Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the people i see. and don't see. from high school

there's this girl i see at lunch when i'm at work. we went to high school together. i'm not sure i knew her name then. and i don't know it now. she doesn't recognize me. which makes sense.

i just don't look the same. i was a nerd in high school and pretty painfully - not shy, exactly, more like - traumatized. people teased me about the slump in my shoulders. that and my lack of the 'ass-out, shoulders back' thing the pretty girls knew how to do.

we called it switch. pretty girls switched.

i kinda' always looked like i was carrying something too heavy for me.

this has very little to do with the girl i'm talking about that i see at the same day-in/day-out lunch spot i go to. back then, she looked like a smart girl, but she wasn't on the honor roll. she wasn't terribly popular and she didn't have much in the way of eye contact. she always looked kinda' past you. on to something more, something else.

i should have figured it for what it's pretty easy to recognize now. she was a church girl. now she's a church woman. she has that slim cross draped down into the modest v-fold of her printed dress. she wears comfortable flats. and she has the same glasses she had in high school. she still doesn't have any eye contact. she's pretty -- like a pastor's wife.

sometimes i wonder how it is, in a town that nobody leaves, i don't see more of the kids i went to high school with. what ever happened to the tall, pretty boy with the s-curl, and the soft face that everyone in high school claimed for gorgeous. he had a wheatfield way about him. he could have just as easily moved to new york as montana. he was easy to be around. he was one of the few people there in that hellhole that didn't need to be mean to get around.

whatever happened to the girl who played saxophone so badass that the music teacher put her in his band. or the boy who i named a stuffed dog after and walked the halls on his birthday looking for and never found. what happened to the boy with the silver patch in his hair. years later, when i found albert ayler i thought of him. him and his silver patch. i wonder if the boy in high school liked the sun.

whatever happened to the only teacher in the whole school who knew anything about poems. the one who let me read her endless pages of crap that rhymed and was too afraid to say what it really meant.

the truth is: i've heard what's happened to some of these folks. they still teach there. they have salons on the west side. they moved to new york. and then moved back.

but i never see any of them.

one day, i'd just like to run into a face that melts some years. a face i forgot ever made that much sense. in this town of church goers and nine-to-fivers and everyone wanting so privately to get out, that they just kinda' stop talking about it - it'd be nice to find an old piece of home.

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