Imagining the Afterthought
Previously Published in Shouted Whisper, Volume I

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Imagining the Afterthought

 

I have made it so my emotions don’t count anymore. Now, when I’m nervous, instead of dealing with the shaking, shocking flip flops in my belly and finding a normal, June Cleaver kind of way to get rid of them, I turn to my crutch … and ten minutes later I can’t remember what I was upset about, like that guy in that movie, Memento, and how he couldn’t remember anything short term and he was always being duped by the people around him. (Guy was the man’s name who played that memory-challenged guy. Guy. He also played The Count of Monte Cristo. I remember that as well as the curve of my lover’s lips, but I have no idea why I was shaking earlier in the day) I get duped by myself all the time like that. And all of a sudden, I’ll believe that hey, I was wrong during that fight. I should apologize.

 

ha! The stubborn, independent woman I worked so hard to make myself into has disappeared into the lowly brambles near the front porch, destined to be shortened by a weedwhacker. I fold like a bad poker hand if the crutch has had it’s way. I forget like Guy. I squander my emotions into tears I won’t recall in an hour, slit-eyed and sitting in front of the television with my pastel striped socks and my pitbull.

 

What will I do when I go to the one place I’ve always wanted to go, alone, and I leave the crutch at home along with my TV and my Entertainment Weeklies and my constant need for someone else to take the wheel? Will I have a nervous breakdown and stick my head in the oven like Plath, tired and unaware of the ways I can deal with the anxiety knotting itself around my lungs? I would like to think that clarity would bring me to clarity. The lifted fog might help me to focus. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to see without my glasses and my ankles won’t give out in my heels anymore and the extra ten pounds attached to my midsection will melt away on the flight, in the five hour time gap, or inside the void of good luck.

 

but no! I’ll still be overweight and I’ll still need the glasses to see far away and to drive and to read a street sign from across the street and I’ll still have to wear an ankle brace at the gym. I’ll just be alone and struggling to remember all of the times that I succeeded on my own in bare feet with a thumb stuck out straight or the bumper hanging off the back of the Honda on Interstate 80 nearing home. But back then, the crutch was in my pocket, the white rhino in the room, the haze of the glaze over my eyes.

 

Now I’ll have to do it like a regular human with a stack of poems in the back pocket of my jeans, weighted in drama like children of the divorced. I’ll be alone and I’ll be the daughter of clarity, watching the sky turn bluer by the second, as if the kaleidoscopes nested in my eyes had flown the coop to East Asia. This is how I see it now, as the scopes have taken over my vision and I stare at the words like miracles. This is looking at the future because you have to. Because you’ve turned into that Guy from that movie and you just can’t remember some of the past or the nervous shaking of your fingers only an hour before.

 

This is cursing the crutch only after you’ve inhaled it.