Saturday, March 22, 2014

the day is done (aly pt 1)

[Yeah, the day is done and I'm endlessly underwhelmed. My time here feels flowing, but contrived, like the LA river. I wish some one would tell me how they really feel, the day and the damage are both done.]

I'm sure you're familiar with saying things you're not proud of. 
All works copyright me. Factual content questionable. (Or not.) 
      When I grew old enough to change the channels myself, I used to think Ronald Reagan was my real father. I figured the nation's father as my own. I'd watch his plastic grin on our family's Curtis-Mathes console television and understood in my own way why he was unable to divide his attention among so many children.

     Some years later, I'd lay in front of the same television with the neighbor girl Aly. Her full name is something I'm not capable of reproducing from memory. She was from Azerbaijan or Iran or something else that's incomprehensible at that age. I'd always pictured her previous years surrounded by ferned, verdant jungles, tigers, and men inexplicably festooned in yards of silk with pointy shoes and curved swords.

    We'd tweak the contrast knob and watch a dreamlike Mr. Rogers explain the garden in our mind. 

   Aly, I felt, better represented what I was seeking in a friend in the neighborhood. She hated bikes and other boys, and felt more at home in my house than anywhere else. We had it to ourselves most of the times anyways.

  In the living room, I'd sit on the floor and lean on back on my hands. I always knew where to put them because there were two round and shiny cigarette burns in the orange shag carpet. 

   Aly maybe didn't have to learn to move, but when danced, she channeled India, or Persia, or her Romany ancestors, I don't know. I guess as an unstudied pupil, I hadn't learned to appreciate anything but our contrast. I just knew we belonged.

  At night, we'd don vintage clothing and listen to vinyls we didn't like. We'd get red faces and headaches from Metallica and Pantera cassettes we hated rewinding. We'd dance in floods of color and noise.

  Aly's parents were both in the medical field, and I'd only seen them when I walked Aly home. They spoke medical English only, I think. They'd scold her when I brought her in, and make me take my shoes off. They'd talk about the late hour, their daughter's future, and whether I'd thought about mine. This, I thought, was a figure of speech to a thirteen year-old.

  Sometimes, after Nick-at-Night, or MadTV, or SNL, or ... well, one of those, Aly and I would lie in my bed, the window open. We'd decide on things like just the right-sized sailing ship, or fare by bus, plane, or train. The opposite end of the line was of the least consequence. 

  It wasn't until the first homecoming dance we attended together that we started locking the door.

 We'd wonder aloud in the darkness whether the rehearsed and contrived lines we practiced countless days would have any bearing on our adult relationship. These are things you think when you're forced to age.

We'd hold hands on the roof and watch black and white cars and sirens; we'd watch the night go by before our very eyes. Every single thing, time told, was real enough for me.

We were 16 when Aly and her family moved away.

[t b c . . . ]