Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Smappy, Hanky Slanky


Yesterday we went to the river.
Day before yesterday I was being a baby about it. 
"I don't want to go to the river", I told my Mama. "I don't like to be on a boat. You can't walk around, you can't leave, you can't pee when you want to. Then we're going to a bar. If there's any place I want to eat and drink to excess, it's in a bar by the river."
"If it's beyond your comfort zone, you don't have to go" she said.
"It's for Hank, of course I will go."
        I am a forgetful girl, and a contrary girl. Sometimes I can be a very stubborn girl, but if there's one thing I should remember, it's to trust my brother.
My brother is a genius. He taught himself to read when he was three using the Playschool play desk. I only learned how to read when he stopped being so kind as to read to me. I was seven. He told me when I was eleven that I did not feel the opposite of love when I purported to hate my first-kiss boy, that disinterest was the opposite of love. He taught me the difference between 2-D and 3-D by holding his fist beneath my nose ("THIS is 3-D") when I was five or six. He let me stay ignorant when I thought that a mini skirt was named after Minnie Mouse, and when I thought I could run as fast as the wind. When I went out of my head at college in Sarasota he let me come to him in St.Pete, he took me to vintage shops, he let me walk around in leather and wood platforms I bought there, he bought me bloodthick island juice, and he let me sleep while he wrote my gender studies paper for me. And when he wanted to go to the river for his birthday, I didn't want to go, but I went anyway.
We docked at St. Marks and ate at the Riverside where we could tie up our boat and walk up the ramp. Mama watched me with a keen eye and pointed out the steamed vegetables on the menu. I was smelling the fish and the water, that delicious river stank, and I ordered the peel-and-eat shrimp because I wanted that swamp water in my gut, and I'm glad I did. Our waitress was inept and spacey with leather skin and her lips a violent slash, I wanted to be her for a moment, but I let it pass.
With our bellies full we were all hands on deck and the river looked the other way as we slipped onto her back bone. Shrimp in my mouth and all down my hands, river in my eyes and nose, and boat hum in my ears, I finally relaxed and let it all go.
It is the river and it is June. The jungle on either side of us and at bends up ahead was full-on green, fecund and breathing. Each waterpath away from the main stream gave us glimpses of whole other worlds, adventures of sleeping girls, pirates, and horrible screaming blood sucking spiders, it made my mind go wild while the river kept my heart a steady beat. We saw turtles, we saw birds, we saw a great goddamn boat, and when Daddy climbed the bow to pick a swamp magnolia he did not fall off.
The river is not tied up in knots, it is a loosening thing. I get so twisted in my head sometimes, my face and stomach pinched, trying to work out all the end results so I won't be caught unawares. The slowly slip and glide of the water worked it's magic on me and reminded me that I am just an animal, made to smell and feel and prick up my ears. I felt no pain. We were in paradise all around, and when Daddy took the boat very fast we were flying through it. At one point I even went swimming.
 And to think I didn't want to go! Sometimes I think I am quite stupid without my brother. He can make me do anything, thank god. 
This week is his birthday, starting yesterday. Hank gets a whole week of birthdays, just because he can. I'm going to dredge up my old self. I'm going to rabble rouse around him. I'm going to punch him and kick him. I'm going to hug him on the neck. Maybe I will get him a goat cart for his birthday! (just kidding) (not kidding) (just kidding) Maybe I will get him nothing! He will love me anyway! 
You are a very fine thing, you dastard, you bastard. You may not be thoughtful sometimes, but you are the knowingest man I ever met. Happy Fucking Birthday! I love you till the river falls off the earth, and straight on till morning.

p.s.
     If you want to see pictures, go over to my blog list and click on Bless Our Hearts. (Thanks for having our boy, Mama.)

19 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

And you have written our trip.
Why does everything you write make me cry? Why are you so fiercely beautiful, so wise, so much my heart?

May said...

I think it's so funny that after I wrote this, I checked your blog and you had already put up the ilistrations! I had to go back and add that P.S.
Mama, weren't those flowers pretty? You made me brave to go in the water. You guys looked like maenads. I love YOU, YOU are my heart.

May said...

Ummm, I mean illustrations. I can splel.

Windy Days said...

Loved reading both accounts of the trip! You two are amazing! I'm so jealous.

All This Trouble... said...

I'm crying too because I need the river but I don't like boats. It only works if you go down in a boat. I've tried it other ways...not as good.

You've made no mention of alligators. I especially don't like boats where gators are involved.

Happy Birthday Week, Hank!

honeyluna said...

Hank does have a way to make us all do things, and I agree that it's good. I've definitely been places and meet new faces because of Hank, so thanks brother, and happy birthday week!
And sis, that was beautiful of course, and I'm still waiting for your book. So get working!

gingermagnolia said...

Hi! I'm here from your Mama's blog, and have already checked out Hank's. I guess next I'm on to Honeyluna. Girl, you write as beautifully as your mother! I love the stories about your family.

just me, still said...

"With our bellies full we were all hands on deck and the river looked the other way as we slipped onto her back bone. Shrimp in my mouth and all down my hands, river in my eyes and nose, and boat hum in my ears, I finally relaxed and let it all go.
It is the river and it is June."
These are beautiful words. ...This could be the opening paragraph of an amzing book ;)
-Michelle

justme said...

Dropped in by way of your Mama, and must say what a beautiful description of your day!!

And I love the love that is obvious between you and your brother...TOTALLY reminds me of me and mine :0)

(((I get so twisted in my head sometimes, my face and stomach pinched, trying to work out all the end results so I won't be caught unawares. The slowly slip and glide of the water worked it's magic on me and reminded me that I am just an animal, made to smell and feel and prick up my ears.)))

I loved that part too...I often need reminders that I too am just an animal :0)

Petit fleur said...

That was beautiful Ms Maybella, just beautiful. Please do write that book. Please write it!

I'm sure you and Hank and all the gangsters will have a funtabulous week of celebrating.

Happy adventuring!
Much love,
pf

May said...

My God! Thank you all so much! And welcome! I always get more hits when Mama gives me a shout-out. It's so fun to see so many familiar names on my blog comments. Really, thank you.

SJ said...

Your whole family needs to write a book I think ;) I love when you blog.

Ms. Moon said...

SJ- And the amazing thing about Miss Maybelle is that she can make the artwork to go with the words. Okay. That is ONE of the amazing things about Miss Maybelle.

michelle said...

Love the way you talk about your brother. Love the way your family is together loving each other and life.

downtown guy said...

Aw, you know how much I love you?

May said...

Maybe as much as I love you. Maybe.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

Nice post. I guess everyone in your family is a bad ass writer. Glad you had fun, thanks for letting us ride along.

May said...

Human Wrecking Ball! I do declare, I am so charmed that you stopped by! And yes, we are all bad asses. You are quite the bad ass writer yourself.

Django said...

I like you write.