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March 18, 2005

Kissing Your Cell Phone Goodnight

I'm trying to post some of my short stories. Not that anyone asked me to or wants to see them. Just mostly because I'm bored. I should edit them, but I don't really feel like going through that exercise right now. I just want to post them and move on. I wrote this story in May of 2002, when I was commuting to Delaware.


My plane just left. If I hurry I can still miss it. Put my life into a suitcase and bring it to me please. I don’t know who I am any more. And I’m afraid that this is the only way to find out. I have to keep pushing the envelope to see what is real. No one else can tell me who I am or what I want. They can only warn me when my behavior is way outside the norm. And they have been wailing like a civil defense siren in a tornado.

Kissing your cell phone goodnight

I severed clean the ties that bind. I moved away from the land where I was raised. Quit my job…my wife…my daughter…my house. I lost everything that mattered to me. Now my time with my daughter is bitter sweet. Tinged with a horrible aching sadness. A remorseful chasm of grief, self doubt, and regret. Filled with the knowledge that our time together will never be more than a weekend. My view of her life is illuminated with a 5 day strobe light…And in each frame she has aged noticeably…as if she had some type of disease that caused her to age abnormally fast. Our time together is embarrassingly brief and awkward. When she cries it is always Momma that she cries for. She calls me Momma most of the time. Who would dare to correct a three year old over something so selfish as their own identity.

After all, I have destroyed her life. Her childhood will be an emotional chess match between two imbeciles, and she a pawn to be traded and passed back and forth in a fruitless, spiteful contest. Always knowing that her mother will come to get her and take her away to her home. Not now. Not today. How could she possibly leave me? And how could I be so selfish that I wanted her to stay? What could be worse than to have your child taken away from you? To have your child taken away every week for 17 years after an ephemeral visit.

She wakes in the morning and asks “Momma comes today?? No sweetie. Momma comes tomorrow. After your nap. On Sunday. Today is Saturday. And then on Sunday Momma comes. Slinky hides under the bed upstairs. No tricks will bring her out. Reach under and drag her out by the collar while she gnaws on your hand.

And after they leave there is silence. The empty hollow lonely silence. Haunting. Snow falling outside coating the ground with natures perfect acoustic insulation. The land is perfectly still. No birds are flying. The squirrels are in their nests. The elk are bedded down on someone else’s land tonight. The 4,000 square foot house feels like my own personal prison. I speak out loud just to hear my own voice. Just to prove to myself I’m insane. I talk to myself. I stand in front of the mirror and stare into the eyes of the stranger that returns my gaze. I walk into her room and see the toys scattered about. I go down stairs and set the alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. and collapse on the couch.

35,000 Feet Above Somewhere…

My plane just left. If I hurry I can still miss it. Put my life into a suitcase and bring it to me please. I don’t know who I am any more. And I’m afraid that this is the only way to find out. I have to keep pushing the envelope to see what is real. No one else can tell me who I am or what I want. They can only warn me when my behavior is way outside the norm. And they have been wailing like a civil defense siren in a tornado.

The girl next to me on the plane looked criminally young. Her large breasts were covered by a tight shirt that rose and fell with her breath in the corner of my field of vision. She looked like Exhibit A in a “justifiable rape? case. I felt like a caged animal. I was distracted to the point of insanity. I wanted to tell her politely to put her breasts away. I felt reality slipping away from me. My life was perfectly unfettered. I was as free as a jay and it was as difficult as any challenge I had ever faced. I had no one to call home to. No reason to check in. Zero feedback to help me define reality.

I spend my life on the road. I shuttle between two cities that are separated by two time zones. The worst part of flying is getting off of the plane. Seeing the faces of the wives, the girlfriends, the children….waiting for everyone but me. It is almost too painful to bear. The flowers….the hand lettered signs…Welcome Home Jim. I love you daddy. Welkkomer.

I fantasize about squaring up with the most attractive blonde girlfriend and walking into the arms of a stranger. What horror and mayhem would follow? Molestation charges and sexual harassment…assault. There I’d be ranting on tv, bludgeoned to death by the rental pigs at DIA before a horrified crowd of business travelers. The woman would be too shocked to talk about the ordeal and hide her eyes from the cameras as her boyfriend shoved her into a cab to flee, leaving their minivan at the short term parking. Flogged into submission, spitting and cursing like a crazed animal on the 9:00 news.

I’ve seen businessmen telling their wives goodnight and kissing their cell phones. I used to think that there was nothing more pathetic than kissing your cell phone goodnight. I know better now.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on March 18, 2005 at 7:06 PM

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