A few days before Christmas two of my favorite clowns met in our beloved city for an enjoyment of old times. They decided to start their adventure at a mutual friend’s house where a party would be just picking up momentum. One hour before she arrived she left her boyfriend and headed to the largest grocery store on the college campus. While among the flowers she snagged a sprig of evergreen and a spray of baby’s breath and slid it into her hair. In the faded berry section of her handbag she found red lipstick, stuck there from her last encounter with death, which she applied after purchasing an overly thoughtful array of mango, lemon, mint and a bottle of full-bodied red wine. She also applied blue mascara.
At the party, Lion smiled easily to chatter all around him. Holding a drink in an unusually small glass and wearing a tweed blazer and a blue, matted wig, he stood in the kitchen and watched eyes to the tune of songs in his head.
An unlikely symphony arose then as he sensed a presence of love floating up the porch stairs, past the smokers and even underneath the fog of pleasantries being exchanged between distant high school friends. He found himself in an unconscious pull to the front door.
There were very few words. The hostess of the party was nowhere to be found. The guests were all calling out to other parties, to friends a few blocks away or across campus. A spray of baby’s breath entered the front room, a space that had been carelessly cleared out for dancing. It was not the altar on which she was used to dancing but a 4’x4’ space flanked by an uninspiring coffee table and adorned with a dirty, colorless rug.
As mist and fog filled the room, Lion stood still in the door from the hallway. There was an invisible buffer then between them, more like a shifting invisible ball. It was not cold though, the inside of it quite warm and penetrable, like a big, soluble, silicon boob. I know this because a song of violins and guitars, a patter of tapping beats and a breathy, smoking poem dissolved it in the instant they both stepped further into the room.
Lion sought instantly Baby’s hands. Strong forearms sweep away an impish queen. After a few moments of re-acquaintance, he pulls her close, buries his nose in her pretty hair and takes a heaping sniff of sugar and evergreen.
An interested party, and so, in this case, a Friend of God, found himself attracted to the sad living room, to watch the two dancing together. He saw then the two playing, blatantly, in spite of their surroundings, in spite of the oversized television and lack of real space.
I swear I could hear a piece of the night sky open up, a sweet cracking, like a large branch breaking from a tree. Some stars may have been swallowed in. I really ought to know by now. The details are always the same. The sky parts. The house always shifts on its foundation. Some person outside feels their stomach rumble. The unborn blooms under the skin.
Light glows warm in pink Christmas bulbs and street lights orange the humid Ohio air. They light a blue ribbon, forgotten in the wasted grass. A purple pencil. Tiny yellow pebbles that play together underfoot.
Fish stand up and play horns on the sidewalk. A horse glides by in the middle of the street. An Indian engineer sits upright on his back and rides past on the wings of his coattails. A woman dives in the pool of a waterfall.