REIMAGINING YOU - Rebecca Larivee

How to explain what I saw in you?

My ego so tenuous in those lost, middle years,

Everything sugarcoated, just to survive.


You

lived in a trailer in your brother’s backyard.

A weed-strewn backlot that became an enchanted garden.

Rusted cans glinted gold on the ground at night.

You played a song for me.

Looked like a minstrel on those hard metal steps.

Guitar balanced one knee.


Odd jobs that employed you became, in my mind,

signs that you were my Renaissance man.

My mentor and teacher.

I was

just a lady

with a nice house to sleep in.

My excuse for your poverty,

you were fluid and free.

Not bound to an office.

Four walls with no windows.

Like me.


You bragged to your friends about my advanced education.

Inflated my credentials, “she is almost a doctor!”

You liked my figure, though not my glasses.

Referring to me as your sexy librarian.

How I would smile at such praise back then.

Looking back now,

having

absolutely no idea why I found that appealing.

Remember that time

we took your canoe down the Animus?

A boat designed to float on lakes, but you didn’t tell me that.

We took on water right away.

Never stood a chance on that swollen river. I hit my head.

Then reached for some branches, never having learned to swim.

You watched me from the riverbank.

Just stood there laughing.


On a subsequent adventure, we floated past a casket.

Balanced on a wooden trestle with the half-lid open.

Someone’s dead loved one in need of sun and a river view.

That corpse, a symbol of how tragic our life was,

though I didn’t see it then.

An amusing tale to share with friends.

I didn’t want to lose you.


The lies and the half-truths were harder to ignore.

That tale of your girlfriend’s tragic death, despite heroic attempts to save her.

Each version was altered slightly for each audience,

though none of them were true.

Maybe, the mail-order ministry you used for a tax write-off.

Religious views disappearing overnight

when no longer profitable for you.


You were

my taskmaster, sports coach, personal trainer.

The older but wiser lover.

The guy who hiked me the LaPlata Mountains,

Just two weeks after surgery.

Drops of blood from my blistered feet

stained that white-white snow.

I tried to focus on the view.

Yes.

I had to alter that story too.


One fine day, I woke up to a better morning.

Realized the man I thought I loved was just made up.

I had reimagined you.

You were

a temporary traveler in the margins of my life.

No longer needed -- so, I let you go.

Rarely wondering where you’ve gone.

No need to reimagine you.

 

Rebecca LaFontaine Larivee is a multi-genre writer and photographer whose works have appeared in AZ: The Journal of Weird Anthropology, Empty Mirror Press, The Write Launch (produced by BooksCover2Cover), Griffel Magazine, Reservoir Road and pending, SPLASH! (produced by Haunted Waters Press). Rebecca pursued her M.Phil. Anthropology degree at Cambridge University, England before working as an archaeologist in that country, Virginia, and the Western States. Now retired, Rebecca was awarded a Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation Grant for her memoir-in-progress, The Glittering Sky. She lives on a farm in Northwest New Mexico with husband, Normand, and their lively menagerie of critters.

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