Yesterday in New York City I bought a pair of Doc Martens for the first time since 1993 when I was smoking pot out of a plastic green bong named Susie. We named objects back then. Objects had souls. I was suspicious regarding the sentience of people.
Yesterday in a beige New York, a day past the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attack that brought down the twin towers, I sat on a bench in Tribeca. A nanny was chasing a toddler who’d just run over the sandaled foot of her five year old sister with a scooter. The elder child cried briefly, but as the nanny ran ahead to the toddler, I watched her tuck her trembling lip under her brave top one and march forward. Her foot hurt, but she wouldn’t limp. She walked, injured, but defiantly refusing to give in to the desire to crumble.
Yesterday in a dark purple New York, my friend and I walked back from dinner to our hotel. We didn’t know where to go next, and chose a local bar with a jukebox I fed green money. A British man pretended he had fallen in love with me. “It’s the boots,” he explained.
Yesterday, I was my former self on the cracked sidewalk New York City in boots that didn’t worry over uneven territory. I couldn’t fall in these soles. I was sixteen and trapped in a body that no longer frets over acne or skinny legs. I wore my old soul with my previous lips who had been less kissed but had a name for everything, an explanation for every question, who could pull in smoke and have nothing to cough.
Maybe it’s important to note that my birthday is Sunday and every year at this time I remember myself differently. My body: a thing that deteriorates, but recalls extremities that were enlightened with the stupid sense that everything I did to it would regenerate. My body: a starfish. My body: wearing the boots and lips that had no memories of independence but insisted upon the imagined memory its strength. My body: a cage I rattled, fought with, wanted out of.
Today I’m home alone in heavy boots. That gravity could pull down almost any wall, you’d think. But all those times my bare feet felt run over, I recall now as if I’d worn boots and walked on. My body: I remember it before all those injuries and after–a skeleton barely disguised with the armor of tough boots and the surrender of more kisses. I’m not suspicious of anything. The more experience I have, the more I love the world, the more I think people are and want to be good, the more I want. The more wrinkles and gray hairs I have, the more I want of time no matter what it does to my body.
Outside in Athens, Georgia, a bell has been ringing for an hour. The football team won their game. I can hear them celebrating. There was a time in boots when I might have pretended that celebrating was for me, a synchronicity. But tonight is wearing navy and olive pajamas. The only light available comes from my monitor. A kittyhawk has attached herself to the screen. She crawls across these words, and then she flies and lands on my shirt between my breasts. She looks like a tattoo, a winged thing just where I’d want it. I panic. There is so much to protect myself from, but if I do I might miss what happens if she lives, if I do.
posted by holly.