That voice, she really had a sexy voice, but not sexy like Hollywood: red lipstick smoking (she did smoke), blonde hair, and looking dangerous sexy, no, it was something that had no uniform and words to form a crude substitute for something that had it going on. I fell forwards and nestled my boyish face in her American flag shirt and just rested there for an entire summer. Or I wished I had...
Her name was Lizard, she didn't have scales nor did she need the warmth of the sun to disgust. She was bad for all the best reasons and she walked without an attitude, she just simply was. We had made up stories of how we actually met, one was that I was getting off work when I saw her and pointed to her shirt and then to mine, we both sported the American flag. That would be the story we'd tell people, as if the truth was so bad it could not be known. Her eyes would stare right into mine and I'd look down, hiding from the brilliance. I was older than her but she could see I was still a boy. She smoked. My mother told me she would avoid dating smokers in her day, she never told me exactly why but it seemed to imply it was because of a bit of attitude, a bit of smell, and bad taste in your mouth if you kissed them. She wrote poetry and when she read her stuff I was surprised it was good, not that I was an expert nor great at it myself but she had talent. She danced and had that dancer's figure, her hair would cover her eyes and they'd bleed through. I still couldn't look for too long.
During that summer I must've written a hundred poems for her, along with at least two mixtapes, and took many photographs but years later, once I am more than twice removed all I can remember is what happened once summer ended. And so the rest goes, somewhere in Markham or was it Richmond, at a particular Chinese food restaurant, with my two sisters, and my uncle and his family, I remember receiving a text message followed by another. I let them come, one by one and returned to the table, and fell silent in thought. I did a lot of thinking that summer, I lost hours of sleep almost every night just thinking, and all with one cause. Lizard. That and I was really making progress in my fourth attempt at Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. And eventually I got a call, my pocket vibrated and I looked around the table, I had to get it, and so I left the restaurant, and listened to the voice coming from within my hand. Her voice wasn't the same, that sexy beyond words was the same, she wasn't the same, and yet her voice wasn't different from how I remember it nor was she. She wanted to see me, after failed attempts to meet, after I had waited long hours at this meeting point and that, and going home after an hour sometimes two, and having nothing to vent my frustration, just some tears into a pillow, perhaps a few punches to my mattress before falling asleep. That voice on the line asked and I can't remember what I said and I would like to think I said nothing and that she knew I was done. I remember the pillar, the warmth of summer, that bush-like plant in a planter looking over a strip mall parking lot. The clap of my flip phone echos till today. I hadn't stopped caring for her, nor did I never want to see her again, I had transcended my need to be the boy who fell in love with her.
That night I finished Zen and was left with a great accomplishment. I wonder today which one was harder, ending a sad story or finishing that book. The person that was born by that pillar on the warm summer, with Chinese food on his breath still lives on today, and never has a moment been so sharp in my memory of how I came into being.
For long after that summer of the Lizard I wondered if I could ever love, if it existed within me, and if there was such a human being to help me find it. I think deep down inside me there was a voice that hadn't been listened to in a long time saying, "Yes, YOU WILL. YOU WILL FIND LOVE, AND BE OVERWHELMED BY IT, AND IT WILL END ONLY TO BEGIN AGAIN, AND IT WILL END, YES, ONLY TO BEGIN AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN (echo-echo-echo)...I'LL BE BACCCCKKKK".