Friday, March 24, 2006
Reach For Me

I can still smell the fresh Missouri air.

I drove along the North Platte river in Nebraska for two or three hours; just wondering what my life was growing towards. I was 19.

In Nebraska, the city limits of Omaha fall away quickly (not like Atlanta, where all blurs together in some fastidious suburban Hell). In Omaha, there are city street lights, and then...nothing. Fields of blackness at night, only the hollow-eyed stares of deer. And in the dusk the land sets itself on fire, like a burning brush. And those fallow fields glow like plutonium hope.

Time to go home: two week reprise to Georgia. I drove from my scanty studio apartment on North 24th street (one block off campus) into the wilds of the Midwest.

Others have trailed over the hilly glens of Europe. Friends have launched themselves from the highest peaks into the deepest pools. And still others backpack into Yellowstone National Park. I did none of these things--as I couldn't (for whatever, whichever random reason). But I did drive 800 miles alone. Yes, alone, and filled with the land.

No Jack Kerouac, I. No free roaming spirit. I stick to the most direct route from A to B. But there I am--the middle of Missouri in May. 7 pm. And it's simply me and the winding road. I look out and there, the sun is glowing hot and low in the air. The wind comes through the windows, and I'm singing. I'm throwing that voice out into the sky, daring God to throw it back. I'm all alone. I'm complete.

While I drive, I replay my club nights in front of my brain. There is only thumping bass and the sweat of others' bodies. I am trapped in a corner, against a mirror, the DJ pounding out the techno and industrial of Europe, and some joke! I'm in a gay bar looking for a man. But there is only the corner of the dancefloor, and a mirror. And there is me--this large girl with these wide eyes and thick legs. So what can I do? Thrash my fists into the glass and cry? Or--dance?

Dance. It begins with a head move and eyes shut. I don't exist, therefore, I can be whomever I please. Hips begin to swivel, breasts undulating, arms upended (praise the DJ!) and my corner of the dancefloor has become just a bit bigger. GIVE ME ROOM! I'M TRYING TO FLY!
Fly, Wallflower. Fly. Faster tempo blends my hands into the whirring of doves and I'm tapping out my own salsa. The lights go dim, the beat slows, you know the score! Now we make a move..

Back in my car, I smile at myself. Funny where we find ourselves believing in our own magisterial skin. Whether in a decrepit car or a sad club, we can always find a kernel of incredibility. That's me--that blonde chick thumping to her own beat. That's me--that blonde chick throwing a smile out into Missouri, and every color melts right back at her, gently chiding her:

"Go on, sweet babe. Go on dancing."

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Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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    What I Live By:
    We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. -T.S. Eliot "Little Gidding"

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