So, we were talking about when I lived with them in Georgia and then in Nevada, and my brother came home from Arizona – forced me to play football and slammed my head into the grass.
But he married a lady with great photoshop skills, and she likes to paste my face all over offensive things (sometimes with their kid).
but last night, before my brother came back from his trip we talked about his best friend who had died. and it is 3:44 AM and i don’t feel like using punctuation or prescriptive grammar.
I described a class at CSU to her…when we had to write two truths and a lie. One of my truths was ‘my brother questioned his belief in god when his best friend died.’
Everyone guessed that statement as the ‘lie’ because it was too ‘cliche.’ And i just nodded because i didnt know how to explain how real it was, and that just because it wasnt quirky or bizarre – didn’t mean it was a trope.
And i told her about when i first moved to Vegas and Brad and i drove into the desert with the top down. We parked and talked about Ed. Brad always believed in something, and i probably told you this, but that night he said things like, ‘i thought I’d feel his presence but i don’t. Im about to have a kid and he will die and i will have brought him into the world just to turn into nothing. And you’ll turn, so will elena, and everything i love…just vanish.”
So i am staring at this man, and my whole life ive idolized him and been protected by him, and in that moment i saw this desperation. I wanted him to believe in something even though i did not, so i said we should look for a sign. We saw a shooting star and i could feel this kick start in him, but he wanted to see another one for ‘proof.’ We saw a second, and he needed a third, and i kept saying, ‘just wait…it’ll come, keep waiting.’ And brad asked, ‘how long do you wait until it becomes an insignificant sign?’ But then the third one shot past and he started the car.
I said, none of those MFA students were in the car for that ‘cliche’ event, none of them scanned the sky like it was life or death because the person they adored their entire existence was flailing and vulnerable …
I repeated what dr. Banhart had said to me when i was like, ‘oh here is another girl with daddy issues…it is just too cliche.’
And he became so serious and turned his swivel chair, moved in close and said something like, ‘we can make anything insignificant. People call something cliche because on the universal it seems so small, but to the person in that predictable, common, human situation? On that level…close up? It is the most important thing in the fucking world. Cliches have their reason and their place – they are given a name and negative connotation because they are so real.’
So i am sitting on this patio furniture that my mom impulsively purchased and i am watching elena start to cry and i am saying, none of those fuckers were sitting in the desert with him. And that ‘truth’ which i conceded as ‘lie’ was the most human thing for that ‘icebreaker’ exercise. It was cliche because it was so goddamn human for him to be scared and sad and want to feel the person who has gone away forever. It was cliche because it was relatable and inevitable. Maybe it wasn’t ‘clever’ or ‘safe,’ but i wrote it to see who these people were, you know?
If someone else had written that sentence, i wouldn’t have touched it, because id not run the risk of using creativity as a measurement of truth in a trite classroom opener. Id let that revelation lay dormant on the other peer’s paper because id have sense enough to know that if it was a ‘lie,’ it didn’t matter since it was a ‘truth’ somewhere.
my nephew must have had a bad dream because i heard the sound of elena’s feet rushing from one room to the other. I heard his tiny voice saying something muffled. I heard her voice making sounds of soothing. I heard her come into the kitchen and get him juice. That image is love, and it is cliche, and it is experienced, and known, and familiar, and just as important as anything else in the world at this second…especially to the five year old crying in his bed, to him especially.