Los Liones: Part Two

By Kelly Grace Thomas

 

On days when hurt piles too high

and the blister of Monday to Friday is rubbed too raw to touch.

I lose myself in the dust.

With a seventy degree forecast on a sunny November,

where cloudless skies match neither the season nor disposition,

I begin to climb.

I circle the ocean, like a hawk for food.

Trace the outside of the mountain like a lovers cheek.

Heavy-footed, I try to put space between the ache and the altitude.

I tell myself if I get far enough away from down there,

maybe the boulder of pain will turn to pebble.  

Knowing 'far away enough' is a finished line I might never reach.

 

On my good days, I walk quickly past the couples holding hands,

the yoga-pantsed sorority girls trying to tighten their asses,

and the tourists in heavy sweaters and thousand-dollar automatic flash digital necklaces.

On the bad days, I see the other hikers and begin to run.

Wanting so badly for it to be nothing but me and the wind,

and a silence sea level will not grant me.

 

Last Sunday, on the fifth mile down,

stuck behind German tourists, whose crooked tongue always makes them sound full of blame

I watched as a well-intentioned blonde, adored a couples’ Labrador.   

She bent down, reached to affectionately smooth its golden coat, appreciate its beauty,

and questionly watched, as it shrunk away,

nothing but jutting shoulder bones and apologetic tail.

“Someone did a number on her,” the owner said to the blonde,

whose extended hand went unmet.

Both exchanged abbreviated pleasantries, sighed at the abuse animals should never know.

I listened, feeling invisible and awkwardly out of place.

I quickly tried to slip by, disappear in the dust, wanting to be the ghost I went up there every Sunday

 to become.

The dog silently looked up, met my eyes. 

The only one who saw me.

Big brown egg shells, fragile and the color of hurt when it's lived at the bottom of something too long.

“You too,” it said to me.

I looked away. Lowered my head, like its shameful tail, and quickened my pace.

Yes. I thought. Me too.