I stuck my thumbnail up my nose, stepped over the pee stain on the rug, went to the bathroom, wondered how Brad could live here for a whole month and put up with us, and how we live: that pressure Dawn and I feel when someone else comes to stay or visit, to make it look like we live better than we do…that actually doesn’t take more than a few hours to fix, and makes you wonder why we don’t live that way normally.
If it weren’t for us, I don’t know that Charlotte would ever bathe; she never initiates it on her own without prompting and it’s always a struggle, and sometimes we lose track of how long it’s been, and don’t get close enough to her to really notice if she’s begun to smell.
I put on the Joanna Newsom album because Dawn’s gone and I could get away with it, and drank in the photos of her inside, thought about taking a picture even…and today, saw the bobcat again, was on a Skype call with a colleague and had to leap up and try to get it on my phone but couldn’t, it went into the bushes, and it felt rude of me to put the call on hold and run downstairs to try and track it…but it was the size of a dog, spotted, all muscle…and the cat wanted out but I thought better of it and kept the lights down mainly, with the ambience of the one strand of Christmas lights I hung outside for Brad, that blinks and reminds me of the bars I haunted in Pittsburgh when I was single and solemn, and you go to whatever light and warmth you can, that normally comes from what you put inside yourself to fill the gaps and spaces there, a kind of soothing that comes with a cost.
Charlotte fed the orchids two ice cubes each and didn’t complain, looks like our artist friend Rob West this time of year, kind of colorless and older than possible, and at the bus stop the pot holes are big enough to twist an ankle on our road, the color of chocolate milk, but the dog laps it up, thinking it’s put there for her…and Lily cut her hair short with a wave on one side that gets in her food and covers half her face, has started listening to Marilyn Manson and researching him, to add more color to her identity, to fill in the gaps she imagines need filled with that, and it’s thrust me into a role I didn’t want to fill, pushed me on stage as an old man and cranky: the worst parts of my dad I saw, at her age…her friend got suspended today and no one knows why, she’s had her electronics taken away, there’s no way to reach her…and instead of wearing her coat home Lily put it in my WordPress canvas sack and wrapped a blanket around herself, said the coat’s too “poofy,” threw the blanket in the dryer and put it on Heavy Dry, went upstairs with her friend, closed the door.
Charlotte makes fart sounds with her lips and the dog sits there looking like she has something to say but can’t, doesn’t know how to, the same as me.