Everything Perpendicular

March 16, 2010
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It was a Wednesday when you rubbed your ankles and told me you couldn’t walk any more. I have it marked on my calendar: MOM DSBLD. I know you have posters on your walls at the home with skyscrapers piercing star-studded skies, and pamphlets illustrating how cheap seeing the Grand Canyon from a hot-air balloon can be, so I asked myself how do we make you fly. How do we make you fly when I have no more money for anything but my kids. I told Janet I would be in the basement for a while for work. She didn’t say anything, and so I began to design a flight machine for you. The blueprints were coarse with dust and afterwards ringed with coffee stains diluted by sweat, and the pens pointed upwards to avoid ink from spilling were scattered like fallen branches. I calibrated angles and broke everything into little pieces to build them together but nothing seemed to fit: everything perpendicular and yet no flow, nothing to allow your eyes to shimmer as the wind lapped your face. But I had to rub the veins on my ankles to realize what you needed to fly was my shoe, of course. I left it in the middle of the backyard and used the chains from the swing set you gave the kids to tear apart the crisp cauterized edges, the girls peeling apart the burnt rubber and the boys tumbling over the tongue. The shoe lolled outwards out of its confines and then I had Janet help me twine the shoelaces to form the propellers. I did nothing else; simply let it grow until the fence bordered the sides like wooden ribs. All it had to do was blossom and stretch and it would fit you. My family laughs at me, because I only had one pair of shoes. But now I can feel the broiling asphalt, the summery crunch of grass: some of it hurts, but to tell you the truth I don’t mind. It’s the first thing I’ve felt in a while.
Apologies for the imagery, I lapse from time to time.

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