The Poisoned Ink Well

Friday, June 06, 2003

Shoe Laces

You can study one person, and replay him, and moments with him in your mind, things that happened 20 years ago, and you realize that somehow you have memorized even his shoelaces, and the way they were tied on that one particular morning, but you can’t remember if you paid your water bill from this month. These are the tricks that my mind plays on me. And maybe the shoelaces were, frayed, dirty, and endearing, because one loop was larger than the other, and he always tied his shoelaces that way, haphazard, not paying attention engaged in conversation, adamant over something that his boss said, or something on the news that morning, and you don’t remember what it was, but you can see the three beads of sweat inching down his nose, the way one strand of hair flipped to this side or that side, as he became emphatic stressing his point, and you arguing just to take the other side so you'd have something to discuss, and the black soled tennis shoes, he wore that day stand out in your mind, (he was preparing to walk and hitchhike the 30 miles to town, to get to work, that evening/ he made it, but then he always did) and you wonder why it is important to you, to have these pictures in your head, home movies of your soul.

You remember the Amite river's brown water rushing outside your door, the early morning mist rising up obscuring the view of the other bank, the sound of splashes, and men working on some project, the current was swift and the water up, and it was a two mile hike just to get to the bridge and the highway. This was your favorite place in the world at the time, ( even though you barely had electric and the well pump was broken) and there was always a big rod and reel cast out to the middle of the river, trying your luck and hoping to eat something (anything would do), and the logs and snakes, and debris rushing by, and the way the road always flooded when it rained; if you had a car, you had to park it at the bridge, and walk through, knee to waist, deep murky, swirling water to get home, and you never minded dodging the water moccasins, they went their way and you went yours.