the strongest

daddy, I can’t
go back in there

you don’t have to go

i’m not
i’m not as strong
as the other girls

oh, my child,
there is a lot more to strength
than just muscle

what do you mean?

the strongest people i know
don’t have the biggest arms –
they keep going when things are hard,
they try,
even when trying seems silly,
and they have the strength it takes
to lift other people up
when they don’t want to try either —
you are strong,
my child,
very strong

i still can’t lift very heavy things
or carry heavy ones for long

well, remember,
wherever you go,
you are carrying my heart with you

i guess i’ll go back in there

you’ve got this

Sketches – 37

How young was I in that picture?

It was few years ago

A few? Like, fifteen?

Six, actually

I bet you wish you
Were still married to her

I am still married to her

Why do you have these
Old photos out?

I want to get all of my
Favorites and have them
Transfered to digital

And this one is a favorite?

Yeah, look how happy you look

So I’m not happy now?

You tell me

I’m not unhappy, I’m
Just tired, mostly

There’s a lot of that
Going around

Societal mononucleosis

Yes, except
Without the kissing

I forgot I used to wear
Nail polish that dark

Do you remember
What you were listening to?

No. I’m not even sure
Where that was taken

Near a coffee shop,
I think

You can never be too near
A coffee shop

I’m sorry, by the way

Sorry for what?

That I don’t do more,
Knowing how tired you are

You have had a lot going on
I know

Yeah, well
We are supposed to be a team

Aren’t we?

Yes
I’m just not always the greatest teammate

Well, if you wanted to help with the tiredness
You could run out and get me some coffee

If it will produce that smile
You’re on

The Panic Mutton

It’s time to hit the panic mutton.

What?

I mean, I’m a bundle of nerds.

Huh?

We’re all waiting here, with braided breath —

Come again?

Come on, you know what I’m talking about. We are all on tenderhooves here.

Sorry. What?

Oh, don’t be so tongue tight.

It is time to hit the panic mutton, I think.

Good. I’m glad we’re on the same wavelet.

Yes. Talk is sheep.

Sketches – 35

It’s not been a good day

What’s going on?

I plan stuff with friends, but then
They cancel —
My mom seems to find fault with
Everything I do —
You know,
“Ever think of getting a real job?”
Like my painting
Is some kind of game

Which friends?

In the last couple weeks,
Both Claire and Leslie

And your mom giving career advice?
She let hers nearly consume her

Yeah, well, she’s
Getting up there in age, there’s
No real reasoning with her

I think what you do is
A ‘real’ job, for what that’s worth

Thank you, dear, but
If I add it all up, I’m barely scraping
Minimum wage

Well, first of all,
That’s not true, your math
Is horrible.
Second of all…
Do you think she is right?
She’s not, but
Do you think so?

When you have no value as
A friend and
You have no value as
A worker
It’s not been a good day

Both Claire and Leslie
Have relied on you when times got tough,
Haven’t they?

Being useful and
Being loved are
Two different things.
I know what you’re saying,
And you are right, of course,
But it hurts to feel like
You aren’t any kind of priority

I totally get that

And as for my mom,
I don’t know how many years she has left, but
I wish I could think
She was proud of me, instead
Of critical

Yes.
‘Not a good day’
Is a fair way to describe it.
At least you have that pillow.

It’s very reliable and
Non-judgmental

We need more of those

Amen

Conversations – 1

“People are just people,” he said to me, “which means every bad thing you can imagine, plus some bad things I’m sure that you and I cannot imagine.”

“Doesn’t being human mean good things, too?”

“People are born, ” he said slowly. “Humans have to be raised.”

“If they are not?” I asked, looking into his tired old face, now half in shadow.

“You get inhumans,” he said.

 

Sketches – 34

How do you like the new hair?

It looks great!
As long as it has the original woman under it —

Did you just say
‘Old’ woman?

No. I said
‘Original’ woman,
‘Original,’ as in
‘Never gets old’.

Seriously,
You like it?
It looked better
Right after she did it…

I do like it, very much, Seriously.
I have a question for you,
A money question.

Yes?

I wanted to plan
A four day vacation for
Our anniversary, but
I wanted to make sure you
Were cool with the options.
Some of them are pricey.

Let’s take a look.
Option 1 — um, no.
Option 2 — that looks okay.
Option 3 — not happening.
Option 4 — nice, but – save that for your next wife.

So Savannah it is.
I’ll book it.

On second thought…
Don’t have a next wife.

I wasn’t planning on it.

I’ll have a lot more fun knowing
We’re not wasting money.
Would you have spent that much on a trip?

Me? Yes. It’s making memories.

We can make memories anywhere

I like the sound of that

You would

Sketches – 33

The past — it isn’t what it used to be.

Hey, love.

Hey, sweetie.

Whatcha working on?

Ideas for paintings.

And how’s that coming?

Six pages so far.

That’s great!

Thank you, thank you, I am impressive. What have you been writing about these days?

Oh, the last dating relationship I had before you.

That Karen girl, from work?

No, there was one other one. Lisa.

And who was she?

She worked in… the medical field.

A nurse? A doctor?

Not exactly…

A crash test dummy? A cadaver?

Something like that.

How come you’ve never mentioned her?

Because I met you and all other women were forgotten….

… until you started blogging.

Until I started blogging, yes.

So what are you saying about her?

That the relationship was hollow and meaningless.

Yeah, right. Seriously, I should do a series of paintings on my old boyfriends.

They were a bunch of weightlifters. What would you call it? “The Roids Not Taken”?

Okay, that was actually pretty funny. No, I would call it, “People I Dated Before I Was Taken Completely For Granted By Someone Who Claims To Love Me.”

Snappy name, that should bring in buyers. And I do not take you for granted.

Then why relive your glory days?

They weren’t glory days.
They were just days I had to go through.
I am a romantic, I always was.
You were what I was looking for,
You seriously were,
And you seriously are.

I can live with that.