Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Eyelash Oracle

Every year on my birthday I always imagine the same scenario. I see myself in a big smoky room with lots of books and I am having conversations with myself at different stages of my life. For instance, twenty-seven year old David with long hair and cigarettes and a telephone thick manuscript he keeps referring as his "three-and-a-half-year-old" is in the same room with seventeen year old David who has short hair and smooth skin with the occasional forehead blemish. Seventeen year old David keeps on whipping a picture of his Drivers License which he just got (sixteen year old David failed the test his first three times) and twenty-seven year old David wryly offers a nostalgia ridden smile when he sees his younger self, listening to the seventeen year old rant about being the cross-country captain in high school; talking about his recent trip from Paris, and how he is still in love Jennifer. Twenty-seven year old David refers to seventeen year old David as Kiddo (Seventeen year old David doesn't like this) and tells him that if you think ashen-face Jenny Wilson was anything wait to you see what the next quick decade has in store.

The two David's exchange glances. They both have the same color eyes, an anomolous hue what can only be described as "Honey-Blue". Seventeen year old David wants to know the answer. He wants to know about adulthood. He wants to know about his friends and family (he is oblivious that his grandmother has four years left on the planet and his own father has seven)he wants to know where he will be in ten years (surely London) and who he will marry (either Harmony, Renae or Jen Wilson for sure)or what he will be doing (probably working for a traveling magazine, no, wait--he'll be a curator at the uffizi since he loves art and plans on majoring in art history in college) only Twenty-seven year old David smiles, utters something about the search being more important than the Discovery and tells him to enjoy the next ten years. To enjoy every second of it.

Seventeen year old David wears a cross around his neck. He thinks twenty-seven year old David is cool, only he uses a ton of vocab-words that seventeen year old David has never heard used casually before. Seventeen year old David looks at the thick manuscript in twenty-seven year old David's arm and wonders why it is, exactly, that his decade older shadow refers to that as his daughter. Seventeen year old David has never written a short story or a poem and reads usually only what is assigned to him. Twenty-seven year old David smiles. He wants to inform seventeen year old David about all the timeless beauty, the pain and sadness that will inevitable transpire over the next ten years. He wants to tell him to spend more time with his Dad and grandma-as much time as possible. He wants to tell him to implore his father to switch high schools because something bad is about to occur. He wants to tell him to quit feeling like a sinner all the time. That, in terms of theology--seventeen year old David is president of the Church Youth Group--Wow kiddo, the shit is really gonna hit the fan and somethings you believe in now very passionately will, in ten years, be totally reversed.

Twenty-seven year old David wants to tell seventeen year old David about his mistakes. Tell seventeen year old David that he will fuck up royally on more than one occasion. That he will hurt people. That he will fight with his parents and damn his rival siblings. That he should learn to respect people. That he should not let his pending hobby ameliorate his ego the way it will.

Twenty-seven year old David wants to tell seventeen year old David about the places he has been. About the writers he has discovered. The people he has met; the hands he has held in public.

Twenty-seven year old David wants to be a mentor to seventeen year old David. He wants to tell him that, when someone is doing something bad (seventeen year old David had some bad shit happen to him when he was younger) be a man and show some fucking balls.

Twenty-seven year old David wants to tell seventeen year old David that smokings not cool (as he hides his own cigarello behind his back), that being drunk all the time by no means helps cultivate your artistic merit, that its not cool to cheat on women, that he should learn how to wear a condom since his father never really told him about sex.

He wants to tell seventeen year old David all about bills and credit cards. car insurance, cell phone bills, internet fetishes and exorbitant college loans.

He wants to tell him all about joy.

Twenty-seven year old David smiles to himself when he thinks that he should really tell seventeen year old David that, when he meets any person by the name of Brook, Lisa, Elisa or Laurie he should run like a bat out of hell. He wants to tell seventeen year old David to keep up with the athletics. That even though he's gonna be going through some tough shit, he still has it better than more than 90% of the planet and that all of his talents are by no means afforded privledges; they are gifts and should be used to help others.

Twenty-seven year old David wants to tell seventeen year old David to believe in himself. To roll up his shirt sleeve and have a little confidence. To quit sulking all the time and stop listening to so much Morissey.

Twenty-seven year old David confesses to seventeen year old David that he still lisetens to Tori Amos and Enya from time to time, that no, he doesn't live in Europe but he's found what could one day be a proffession and he's found something he actually loves doing.

Twenty-seven year old David quotes Wittgenstein and Augustine ("Beerstein" thinks seventeen year old David) Seventeen year old david looks at him funny. He will discover Walt Whitman this October. In less than a year Seventeen year old David will be less of a burgeoning athlete. His room will smell less like a locker room and more like moldy, second hand books.

Just when Twenty-seven year old David is informing seventeen year old David that, whatever you do in life, don't take it too seriously, laugh, can the ego, in walks thirty-seven year old David. Thirty-seven year old David stares for a long time at seventeen year old David. He still has all his hair and smiles more than both of them combined. Thirty-seven year old David has secrets and joy and more loss. There's been more deaths. The shade on his face informs his two younger selves that he's had some success in whatever arena he's in. Forty-seven year old david walks in, smoking a pipe with crisp gray hair followed by (if I'm lucky) a fifty-seven year old david, having experienced even more loss but even more joy.

All the David's congregate in the smoky room and they laugh. They are all telling jokes. The older David seems to have a problem with gas. The seventeen year old David tries to bum a cigarette off the Twenty-seven year old David who harnagues him. There is laughter and food and drinks. Each decade david has a secret, has something he has done in the last ten years that he's not proud of and something he has done that he is. Soemthing that the younger David doesn't know about yet. Soemthing the older David wishes he could forget.

All the David's have something the other David's want. The forty-seven year old David seems to have a little bit of financial largesse. The thirty-seven year old David wants to show the Twenty-seven year old david a picture of his knock-out wife. The fifty-seven year old David wears old-computer thick glasses, has gained weight after a bout of chemo and somehow has a thick white beard (all the other david's can't grow beards) granting him the semblance of Harley-Davidson mugging Santa Claus. The oldest David keeps looking at the twenty-seven year old David like he has something that he lost once, and was never able to get back. He wants to tell him not to lose it; not to lose that one thing. He wants to tell him this as much as Twenty-seven year old David wants to tell seventeen year old david things--only he can't because all the David's silence when they see a young boy the size of a barstool apprehensively looking at the older men in fuddled astonishment. The boy has an alter-boy haircut, kitchen floor smooth skin and blurred vision (glasses come when he's eight)--Seven year old David has never heard of the 'f-word', and goes to Sunday school every week. He's capable of informing the older men of who Jesus is and that Ronald Reagan is the president. His parents let him stay up and watch the A-team sometimes.

Seven year old David is afraid of the older men. He is apprehensive of their disel-thick odor. He coughs at the slightest lick of their nicotine.

But seven year old david (with the same color eyes) has soemthing inside of him that completely silences all the other five David's. He has something beneath his skin, inside the jungle gym of his calcium-fortifying ribs that simply astounds the other five men in the room. The fifty-seven year old David smiles.

"Tell us something, brother." I say to myself; a half-century between my voices.

Seven year old David loves Jeusus. He loves his mom and he cried at Christmas when he found a BMX stashed under the Christmas tree.

Seven year old david has been completely free of sorrow.

"Tell us something, little man." The fifty-seven year old David says. Everyone in the room is silent. Seven year old David has a room of his own now. He is a big boy. He knows that Jesus loves him. He knows his phone number and address. He knows his am and pm's. He can point out Peoria on the map and spell the state that he lives in. His parents held him back in first grade because he was slow at math and tentative with reading. He is by far one of the slowest learners in Miss Heintz second grade class, yet all the men want him to say something almost important.

"Ok," David says, looking down. He shushes his honey-blue eyes and quietly quotes the one poem he says every night when his father comes into his bedroom and kisses his forehead and tells him that he loves him and tucks him in....Seven year old David even smiles as he bows his chin and clicks his eyes into a squeeze and says the prayer he says with his father every night. A prayer about the light going away and a prayer about a God who is implored to listen to his children while they pray.

1 comment:

arya said...

Wow! This is one of my favorites. You are so talented. It's the seven year old boy that waits at the train stop. It's the seven year old boy that never stops believing. Twenty-seven year old David still has him. Fifty-seven year old David can keep him. Wow. This one needs to turn into a short story or script or something. Trust me.