Seven-thirty, Boot Liquor country blasting through the headphones. “They ought to make a brand-new whiskey, and give it a woman’s name.” I’ll take Diet Pepsi for my postprandial libation, forego Bailey’s for now.

“Oh, I’ll pawn you my gold watch and chain, love.” Been in all day, was starting to slide, feel out of sorts, unanchored and aimless by midday. Tired of Flickr, tired of checking SiteMeter, tired of sorting through pictures on Picasa, tired of reading about other people’s lives on Facebook.

And I knew Becca was coming over from the City; I’d invited her Sunday. A little concerned that silence might lie heavy, that I might talk too much. “I hollered, ‘Lordy, Lordy, have mercy on me.'”

We started slow, I felt jerky and out of gear. “On the road to Bakersfield.” Stories came, food, weight, computer talk, Andy’s good heart, Anita’s pushing my mother button, my hard time during Lent, her having felt buoyed up, two seminary graduates and her ordained, how sometimes what doesn’t “fit” is the best and most healing truth.

“Ain’t going back there, ain’t going back no more.” My fear, still, that being Christian will take something away from me–and the only part of Christianity I can always take without struggling is the Resurrection. But at church I’m home. When I came back to the church, I wanted where I came from, what I was, to be good enough.

“I won’t wear the chains that sadness made.” Daddy, how he came to me at the trial of the man who shot him and again the day of Mama’s funeral. How I used to say, “He loved me so much he battled through time and space, life and death,” and now I know he had no cosmic opposition, just God saying, “Well, Franklin, get going.”

“We’re doing fine–me, myself, and the wine.” And through the afternoon, my heart opens from the stripped branch I had known earlier to the fullness that makes what is, good and enough, even this body and not having had the relationship I always wanted, even the loneliness that aches.

Becca hears my words into knowledge; I receive her relatively greater silence as gift. The slight meal we share is feast enough. Eight-thirty and I’m not just caffeine mellow. Boot Liquor still flows deep and bright. “Send dead flowers to my wedding and I won’t forget to put roses on your grave.”

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Note: “Freeway Sky” appears on my photostream at Flickr.com.
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