Hard Truths About the Soft Lies My Body Tells Me by Pat Foran

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Dear Eloise, 

My body lies over the ocean. My body lies over the sea. My body lies by the light of tonight’s grieving moon. It lies by proxy. It lies wherever and whenever it feels like it. 

It’s also falling apart, my body. It’s failing.

It’s falling apart, it’s failing and it’s lying to me, Eloise.

My body tells soft lies, for the most part — It’s good to feel things! … You can carry that weight! … Things are possible!  — but soft lies can become hard lies, and hard truths can become soft truths. 

So I need to focus, I need to rethink things. I need to do a better job of separating the hazards.

Maybe then I’ll be able to figure out where me and my failing body fit in the scheme of things. Where you and I might fit, Eloise.

 

*  *  *

 

Dear Eloise, 

Last night, there was a new moon — a foundering moon, I think. The television was on and I saw this commercial, I heard it more than saw it, I heard a voice saying “sign up now to get your free Final Wishes Organizer.” Failing can feel final, failure sometimes is final, so I thought of me and my failing body, and I signed up to get me a Final Wishes Organizer. 

I figured it’d take a few weeks for it to get here, but this afternoon, two men carrying binders and books, big books like bibles, came to the door. “Enjoy Your Final Wishes Organizer!” they said, handing me my copy.

There isn’t much to it — a faux-vinyl cover and a pad of paper. Each page is perforated. Every line of every page begins thusly: “I wish …” But I think it’s helping me organize my wishes. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I wish I knew how to make mango crepes like we had that time at Bobby Flay’s restaurant. 

I wish the ocean weren’t downhill from everywhere.

I wish they still sold Hostess Ho Hos scented lip balm.

I wish I hadn’t canceled my lifetime membership in the Crayola of The Month Club.

I wish we could have talked more than we texted. 

I wish we trusted each other more — or, if trust is an all-or-nothing deal, trusted each other, period.

I wish my heart didn’t lie and tell me there’s a chance you might love me.

I wish my weak-ass body didn’t lie and tell me I’m strong, so I could be myself and break into 27,000 pieces.

 

*  *  *

 

Dear Eloise, 

Tonight, there is a showboating moon. I could watch it shimmy all night long. 

My failing body’s here, lying to me as usual. Telling me it’s always darkest before the dawn. 

I’ve been focusing. Rethinking. Separating hazards. So I know what my body’s saying isn’t true. It’s darkest the moment you realize there is no dawn.

You told me every person you ever loved first came to you in a dream.

Every person I ever loved told me their dreams, but first came to me in the light and dark and dreamscape that is every wakeful day.

Under this shimmying moon, my body is trying to convince me there’s merit in discussing the call-and-response pelicans perform as they sing the song that is the morning moon of your name. It’ll do your heart good to talk about it, pal, it says.

Oh, the soft lies my body tells me.

 

Pat Foran doesn’t have to wish for Hostess Ho Hos scented lip balm because he has some saved for the rainiest days. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Wigleaf, Tiny Molecules, Trampset and elsewhere. Find him at http://neutralspaces.co/your_patforan/ and on Twitter at @pdforan.

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