Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The lactic acid doesn't go away. It's like the wet, heavy snow that falls in the darkest months of a bitter New England winter. It falls and it sits and you can't do a damn thing except move it off the places you want to walk and drive your cars. And all I can do with the acid is walk while it sinks down from my belly, through my thighs, past my knees and just begins to pool somewhere down by my feet. Doesn't matter what I eat or how I exercise or how much sweet sweet loving the hottest girl in the sorority is giving me. 'Number One' is what I call her and there's nothing all that special about her, It's just that she's the only one whose hotness outweighs her stupidness. There's a chart with axis and index numbers and it's all real mathematic and technical and brilliant but I won't bore you with the details. Sufficed to say that she has almost as many friends on the facebook as I have dollars in my checking account and I hate her for it but every time she smiles at me the hormones take over and my brain shuts down.

I am shut down. I am a cocoon. Safe. Making a change swiftly and stealthily and silently and stylishly. No one knows. No one can see.

I don't remember the last time I saw any of my own blood. Or the last time I tasted it in my mouth. I've never broken a bone that matters. I've never had the spend the night in the hospital except in the waiting room. In fact, I've only been a hospital patient once. Couldn't have been any older than five or six. I sprinted out the front door of my house and down the porch steps when I felt it. Sharp and searing and glass and lodged two inches deep in the bottom of my Nike-pampered heel.

I don't care how many people walked this earth in bare feet for how many centuries, the bottom of our feet are sensitive as hell. They're sensitive when a giant shard of glass sticks itself in. They're sensitive when the doctor injects you with a local anesthetic. They're sensitive when he uses a razor blade to expose all the little shiny shards and pull them out piece by piece by piece by piece with tweezers.

Just 10 days before my first trip to the hospital I was walking through the backyard and I found it. A cocoon. Brown and small and quiet. Silent changes. I ran inside glowing with my new-found discovery. My mom pulled an empty pickle jar out of the old wooden cabinet where we kept odds and ends that could save a bookstore manager and special-ed teachers a few dollars here and there. She punched a few holes in the jar's aluminum lid and I waited. I waited for my new friend. I guessed at his colors and what he had looked like as a caterpillar and how I would feed it and take care of it and let it fly away into the backyard.

Two days later I came home from school. The cocoon had split and something had emerged. But where was it? Where were the colors? Where was the happiness? That's when I saw a something brown crawling along the inside of the lid. Creeping. Something dark. Something devious.

A moth. A disgusting, brown, dirty, winged messenger from the depth of night. I felt sick to my stomach. My mother told me to let it go out in front of the house. I walked out the front door and down the steps and as I prepared to unscrew the lid. To let this little devil into the world. But something came over me. A jolt. A shudder of revulsion. Something I couldn't control. And I threw it. I heaved the jar and when it's short arc reached the ground the glass shattered into a million shards across the sidewalk.

And somewhere amidst the glass I saw a flutter, the moth spread it wings and it rose. It rose and I swear I could hear it laughing.

I don't like cocoons.
I don't like hospitals.
I don't like moths.
I don't like wearing flip-flops.
I don't like lactic acid in my feet.


Blogger eric said...

hmmm ... so if it isn't beautiful like you think it should be, then it's less valuable.

interesting given the entirety of the post.


9:28 PM  

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