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What We Are

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As we sit in your car, I want so badly to lean across the seat and whisper to you that you are the sun,

but I am so sick of hearing you referred to as “the sun”, even if it’s only in my mind, that I immediately sift through my brain for a new metaphor to use on you.

“You are an elephant,” I begin, and when you give me a strange look I continue, “No one can ignore an elephant in a classroom, can they?”

You smirk but remain silent, so I continue. “I think you’re a bottle of vodka as well, but I’m sure everyone can draw that connection with you. I think you’re the shiver in your kneecaps after you down a gulp of vodka. That sounds more accurate to me.”

“The shiver in your kneecaps,” you repeat, and then fall quiet once more.

“You’re also clack of high heels on linoleum, but don’t take that as a slur against your masculinity. You’re also the snap of the first bone in a football game. You’re a car accident - no, you’re the screech of tires and the groan of metal that comes along with a car accident.”

I shake my head. “No, you’re the press coverage that comes along with a car accident.”

You say nothing. I say something. “You’re the laugh I forget to hide when you do something stupid in school, or get someone in trouble, or get in trouble yourself. You’re the light I can’t get out of my eyes when I see you.”

Now we’re drifting into dangerous territory, so I backtrack to safer waters. “You’re like a hymn book dropped in church, during that time when everyone is silent and praying. You’re the static shock between dry air and flannel sheets in the winter.”

You say, “So what are you?” and I bite the inside of my cheek before replying, “I’m the light on an airplane at night. I’m the table of contents in a calculus textbook.” After a pause I add, “And I am the kitchen garbage can.”

Now don’t get me wrong here. I am not describing myself as worthless, or trashy. I am not claiming to be the vessel upon which you dump all your rotten, broken pieces. But how often do you stop and think to yourself, “That’s a nice garbage can?”

How often do you stop to stare at a garbage can? How often do you admire its color, its shape? Do you wonder about the contents within?

Do you think about the contents at all?




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