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I looked up at the clouds today and saw your name spelled out in cotton trails, flying with the birds through the San Fernando Valley. You never did like being grounded. Maybe you’ll drop in through my window someday, paint the town red, and I’ll show that I’m still the same, and hope to god you are too.
California misses you. These streets don’t walk the same without knowing your nestled somewhere in between a pizza box and Rocky Peak.
How are the bright lights treating you?
New York always did paint a vivid picture of herself in your eyes. Living up to expectations? Quick, look away, don’t get blinded by imagination, you always had a knack for false predications. You remember how you used to paint my portrait? Said my face would be up high, only got so far as the kitchen fridge.
I hear the Florida sunshine still burns too bright. You always joked you’d appear on my doorstep one summer, shades in hand, with nothing but the shoes upon your feet; the perfect hitchhiker. It’s a shame the lemonade turned sour and that second deckchair grew cobwebs before autumn came and I realised your words were meant as a trivial joke. I didn’t laugh then, but every summer since I’ll lye out with a warm glass of lemonade and laugh a bit. For you.
I bought Peaches today. Boxes and boxes of peaches. I caught their nostalgic smell on a lazy walk and decided to give spontaneity a chance. Remember three summers ago when we stopped off at that two-minutes-and-you’ve-seen-it-all town, so small and irrelevant it didn’t hold a map reference to its name? We bought peaches, because that was all $2.35 would allow us. You kicked your sandals into a lake as we slumped on the shore, laughing like children at each splash they made while we devoured their sugar-sweet flesh. Mine didn’t taste as good as Georgia peaches.
Have those icy winds made you serious yet? Or do you still do handstands in the snow until your fingers tingle just to prove that you could cope with the world when I turned it upside down? You always said Alaskans had the warmest hearts because they were so used to the cold that they treasured every centigrade of heat, especially the kind that brought a smile to a scarce winter, and blushing cheeks to a blizzard. I hope you found someone to keep you warm.
Has the one-arm bandit robbed you for the last time, or do you still go back with dimes at six? Vegas is a cruel mistress, and she sure got you tight within her grasp. There’s no sense digging deeper when the hole can span a life-time. Come home cowboy. For old times sake, ride up the mount tonight in time to catch the stars. They always shined brightest for you. And I wouldn’t mind feeling the leather of your jacket over my shoulders as the birds bring round the dusk. Just saying.
How’s the Oklahoma mistletoe? It always did have a talent for perfect timing. I miss home. I miss your mom’s pumpkin pie and I miss the way our bedroom windows were opposite, so even in the thickest winters we could write stupid little nothings on misted panes because we were just too unconventional to pick up the phone. I liked that. Knowing you’d be the first face I’d see in the morning and the last at night. Now and again, I’ll look out before I close my curtains and find a breeze-block wall. Old habits die hard.
Yesterday I found an old Juke box in a skip. Swimming in old mattress springs and doll heads, a less than dignified fare-well. Do you still steal nickels just to play the Delta Blues on the box at ole Rusty’s? You remember how I told you that I couldn’t dance to save the world, but you dragged me up regardless and whispered in my ear ‘If the world needed saving, I’d be the one to dance’.
After everything, did I ever really know you?