Could You Drown in a Glass of Water?
The phone rings subtly, the thunder does not. Drunken calls from Myrtle Beach inspire a longing for beaches, for memories, washed away like grains of sand in the tide.
Parched from the conversation, the thought, and I wonder:
Could you drown in a glass of water?
I reach for the glass as I sit up in the bed that belonged to her. Grandma’s bed. The glass balanced on Grandma’s coaster. I don’t dare remove either from the room on the off chance she’s watching. She was always so neat.
The coaster conveniently rests on the smooth corner of a bookshelf made from a block of cherry and Dad’s hands. It’s signed on the back ‘By Dad, To Son – September 1992’.
This room has had as many purposes as occupants over the years: storage closet, to nursery, to hospital room and back. I purvey the walls in the dark and the walls look back. Press clippings, posters, trading cards – a wallpaper of heroes. The room now a shrine that I sleep in.
Littered clothes coat the floor like carpeting, books sporadically stacked into towers of some misshapen architectural design. There’s still a hook for a hat on the back of the door.
Rain floods in with thoughts through an open window screen, collecting in a bucket on the floor. A motorcycle engine races against the thunder. Plugged into an outlet and nearly electrocuted, thunder booms and Al Green channels through iPod ear-buds. It’s a shame we don’t spend more time listening to thunderstorms. Sometimes we need the rain.
It’s nearly 3 a.m. in the morning and I still can’t sleep, writing by lightning flash. Life’s purpose, my purpose, escapes me.
Water takes the path of least resistance through the shingles. No direction in mind, allowing gravity to steer. A spring breeze gives life to dormant drapes and I glance out through the window to the lawn. Dad’s grass grows through the hay in the spring and is coming in just fine this year. Last year he put the seeds down too late, but they need time.
And rain, of course.
Is it too late? Wish I could do more, start again – I’d remember to fertilize this time. I’d remember that if we do what we always do, we’ll get what we always get. I did something different. I got something different. Different isn’t always good.
I take a sip in the room that belongs to no-one.