Although Spring claims to be just around the corner, I continually awaken to the fresh snow-capped roofs of my sleepy little bedroom town with churches on every corner and so much God. I am beginning to wonder about this God. God is love. There is so much God and so little love. Memories digress to a little girl with skin so white the Mediterranean girls teased me in the lunch line asking me if I wore the same white tights to school everyday. I would be thinking I do not own white tights, my mother would never buy me white tights, tights cost too much money. Why would you think I have tights? I stood in the love line like the lunch line but when it was my turn to have “love” ladled on my tray, the sweet lunch ladies, with dingy plastic babushkas, would smile sympathetically and say, “I’m sorry, were all out of love today. There is still plenty of cruelty left. Here sweetie, for you, an extra scoop of cruelty.” and with a crooked smile and arthritic hands, she piled my tray until I was unable to lift it. I’m the last in line. The love is gone. For a little girl they once called “Rusty” because my hair was strawberry blonde and the sun had scored my tightless white skin, my face and body developed freckles. I was Rusty. I use to think everyone knew I cried a lot, under the basement steps. The tears had rusted my face and it was as pronounced as the scarlet letter. “Rusty without white tights”,that was me.
Going to high school was different. The girls there didn’t care if I owned tights, and I had discovered make up, I used it like a shield, no one knew I cried a lot, no one knew, I was Rusty there.
There were beautiful girls there. Popular girls. They told me stories in smoky bathroom stalls about boys who were crazy in love with them. These boys bought them flowers, took them on dates in Camaros and pledged their undying love to them. Their eyes would twinkle of tales of boys fighting over them, begging them for sex, and asking them to be their future wives. They had hit the lunch lottery. They dined at the all you can eat love buffet. Boys loved them, their families loved them, they were able to sweet talk their fathers to use the car, to give them money to shop for nice clothes, white tights if they so desired, and they didn’t go home to a house full of chaos and cruelty.
It seems like yesterday, though the years have peeled away at me, somehow I’ve still not been able to find my way to the lunch line of love. It eludes me.
I watch him from the porch. It’s snowing softly and he’s wiping the snow off his car. He’s going to find Jesus, now. I don’t want him to know I’m crying. I’m standing there with white legs, no make up shield, and the lunch line is closed. He is off to do great things now, stand back, if you’re able to stand at all. I am under a chalky blanket of dust from the tower imploding on me. There was this memo, I missed. The tray once filled, spilling over with love is empty. Someone else dined upon that delicacy while I slept. While I walked out of the room thinking it was ok to leave this love unattended, it became insolvent. What could I have been thinking to believe there was a dish of anything so valuable with my name on it? Im Rusty.
I turn on the tv gospel station. “you’ve been so good to me” a man is singing to Jesus. He is asking for witnesses to stand to prove how good God has been to them. I stand up. Rusted, without out tights, and an empty tray.” You’ve been so good to me, God.” It’s cold and snowing. I see tire tracks in my driveway, and the cut out of a car that rested for the eve before taking off to do great things. I stand on the porch in my grey gown, crying. I’m hungry. I’m rusting…but no one will ever know.