monday song #47: still life
staring at the floor. frozen.
scuffed wood once elegant, now dulled by years of water spraying from the kitchen sink.
it’s the eighth floor at liberty lane.
frozen. looking down. familiar.
elliott came from a family that spent their lives propping up the walls, keeping the ceiling in place. his father drinking and laughing and screaming and occasionally hitting. and everyone looking the other way. ignoring and teaming up to hide the abuse. pretend it was all ideal. killing reality to lay down a forgiving carpet.
sometimes he thinks of his sisters. he doesn’t know them as well as he should. even today they continue to keep their father’s world in place. when they call there are noises at both ends of the line, but nothing shared. like they are checking in on him. has he gone astray? checking that the secret is safe.
lately he has no answer.
he lives his own life. and he is happy. two beautiful children. a loving wife. but every once in a while a ghost moves through the dining room. sits on his chest. and the words of his innocent children, or his wife, words that come from today, reanimate the memories, and he sees his reactions like a long distance call, right here and far away, and still haunting him.
he worked for some years to let the voices go. to untangle the wires. to disconnect the buttons. but lately, he’s been fatalistic. lately, he figures you can’t change the past. you can’t pry it up from the present. you can’t make a change when all that’s been has been.
so he writes it down. sometimes he sings it out. pushing it into the light.
you only smother beneath a living weight. a memory has no substance outside the mind that conjures it.
“let it go or let it be.
“either suits me.”