I am reading Raymond Carver today. Deep reading.
Bless this Saturday. I have no plans. The kids are at their mom’s.
It’s summer. I have a six pack in a cooler, lawn chair on my third story deck. Overlooking the courtyard in the apartment complex.
I can see the first, second and third floor apartments. Their sliding glass doors facing mine.
That’s not true. It’s winter. And, I don’t live in an apartment complex with a third floor deck. That doesn’t matter. I did once. In college. It was just how I explained.
It’s a beautiful sunny day. A slight breeze hovers and spreads thin over my skin.
I’m wearing my short shorts. I love these shorts. The others laugh when I wear them. Fuck em. No shoes, no shirt.
Carver was married to a writer. Her name was Tess. I’d like to be married to a writer named Tess. Someday, maybe. Once the kids have grown.
I don’t look up when I’m reading Carver. Or if I do, it’s only briefly. So I put my finger on the word, on the page, raise my eyes.
Second floor across the courtyard – Apt 201 – stands Paul smoking a cigarette. He slings weed. Small time. Just enough to smoke for free. We play backgammon at his place on mornings when he’s happy. His wife makes me coffee. Today he’s angry. So he won’t ask. Inside are his three children. He yells at wife. Everyone in this courtyard knows she should leave him. Treats her like shit. She’s been pregnant and nursing for three years. Their deck is a mess.
Back to reading Carver, a poem called This Morning, page 41.
I don’t feel the least bit guilty that I haven’t called my mom back.
My poor mom. She doesn’t remember things that well anymore. I told her to keep a notebook and calendar. She’s misplaced them. All her pens are out of ink. I don’t often answer her questions. My answers create misunderstandings. Then my sisters text me.
“What did you say?” they ask. I never clarify. Just that mom is handicapped now.
I’m reading Carver today. I’m going to read through this entire six pack.
I don’t want to think about the women I once loved. But there’s one.
She was blue eyed, model gorgeous. Dressed to the nines. Ahead of her time when she had her time. That time was our time. Her mom beat her up when she was a child. Her grief stretched far. She married up. Has six kids now.
I’ll stay here all day reading Carver. I am a picture of a man reading. Still as stone.
If I don’t put SPF on my forehead, shoulders, chest, thighs, I’m going to burn.
This beer tastes too good. I have to pee.
As I get up, birds skitter from the cherry blossoms. My phone buzzes.