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The Sacrament of the Suffering
9

I'm propped up on a stool at Nick's Diner
 1
staring down at cowboy potatoes and a grilled cheese sandwich,
 2
the whole plate drowning in barbeque sauce.
 3
Pregnant clouds gather through steamed-up windows
 4
and I think about some of the ugly things I said to her.
 5
I ask the waitress if her husband treats her well.
 6
She holds up her ring finger and rubs it with her thumb.
 7
"Honey, I just wear this to scare off predators."
 8
She refills my coffee and winks.
 9
Suddenly nothing seems more sinister
 10
than a man trying to be with a woman.
 11
 
 
I step out into the rain,
 12
walk from block to block under the black sky
 13
and the neon marquees and give up trying to stay dry.
 14
By the time I reach the edge of town
 15
I'm soaked all the way through.
 16
I'm standing in the parking lot of a 24 hour truck stop
 17
under the red glow of a Texaco sign.
 18
A homeless man is cuddled up with an ice machine
 19
explaining the world to himself.
 20
I sit next to him and look into his conquered eyes.
 21
"I don't know which hurts worse,
 22
the lies or the truth," he says.
 23
 
 
The rain stops and the clouds begin to part
 24
revealing the planets and the stars
 25
and a clean, bright moon.
 26
"It's the beauty that hurts the most," I say.
 27

13 Nov 13

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beautiful, again.
love 10-11 and 'conquered eyes' of the homeless man.
beauty DOES hurt and that beauty can range from so many things...
even when i see a vast plain my heart begins to ache.
most people tell me i'm crazy to think emptiness can be beautiful.
but it is, to me. as are you.
 — mandolyn

:)
 — 9

btw, i don't believe you can say anything ugly to anyone, ever.
 — mandolyn

Is marriage the "sacrament" you speak of?  I miss that sacrament, and think it is a rare gift.  
 — unknown

Two are so much better than one in this world, if they can only work on appreciating that as a boon and not a punishment.  Of course, not all marriages are "real," but when they are...oh when they are... how blessed!
 — unknown

Suffering is the sacrament.
Suffering is the greatest gift of refinement we have.
 — 9

does it hurt when you shut your eyes?
 — mandolyn

L10 & L11 - right on.

I read your pieces with the voice and attitude of a lone gunslinger, too epic for the life and times that s/he's in.

It's this terribly broken-romantic idea I have of mid-Western America, with greasy diners, truck stops, people living on front porches and swinging life away...

Good writing man.
 — wendz

^Long live those romantic ideas wendz :)
 — 9

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