Wow, the last day! Shew. I must confess, I'm really tired (and a little burned out, to be honest). But I completed my third year of NaPoWriMo! Yay for me! I'm looking forward to resuming my regular postings, like my Wednesday word list prompt and my favorite internet reads. I also have totally neglected my digital art this month, which is a major stress-reliever in my life so I'm anxious to get back to creating and learning with PSP and PS.
Anyway, the prompt over at the official page really didn't jive with me today. I just didn't have the energy to deal with trying to decipher (much less create anything meaningful) with a foreign language for which I'm not familiar.
Instead, I wrote with a prompt from The Daily Poet (a year-long book of prompts written by Kelli Russell Agodon & Martha Silano). I chose the prompt for May 16th, which was to write a letter to someone that you liked and wish you'd had the time to really get to know, but didn't for whatever reason.
Mine is about a friend I made during the very first semester of college. We ended up sitting together in the very back of the room (the back two seats, actually) of Speech 101. I chose the seat because it was beside the window, I suppose I wanted something to gaze into and allow my mind to wander when I got bored. Anyway, she came bouncing in and sat right next to me. We got to know each other, shared assignments and ideas and really just enjoyed gossiping during class.
One day near the middle of the semester, she approached me and said she was dropping out of college. She'd become busy with her fiance and her job as a store clerk in a clothing store. She said she just really wanted to focus on living and working. Which, back then I felt she was really just painting herself into a corner...she was eighteen and she was choosing a life working as a store clerk and allowing her college years to pass her by in the name of love? As we stood there talking that day, I felt sorry for her as she scribbled her name and number into my appointment calendar. I didn't know it'd be the last time I ever saw her, but it was.
I got busy with the semester and totally forgot about her number (maybe I was just being a bad friend, or maybe, like her, I was busy focusing on myself). I remember tossing my used-up appointment book at the end of the semester in a trash can at the student center. It wasn't until a few days later I remembered that it contained her number (and my only link left to a friend I'd made briefly). At that point, there wasn't much I could do but believe that if our paths were ever meant to cross again, then they would. So far, they haven't. But that is my inspiration for this poem:
Dear Friend Whose Number I Lost
It's true, there's a lot of things
we both missed and it's my fault.
We should have had long, enchanting
conversations until the deep late hours
of a witch-dark night, but we didn't.
Maybe you would have rode shotgun
in my car as we cruised mall parking lots
sharing the lame stories of our studious days
and quoting famous philosophers.
We could have shared clothes and
switched unhappy dinner dates;
dressed in our Sunday Best and
drank beer while ditching the good book.
Now our kids will walk past each other
in grade school hallways and
busy shopping centers, mere strangers,
unaware the brief, omnipresent moments
of youth we shared together in the
back seats of Speech 101, passing notes
and pretending to kiss noses with
the snotty intellects who wore pocket
dictionaries in their front shirts like
makeshift paper mache necklaces.
But you wore the hours of study
like itchy scabs that would not heal,
worn down by your store-clerk job
and the aphrodisiac of a first boyfriend,
you swiftly canceled your classes,
clutched the withdrawal letter to
your chest like a freedom speech
in a dim-light hallway by the upstairs
lavatory as you dropped your number
into my appointment book that I
carelessly tossed two days before
remembering the first letter of your last name.
Now we'll never know what roads
diverged and how each of our lives
brunt the bend of it's weave into this tragic world.
We're as dead to each other as last years
Sunflowers and now no one will ever
sit quietly in the garden we would have planted
the first summer after your wedding, my skin
tanned of new sun, brown hair bleached blonde,
my fingertips tingling of new love.