I: Men and Tips II: The Power of Pretension III. Something

I. Men and Tips

My mother bit and pulled at the scab on her lip. Family trait. Scabby lips from kissing strangers.

"I really liked him", she said.

I poured her another cup of coffee and watched her fall into herself.

And into herself.

And into herself.

I think it must be dark in there, and sounds from the outside are nothing but muffled hums and ticks. The water inside boils and steams. It gurgles up through pipes that lead to the skin. Crevasses form where oil seeps through and dry into a red and white Mojave for the nano creatures to go and retire.

I touched her hair and said, "You could call him," but she didn’t hear me.

I left her there to mow the lawn. It was something I could do.

Pushing the mower out from the shed, I imagined the man my mom had been with. He was a man I’d never seen or spoken to, but I had known plenty of the others and this one couldn’t have been much different.

I imagined him watching me mow, reeling to give me tips.

“Make sure to pump the prime,” he’d say. “Keep those wheels on the outside of the lines,” he’d say. “Spread that mulch ‘round the garden,” he’d say.

I mowed and rolled my eyes at the memories of men. Men and their tips.

Then the grass was mowed and might as well have been Fenway fucking Park.

I pulled the screen door open. My mother was where I had left her. I said, “All set then. I’ll be back next week to mow again.”

But she didn’t hear me.

II. The Power of Pretension

The girl-down-the-street’s father died of a heart attack and I imagined myself knocking on the door with flowers and saying all the right words.

Then, later, I saw her at the theatre and said, “Hey!” and gave her a high five.

That night I didn’t sleep and spent the whole night sweating and turning and rewriting history and hoping that, it’s true, humans can learn from their mistakes.

And I imagine myself knocking on the door with flowers and saying all the right words.

III. Something

I'm not sure what I have to offer but when she pulls me close with her hands on my hips I know then that it must be something. #MakeOurMark


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