I take a risk when I write, period. Risk that I might say something I can never take back. Risk I might say something that someone will recognize, like the time I wrote about going to the Taj Mahal with R. How we met in the lobby of our hotel before sunrise, and how I was embarrassed to be seen with him in his pleated gray slacks, thin leather belt, and striped Polo shirt. How I thought he looked like he was dressed for a morning of golf at the country club, not for a rickshaw ride at dawn.
I take a risk when I write about sex, when I talk about money or politics. Those are the big ones, questions of how much I make, what I’m worth, the way we calculate all that in dollars.
I take a risk when I say I never wanted to be poor. My parents were poor. Poor never leaves your bones. It resides in your DNA, stays with you the same way brown eyes and olive skin stay with you. Nothing you can help, checking the price of the bathroom rug, buying things only on sale and only at least 50% off.
I take a risk when I write about my body, the fact that yesterday I shaved my legs for the first time in months. I clogged the razor and exposed the bumps on my skin where I’d scratched until the pores rose like freckles on a strawberry.
I take a risk when I write about my skin, the living organism that covers more area than any other part of my body, write about its color (a sort of cappuccino), about its consistency (smooth, soft), its elasticity (firm but losing firmness, especially sagging breasts and sagging skin under my arms).
I take a risk when I say I’m growing old, I’m the age where I first had memories of Mom, strong memories, lucid and vivid, of her knees and calves, which are mine now.
Writing is a confession, a small booth that smells of musty wood and Old Spice. Father Cassidy, who smells of bourbon and ashes, who has sweet breath and sour, a big belly and gentleness.
I take a risk when I wonder aloud, did he ever molest anyone? I can’t help but ask myself that question every time I think of old priests from my youth. He used to pinch my cheeks, but I remember nothing more unsavory than his boozey breath.
I take a risk when I admit I never brought charges against the man who did molest me, even though I knew he probably dated women with young girls long after he divorced my sister. I should have protected them, should have taken more of a stand, although, yeah, I was protecting me.
Sometimes, and here’s the real risk, I think we all get what we get. The cards are dealt for a reason. I could have gotten an ace or a pair of queens, but instead I got a joker, a deuce, and that became who I became.
I’m not saying I deserved it, no more than any one deserves violence or abuse or cancer. But sometimes there’s nothing any one of us can do to change the course of life.
-related to post, WRITING TOPIC – TAKE A RISK