matt pond PA

July 19, 2016

Summer Crushes. Part 2.

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Ice cream dripped down past the waffle cone, a peppermint chocolate chip battle wound spreading out onto my hand, soggily spiderwebbing along forearm veins to the elbow’s tip, falling and splattering on the rubber toe box of my white Converse hightops. Pastel green gore all over the floor.

“I like another Matt. A different Matt. An older Matt who doesn’t complain about tennis skirts and Indiana Jones. Goodbye.”

Sugar honey iced tea.

My mom was in the midst of her second divorce. We were retreating, moving south in the morning. There would be no drawn-out, long-distance innocence. The girl with transparent eyebrows and reptile blood suppressed a smile and vanished into the humid summer dusk.

The ice cream continued to liquefy while I remained frozen in front of that final sunset, the end of the world. There was no way to live or love again. Twelve years old and ruined. Ragnarok!

As I look back on the heartaches, the Elizabeths, the inspirational St. Augustines and harebrained Oaklands, I see that I have soared upon a lifetime of mediocre melodrama. Badly acted gasps of the everlasting last breath. Candlelit vigils under sheet tents, beached and lolling in my own bed. Scroll, scroll, scrolling the first page of Moby Dick ’til it becomes a memorized manifesto. A year-six Johnny Marr, soloing sadly sung onomatopoeias. Shouting every single syllable of Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet with absolute sincerity. “You and me babe, how about it?”

But it isn’t blood that covers the curtain legs. It’s probably just ketchup.

Tragedy isn’t awful once the ice cream is eaten. Tragedy gives us another shot. Ragnarok is our enduring rebirth. Crimson and clover, over and over.

Years later, the girl is now a woman with soft sunmade wrinkles. She comes to a show, clutching the incredible ability to laugh at her life, to laugh at my life. Unhappily married, happily loving top-notch tequila. She smiles at me in way that finally feels real. After all these years we are finally real people. Finally, to feel.