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Optimism

“Ce n’est pas l’inégalité qui est un malheur réel, c’est la dépendance.”
  It’s not inequality that’s the real misfortune, it’s dependence.
    ~ Voltaire, “Equality” (1764)

Sitting in my room
Watching these toenails growing
I break from introverted familiarity
Distracted by motion past the window
What do swaying branches mean
It’s springtime
There’s a breeze

What’s the sense in imagining
What’s too good to be true
I’d been glad and always amazed
Each time we were together
Realizing soon enough a simple trip to the park
Would of course be a solo venture
Now I’ll take my own advice
Just imagine the achievable

I shuffle downstairs
Greet this kite
Bright green and yellow
That’s been hanging from the ceiling over the corner
As long as I’ve been hanging out here
It too has been craving attention
Ready to fly

In this town
A place called Optimist Park
Where I once walked of an evening across grassy fields
Found it more than expansive enough
To lift a kite
And possibly even a spirit
From stagnation

She didn’t ask me about this little aircraft
When she noticed it here
Not where we might’ve flown it together
Once springtime would come
Not what either of us might be up to
At all
By then

I take the car
It’s still morning
Perfect weekend weather
No other kites fly here
I don’t see why not
It’s surely an opportune time
To head skyward

There’s just enough airflow
As I walk the gentle slope
Of this meadow
That as I pause to attach the roll of string’s tail end
To the strong lower flap
It tugs at me now and then
Itching for release

She was obviously happier when I met her
Than later in
Relationship
Of whatever sort it may have been
And whatever bade her say the things she said
Should’ve been obvious
From hello to goodbye
Supple as this colorful design
Of gossamer span and featherweight structure
She’s better off
Flying on
Without me keeping her down

I set it aloft
Moving gradually windward to keep it from dropping back
Between mischievous gusts
It bobs
Gradually gains altitude with tentative pulls
Becoming steadier little by little
Good news
The air current seems the more stable
The higher it goes

I’ve been treading backward
Watchfully feeding it string
As its gracious profile recedes
I stop walking
A delicate pull remains on the line
I can almost be up there with it
Looking out over the landscape
Seeing the people engaged
With their own activities in this park
Participating from here
At this haltingly increasing height

Something she once told me
Made me fantasize that she might’ve liked to drive out here
Toss a frisbee together
But that was winter
Since the season’s changed
I’m left only to picture her standing
Elegant and radiant
Releasing the disc backhand with her usual poise
To arc slowly along the breeze
So smooth and perfect that to reach out to it I barely
Lean forward

Pfzzzzzzz!
Something hard and mean shoots through the place
Just where my head was
I turn toward a group of distant figures
Observe them taking heavy swings
Again
Driving their projectiles straight
Onto me
Their eyes I see in spirit more than physically
Even at this distance
Drill my flesh

Pfzzzzzzz!
There’s hardly time for mind to register
Stunned amazement
Pfzzzzzzz!
I still feel the wake created
As that last speeding object sliced the air
Unyielding as stone
Maybe a hand’s breadth from my face
If one of these connects at this velocity
It could shatter bone
Pfzzzzzzz! Pfzzzzzzz!

I run
A blur of clean-cut grass rushes past
I’m racing the breeze
No, outpacing it
The string’s limp in my hand
The kite must be plummeting
Not a moment to look

Pfzzzzzzz!
I careen side-to-side
Making a more difficult target of myself
I’m acutely aware of the fall
Though my eyes don’t witness it
As I angle toward the parking lot
I feel as much as hear
The crash to Earth behind me

I have a moment
To catch shaking breath
Hiding between cars
I reel quickly
Bring downed brightness skittering along mowed surface
And finally the sidewalk
I don’t want to look

No golf balls will strike me here
Too much liability
But the friendly humans enjoying this park
Seeing that they have me on the run
Can easily reach me
Better not stay longer than it takes
To pack this fallen splash of yellow and green
Out of here

She came on in waves
When I laid above her
Her breast heaved enough to lift me
As my deep breaths matched hers
Though her motion happened
Because I was too awkward
Mine will have to be enough
I indisputably will fantasize those moments
Every spare moment
All the years of my life
And in my fantasy
We’ll pull off those winter clothes
And what’s more
She’ll love me

It’s broken
As I place it back into the trunk
From which it so recently emerged with anticipation
I caress momentarily
The fractured strut that had supported its starboard wing
I know I could fix it
As if that’d put it in the air again
What’s the difference
I know I can talk with her
About why she thought she had to cause this much pain
Like that’d spare the next geek
Whose heart she’d adeptly shatter
Again
What’s the difference
She’ll play her way
Emotionally brain-dead
But with such lovely raw efficiency
I’m privileged to have been the sole witness
Once upon a time
Of her exquisite weaponry in action
Any way it would’ve ended
No matter how she would’ve let me know
To not impose myself on her
How would the damage have been any less
Anyway
My toenails I can count on
Why strive for anything else
What’s the difference
Since I’ve long
Since lost count
Of overpayments for optimism

Thanks always returns

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