crushing dawn
She made me realize there was happiness before coffee.

She always woke up early; 8:00am early. Far too early for a college student. Definately too early for a girl sharing a bed with a degenerate like myself.

Every morning the alarm would blare me bolt upright in bed. I'd shut it off with a sleep-inebriated hand.

"It's for you," I'd mutter in a guttural, sandpaper voice while crawling back into bed; a Gollum-esque return to the womb. I know she felt bad about waking me up every morning, but it always led to the happiest moment of my day.

She would tip-toe across the room to my red kimono robe which she had to hold shut because the belt had long since gone missing in my dorm room's filth. Towel and shampoo in hand, she'd slip out the door. Her delicate barefoot footsteps trailing down the hallway to the bathroom.

Yes, I was in love with this girl and I wasn't afraid to tell her or the world. But every morning, for seven months, from 8-8:30am it changed. It was no longer love: I had the biggest crush on her in these brief moments in between my bouts of restless sleep. I'd watch her from afar and grin with bourbon-soaked lips, nicotine teeth, bed-head and bleary eyes. Unable to rise and hold her. Unable to praise her beauty. Admiring from a distance.

At 8:00am she was Beautiful. Alive. She seemed the reason the Sun rose that morning; the light coming in from around the window-shades dancing on her shoulder-blades. The five feet between my rumpled futon and the bureau where she would dress was immense. I could do nothing but lie in bed and crush hard.

She would hold back her hair with 7 bobby pins; when I moved out of that room I found a few dozen of them on the floor and under my bed. Three sprays of perfume; I couldn't tell you the name, but I can always spot it on a crowded sidewalk. One spritz on each wrist, one on her neck. Left bra-strap then the right. A little lip gloss. Are the earrings straight?

I knew her routine better than she did, I think. For her it was mechanical. For me, it was spectacle.

A few times in our months together, our eyes met in the mirror. The hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, broken-nosed and knuckled man that I was would instantly vanish. A sheepish grin would stake it's claim on my face and I'd have to glance away...She'd caught me crushing.

In those early-morning moments, she made me six years-old again. She gave me Tom & Jerry giggles on a saturday-morning sugar-high. She made me want to mix my record collection with hers. She made me want to dance with her at Bar Mitzvahs to remind the elderly of Young Love. She made me identify with Sha-Na-Na lyrics. She made me want to chase the moon and win. She made me cute and there was nothing I could do to fight it.

Not a damned thing to do but lie back and gush like a I watched her walk out that door each and every morning.


Friday, March 09, 2001


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