Tomorrow I’ll wear black again. I’ll drive to Alabama all day today, and when I leave I’ll have burial mud on my shoes. My dear cousin and friend is gone now, so I’ve played our music to myself and can’t help but write what I remember. He was such a boy, and I puppied up to him at around age 13. He taught me poetry, munchies, cigarettes, and how to argue. He mostly thought I was a dumb girl, but he looked on me with brother kindness, and I aspired to earn that love, how all do with Jeremiah, hope to attain to his genius.
My house was down a long dirt road, and that road was the path to his house. At the end, turn left, and there it was. Sherri taught me how to climb in and out his window. Somehow the fear of my daddy didn’t stop me from waiting till bed to walk there in the pitch dark. I battled fear like a warrior. I heard footprints in the woods, and I kept walking. I heard Uncle Byron’s screen door slam, and I just kept walking.
He was strange, an A with circle drawn around. Punk as a country kid ever dreamed of being. He wore All Stars every single day, carried a walkman in his pocket. I sat on the mattress in his floor. Listen to this … Listen to this … Now tell me what you think about this …. But then … But then … But then …
I swam in questions all the way back home every time. I wrote poetry and handed it off to him in the linoleum hall at school. He opened the pages, and said awwww, look at the cute little four line stanzas. I studied poetry for 6 years in college, but I never wrote a four-line stanza again. He was like that, knew how steer a life. I make him sound harsh, and he was, but he was gentle, too, so gentle always.
When I left home, I left running. I didn’t look back like I’d turn to salt if I did. In Arkansas I’ve ached for my old friends and have hardly known how to find the path back to them. I loathe that I’m going back this way.
We visited together a few years ago, and he went straight to it. He told me he believed there was a God when he saw the face of his child. He knew when to stop and let a thing wash over him. Again, I’ve seen him several times after that, and he was softer like older men tend to get. He was old when he was a child. He hugged and said I love you.
My sons wear shoes like him. I suppose they always will.
Please join me in using concrete words to describe the abstract things in your life. As I consider a writer’s voice, I wonder how it is for you. — On Mondays I write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life, and next week the amazing Tanya Marlow will begin hosting these prompts for a season, and she’ll update all with the prompt soon. If you want to join this small community, send your readers this way, and link up below at any point this week. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here and walking with me. The path this week was a bittersweet one.