Trade Off

Randy punched me in the mouth when we were ten. He said it was an accident; I thought it had something to do with my baseball card collection and not loaning him my Willie Mays. My upper lip swelled on the right side and the inside was slightly cut so I couldn’t eat any salty foods for a week. My mom called his mom and complained. His mom called his father at work and complained. Randy saw me at school the next day and complained. He couldn’t see me very well though because his eye was black and blue and almost swollen shut.  He couldn’t speak very well either because his lower lip was split and puffy on the left side. But still, he wanted to meet at lunch to play catch. Randy murdered someone when he was twenty-one. He said it was an accident; I knew it had nothing to do with baseball cards.


Copyright: Joie Norby Lê 2007

Why Me.

I haven’t written in awhile. Most of my well-intentioned musings are stored in opaque jars on a shelf called, “I’ll get to it someday.” Occasionally, I’ll get one down, turning the dusty jar with tired hands, opening the lid and examining the contents as if it were a spice I could still use for cooking. Some have expired. Even if I were to extract the contents, the meaning is long gone, trapped within the recesses of my memory—forever. It is complicated being a writer. My thoughts start to build into entire essays when all I want to do is put down the right sentence before the turn of phrase eludes me. I miss the words. Spun just right, I am a weaver of silk that can touch the senses with delicate thread and soft colors. You will remember me in the lasting impression of lightness and texture you cannot explain. It is a gift and one that I am grateful for, if only for a place to rest my tumbled thoughts, the pillow that cradles my head crisp and white underneath the boldness of black Arial font. I recently decided to open a jar, shaking lose the fragments of another time, working to piece them together in the present.

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