís not a P.C. way to express such an act, I donít know how else to do it.

 

I was going to ignore it.  I was going to go about my business and forget about it, but then, after I got off the phone and decided to forget it--decided not to attend the services this coming Wednesday and decided not to mention it first ever--I was simply putting away my laundry and then something happened.

 

See, since I do stuff half-assed quite often, I have been putting laundry away off and on for a couple hours.  Doing other things in between, etc.  Well, I noticed, in one of my dresser drawers (the middle drawer on the left to be precise) my swimming trunks.  I last wore them at my friend Dawnís graduation party.  This was when my zipper on my shorts got caught and I stood in front of half a dozen people attempting to dislodge it while also attempting to save face.  Whatever.  So, there the trunks were in that middle drawer.

 

Later, while putting away a pair of shorts, I pulled open the bottom left drawer and see my swimming trunks there.  I am home alone.  There is nobody here, the doors and windows are closed and locked.  I pull them out and then open the middle drawer and uncover another pair of swimming trunks as they had been covered my clothing.  I hold these two pieces of swim wear in my hands for who knows how long, simply looking at them.  The tactile interaction necessary because you canít believe your eyes in this day and age of Adobe Photoshop.

 

They were identical.  They even looked equally worn.  Then, all of a sudden, I just start thinking about this girl again.  Iím holding the brown trunks in one hand and the brown trunks in the other and flashes of her face appear in my head.

 

We only saw each other at a few parties over the past three or so years.  I tried from time to time to talk with her, but it was difficult, she was so shy.  But I tried.  I eventually just stopped trying because lifeís too short, as they like to say.  Well, she proved them right.

 

I always thought that she had a nice, cute smile.  She had a slight gap in between her two front teeth and I guess I just find that kind of thing a simple pleasure to see.  Like kids sitting at the front of their driveway at a lemonade stand waving as you drive by down a road you havenít been down in years.

 

I donít know how or why.  I want to, but am okay with never knowing.  Iíd like to think there is nothing that I could have done, but somehow I donít buy it.  Did you ever see that flick What Women Want where Mel Gibson can read the thoughts of women?  If you havenít there was a part in it that may come as a surprise to you.  There was the women who worked in the same office as Melís character and one day he hears her thoughts, as she is picking up some office supplies that were knocked from her hands, that tonight she has decided to kill herself.  Well, he goes and helps her pick up the supplies and talks to her a bit but he hears her thoughts that sheís still determined to do it.  He goes to her apartment that night and interrupts her, but he starts saying that he recalls her work from a previous interview and now has a position open and wouldnít she like to come in in the morning and theyíd discuss it?

 

Needless to say, she does not kill herself.  Needless to say sheís so happy now.  Needless to say, often times I wonder why people, myself included, might fantasize about being in a movie or a book or on TV.  Now I know exactly why.

 

Iím not sad.  And Iím not happy, certainly.  I donít know exactly what I am.  I know that I still donít want to go to the wake.  No one ever does, but I really donít.  I have two identical pair of swim trunks.  I wonder how many swim suits she had and now whatís going to be done with them.  I donít need two pair.  And certainly not two of the same pair.  But I know, nothing can be done about it.  I know what I am.  It is confused.

 

I miss my friends I donít talk to.  And I worry.

 

Whatís to be done with all these swimming trunks?

 

Iím sorry this is not happy.  I wanted to maybe return after a short break with something comical, but other things need to be said first sometimes.

 

John

 

Once upon a time I loved this house

Now Iím thinkiní Ďbout burniní it down

And Iíll be long gone when the fire burns out

On the way to another town

 

-Steve Earle ďAnother TownĒ

 

Copyright © 2002 John Lemut