#15 - She Is 9/11

      You are standing beside the produce section thinking of the things grocery stores have in common with bowling alleys. Your list is becoming surprisingly long and elaborate when your thoughts are interrupted by a woman reaching for a beet.

      You think it is easily the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.

      You begin thinking of the things her face has in common with the events of 9/11. You begin thinking of your children and your dog and installing your last name on the mailbox you share with her. Forty-nine cents a letter at seven letters, plus one to make it plural, plus three to make it a title, equals five dollars and thirty nine cents plus tax. You wonder how they can, in good conscious, charge tax on a letter.

      She is buying corn. You love corn.

      You are following her now. This is not something that is socially acceptable, following someone. You immediately begin thinking of her body. You are becoming that guy. She is wearing a scarf. You love scarves. You begin thinking of the things scarves have in common with beaches in the winter.

      She says excuse me to a gentleman, she smiles at him, and her lips part just a little and you immediately think of the things her mouth has in common with curling rinks in the summer.

      She is buying milk, she is buying eggs.

      You immediately begin to wonder how soft she is. What her arms feel like. What her laugh sounds like and what it has in common with rain hitting a car windshield.

      You look around. You wonder if they have noticed you are missing yet. They are quicker every time. They found you last time eating pages of a Sylvia Plath collection at the library. You tried explaining that you needed them inside you. That it was the only medicine that would save you, but they wouldn't have it.

      She is buying orange juice, she is buying bread.

      You are standing behind a display of Ritz crackers. You are not standing as much as you are hiding. You are that guy. You are the hiding guy, the phone call heavy breather, the clock tower sniper. Your clock tower is a Ritz cracker display, and your rifle is your questionable intentions.

      You wonder how she smells, how she looks holding a glass of wine. You wonder who her favourite Beatle is, what her favourite time of the day is.

      You immediately begin thinking of the things her smooth, naked legs have in common with a cup of fresh coffee.

      They sent four last time. Surrounded you, grabbed your arms and your legs. They strained and fought against your thrashing protest. Their stupid fucking uniforms, and stupid fucking name tags, moving and bobbing. The way they talked to each other, and worked together to bring you back. They way they talked like you were inferior, like you weren't even there.

      You're eating Ritz crackers out of a box.

      She is buying cheese, she is buying lettuce.

      You begin thinking of the things her hair has in common with frozen waterfalls, and red jelly beans.

      The fluorescent lights overhead look on like an interested observer, watching the watcher. She is checking her list. The lights are watching you, watch her, watch her handwriting. You wonder how she dots her I's, how she crosses her T's. You begin thinking of the things her handwriting has in common with a shotgun wedding.

      Your pulse is getting quicker. You are thinking of things to say. You are thinking about actually talking to her. You are treading lightly; you are working up the nerve. You are assembling an opening line between mouthfuls of Ritz cracker. You are pretty sure it should be something about the weather. You are thinking of the things small talk has in common with masturbation.

      You wonder what color her panties are, and what her smooth, tanned legs look like exiting them, on their long perfect journey to the floor. And these are the thoughts they talk about. These are the things that make them keep you there. This is not socially acceptable.

      She is buying chocolate, she is buying peanut butter.

      You lose sight of her, and move to the next row. You are actually stalking her in the grocery store. This isn't right, this is unhealthy they would say. She is reading a jar of pickles. She doesn't buy them, putting them back on the shelf. You hate pickles, loathe them.

      You are thinking of the things you could have in common with her. You are thinking of the things you could whisper about in the dark, the things she would like for Christmas.

      They grab your arms first and you know it's them right away, the way they grab on to you. You're so startled you forget about her, briefly, and scream long and loud; desperate.

      The box you're holding hits the floor and little round crackers spill out and you think of the things rolling crackers have in common with anything at all.

      You are panicking, you are fighting, you are running. This is where the music swells, this is where they put the build up, this is where things ends badly.

      There are four again and they're pulling you and grabbing at you with their stupid fucking hands and their stupid fucking name tags. They are ripping your shirt; they are talking to each other like you're not there. They're taking you outside as you look wildly around the store... You scream out again and the music you hear in your head swells again. This is the end, again.

      You are Ritz crackers, you are Plath poems, you are desperation, you are out of time.

      Everyone is looking. Everyone is startled and moving away from your thrashing screaming body. You look at her. Your eyes meet briefly, before they drag you outside, and into the van.

      You are thinking of the things her eyes have in common with days like these.

2009 Broken Chair