Tuesday, November 15, 2005

beta in tx pt. 1

The first thing I notice when I arrive in the airport is the amount of critters. Flies, gnats, crickets, either in flight or invisible in mid-chirp, they are prevalent in the air here. Their song rings out, as audible as that of Dallas traffic from the bedroom window.

Dallas has never really been home, despite the outpost that my mother and cat keep, but as my roots shrivel up in the Lone Star State, this remains my most stable place whenever I return. A real bed, a car to gobble petro in as I cruise to the under-plucked used bookstores (hauling in DVDs like Suspiria and Two-Lane Blacktop, but also finding Caetano Veloso's tropicalismo book), a fridge full of Shiner Bock, 500 channels of DirecTV gobbledygook, it's all those comforts of "home."

Gone almost nine months, I'm shocked when I arrive. My cat has lost a good half of her weight, and is as tiny as I've ever seen her. She looks fragile, as if picking her up might crumble her into fur and dust. Running my hand along her back, I can feel every ridge of her bones, can see how her fur has slightly more grease on it, having not been so throughly tongue-bathed as it would've been in the past. She looks old, something I forget with such distance, and who can say what the situation will be like when next I return?

My mom breaks the news that my step-father is being run out of his job after twenty-plus years of service. Meaning their house is going on the market and everything is uncertain, in turmoil. I can only guess what he's going through, as I long ago gave up hope of dedicating myself to some corporate entity, much less having steady employment, not to mention the fact that he's in an inconsolable mood, to where almost nothing can be said to him without setting him off. So I shy away from any mention of the situation. He's fallen victim to the politicking that goes on in any sort of social human interaction, and despite his company's very well-broadcast happy employee image, he's getting run out on a rail, to where he's toxic among his allies still in the company. Everyone has to distance themselves so as to not go out on his leaving train.

The house must be shown to agents, so it's scrubbed clean. If I set a drink glass or a magazine down, take off my shoes, or just turn my back, it's quickly whisked away out of sight. I feel like I'm forgetting everything, misplacing every bit of my paraphernalia, as it moves out from under me. In terms of location, I'm not even sure where I'll be flying into next. What will be "home" when I come back home?


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