WET WINDOW AFTERNOON
By Michael Olarewaju
You stand there, a mix of emotions, bewildered, relieved. It was on the second floor of that house that you spent the evening of your youth. You sit on what’s left of the porch, feeling it all, the opaqueness of the air in the room. You lie down gazing up at where the ceiling used to be, cigarette smoke curling up to a lazy fan, doing it’s best to clear the air. It was here that you remembered your innocence, where you remember the things you did and now your knees quiver in regret of the things you didn’t do. Tuesday mornings listening to the vinyl your boyfriend bought for you, you find it funny that you ever called him that. The radio still plays the songs you love, but it sounded better on the roof of his car, driving and skidding down the freeway to nowhere. The ashtray sits empty, the trip to the store for a lighter might mean having to talk to someone, so you lay there, staring at the ceiling. You were sure of what you weren’t, the dresses you could always fit into, your hair bound into an artsy sophisto. You remember ignoring the alarm clock, waking up to the sprinkler splashing against your window in the afternoon, wondering how the water was able to get that high. Now you are drowning in the memory of you remembering the people, faces, bottles, toilet seats, mornings, headaches. The telephone rings, a constant reminder of the street below, the world around. It always starts with the same piercing ring, you run to pick it up and stop halfway reminding yourself of your cynicism. The bed, a complicated montage of the clothes you used to wear to the places you thought you would always go. You stare at the fan, its continuous spin. You watch it twirl and doubt if it will complete another rotation just as you question if you are going wake up to another wet window afternoon. You make yourself coffee, hazelnut, while still wearing the same Pink Floyd t-shirt since your last visitor. You have no reason to stay up, so you don’t drink the coffee. You sit at the computer, you haven’t paid the bill in a while so you continue playing the game of solitaire you believe you’re winning. You go to get the paper, your only interaction with world. On this particular day, Coer de Pirate was in the entertainment section. You saw her live once, in Paris, with him. He’d gotten you the tickets from the redhead at the cafe, whom you forgot to thank. You recycle the paper, remembering Paris, the bicycle. You try pedalling faster, trying to catch the wind. He bought you that bicycle, the one with the little white bells. You thought he was a romantic but he really just had a rich father. Paris was alive, with it’s toe tapping techno, but you sit here with your cold coffee and it all felt so long ago, so unreal. Even more, you now lie here, a world of drilling and deconstruction erupting around you as you stare at where the house used to stand. It was your birthday, so you picked up the phone; it was the phone company. You go to bed in the morning with Buffalo Springfield singing a charm from the radio, songs you once loved, people you never see. As dark as those days were, you want them back, you want the hypnotic fan and useless coffee back. You want to wake up to another afternoon, with a freshly wet window of opportunity, a candle of hope. This was were you grew up, where you threw away the veil of innocence, the run of childhood. This was where you closed the curtains of reality and began to construct halls of memories. This was where you put away your youth, your bare foot nights at the Riviera, freeways to nowhere. Here you have embraced adulthood, a stunted growth. Now you look at the void, reminiscing about the days you remembered. Somewhere deep inside, in some secluded pocket of your soul, you’re glad they’re tearing this place down. You’ll never have to see it again, never having to admit your potential. So goodbye to white bells and entertainment sections. I am who you’re not. What you could have been. Goodbye.