1. Fruit Parade
Once a man courted me by bringing me round fruits. He started with a single grape and
worked up to a watermelon.
The next day I left town.
I wonder if the size of the fruits would have started to diminish then, there being no fruit
bigger than a watermelon. Or perhaps he would have started bringing me some other set
of gifts. Or he might have escalated, made some proposal. Had I been the kind of person to stay, I would have said yes, and that would have made us both miserable. So I did him a favor by disappearing at the end of the fruit parade.
But I’ll never know now what he would have done next.
And the sad thing is, he wasn’t even the reason I left. My story was going west, and he was just a forgotten footnote.
There was the time the FBI came to visit. We were on the unshaded porch of a DC rowhouse on a sticky summer noon, talking about how to make bombs. Learning about bombs was what we thought we needed to do to be the change, like the man said.
The FBI were three men in three-piece suits who wanted to talk to us and be our friends. They showed us badges. They had a picture of Bernadine Dorn and kept looking from it, to me, to it, to me, asking each other “is it her?”
My roommate kept saying “go away, we don’t want to talk to you.” I just stared at them, noticing they did not sweat. Vests. Ties. Jackets. No sweat. It was maybe 98 degrees out there.
They finally left after about ten minutes of this. We went inside and burned our bomb-making notes over the toilet.
3. One Way to Go
Driving past a trailer park that had a marquee. RIP. Somebody’d died there, they were going to miss him, it said.
Right down the way, a Dollar Tree, and a little bit further a Circle K advertised “Good Pizza Made Here”.
I turned to my sister and said, “Person could live in that trailer park, walk to the Dollar Tree for the groceries, to the Circle K for a treat once in a while, and when you die they put your name on the marquee, say RIP, they’ll miss you. What more could I need? Take me back,” laughing, “Okay”, then we passed a big cemetery and I said “And when you die they can just…” and we both cracked up and she said “Yeah and buy your plastic flowers at Dollar Tree, keep them on the kitchen table until…”
Driving past the cemetery, tears running, laughing about this, home in the hot afternoon.
RIP William Bryant, thanks for the laugh. Hope it was
a good life.