PLEASE TEACH ME WHAT YOU KNOW:
NOTES FROM RICHARD, LONG AGO
I saw you right away, standing alone while a clickety-clack crowd walked right through you.
Nobody saw you. It was such a thin October day.
There are people stuck forever on the edges of the town:
No one ever told them that the railroad tracks are gone.
For all I knew, the sun might have set off-schedule and then splintered into neon rings, now circling above San Antonio. In those days, people refused to believe in things like their shoes and the weather. The rain was as unpersuasive as a stranger bumming rides to a parade.
“When no one can see you, how do you stop from becoming invisible?” I asked you. I really had to know.
Deceit’s standard bearers have long military careers but short lives. For fifteen years, I had carried the Life or Death Secrets banner into battle for the Family Silence Brigade – but like most FSB vets I was banished with broken knee caps* before I was old enough to drink.
Every version of everything I had ever experienced was equally plausible to me. I was twenty years old.
Nevertheless, love somehow recognized me as a fan and cycled itself through the pattern of my days.
I was cheered by the apparent sturdiness of this new planet, where many banished people mirthfully recounted” baseless!” allegations without breaking the world in two. Banishment slowly began to lose some of its teeth about four months after I stopped waiting outside the castle.
A year of exile produced 21 years of family lies, piled everywhere in crumpled mounds, and confused about whether they had to actually go or could sort of…stay.
Do you remember? Do you remember when every muscle was a coiled spring, and every heartbeat thumped out a frantic and – intermittently – exuberant right to truth, to adulthood, and to freedom
“That’s what I thought”, it said “That’s what I saw.
Hey, that’s another thing I knew!”
______♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ _____
Thanks very much to the Kindness Blog for publishing this post’s lead photo and for letting me post it.
You can check out more of their work at A Small Act Of Kindness Can Bring Smile On Million Faces