Saturday, May 21, 2011

Speaker and Author, Author and Speaker

Sometimes the same and sometimes one's meeker.


I scare you, you know. When you let yourself think of me. When you let me be here, in front of you, not behind, not out in the corner of your eye, not flickering or glimmering through a cloud or a crowd. When you genuinely, honestly, accept that I am.

I am what I am, and I translate poorly.

You know, I don't have to be scary. I didn't scare you when you were littler. You made a game of me, actually; do you remember? Figuring out what sort of person you were. Most of your firsts. First book read all through, first time you listened to a piece of music because you liked it, not because your parents were playing it. I was there with your first lie, the first thing you took without asking. The first time manipulation failed, too.

With a note of annoyance.

I can help you. But only if I'm standing in front. Not all the time; I'd block your view of everything else. But every once and a while, let me hold up the mirror. Remember where you're worse than you dare admit and that you are better than you recall. Look. Look! You're getting comfortable as yourself; that's what growing up is. But not if you're so dead set against looking at me that you only bother to see your sunburns and scars. Not if you're so determined to never let me in front that you never see your face, until you almost doubt you have one.

Calmer, and tired.

I know. You can see your hands; you can see what you're doing; you can look into still lakes on clear days and see your face. And maybe if you've forgotten me, forgotten even my glimmers, even how I look in the clouds, only notice me when I flicker through crowds of half-remembered faces and spotted mirrors, you might forget that I don't only show you.

Not an order, but still firm enough to be heard.

Call me. Look at the edges. I remind you of yourself, yes, but around the corners where I keep myself clean but that the lakes cut off with blurs and shores and odd angles, where that old mirrors cut off with dots of tarnish, look. You can see the crowd around you. What they say when they think you're not listening. They're not all insults; there's admiration. It's getting better. I swear it's getting better. I swear it will get better.

As one asking for an old friend back.

Come on. Call me. You know the name. You can't have forgotten that much. Even if you only remember the mirror, only the wisp of a dream, you can't have.

A pause. Then, perhaps, a note of desperation.

You can't.

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