The word is daylight. That descibes the rain of light from trudging overcast clouds. Bright and less bright. So let me tell you what’s around us, so you can see. And understand that in this story I want you to walk around and feel free to check things out. I am.
So we are at a hospital drop off/ pick up entrance to the Emergency room of the Providence Milwaukie hospital in the small town of Milwaukie. I call it the “97222” in my head because I worked in shipping. To others we say we are from Portland, OR (97201) because ‘burbs don’t ger press. Well, at least not until Geena Davis comes here. Woo! Kissable lips. Sorry. That’s my honest mind. No… I’m not sorry. And I’m not honest either.
I’m truthful. But I’m a syntax sinner. What is that? Someone who will run over words to death to get the real point across. Its a joke.
So its an overcast sky. I am 39, 5’11” tall and dark hair, Russian, Swedish, French, Kentuckian Native American. I could be anyone. But I want you to see this closely. So I’m your cousin. I just wrote you in. You are a guy my age. Ladies, its alright. Its only a story. Be a man about it. Hahaha.
So you and I were in an accident and freshly disembodied are in the between-world. Its kind of like being high. Rather fearless and comfortable. I put my hand on your back as we leave the O.R. where we both expired. Doc is writing down the time of expiration. Boring! You feel my hand on your back as I seem to already know more about this afterlife than you.
Okay. Let’s stop a second. We both know we are not dead. Its just that cinema makes us like voyeuristic ghosts. So be one. Geez. Haha.
You feel my fingers press against your left shoulder to see her and him. So let’s sit down in front of them on the ground. They can’t see us. They are living. We are flat. So I’m going to sit Indian style. I’ll probably get up to stretch. You can too. Sit how ever you like. Maybe look at the trees behind us as the wind tickles their leaves. Perhaps watch the old green buick go by us later. It will. Or watch the young couple go in (the woman will have a ponytail, grey hooded sweatshirt, and the guy next to her we’ll only see as a peripheral shadow wearing a ball cap.)
This is the story about Elysia Sage Montgomery. She is sitting on the wooden bench at the ER pick up. Alan Pittock comes out of the ER waiting room and sits next to her. His family is there for his father who is now going to ICU. He’ll live. But Alan is dying inside. He was just sleighted for the 430,343rd time in his life. Literally. Its bad for Alan.
Alan doesn’t know it but he subconsciously pulls himself in search of pretty girls, a cola or alcohol or a good joke when he hurts. So he has a soda from the ER vending machine and he sits on the bench leaning away from the girl so as to say, “I’m not here to bother you.” But he consciously knows he wants to be close to beauty now.
“I’m Leesy,” the 33 year old woman says. Alan first notices her pale lips, handsome face, close-cropped hair about ¼” long. She wears a leather jacket, blue sweatpants. She’s a blonde, or WOULD be if locks were unleashed proudly to obscure her pretty light blue eyes. Wow! I’m getting this from what Alan is feeling! His breath feel sweet and he feel so NOT defeated now this girl like Jodie Foster, Pink and Angelina Jolie in one.
“Hey yourself,” said Alan. “I’m Alan.” She smiled. Now Alan- he’s 23… but he likes to talk to women.
He notices things. Its like an amusement park. You could call him sensitive, which is a weak word. But truly, Alan is a sensualist. Oh, look. Oh my god. He can see the blonde hairs on her fingers at the digits! Hardly noticible! I never noticed things like that in my life. Have you, cuz?
Oh her sticky sweaty slender girl fingers are struggling to open a pack of Winston cigarettes. She gingerly pulls a cigarette out, brings it to her pale lips and drops the filter end on her lower lip. Then she lights it and looks at Alan. “Oh hey,” she says. “You want a cigarette?”
Smoke wafts from her mouth like she’s a humanoid dragon vixen and shr pulls the cigarette off her lip. As she does, the cigarette sticks and pulls on her lip showing its exact texture. In a nano second he sees the wet pink part of her inner lip and it snaps back in a jiggle. And the show is over.
Alan says, “No thanks, I don’t smoke cigarettes.” Leesy smiles and says, “Are you afraid of my germs?”. Alan looks down, then ul and to the side to her. “No ma’am”, Alan says. ” I’m afraid you’ll break my heart just sitting here is killing me and I’m not afraid to kiss you either, except I’m not up to following through with a woman of your caliber.”
Leesy looks down at him and says, “So just how old are you and what is your mission, Mr. Mister?”
Alan laughs, saying, “Well I guess my mission is to be my family’s doormat while my daddy is dyin’ in there mixed with finding pretty women to tell them they are pretty in case they forgot.”
Leesy slid closer. She flicked the cigarette. “I NEVER forgot I was beautiful. Not through chemo. Not through radiation. But…”
“But what?”, said Alan, looking at her, feeling mostly dead inside.
“But I did”, said Leesy, “forget… I was pretty.” She smiled a big smiled and tilted her head. “Now Alan… do you see that white Buick? That’s my husband. But you’ll always be my huckleberry.” And Leesy’s soft, dehydrated, pillowy, matrimonialized lips gave Alan’s cheek a big unforgettable kiss.
Leesy got in the Buick and said loudly, “Honey, I just kissed that boy there for being my bodyguard. Leesy’s husband said, “Were you hittin’ on my wife?” with a blank face. Then he smiles and says, “Hahahah, I’m just kidding dude! Thanks for watching my woman!” Then he planted a huge kiss on her and yelled “Wooooo! Mama! Yehah!” and drove on outta there.
So we see life here as ghosts. Angles. Feelings. Problems. Forever in still time. Reading makes you a ghost. You die in the letters and the dead can speak to you there. They are actually alive. Not dead. Well, a little flat.
Alan stood there as the buick became a dot on Harrison street.
He could speak to a woman, be a man kissed by a woman and have a man talk to him like a man. All in five minutes these became true in his life what his family never did in 23 years. He saw his reflection in the glass of the ER window. Behind it was the figures of his mother and brothers. And he hid the memory of that kiss away in his heart to stay strong.