Refraction (- – – — — — – – -)

Charlotte and I tried to play Scrabble but got frustrated, and dumped all the tiles back in the box. The best we came up with was Mosaic and Pirana, Pirana hers, not exactly right, needing an H or a symbol over the N.

The last two nights I overslept, in bed by 8, over-indulging in the act of sleep. The drumming of rain off the gutter by our window like the sound of Morse code, an SOS.

At the office anyone who’s there doesn’t want to be, the last week before Christmas. Going out for light between storm fronts to watch the moody ribbons of clouds, the pale white sky. The leftover blackberries on the bushes still, from last summer.

I could go back to that week we spent outside Galway in Salthill, or the house we rented in the country, west of Cork—but going back feels sad with nothing to replace it with, here. This is what it must feel like to get old, more focus on the past than future.

I got an old coat out of the attic I hadn’t worn in years, that I’ve had since 1986. I remember, because it was the year I turned 16: I bought two overcoats at a second hand store near our old house in Allentown. They were old man coats, probably an old man who just died. One of them black and the other, brown herringbone. Both fit perfectly and made me look older, and I needed all the help I could get with that, at age 16.

And like I always do, I left keepsakes in the inner pockets. In the herringbone, a pay stub with my name typed on it and social security number, my annual pay $25,000, in 1996. There was a ticket stub from a movie I couldn’t remember called Argo. I threw it out at the bus stop and looked at my phone again, though there was nothing new to see there. And I worried about the pay stub getting found with my SSN on it. And then I thought it was time to start letting go of dumb things like that, but couldn’t.

Categories: Memoir, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. With that pay slip and an overcoat I could take over your identity. Though I couldn’t spell piraña either.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to save all my old ticket stubs from the concerts I’d been to. It was kind of cool because most were the same size and shape and font. Just the band names were different, the venue and the colors. Had ’em all taped on the wall of my apartment in college, a nice little collage. I remember the day I chose to throw them all out and wish I hadn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. things come and go, flow like a river

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a wool topcoat like that, too, same reason I grew a mustache, so I didn’t look like a pale, sick child asking for a second bowl of gruel. Whatever artifacts are in the pocket, are fused to the lining with melted cough drops.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks like we all had that overcoat. Next time, slip a $20 in your pocket. No one gets nostalgic over money. It’s all futures!


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