Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the tree

For Sean D, and Mallory, and Me, and anyone trying to commit to (new) home. I've never written a short story before, here goes..

Mike pulled into the driveway. Plastic shovels littered the small front yard. Claire must have taken them to some activity. Mike didn't know when specific activities were, or what they were, but he knew there were activities. Before there were kids there were never activities. There was trivia night at the bar, but that was usually an accident. He stepped out of the car, grabbed his bag, shut the door, and tripped. Tripped over the root in the concrete. It belonged to the tree. When they first moved in they discussed removing the tree. It would keep growing destroying the driveway more. Its leaves were dead anyway. It would fall eventually, land on the garage or worse Katie’s room. If they took the place the tree would go, the bathroom would be painted, but then life happened. Mike looked at the blood on his hands, on the concrete. A small scratch on his palm, his nose bleeding. As a child his nose bled a lot, bled all over the H,B, and U keys in typing class in 7th grade. They just happened; nosebleeds, but he grew out of them.
Claire’s Dad offered to help them buy a place last year, closer to her folks' house, but somehow that conversation faded, and Mike didn’t mind. So they stayed in the little house with the tree.

The little house was a good location from Boeing, from their parents, okay schools, they hadn’t really researched, but how hard is it to f up kindergarten? They rented, in a neighborhood a little nicer than they could afford to buy in. Mike would like to say that was strategic, but it wasn’t. It was mentioned that eventually the old woman who owned it, and lived in Florida, would die and they would buy it, maybe.
Mike walked towards the garage, his nose dripping. Half of the things in the garage they inherited, Mrs. Silverman left them there, and that was okay. It always had been okay. Tennis raquets they never used hung on the wall, beach chairs, large mirror frames without mirrors; things Mike didn’t feel right touching. On the wall very high was an axe. He assumed it was Mr, Silverman’s axe, but didn’t know as Mr. Silverman was dead. What kind of man owned an axe? Perhaps every man did. Before. When you owned things you didn’t throw away. Now it’s harder to commit to things. You have to committ to an axe.

Was he committed?
Sure. He made a commitment to Claire at the Cape May court house, and later in front of their friends and family at the reception. He made a commitment to Colin 6 months later, and Katie. They were born weren't they? This all happened and he let it. They grew, they grew into the house, they grew into the rent payments, the repairs. They fell, fell into the SUV payments. He had lived here or fifteen minutes from here his entire life. And it was fine. It was a nice place, a place where people are smart enough and nice enough and liberal enough, and mind their own business. Pennsylvanians are funny that way, they have absolutely no state loyalty or consistent qualities other than being fairly nice, fairly sane people who are pretty much content to be so, and not have to tell you about it. And enough was enough. He never chose enough. He fell into enough. He fell into the house, eventually falling into the tree.
Mike slowly took the axe off the wall, carefully where the head met the stem, balancing on the ladder. As he approached the tree staring back at the little house it seemed to smile back. The little house with the vinyl siding and the plastic toys in the front yard. And as he flailed his body against the tree, he called to the little house ‘I choose you.’ The bark tore at his face as enraged he swung the worn axe. The axe itself ripping at his hands. ‘I commit to you’. His nose bled heavily, down his torn shirt, swinging and swinging and shouting, all the while smiling covered in blood. Smiling at the little home. Out of breath, hands grated, he finally hit the trunk, And as it fell the CRV pulled into the driveway, and the children started screaming

Friday, May 6, 2011


I love solo conversations, and the structures and games we implement just to attempt to communicate. What if?


So there's this thing, I think it's called shadow sharing or something. It's Jungian I think. I googled it a little. I heard about it from this guy at a party in Laguna and it really helped him, seemed to have really helped him he was different.From it, you know what it sounds like, he wasn't all woo-woo and spiritual and stuff, at least it seemed like he wasn't.

And it's this thing where off the bat before we get into too deep, before we become a we, if we ever are to become a we, which I'm not assuming we will. We express what we're afraid of. That way we know we will project these fears, and these fears actually have nothing to do with the other person, since WE hardly know each other. Obviously this would have been better done earlier but I'm just learning it now so I think WE should do it. I mean what the hell, right? what do we have to lose?

Ok uhm I'm afraid... I'm afraid of even doing this. Not this but this shadowthing. I'm afraid that you will judge me for it, are you judging me for it? I'm afraid that you'll find me boring. Unattractive. That you'll leave, that before you do I'll lose myself in you, or that I'll only want you when you're gone, which will make me seem completely unattractive and boring. I'm afraid that you'll realize that I recycle jokes, and stories, that eventually I'll run out of them, and I'll start telling you things you were actually there for. I'm afraid you'll pretend you weren't there. I'm afraid that we'll be sexually incompatible that our torsos won't line up right, that you'll judge my cellulite. And eventually you'll stop leaving your hand on my waist. I'm afraid that if we do have children, which I'm not saying we will, I'm on the pill, but if we do I'll do everything, and maybe you'll vaccuum once a week and empty the dishwasher. But you won't run the dishwasher efficiently, so I'll rerun it, which you'll think is passive aggressive. I'm afraid I'm not cut out to have children. I'm afraid that by just saying that I sound like a clock ticking cliche, and you'll get scared. I'm afraid that by saying any of this I'm talking to much, and expecting too much and immediately I've stopped being fun. And it's too early to not be fun, I'm afraid I'm not fun. And I'm afraid that I don't really want to hear about your fears or even hear that you're afraid, because that's not attractive. Or fun. Don't want to hear what you think I will and will not do to you. Because what if you expect I'll do nothing, what if you have no expectations beyond this dinner. This spring roll. That you've never thought of me beyond Friday night beyond this Spring roll. And maybe you didn't even plan for this Spring Roll, and this evening. Or maybe I'm afraid that you have.
I don't know perhaps this wasn't such a good idea. What do you think? What are you afraid of? Is that low sodium soy sauce?