Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Morning Meds--Still a smile

All our days pass away under your wrath; 
we finish our years with a moan.” Psalm 90:9

A friend of mine sent me a poem. She's been thinking about Rahab the harlot, loved by men of God—several maybe—and God. Definitions aren't exactly the same, of course; but the voice of this poem--and it's a woman's voice--asks if all Rahab’s men used her, or if maybe there were some who did not: “did not some/come to love/her?” the poem asks.

Didn't someone love her? Just one maybe? A lovely, painful question.

My first memorable sexual experience happened when I was just a kid. It seemed to me—I may be wrong—that the event was delightfully mutual. She was by reputation more willing than most. Regardless, the two of us didn't do anything awful or unseemly. From the vantage point of all these years, it seems to me we merely played. Right now, honestly, I smile to remember.

I was attracted to her that night, in part, because she seemed offering something. Her tank top was a triangular shift of cloth, orange, pulled across her chest and fastened with two pair of cottony strings over a naked back. It's amazing that I remember, then again maybe not.

A certain inevitability led our flirting to a darkened backyard away from the crowd at the city park, where we lay together in the damp grass. It was, I swear it, Fourth of July. Soon enough, she let me slide my hand beneath that tank top.

Basically, that's the story. A year or so later we went to the same high school but ran in different circles.  I didn't lust or chase after her. Never really talked to her at all that I remember.

A couple years later, in college and alone, I went back to her, even made our relationship public enough to prompt my older sisters to take me aside and tell me the word on the street was that their little brother was slumming, seeing that girl. Soon enough, I went back to college.

That's the whole story. She was no Rahab, but I'm quite sure there were more of me. Still, what I remember about my relationship to that girl is that it was physical. I honestly believe she enjoyed it all as much as I did. Nothing untoward happened. I never tried to push things. 

Today she's probably a church-going grandma, 65 years old and loved by God, I'm sure. It would be nice to be able to be able to tell her an answer to what the poem asks—that I was one who loved her, love itself being the kind of elastic word it is. 

That old story comes back to me now because I often feel the darkness this particular line from Psalm 90 prompts: "All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan." Ouch. 

Sometimes I really do feel my age: indigestion has been a plague all week; I don’t sleep well; my back kills me in the morning; I fade by 10:30, out like a light. My life as yet is not a moan, thanks be to God; but once in a while I feel a bellow welling up within my soul. 

I'm sure this whole memory is little more than a fantasy that offers lost innocence and the thrill of playful fleshy conquest. Truth be told, it still makes me smile.

It wouldn't be proper, of course, but maybe I'd like to tell that grandma, wherever she is, that some of the boys who played with her loved her--I mean, sort of--me among them because I'm guessing I'm not the only one with memories that in these days that are passing away still bring with them a smile.


Anonymous said...

I read this post and all I could do when I finished was "moan". You started your young life moaning and your ending it with moaning. Help!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you need a physical, but try a nice soak in a hot tub first, a spa one with jets on your sore muscles.

I didn't moan at your story, just smiled at the "young man attraction" to a little flirt back in the good old days.