Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Booksmarts are Still Silt at the Redneck Riviera

by Brittany Fonte

Today: the errant shells from ego breaks are tempest tossed and jagged and cutting; I bleed pain for sharks to heal on this “vacation” with children clamped to my unseasoned (or unseasonable) hips. Glass slipper grains, ground to the size of flossed bikini tops on heavy step-sisters, cover decades of: tanning lotion, sunrise sex, bonfire ash and seaweed. I pry those hardened pricks from my alabaster skin, expose grown-up (read: jiggly) thighs, peel this ass to garish pink beneath a mommy’s muumuu, resentful. Diet soda in hand, extra saccharine for sentiment, I swipe some sweat, grit sand in teeth, wonder when he’ll tire. I am no sand architect.

While weighty waves threaten XXX-foliation, and the sea washes the shore slate clean, it cannot curb my tongue. I swear with one syllable words (almost inaudible) as the tide rolls over my crab citadel: twelve, now thirteen, now twenty times as my son counts, childishly chronological. My very smart son shovels over water foreclosure, hums like a lark with flooding insurance. I’ve forgotten to apply sunscreen (and patience and fun) and childhood memories, so scale, instead. I am red with emotion, Scarlet (O’Hara).

I shadow smiles, though, of shallow joy, adjacent to perfect spindly legsthat will never need pilates. I dig dig dig with him: heartache, headaches, regrets and regression. I sift wet from dry to castle this fate, as asked. Each time, we are pooled. I am: mother, teacher, wife and sinner. I am missing every other title staring at the pierced navels walk by on trim tummies, watching balding tattoos move on tailored backs. I sow a moat and say I’m sorry.

Like lessons lost in youth, or diluted, dishonest sweat, heat entombs us. The sun falls and falls and hits (beneath this belt, nude). I wait for the temperance of tide and rebirth, my regeneration, or a starfish, four-footed and needing, like me. I count the seconds to “saved” status, wonder if beer works wonders, as I have wandered for more than forty days in a place where I’ve drowned in clichés: it’s hotter than Hades. I do not own a can cozy, and there is no lifeguard present. I’ve misplaced any attention I might have brought home from the hospital with my breast pump.

My child chides only with chafing calves, but my fingernails bleed in futile fullness. Below this Cinderella surface are years of draping storms that started with an overbearing mother or a belittling world, hiding all that he wants on six legs. Heaven worms in what waits beyond “me” in echoes of creation crashing. I see; a jellyfish stings my foot, not his. So I call to the less evolved, again; I play my role. Finally, I fish for that one that will feed us all, or the words to hail a fairy godmother.

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