emma b. says

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Fair, The Fair

I don't know how many of you out there grew up in a small town, but if you did chances are, you know all about the county fair.

It was the fairy tale ending to my adolescent summers, I held out my virtue and my allowance for that extravagenza, mind you, this was in the days before the immediacy of the internets and cell phones, only a smattering of the well to do had answering machines.

In some ways it's heartbreaking to see it through grown up eyes, the midway so small, so small town and dusty, when at the cherry height of adolescence it was vast and full of noisy and bright promise.

(in an email to my girlfriends I said we should hit the midway as we did, as a pack of feral girls) in truth I lasted a half hour, shaken by the smallness, overwhelmed by the 'necks with beers in hand, the scent of brawl heavy in the air, and my name called out, emma here and emma there, all the people you really never want to have to say hello to, but the laws of small town means you have to stop there in the middle of the pigshit, next to the monster truck venue to make polite with a mother of five in your class... and the connections get evermore glasscene and politic.

which by way of a long story short was how I wound up at the 20th reunion of the class of '87. How I really didn't want to be there. Everybody is married quasi locally, everybody has the requisite 2.5 kids, even the dorks, jesus christ the interloper junior that is I.... so, where are you. san francisco. lovely. kids? no. hapless marriage, no kids.... oh.... have you seen little junior?? feign cooing over little junior, run off to smoke outlawed cigarette in quiet corner.... make note to whomever is going to undertake my 20th, please have an open bar and a better DJ.

I't s not that I can't empathize with their inability to categorize me, (or not) gay, urban, divorcee, sad sack, fundamentally unable to land a man -- where I had to remind myself, unto myself, you, long time shiny girl, I shot down your future husband, BECAUSE I WAS TOO URBANE...... and then last night since I wasn't anywhere drunk, but I was watching closely I had a minor epiphany that has everything to do with being from a small town, and staying in a small town. This man was hungry for a partner, and I was too young and too full of the promise of city, plus he had a kid, but what I think they saw in each other was not love but recognition, so they got married and had a kid. Maybe they are the richer for it.

And then speeding back to my city, after the fair, and after the reunion, unencumbered by fog, in the majesty of late afternoon sunlight, to the gays, to the gays. To home, sweet, steep hills, squeezed between bridges, with all of those friends in between.

Heaven help me but I still can't fall out of love, not with this city, not with this, not with him. heaven help me, because I am pretty close to surrendering up my flushed coattails and shout to the world from my flushed cheeks that I really am almost ready to be heartbroken again, really, really. but not yet.


and on the flip side.
no more rumination, cold hard reasoning.

I'll have to get out and throw my charm on.

But before the unsavory, savage edge of an unfamiliar, future reality there is the hopeless gold of prospect, my blue heaven just beyond my grasp somewhere between upsideown karaoke and pinball and the hope and the hope that my world will be turned on it's heel and out of the darkness and the blur of neon you might come and love me, and it would just be us in the middle of the river without life jackets on, but that is only really just a pleasant day dream. Aint no love coming for me, aint no man hanging on my periphery, whatever love I drill I'll have to capture in the dust motes, I, well armed for the etherial, I only ever hope to be noticed with all of this tactile and forgiving armour, I only ask to be noticed, I only ask to be heard, that and I miss you, and I do and always on the back roads of my father's maps, mostly I just miss your absence, who ever you are on the left side of the bed.


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