Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Gypsy

Railroad ties are not , my friend, the only ties that bind.

You could say the whole adventure began the day I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw the gypsy. That explanation might not hold up in a court of law, but as far as I was concerned it was close enough for country dancing. I had gone to bed rather late the previous evening and as I slept I was visited by a strange yet singularly vivid dream. Without going into graphic detail. let me just say I finally came across the girl in the peach covered dress, who was being held by a before unknown Norwegian tribe. By disguising myself as a middle aged orangutan, I was able to secure her release but not before they took two frisbees and used them to make her eyes big and blue.

By the time I woke up it was late morning. If I had been a banker I still had time to get to work, but if I had been a banker I wouldn't have had the time to remember my dreams. My life was moving along with all the fluid grace of a North Central Expressway in Dallas traffic jam. My romantic life had been slowed to a standstill as well.

I walked miles and miles of bathroom tiles only to stare into the silver distance of the bathroom mirror at those waving fields of emptiness that has become the country of my heart. Alas, but this morning that was not to be the case. There standing staring back at me were two beautiful blue eyes that appeared to be slightly more real and substantial than I felt at the moment.

The face I thought I recognized. The eyes seemed familiar but different. They burned with the intensity of campfire embers, remembering everything I thought I had forgotton.

Blond hair and blue eyes, to light to be a gypsy. But like a gypsy she was wearing a large earring in her left ear. The kind of earring not unlike those commomly worn by athletics, homosexuals and death bound teenagers. This gypsy had been born with the earring and it fairly gleamed with the mischief of dreams. I blinked several times, but the image in the mirror did not go away. They never really do. The mirror is the perfect place to one day see the gypsy in your soul.

"Who the hell are you?" I said in a mild state of hysteria. I figure if I can talk to myself, I can talk back to a bathroom mirror.

"I am the gypsy in your soul." she said, "and I've come to tell you a story that I'm afraid makes about as much sense as your life."

At that moment I was pretty sure she was going to be right. Still I had to preserve reality to save sanity.

"Hold on, I don't even know your name do you have a card?" Clearly in the mirror she held up the Queen of Hearts.

You need to come away. You need to travel the world, leave your village, leave your friends, leave Miss Amarillo 1969.

"How'd you know about her?"

The gypsy said nothing but her eyes sparkled like Norwegian stars. I felt many things just then, mesmerized I gazed into the mirror. Fear, curiosity, disbelief, desire, when I spoke again it was in a voice of sentiment not uncommon to someone looking into a mirror.

"It's really you who wants to travel far away." I said.

"From where?" said the gypsy.

If God had not wanted us to talk to a gypsy image I figured He would not have created bathroom mirrors. Of course then no one would have been able to see their wrinkles, nobody would be like a nerdy teenager brushing his teeth before the prom, Hitler would not have been able to see to trim his mustache, and whores with hearts of gold would not be able to touch up their makeup, and nobody'd be able to find the Prozac hidden behind the bathroom mirror that wasn't there anymore.

So it was that I let the blond haired gypsy slip away through the silver fingers of someone elses dawn and thought about what the ghost writer of this journal once told me, "If you are tired of looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror try looking at yourself in the rearview mirror."

I sat at my computer terminal drinking my first cup of coffee like a brokenhearted Romeo, who at the last minute decided to just keep on living, if you could call it that. A short time later I noticed my hands were shaking slightly. It's not every morning you carry on cocktail chatter with a youthful female gypsy in the bathroom mirror. But it wasn't the appearance of the gypsy that bothered me. It was the ability of the gypsy to see inside my soul and then relate to me what these weary worn vessels contained. Like Miss Amarillo 1969. The gypsy plucked her right out of the sadness of my eyes.

From somewhere the gypsy spoke, "she's not coming back, you know?"

"I know."

"I miss her too."

"I know."

"But I miss her in ways you will never know."

"I know."

You should probaly see a shrink, I would if I had just spent half the morning talking to a gypsy in a bathroom mirror."

"I know"
"But you won"t do that."

"No," I said.

I thought I was going through some midlife crisis, but I was beyond midlife. I didn't feel sorry for myself because I am just a creation of the guy who ghost writes this journal. I'd obviously missed my chance to be a teenage suicide. Now all that was left for me was a ragged weary and sometimes cynical world with all the ambience of a Karaoke Bar in Dallas.

Those were my thoughts as I heard a ringing in my ears. They say if you hear ringing in both ears- someone, somewhere is saying nice things about you. In this perverse world you usually have to be dead for that to happen. It took a few moments but I figued out the ringing in my ears as I answered the phone. A friend inviting me out to a karaoke bar.

I hung up the phone and returned to give the gypsy the only advice I had, after all this was supposed to be about her not me.

All aboard my fellow travelers on this Ship Of Fools. We all find love , everyone. Sometimes we lose it or let it get away. But don't fall through that timeless trapdoor waiting till your time runs out and Miss Amarillo 1969 waltzes up to you and embraces you at the end of a troubled dream. And yet for those who at one time or the other finds love and loses it, life can become frustrating. If you think it is difficult to live with yourself, just think how hard it is living with the person you have become.

It was a rather warm evening late in the month of June and as I took my daily walk I happened up on a gingerbread house under storybook stars, I thought of the gypsy....somewhere.... packing to follow her dreams. Fragile, and strong, ephemal and timeless, beautiful beyond words.

Words that help heal the hearts of other people, just may heal your own as well.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The fair

I sat at an open air facility at the Tri State Fair in Amarillo, drinking a beer. As the fairgrounds empty, I am left with after images. I remember walking along the crowded midway with Miss Amarillo 1969. The pulsating neon spokes of the giant Ferris Wheel in the nearby field seemed a world away. Childhood is close by, but you can't quite touch it.

The plinking of a piano filled my ears in a style that seems to flutter bravely like a balloon escaping to some beautiful place between a little country church and an old New Orleans whorehouse.

Walking along the back of the fairgrounds near the exit, standing with the crowd, thinking the thoughts of a lifetime.

The thoughts are ones capable of making you cry and comforting you at the same time. They do both to me.

I feel a palpable sense of history passing, ephemeral as the dopplered voices on a midway ride, and yet, I know something will stay.

I think to myself: 80% of the people here are not with their first choice.

I pull out of the parking lot. I catch the face of a young girl smiling at me wearing a peach colored dress. At first I stare in disbelief, then a sort of gentle reverence, then the absolute innocence of wonder at what life after high school would hold for me.

I drove by Dick Bivins Stadium where I had sat in the stands as she marched with the marching band twirling her baton. A gentle rain begins to fall and I realize that there are somethings that even time can never take away.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Love and Life

There is a clear distinction between love and life. Love is blind, and life is its seeing eye dog- more kind, more beautiful than love itself could ever be. The kind leading the blind. Yet without love there would be no one to lead across the street.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A soft Landing

It seemed the right time to share a dream, and it seemed the right time to chase the dreams of the living, rather than the ghosts of the dead.

For a long time I felt responsible for both their deaths. Nothing allowed me to sleep at night. My own nightmares had almost become friends.

One of the first things I did once I returned to the USA was visit my Army buddy Bill and Miss Amarillo 1969. They were both at Memorial Gardens. I had not been able to return home with my friend in arms. I said I was sorry, and like always he seemed to understand.

My other great love, Miss Amarillo 1969, was a high school sweetheart. She said she would wait for me. She didn't and had kissed a windshield on Highway 287 South. I placed a single rose in the vase and a card under the vase. The card said how much I missed her.

She had been beautiful. But with so much charm and beauty she became the object of admiration and worship. She had no time to wait on someone who might never return home, she was only guilty of affecting my life, nothing more.

I looked out across the Texas prairie and saw us dancing. In my head Nat King Cole played, and the younger gentler versions of ourselves held each other and laughed even though long ago we had left innocence behind. She touched my cheek with her fingers and I smelled the flowers in her hair.

She stood on her toes and kissed me softly, but as I pulled her closer she vanished into nothing.

A soft landing back to reality, to replace the things that had once been familiar and safe.