Lines Crossing Every Kind of Time

January 23, 2018


I remember it happened once
years ago
in the most mundane way - 
what do they call it? 
that thing,
when you remember about love?
no, not that love
and yes that love
just, Love.
and then everything is not easy
or even better
but it can be, somehow
I’d just dropped a woman off
for the last time
at the airport,
getting lost on the way
to a place I’d already
traveled to 
many times,
as though to make time slower
and risk her departure at all.
we’d spent years loving
and years unraveling 
each other
and in a way, the whole world
foot by foot.
and when only 100 feet away
she was already as far as 8,925 miles, 
and not only her
but whatever sum of our equation we’d once
imagined making of ourselves 
or maybe, 
and maybe it was the problem - 
that thing we do,
of each other.
we let that all go
once and for all
not knowing what else
we’d each grab onto.
I remember the horizontal escalator
which I never understood
but sometimes took, anyway
and a lonely swan song of 
saxophone in the depths of the long, long basement 
and tears in a bathroom stall.
I remember a night out 
when I was barely there, if at all.
I remember,
and this is what happened,
this is why I’m writing, 
stopping in the local shopping mall
at the AT&T store
the next day as I was driving back
to get a phone contract.
because, though one cord had been cut,
I’d need another one.
The woman that worked there, 
with wrinkles drawn through every kind of time
on her face
but still young, only tired,
attended one by one
to the people that waited
on the other side of the circular wooden counter
with all their demands.
as the glasses slid down her nose,
one man spoke very loudly
that he could not hear the messages on his phone.
and I remember - 
she didn’t attend to the broken phone,
she attended to the man.
and asked to listen to his messages
and as she did, 
she said them aloud,
very loudly,
and wrote down the details.
one message was from the doctor
about a prescription
to alleviate some kind of pain.
and she didn’t just listen 
and tell him the messages
or rather, tell us all, really - 
that was the truth of it.
she said, well that’s confusing,
isn’t it?
and she pushed the number to reply
and she gave the doctor her two cents
on leaving such a complicated message
on the phone of an old man,
a stranger really,
who needed medicine
and couldn’t hear that well.
then, moving on,
she told the man he had a second call
from his son - 
your son loves you, she said
your son loves you, she said, louder
because maybe, that day
he hadn’t been able to hear that, either.
I left the AT&T store,
with more than I’d went in there for.
I’ve too been the woman
getting on the plane
being 100 feet away
and as far as 8,316 miles already.
sometimes, life is like that
both behind and ahead of us,
what we know and don’t,
behind and ahead of us,
and woven in loops.
I often see her, that woman
from the AT&T store,
if I’m paying enough attention,
or rather, I see what she reminded me of.
in the swirling leaves
in the wind itself
in the old, worn eyes who smile at me
because of no greater reason
than the matter of heart and teeth.
exactly like that woman
in the AT&T store
listening to messages
and more
and passing them on,
lines crossing every kind of time.

(Aimee Hansen)

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