Something Like Enchantment

My new tennies have heels that will click like dress shoes over cement, and I concentrate on this sound all the way to the doctor’s office. The waiting room has magazines with entertainment gossip plastered on the cover but I reach for a familiar children’s book, first. Feeling foolish despite being the only patient there, I quickly set the easy reading down and grab some goddamn thing with Gwen Stefani on the cover. I’ve let myself down before even settling in my chair.

I’m bummed. Bummed about Gwen. Bummed I don’t have the nerve to flip through a book I probably won’t see, anymore.

I continue to wait on the examining table. Directly in front of me is this terrible pastel painting of very young children leaning right over a bridge. A fishing rod. Flowers. Blegh. One little girl clutching her teddy bear couldn’t possibly have hopped up on the ledge, herself. How horrifying and unlikely.

Half an hour passes, according to my watch – something my dad is fine with me wearing since he hates the kind of wristband with those little, pinching parts. Dead skin finds its way into the face, gathered up around 11 to 1. I don’t know if it gets replaced with new skin or if I’m still carrying my dead grandfather around.

A pediatrician tells me that mono will remain in my system and possibly flare whenever I’m run down, then asks for some final blood samples. The same woman who could not draw blood last time, fails, again. Someone else pulls out a smaller needle “butterfly” and pokes around until blood starts shooting into a little tube.

“I got lucky,” he insists. Covering my averted eyes, he jokes, “Quick, tell me what’s in the painting.”

I proceed to tell him all about the terrible painting, probably the first and only real thoughts from the day that are verbally expressed. The needle comes out and he moves a crimson accessory through the air, plastic wing-like grip and all, to show me why they named it after an insect. My eyes follow the ridiculous demonstration from right to left, delighted by the bloody butterfly in my typical winter’s day.

Invitation To An Excuse

Have you ever mingled as though friendship was entirely based on strategy? Not because it really was, but because you’d drawn up the blueprints and was unable to leave them underground. Maybe for survival’s sake, you’d started making a tree with everyone’s name, and then began connecting them to relations. Soon you’re writing little side notes and taping up souvenirs to the correct branch. There are penned-in jokes and passing comments that get squeezed into whatever space you have left.

It isn’t until later on, when you take a step back, that you see you’ve been writing in circles around the framework, drawing a bulls eye.

***

On New Year’s Eve, Blair was talking about fixing up his car with decal. He made a reference to Flint but quickly dismissed it, as he was one-on-one with me and no doubt felt like his words would be pointlessly spent on someone who wasn’t paying attention.

“..and take it up to Industrial. That’d be cool. *pause* This cheese dip is good.”
(Me, realizing I’d heard a familiar word) “Industrial Ave, the quarter mile.”
“YEAH! I got a TICKET up there, man! How do YOU know about it?”

And you want to say, “Because the world you so carelessly brought into this kitchen and hit me with, was mine.”

That was the end of that, until the phone rang this afternoon.

It seems that after years of my absence, Justin has given the Latin Princess my phone number. Does he know I can’t count the number of times I’d have rather taken off with her and her beautiful friends than drone around in that 69 Chevelle with a crew of amateur drag racers? It isn’t like him to give anyone else something they want; I bet he thought she’d never reach me.

I think she said “Lance’s ex girlfriend”. That means no Shenanigans brawls with Big Bad Dave or anyone else from the circuit of the first born in those families – the untouchable parallel clique. She might have the brat, too. Jesus, how old is she, now? And what are the odds that “making an afternoon of it” will mean anything promising for me if she’s just the evil mommy with breast implants at this point?

Already, such terms of status and how I can acquire more.

“Justin is going to Japan for a year,” she mentioned in a way that I knew he’d been around, making her laugh. Something having to do with Justin’s time in the service has bumped him up to a more respectable caliber amongst his brother and older cousins. “Everyone’s worried, ‘oh, he’s an alcoholic, he’s an alcoholic’ but look how everyone else was, at his age”…

Justin went to work on this facade before he ever enlisted. He’d throw a house party, nurse a beer and hard lemonade and then his lanky ass would stumble through everyone else’s empty bottles while he boasted. There was some time away with tanks and camels before he returned to base with his “new” catch phrase, “I’m such a fuckin’ drunk.” “I’m an alcoholic.” I hate people like that, but he has always been this important, happenstance glue…

Jason likes popcorn-flavored jelly beans. Drew likes the Insane Clown Posse.

I haven’t seen Bryce since his dad came out of the closet and left his mother. I haven’t seen Jake since I jumped in the pool for one last wrestling match (me, getting battered and bruised) before driving home to tend to the unfortunate reappearance of someone who said they wanted to be with me, forever, again. The last time I saw Cameron, he was grieving on the pleather couch, having lost his best friend in a fatal car accident.

And I’d joked with myself, “ Sure, NOW you’re a sitting duck. Now that I have to go.”

I have three days to get dressed up to sit at a table with Nicolasa. Three days to entertain poorly suppressed memories. Three days to decide how much an unfinished game means to me, and if I want to play, at all.

Where Have The Petoskys Gone? *inside joke*

Living out in the country, you get a lot of strays. Shelters will charge to take in new pets, so a lot of people will just drive the unwanted cats and dogs out this way and dump them. Typically with my mother yelling from the front porch about rabies and other scary things, I make my way out into the road and attempt to coax the animal over. There is usually an hour or two playing with the dogs before animal control shows up.

It’s always a sad thing, when you realize how unlikely it is that someone will pay money to save the animal from its fate.

When we left on New Year’s Eve, there was a weird shape moving on the road.

“What is that?” Brad asked, driving towards it.
“Fox? No. I don’t know. Slow down, it’s a dog!”

As soon as I got out and started to call after it, the mutt took off for the field and looked back with uncertainty. Because I was with company and thought it inappropriate to waste time, I quickly gave up and climbed back into the van. Coming back home on the first day of the new year, that big puppy was lying, dead in the road.

When I relayed the sad news to my dad, he asked, “Near the big tree out there?” as he had seen it earlier in the week.

“Yeah?”

“Was probably waiting there for its owner to come back.”

I Will Be Scarce For A While

If you like websites with dancing smilies and cheery midi files, then I suggest you skip over this journal entry and go on to the next one immediately. However, if you found that seeing A Series Of Unfortuante Events left you without disdain – a word which here means “unamused with Jim Carrey’s performance”- then perhaps you will take advantage of my link to Count Olaf .

__________________________

Is there a doctor on my friends list?

A few nights ago, I woke from a nightmare of bubble-sheet testing with what felt like an ulcer. I swallowed alka-seltzer tablets and my stomach settled enough for sleep. The next day, I drove around a lot and stayed out all afternoon and evening, which exhausted me. I remember thinking how weird it was, to be so tired from having driven on the freeway and seen a movie. It’s not like the events should have been stressful. On top of becoming exhausted, one of my lymph nodes was beginning to feel sore.

I woke up half-dead from my day out. It was harder than usual to concentrate – resorting to the audio tapes of the latest Harry Potter is now as failed an effort as reading the text. I became increasingly irritable and spaced-out through the course of the day, and went to bed with a fever. I woke every two hours and felt like I was crawling with my last breath to the toilet and back. The night after that, I was so cold that my body shook and tensed up, making it difficult to draw in air. A few hours later? So hot I was sweating.

I can’t walk very far, because standing up causes dizziness. Without Dayquil Cold/Flu and Aspirin, there is a lot of pressure in my head. My body’s sore. My eyes can’t stand bright light. I can’t sit here for very long. I must go fall over.