They have a sign in my town that says “If you live it up, you won’t live it down.” (2)
That day begin much like the others; I lit my morning cigarette, took a couple shots to ward the hangover from last night, and left for my part time at Roselli’s Auto Repair before summer classes in the late evening. I got the job back in high school when my dad used to work there, way before the lung cancer hit and the tracheostomy forced him into his feeding tube. I didn’t particularly like the job, but Roselli was kind enough to help me and my mother out during those times; the least I could do was live with some grease and engine oil on my jeans for the rest of forever. Plus, the junk yard ended up becoming my escape from the world through the years. Sitting in other peoples disposed and used cars, wondering what memories were, once, made in these scrap metals — it became kind of addicting, almost subtly amusing, invading on these traces of other people’s past lives.
As I rode my bike to work, I passed by this sign that said “If you live it up, you won’t live it down.” Old town folklore says this sign was first erected back when Monteverde was founded by Lucy and The Rain Dogs. It reads like a warning sign and, though revered by all in town for its history, the sign stands, these days, no more than a mere memorial site for drunken college students paying their respects to Lucy, who had cackled this before leaving for California in a coked out, blaze of glory to pursue acting. She never made it onto the silver screen like she anticipated and, instead, settled for a career in film pornography. Legend has it that, after dark ‘round these parts, Lucy’s spirit comes back to Monteverde, whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the impressionable youth and urging them to leave town like she did to chase wild dreams too. They say, hell broke ole Luce but I like to think Lucy broke hell.
About an hour or two into my shift, during a routine T5 rear wheel bearing for some woman’s ’08 VW, I started thinking of the girl I had seen last night at the party. You know, the one. I wondered what she was up to…Oh, how she danced the yesternight away! Away until her baby hairs shone through the sweat on her brow and her hair, black as ravens, scattered like the branches of willow trees on a windy night. What happiness was this that she stirred in me? God bless my crooked little heart, bad habits, and broken-china voice. If I could only convince her that my kitchen light could be our disco ball, too. Show me how to move my feet, sunbeams. Slow dance my summer sadness away and I will take our bodies farther in life than we were meant to go.
Tell me, what ancient magic masquerades inside you as blood and iron?
What crown of glory is bestowed upon your head as hair?
You are sweet, like a cluster of fruit, and glorious, like enduring church light.
Does your love have the fury of cork-trapped wine?
By the time I clocked out, the night sky was already punched out by the golden moon and her dazzling stars. It’s 10 below when I board the downtown train, with bike in hand, into the light polluted city where my classes were held. My cart was full of all them Monteverde girls, with charcoal eyes and Monroe hips. All of ’em built from the detached eyelashes of God, landing in the lake of their mother’s love. Spinning themselves into fingernails and bones. That was Monteverde for ya. Rib bones and the raspberry flesh of boys were only fairy-tales. My eyes shift left and right, as I splash back the thick red wine I keep in my coat pocket, for a seat amongst the teeming roses. Eventually, the train passes the 99-cent stores, four way lights, and river-side motels I grew up with for the neon lights and illuminated skyscrapers.
In this moment, through the window, my heart is captured. I know I don’t belong here, but I wish I did. How I longed for this kaleidoscope setting where the time is always ripe for dreaming and chasing. I would trade all of the caramelized sunsets and burnt amber afternoons of Monteverde for this. Trade all of the evaporated billows of rainbow and orange gasoline of Roselli’s to elope with the thought that, one day, I too could matter just like everyone else here. I could bring sunbeams here and we could live in love, loss, and modernity where nothing is available to pity or the net of terrorism from a one-horse town.
Here, where God is away on business, I dreamt the American Wet Dream. Here, I ran away with the idea that my eyes can experience beauty, disappointment, hope, betrayal, love, friendship, and success — all in one lifetime.