emma b. says

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My Sweetest Sucker Punch

I keep getting clobbered by old songs, a quick jab to the kidneys, drops me to my knees. They always turn up in the strangest places, when I'm hold with the bank, in the intermitent peace on the bus, a snatch from a stanger's headset.

And I keep remembering long drives with a dead girl, and the volume as loud as a reasonable girl could withstand, and the blessed nothern sunshine of spring, and endless fields of mustard, and the thrill of being 18 and as heartlessly free as you will ever be. One of us didn't live to see our twentieth spring, one of us died at the first breath of summer, in the jeep with the roll bars, sitting bitch, with the cassette blaring.

One of us rolled right out of the jeep, the driver was drunk. One of us rolled out of the jeep, riding bitch, and it wasn't me, I was three cars back and the scotch broom perfumed june was full of the promise of oil-sweating, bikini sprawled, freshly minted college girls, prone on granite, cooled in the river. Later, when you in the hospital, before your lungs flooded and you drowned, I remember passing the boy that we had both slept with, he had gotten you pregnant, and he knew that I knew it, and he knew that I knew that you had not been to see her full of tubes, and sickly bruises fading to puce, and I screamed a string of incriminating expletives at him, as he loitered on the sidewalk, and I can recall just how stricken he looked, and how I choked on my words and my anger, and how less than a week later we were all gathered at her funeral. Since then I have seen the polished headstones of other friends in the same cemetary, when I drive past it on the way to my parents I notice that I have begun to think of it as the repository of lost friends.

I can still see them, in a snatch of a song I had thought I'd forgotten, they come to me in the dizzy swirls of almost and eternally twenty, from the twisted metal of cars and cassette tapes, they sing the songs of memory, a whisp of warmth in the tall pines and the dying, drying green everywhere.


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