Alternate Timelines


I met this girl when I was five years old
and what I loved most, she had so much soul;
so much in fact, that for fifteen, she gave me a home,
and didn’t once question where I had gone, and why I never came back.
I stood outside her doorstep, saw a ripped notice of foreclosure, and cried in her lap.
I still remember getting off the airplane, confused, and holding my mother’s hand.
My dad stood by the baggage claim. Back then, airports were more free reign.
He led us out to a van driven by a family friend who put us up for a few months,
and despite things changing for the worse on that front, I’ll never forget the gesture.
She gave me Flintstones’ vitamins, and I still drink milk ritually at 4 PM. I recall once
bringing The Lion King toys home from kindergarten, but never played with them.
Hide and seek tag down wooden corridors of many stairs, and
I liked to use the A/C unit to puff up my shirt like a superhero.
My first night at my new place consisted of sleeping bags and
watching Chuck Norris’ Delta Force. She wasn’t easily impressed.
Recorded my first tape singing the national anthem and reading a story about Lincoln.
My KaZaa download of a Bart Simpson prank call was killed by a dial-up connection.
Walk-in closet held secrets in the form of unfinished sketchbooks and a bottle of Absinthe.
Bought a bootleg of Rush Hour 2 for five bucks from a friend that didn’t play on Real Player.
He’s married now, and is honestly the only reason I got to see her again.
A lot of her remains unchanged, but a lot of her has become rundown,
to the point of being unrecognizable, and it was a bittersweet reunion.
I felt a lot like Cap after being unfrozen. In six years, I missed a lot more than just dances.
Comatose living, where everyone thinks you’re older, quieter, and you used to smile more.
Change of pace. Change of place. Her condo’s smaller than my first one back in ’96.
It’s spacious though, and really well decorated. I’m happy to say she was worth it,
but I don’t think that she feels the same way. I always seem to get the order wrong.
Do you see her from across the room, and immediately ask her out?
Am I wasting time making small talk leading into a long con, where
interest is gauged through common interests and lengthy discussions?
I don’t drink, so I spend the night staring into her eyes,
and getting intoxicated that way; it makes it easier to drive.
By this point, I’ve still said nothing, but find myself developing feelings;
both towards the person she is, and to the us that we’re becoming.
Oh Lord, I’m investing, and I really shouldn’t be. She doesn’t even think of me,
or if she does, it’s really scarce, and only out of necessity. Make it stop, please.
Technology is the enemy. It hinders physical proximity for instant connectivity.
I’m a daytime kid stuck in nighttime’s vortex, of 12 AM texts, because post-10 PM
Jack is stupid, ignoring his 4 AM wake up call in favor of whatever the night brings.
I’ll give you a hint: lots of hopeless and sleepless exchanges well into the morning.

[Currently listening to Down Here | Polly.]