Monday, July 03, 2006

I am the Scarecrow

I am not one of the lucky ones whose problems all work out, whose life and loves and ups and downs all balance each other and are in harmony and everything finds some resolution. I am a tangled knot of loose ends and pieces that don’t fit. I am the misshapen remains of last night’s party, slightly hung over and bent out of shape, sore and misguided. There are pieces of me spread everywhere like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. There’s my brain drifting off somewhere taking me back to times and places purged of pain and heartache by memory so I see only the good, only what I wish had happened instead of all that actually did.

There’s my heart, scattered in pieces. It is in the distant echoes of epic Springsteen marathons long gone; it is in every corner of that pizza oven with a stage, my beloved Stone Pony. It is in the sunny meadows and cool, dusty barns of my youth, long since torn asunder by bulldozers and real estate greed. It is in the warm haze of childhood playgrounds and bicycles and Popsicle sticks. It is in the great city of Washington, misbegotten and forgotten, cast aside and trampled upon by the country it serves, the country that misunderstands and uses and forgets. It is in the rainy Sunday jaunts to the Smithsonian with my dad (before he got sick when he could still walk and everything was ok), in the hours spent wandering the musty halls of art museums and technology exhibits, watching free puppet shows and riding the carousel on the Mall and waving my arms in the air and smiling. It is in the cool salt water rushing over my head, the freedom of just you and the ocean and being a teenager, when anything seemed possible. It is in the great state of New Jersey, where so many wonderful things have happened to me; where I fell in love and shared my life with someone for the first time. It is in New York, the place that haunted my childhood and now drives my imagination.

But these days, the biggest piece of my heart belongs to someone who will never acknowledge it. There is nothing I can do but wait and hope, and that is not enough. I am the scarecrow, and there are pieces of me everywhere.

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