On the drive up to Orlando through the 95, we saw billboard after
billboard. Our favorite of course, Café Risqué, the strip club with
the motto, “We bare all,” and a sensuous silhouette of a voluptuous
vixen. And don’t think we didn’t notice when they put up a shiny
new ad. Business must be good, said Cat. Good for them.
The billboards changed from curvy ladies and shadows of lions about
to get it on to calls for salvation from unholy abortions and impending
flames of hell. Gator territory. It’s a strange battlefield, the line between
sin city O-Town and self-righteous Gainesville. Like 95 is the road to fight
for our very souls. In the end, gator jerky and fireworks win.
It doesn’t matter where I go in SoFlo. Palm trees always follow.
Lush green to decaying brown starburst fronds exploding from a
trunk of taupe rings so skinny I can wrap my arms around. Like frozen
fireworks that got caught halfway up from the ground.
And then there’s the ducks. Ugly birds with black and white mottled
feathers and wrinkly red beaks like a saggy soaked old rag. Still,
their signature waddle makes me giggle, if not menacing
when coming toward me. Walking away though, it’s like the white rabbit
urgent with places to be.
It’s really the water though. Lakes, ponds, oceans, even still puddles after
a freak rain cloud passing. It’s everywhere. From micro bacterial inky black
to Crayola sea foam green, but it all reflects back the light with shimmying
waves made of thousands of liquid scales rippling under the slightest breeze
and shines with shadows of skyscrapers, their windows refracted in the wet mirror.
This is Hollywood living. It’s dirty
and it’s paradise
and it’s home.
Cross it all off and don’t look back. Like a long
languid breath, to draw that X over words that no longer
work because you no longer work the same way.
X marks the spot, so tape it to the wall and let the arrow fly.
Let them go. Let them fade into smeared ink and crinkled
yellow pages. You’re not bound to old texts if they are no longer bound
to you. Cross them out with a big black X stretched from corner to
corner. Start a new page—hell, a new book—and leave that X in the old spiral
notebook with the Happy Bunny cover to collect dust as all the others before.
It’s well-worn and you’re ready to move on. Let this set of college rule lines
be a new love affair to be filled with today’s thoughts and tomorrow’s voice.