I drive. A ribbon of black asphalt stretches out like my thoughts. I’m reminded of my father when I was a small child. He sat reclining in our living room. The television was on and he smoked cigarettes and watched the Vietnam war news. His hands were calm. No tension. Legs stretched out in black trousers. A blue blur of smoke hung above him like a question mark. I stood to one side holding his leg with a tiny hand. Unknowing. Here I am years later. I drive. I think of skateboarding and those I know and love. I seek. Like any other person, I long for something… other than this. Why? Why am I so torn at times? I smirk at myself in the mirror and change the thread of my thoughts. Gripping the wheel, I turn into an old neighborhood. Poverty can no longer hide the hardness of her ravaging years. The economy has been poor for far too long. People are in despair. The whole world is crying. I see broken windows and trash. I pull to the curb. My experienced eyes run across the property. Walking the perimeter of the house, I assess for threats. Squatters. Dogs. Neighbors. I pull myself onto a side wall. Crumbling. I lay on top briefly. Pool. Black water.
I make note of the transitions. There are signs that someone is living here. Back room. Rumpled blankets. Refuse. Empty bottles are everywhere. I laugh under my breath as I see a magazine near the makeshift bed. ‘Juicy Booty’. I have a look… interesting. “Different strokes I guess…” I mumble to myself and soon find myself driving again. The world opens up to me. Mysterious. I wander and think. Isn’t is odd how so few win and so many lose? The more I know, the less I need. Simplicity. I think back to my father all those long years ago. Stoic. He lived a Spartan life. His world was work and his children. We defined him. I down shift the truck and exit the freeway. A dirty sun drops on the horizon. It dips behind the trees and they stand silhouetted. Stark and gloomy. I drive.
We rode the pool. In a confusing and sometimes dismal world, we try and set things right. The pool was lost to us just as fast as it was found. New tenants. New paint. An unfulfilled dream. I stopped and spoke with the new owners. It had been three years. An offer and an outstretched palm. Deal. We returned with friends. Happiness rose up like smoke. Stories were told. Laughter.