Monday, January 22, 2007

01-22-2011: You Should Just Stop Trying

I thought I'd surprise Keta this afternoon -
Saturdays I usually have to work all day
but I got someone to cover the second half of my shift
and yesterday I bought us two tickets to the game

I drove home, tried to park the car in the lot
but a beat up SUV was parked in our rented space
she was definitely home, but the front door was locked
a chair squeaked when I put the key in the slot

When I came into the kitchen they were rushing to talk
awkward - like they hadn't had the time to pick out a topic
she introduced him but I knew exactly who he was
it was Ben who was always playing down at the club.

For the last month his name kept popping up here and there
he played every thursday night when Keta worked the bar
when I joked that they were dating, she would play with her hair
I found his CD tucked under the seat in the car

I shook his hand, imagined I could smell the sex on it
by the time I got my jacket on the rack he was gone
I pulled out the tickets and put them on the table
changed my shirt, grabbed my hat, and put my jacket back on

She didn't say much as we drove down to the field
I kept both hands up high on the wheel
I said, "You should be happy" but I wasn't sure how I meant it
and she answered, "don't tell me how the fuck I should feel."

It started raining harder but we didn't try to leave
the stands were stark empty but there wasn't room to breathe
I double over coughing with my shoulders on my knees
she didn't touch my back, like she would usually

"You used to hate football," she said, "you couldn't stand it"
but she wasn't saying it like "good to see your interests are expanding"
she was saying it like I was a boy pretending to do man things
a puddle formed around me while she took the rain standing.

We were far past the end of it and both of us could tell
I wanted to stand and leave her but I wasn't feeling well
I was disgusted with myself, but I pretended not to be
I asked her if we could still go out later and see a movie

"You used to say the movies were way too overpriced"
"I brought you here because I was trying to do something nice!"
"I know... I know..." she said, "you should just stop trying."
I knew it was the rain but I pretended she was crying

She left - I stayed, wet and old
trying to rewind about four years or so
what had I done to turn a warm girl so cold?
All I could think was that I'd done just as I was told.

She wanted more stability, she wanted more attention
and I just wanted to have less tension between us
I told her I could change my whole life if she'd be happy
when she said I'd never change, I called her a defeatist.

And then I did it - I put a knife in the thing I loved most
It was music that I burned at the stake,
as a toast to the girl and the world that I want to be a part of
maybe going back to school was when I started to lose

I've given up everything because everyone told me it was the right thing to do

And it's been hard on me too - very hard
being 32 years old back, in school, makes you feel like you've got a
giant scar running through the center of your face.
Any attempts to include you makes you feel out of place.

Sure, the professors love me - we always share a good laugh
but it's weird when you're the only two laughing in class...
I just didn't think the age gap would run so deep
and I thought she'd be ecstatic that I turned a new leaf

But when she mentions my school she does it through bared teeth
and when I ask her if she's happy, she says she's happy for me
but I DID THIS FOR HER so why are WE falling apart?
what more could I sacrifice to Keta than my art?

Even if the gift I tried to give her is refused, I'm gonna prove to her world that I can always follow through


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