I should be in an abandoned diner somewhere with the rest of the survivors, reminiscing about ice cream and Coke floats.
You should visit. My head is swimming with TMI, snippets of my favorite songs, YouTube Truthers and their dire warnings, layered images from my past, what could have been, my dreams, somewhere in between here and all those other lives in this parallel multi-verse where he waits in a cabin far behind the Golden Gate Bridge — with his sheets of music and his border collie.
I feel Bobby walk through me, as I listen to the golden butles sound off on a recent Airmen of Note record, hear the crash of metal on metal, watch glassy gray waves cut into this side of the cliff forever known as, Monmouth, where I believe he lives, waiting for his one, true love’s return.
I’m a writer. I should know what this means. I should know how this ends. A psychic once told my mom that I was supposed to be a lawyer, but her timing, as usual, sucked, and fucked me with this female body I never wanted and this female mind led slavishly like a dog begging for one more pat on the head before her master throws her another bone into the farthest reaches of this forest, which only catches fire in my borrowed imagination and my handful of memories.
I look for Terri beyond this one large pine tree, where Beth and I tied a gossamer ribbon for her wedding, where love brought a bunch of damaged strangers together for cupcakes and steak.
Tonight, I walked among those trees, on barren roads, the stillness of empty houses sending echoes into my subconscious. I remember or dreamed of the time(s) I snuck out of this space ship parked on someone’s lawn in the middle of Georgia… just to feel grass on my bare feet, the rustle of familiar winds. I knew they would come looking for me in an instant the longer I basked, with their heavy reminders of a world gone by, a world they destroyed.
I am utterly alone, serving a survivor’s penance.
This is the same place. Am I seeing you in another life, or just the one down my street?
Am I programmed? Am I shutting down?
I need to turn this off, this thing that keeps insistently rapping on my back door, as if to say, “Let me in. I’ve news.” Peace, I say. The people, they just sit there staring into their bourbon drink, waiting for shade.
Just one more day, one more day, when the smoke clears. I’m at Dahlia Bakery, sharing beignet-style donuts with my family, dipping each morsel carefully into the mascarpone and the chocolate. It is Aug. 21.
Not now. I’m not ready now.