|Candler Mountain Skate Park, Lynchburg, VA|
In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life
I wanna know what love is...
Some have heads bowed, some eyes closed, several stare at the ceiling tiles, how the coffee colored water stains break the symmetry of ordered squares --- and as the music plays a chuckle starts somewhere.
I am dating myself. Months later they will do a skit and everyone will laugh at the night we did a meditation on Foreigner---but the question remains.
He is flipping desks and tossing chairs like an audition for the role of the Hulk in the new Avengers movie. A middle school girl cringes in the corner, arms clutched to the panda on her shirt, lips quivering around her braces. A cocoa colored girl starts to keen a broken lullaby, seeking soothing. The rest hug the walls, the furthest they can get from---
Panic has the teacher in a choke hold, eyes open to the devastation but unmoving---unable to process the connections between the science lesson and the rage erupting from the boy. Forgotten worksheets flutter through the air, carpeting the floor. He is screaming. She is keening. Everything is broken.
A bird trills in a tree by the track as we sit in the soft clover, a pile of little white flowers grows in front of him---snap, snap, snap, he breaks them off at the neck.
I read the letter, creased with sweat from his back pocket. 'I think of you at night before I got to bed and when I wake up. When you touch me I feel alive. Please hold my hand at lunch. Talk to me in gym. I want to know you more.'
And then she didn't, when he tried and he doesn't---understand her, or love, or why everything crumbles as he holds it---snap, snap, snap.
A gym class carves the black circle, shoes slap the black. Short shorts, matching shirts emblazoned with the school name. A few in the back walk--just trying to catch their breath. The coach from the other side of the field yells, 'Come on. Run. You can do better than that.'
Snap, snap, snap---the question remains---as we muddle through abstract answers in his concrete world---questions we ever only grace with the tips of our fingers. Snap.
written for Imperfect Prose.
lyrics to 'I wanna know what love is' by Foreigner.