debbie millman

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Then, Like The Summer

The earthquake took me by surprise; there was no siren, no news report.
It was late in the afternoon, around five o'clock, eight years ago. We had a
fight about the barbeque and whether I should invite Amanda to meet
your friend and you said to me:

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

I should have known.
I’d spent a lifetime being ridiculous. I was an expert.
I knew the rickety back roads, the twenty-one hairpin turns
to get there, bam bam, lickety-split.

In fact, I could do it instantly.

Once we had that in common. The private snickers,
the arrogant eyebrows, holding our laughter back
behind silly cupped hands. You fooled me.

That night, the evening of the barbeque that never happened,
the air was thick and salty. It was summer then, but leaves had already
started falling in our backyard. I often bragged that I knew
when autumn began before anyone else because of those futile leaves.

The unopened food was on the kitchen table:
Plastic covered ground beef for those burgers
you raved about, shiny bags of chips, the vegetable dip that I hated. It sat there
for days afterward, the meat turning brown and then blue, the dip going rancid.
For a long time I stared at that food, waiting for a hidden message. I wonder now
if we'd eaten first there would have been a different outcome.

I am superstitious that way.

Instead there is this. It has been this way a long time.
That day, it started one way and ended another.
Then, like the summer, poof! you were gone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

more cheating

8/07/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger debbie millman said...

really? how so?

8/07/2006 11:16:00 AM  

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