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     “The Back Door”
 
 
She stood outside
of a back door
smoking cigarettes
in the rain
underneath a small
awning
keeping all but
the most random
of raindrops
from hitting her,
she didn’t really
want
to be here
anymore tonight
she feels so
out of place
even though
it’s her
fifteen year
high school reunion,
she remembers
most of the
faces and names
at the party
she had come
to town
just for this
reunion
she had wanted
to see
all her lost
friends
get drunk
and talk of
old times
but they are
now spending
most of their
time
comparing husbands
and showing off
pictures of their
kids
while drinking
bottled water,
she tried
to keep up
her end of the
conversion
talking about
concerts
bands
and other recent
events
in her life
but her friends
have all seemed
to change
they only looked
at her
smiling and nodding
as she spoke
of her life
one that had
changed
very little since
high school
something
she never gave
much thought to
before tonight,
she had already
had more drinks
than her whole
table of once
lifelong friends
who now seemed
no more closer
to her than
someone
she sees on
the bus
a couple of
times a week,
she puts out
her cigarette
on the wall
of the building
then flicks it
high into the
air
watching as it
lands in a
large puddle
floating through
the reflected
city lights
on the puddle’s
surface
she looks at the
cigarette butt
surrounded by
colorful
bright lights
while slowly
sinking
to the bottom
of a puddle filled
with rainwater
and numerous
other runoff
chemicals
as she feels
herself sinking
also
at a table
that is encircled
by all her
bright and shiny
friends
who seem to have
left her behind,
she lights another
cigarette
as the last of
the cigarette butt
disappears from view
she leans back
against the wall
puts her booted
foot
behind her
for support
as she blows out
a very long drag
into the cool
night air
she looks down
at all the
oddly shaped
puddles
in front of
her
each has a
different part
of her profile
captured in it
it’s own little
pool
of her life
on display
she’s mesmerized
as her light
bounces off
each puddle
and how the
scattered
raindrops
break
the reflective
surface
holding the light
then a second
or two later
she sees her
image
reflecting back
at her once
more,
she’s still looking
down
at her puddles
when the tires
of a large SUV
rolls over them
and stops
the whirr of
the electric motor
lowering the dark
tinted window
causes her to
slowly look up
at the passenger
side window
one of her closer
friends
from high school
looks out
and says
something about
a babysitter
and having to
head home
before driving
away,
her drowned
cigarette butt
now stuck in the
tread
of the SUV’s
beefy tires
she hadn’t said
a word
only nodded
giving her friend
a hurting smile,
still lost
in her improv
self examination
of the last
fifteen years
of her life
which has been
a nonstop
merry-go-round
of best friends
forgotten lovers
and beat-up
cars,
but she has
always had fun
and been
happy
really happy
she still has
that same
high school
body
maybe one-size
up
but it was
oblivious to see
she held the
attention
of more than
one husband
each time she
squeezed by them
on her way
to the bar
while most of
the mommy crew
are still trying
to work off
that extra weight
from their first
kid
three kids later,
the light breeze
shifts to the
south
a few more
rouge raindrops
are finding their
way
on to her
semi-protected
pose,
well
they have her
beat
on the kid
angle
but that wasn’t
a bet
she was even
trying to cover
and a couple
have
pretty cute
husbands
but her last
boyfriend
was ten years
younger
than her
not that she’s
keeping score,
she begins to
notice
more raindrops
coming to rest
on her left
side
she’s feeling now
like she has
more than an
equal footing
with the women
around her table
she takes
one last drag
from her cigarette
again
putting it out
on the wall
before flicking it
high into the
air
watching it land
in the same
brightly lit puddle
she opens the
back door
to head in
to the party
and with her
head held high
she walks towards
her high school
friends
getting more than
her share of
attention
as she squeezes
through
the crowd
towards the
table,
while on the
other side of
the back door
her
cigarette butt
slowly sinks
to the bottom
of a large
puddle of
dirty
rainwater…
 
     Tom Allen…11-25-2017…