Friday, June 16, 2006

my second sound

You should have a radio show.

It was said before. Others said: I should be a comedian, an actress. At one time, I wanted to be. I tried. I went to the city. I dreamed of the lights. I sent away for film school applications. My hair was cut in bangs. My feet bled in shoes. My fingers were moved from their places on the pencil, their places on the piano. My syntax was broken. I threw a guitar at the wall. The right way, I studied the right way. I applied to the right schools. I got the right job. I hated every second, except the part where we were driving, looking out at the night.

I’m pretty happy with what I am, I said, and was very, very surprised. My second sound was a gasp.

Somewhere, somewhere—when?—I stopped trying to straighten my hair, stopped reading fashion magazines and Poets and Writers, stopping googling names, stopping drinking things I didn’t want to drink, stopping talking if I didn’t have anything to say.

I am not that much different from that little girl in the pictures, the one who plopped down 150 as the number of books she would read for the public library’s summer reading contest.

You are not going to read that much, the librarian said.

I wish I could say I sneered, oh yeah? But the truth is, I just walked away and read them.

I’m not angry. I’m not interested in being right. I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m smart. I wear my dresses over jeans sometimes, have for years. Sometimes pigtails. Sometimes will order a Shirley Temple. Sometimes won’t have a comeback for days. Sometimes sing in my sleep. Sometimes cry at the movies. If you leave a glass of water around, I’ll spill it. If you give me your hand, I’ll take it.

I sing when I wash the dishes. I sing the wrong lyrics. I mispronounce big words and not-so big ones. I misspell when I’m nervous. I am often nervous. I'm shy and I stammer and then I talk too much. I fall up stairs. I like the crust. I have freckles. I dream of the trapeze and porch swings and love and I'm pretty happy with what I am and having a book is not the most important thing in the world.

What is? Well.

Hey, there's that hand.