Ritual de lo Habitual
The girl can only get excited if she is humiliating someone. She carefully sets up her relationships so that her mate is hurt. She convinces herself that he is not and then seeks, over and over - to have herself punished for it. Echoes of death. Impermanence. The ashes of her dead son are kept in a silver vial on her left ear. She wants to be beaten, hard. She wants to say to the child that she was sorry. But she can't. She'll get a tattoo of the symbol infinity. It will be somewhere on her skin. It will not be a color tattoo. She says she wants it in her hand.
The boy spends his time piecing together model airplanes in an attic of an old white victorian two story home. The attic is as big as a garage. There is one window, facing north. Thoughts of the opposite sex vanish in the mist. He thinks about females and how mysterious they are and then he suddenly remembers theres a new model airplane over at the commissary. He walks over to pick it up, making up dirty rhymes in his head. An F14 tomcat flies through the sound barrier. A white mist flashes over the plane's wing. They fly in low over the naval base where he is growing up. The wing sweeps back. He sees the plane rocket across the sky. The sound of the jet engine follows afterward. He dreams of flying. He gets beat up in catholic school by a person named Thomas. He is afraid of being left alone. He misses his mother. Every day he wears blue and white. Every day he does mass. Every day the catholic ritual. The nuns have no sex life. Some of them beat the children. He can't do math in his head anymore. Every time he sees a number it dances on the page. The sister helps him to do it but he finally just leaves school altogether.
A young man gets a pen. It has blue ink, black. green. red. The summer school teacher gave it to him. She doesn't really know who he is but she has a faint shade of kindness in her voice. He writes down three proofs of the quadratic formula in three different colors. He gets an A. She tells him, you went to summer school. It doesn't matter what you do here, you are not getting an A on your transcript. They write down a B+ and he spends the next ten years of his life in physics. Every day. Writing down symbols. The colors are long gone. He uses .10 mm pens to write superscript and subscript variables. He never thinks of the middle aged, black woman who helped him to see. He doesn't think of anyone. He works. and sleeps. The mexican princess is out of his life.
The surfer sits on his board, and looks out to sea. He absentmindedly pops a bubble of kelp between his index and thumb. The sea is flat. He remembers a story about a man who paddled out on a flat day. It was called Siddhartha. He flips off his board and looks around underwater. His eyes can barely see anything through the gin clear brine. He climbs back on his board. The smell of Dr. Zog's. The taste of salt water upon his lips. Flat. He absentmindedly draws patterns in the wax. Paddles to the inside and catches shore break.
It was called the day after school. They all remember it, and they all talk about it the same way. There is a reverent moment of silence. The hurricane had poured its strength out upon the island and had passed only the day before. The reef had caught the swell coming in from the northwest as the hurricane travelled its westerly arc. It was a category five. The stories go around the porch, each one tells their own. There is respect. It settles on them all. Everyone made it out there that day. Some people were so scared they couldn't catch a wave. They don't get to tell their story.
The memory returns. Steep walls lined up to the horizon. Some so big they took your breath away. Others , good solid 10 feet. They remember the good surfers. Estrada. Craig. Their styles. The way that Robert jammed the tail of his board in. Sven called it cocking the gun. The way the sun caught the wave when it tubed the boy backside. The sound of the green room.
Everyone lets the moment settle in. They know somehow it will never happen again. One of the grommets makes a noose out of a palm frond and catches a chameleon.
She ignores him. He sits in silence , afraid. He is always afraid of her. Maybe its all a lie. Maybe he never heard that sound in her voice. The seraphim behind that small , tight laugh. The one that reminded him of the girl he lost his virginity to. The one that he lives for. He hates being told what to do. Being in control is natural to him. He has to dominate everything and every one. It disgusts him secretly. He just wants to go surfing again. He wants the sea to level out the feelings within him. He was better then. The sweat beads on his upper lip. Air conditioner can't seem to get the temperature here down below 88.
Second life. He remembers how he did it once there with someone sitting there in front of them dressed in superman under-roos. They read books and drank wine.
Every time he speaks she convinces herself he is a stalker. She wants to take apart everything he says. She wants to change him.
Every time she speaks he convinces himself she is cruel. He feels caged and boxed up like a little gift wrapped toy puppy. To be left alone, played with at will. A psychological diversion.
She keeps seven windows open at work. She will close them. Kill dash nine. They will go silent at her command. She is the mistress of her work.
He doesn't see his dog anymore. It seems to live over at his neighbors house now. Ever since they got that half rottweiler/ half retriever bitch he's been there every day. She dreams in color she dreams in red. Can't find a better man.
You scatter a few grains of rice to the fetish. The rice is touched by everyone in your family. Every fetish must be fed.
In the spirit world. A bear roams the planes now. A belly full of organice sushi rice. He tracks down the water spirit and it comes to earth. Maybe. He makes a note that the slave didn't show. Will have to listen for the creative excuse. Last time she was in North Carolina. Cherokee.
Lightning plays from cloud to cloud. They always think about the same things when it rains. They love to hear the sound of it. They're alone, even in a crowd. They live under the same sky.
He dreams of running so hard the light will come into him and he will explode. He bikes on the trail watching the sun beam through the trees. Today. He will cry softly to himself. And then pretend nothing happened. They say good morning. The coffee looks watered down but its good.
The horse waits for him. She always nickers softly when he walks up. He loves her. In his own way. It was a strange attraction, very strong. One that he still can't explain. Maybe it was the hint of color in her mane. It made her look like a mexican princess with red highlights.
The mane is cut now. Dressage standard. He tries not to notice but he always does. She looks like a roman war horse.
They have rituals together. He places his nose against her velvety skin, just behind her ear breathes in her scent, deeply. Its half expected that they won't spend too much time being nice to each other. You can be too kind to a horse. He knows this. She belongs to him. She is a vision of something he can't explain. She is beautiful to him.
And she always will be.