Baggage

“Excuse me, is that your bag?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “that’s my wife.” The woman’s face wrinkled in the familiar expression of disdain I have become accustomed to from that same said wife. The stranger scoffed and walked away muttering, “Jerk.” I guess most people cannot appreciate my humor. My wife can’t. I stared at the woman’s back and wanted to call after her, “Hey! Why don’t you mind your own business, you busy body!” I held my breath instead. I looked for my wife.

She had wandered off from the shopping bags to browse some antiques. She expected me to stand there and protect her purchases. It was just another example of how disconnected we had become. She didn’t notice when I was gone. I didn’t notice when she was gone. Yet we stay married. I think she hates me because I never gave her children. I think I hate her because she is chronically ill. Just another detail that makes me a jerk. You heard the lady.

This flea market is the one habitual activity we meet up for every weekend. She likes to shop and get bargains which she fills our house with and gives away as gifts whenever family comes to visit. They don’t come often. I think she is filling up our home as an external attempt to fill the space in her heart where she wanted her children to be. Too many trips in and out of the hospital. Too little energy to chase a toddler.

I work too much to have been any help to her. I thought more money would make her happy. I thought taking care of her frail body so she never had to work would make her happy. I thought buying her all this crap would make her happy. All it has done is make me old and bitter.

If she left me to find another man because I’ve turned into such a jerk, I would likely never find another companion. Because I am such a jerk. And she is an old bag, stuffed with crap she doesn’t need but won’t let go of.

Maybe that’s why we stay married.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, July 2008

Isolation

Is it your history
Your failing health?

It is impossible
To guess
What lies in the folds
In the hearts of others

So many of us
Do not advertise
So that strangers
Will take no notice
Pass us by

Cannot exploit
Our weaknesses
Safety perhaps
Isolation as well

Sometimes
For long times
We cannot take it

Pain clings
Must be washed off
Again and again and again

We are just not ready
That is OK
That is a perfectly fine choice

Regardless of what others think
You should and should not
Do with yourself

Look at them
Be kind
The mess of their lives
Make it obvious

They do not have it
Figured out either

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, June 2017

Summer Wind

Early summer
Not too hot
Strong breeze
From the south
Crosses the wide river

Through the trees
Into the window
Billowing curtains
Dancing shadows
Beige pill carpet

Wind on water
Wind swept leaves
Shimmering cacophony
Natural windchimes
Rush

Liquid against liquid
Liquid against life
Life must bend
Or break and snap
Against the invisible

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, February 2017

Corner Café

I

It was a small, tickling idea in the back of her mind. It was a dream so close to her heart she never noticed it clinging there. It just moved with her through the day, through the years of working in various restaurants. She’d put in her time until she could no longer stand the management, then move on to another place. She was making money. She was trading a service, relaxation to others for their dollars, a paid ‘mother’ to businessmen or first dates or families with a bunch of kids needing a break.


II

The green leatherette booths that lined the café had thousands of people occupy them over the years, thousands of conversations about misinformed current affairs, what homework was due tomorrow, which bitch he was fucking now. Thousands of people from every station of life. Donny Osmond had even eaten here once, a little reflected glory, a story, something to talk about when the conversation about the weather was exhausted and the people didn’t enjoy enough of the same television programs to share their exasperation over the most recent plot developments.


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