porch story

Because there is always a dog that lives on the porch, the dog needs to be in the story, but it's not a story about a dog, it's a story about the porch.  At least as far as we know right now.  That's all we can know for sure right now.  It's sometime in the beginning of summer, but the way the days work here, by the time we get to the beginning of summer, it's already been playing out for some time already.

The dog, who is not the center of the story, likes it so much better when the days are 110 degrees, because the 90 degree days seem disingenuous.  Even to the dog.  Maybe especially to the dog.  Because for the dog, this is the heat, the kind of heat that reminds him (or her, or other, we haven't really said yet what or who the dog is) about those signs with the red hot chili peppers that you see everywhere.

It really shouldn't matter that dogs can't see colors, this one can.  That's very important.  It's possibly even a clue as to what's really going on in a story that needs a lot of hidden clues.  The dog, who loves the heat of the summer, is too tired to do anything essential right now, so instead of doing things like eating or drinking or sleeping, he (we'll say he for now) is spending his time on the porch thinking about the porches between this one and that one.

Not to dwell too much on anything, that one is one very far away, and one he has never been to, and he's not even sure that he's seen it in pictures, not even in her pictures.  He's seen her pictures.  Dogs have facebook profiles and unlimited access to everyone else in this story.  He thinks he's seen pictures of her on her porch, and he wonders if that's the same one that she's sitting on when she thinks about him.  To say that he's thought about what they might do if they were both on the same porch is an understatement, because it crosses his mind all the time, especially when he's having something important happen to him on a porch.

And it's seeming to be sort of obvious, even to a dog, that important things always happen on the porch, and maybe even only on the porch.  Now it's true that not every first kiss happens on a porch, but some of the most important first kisses happen there, and sometimes it's a front porch and sometimes it's a back porch, and that shouldn't matter much which porch exactly.  But it does.  It does matter. 

Because there are some nights on front porches that seemed to tear them wide open, and there are some nights on back porches that seemed to tear them open just enough so that they stuck to each other, and in some of the secret rooms of his heart, they never did leave there.

But this isn't really just about that, it can't be, because there are other porches in his mind right now, and they all have their stories, and each story really does deserve to be its own single story.  If he had a mind that was not constructed in sevens, maybe this would be possible, but as it is, acceptance being the answer and the mystery of the seven being something that's part of him by now, they all blend together and sometimes it takes reflection to bleed them out of each other's shadows. 

There's one memory, maybe recent, maybe more recent than the heat in his head would suggest, when he was out on the back porch, smoking, in bikini underwear, sometime after midnight.  Not that anyone should wear bikini underwear, especially not a dog, but sometimes you have to because it's all that you have.  And that porch seems very important because it was a place where the beginning of summer hadn't yet come, but close enough, certainly close enough to count as happening in the summer.  In that place where spells get broken, and the only spells that stay are the ones that always come back, the ones that come back and stick like napalm, the ones that remind him of what it was like to cross deserts in too much leather for the heat, when his head was as broken as his heart.

Dogs have hearts that break, they break easily, but anyone who has spent any time rolling around on the floor with a dog who was stronger than themselves understands, the heart of a dog mends easy enough, too. 

There was also another memory, a front porch story, that happened a long time ago in dog weeks but not so much in human time.  It's a much more difficult story to remember, because there was no significant underwear that played a part, but there were ponies, there were definitely ponies. 

This gets better.  Not for the details, but for their lack, because here, in dog porch time, the lack is everything, it is that small and hard thing that drives the story forward, and doesn't seem to care too much about things that are proper or timely or adequate.  It's the small and hard thing that starts to announce itself, saying, "This is not enough, there should be more, but for the moment, this is exactly right."  It wakes up the thing in the heart that is tireless, and merciless, and can see much further up the road than what we might be used to.

Because, this is giving away entirely too much, these porches are all suggesting something about the things that happen outside of the house, and they suggest that outside and inside are not at all the same thing.  And the porch in one time and place is really the same as the next one, and they all tell one perfect story about circles that repeat, repeating with difference, in order to make something of themselves, whether we pay attention to them or not.  Like the way that small organisms reflect the larger organism that we all live in.  The rat, whose heart beats so fast when his feet are sore from standing on plastic, to the whale, who beats four times a minute whether she needs it or not, to a universe, that beats every billion years, expanding outward to make us all molecules of things that used to be whole but are now very different than they ever were before, and contracting, contracting to a single point that we all remember, and it is here, the dog thinks, it is exactly here, that I can remember you. 

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