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Point of retreat, p.23

  Point of Retreat, p.23

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat

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  I bring the audience's attention back to me. “I’m breaking the rules tonight,” I say. “I know that slams can’t involve props, but I’ve got a few I need to use. It’s an emergency.”

  I bend down and pick the satchel up, then stand up and place it on the stool. I put the microphone back into the stand and position it at the right height.

  “Lake? I know you told me you wanted me to think about everything you said the other night. I know it’s only been two days, but honestly, I didn’t even need two seconds. So instead of spending the last two days thinking about something I already know the answer to, I decided to do this instead. It’s not a traditional slam, but I have a feeling you aren't that picky. My piece tonight is called “Because of you.”

  I exhale and smile at her before I begin.

  "There are moments in every relationship that define when two people start to fall in love.

  A first glance

  A first smile

  A first kiss

  A first fall…"

  (I remove the Darth Vader house shoes from my satchel and look down at them.)

  "You were wearing these during one of those moments.

  One of the moments I first started to fall in love with you.

  The way you gave me butterflies that morning

  had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else,

  and everything to do with you.

  I was falling in love with you that morning

  because of you."

  (I take the next item out of the satchel. When I pull it out and look up, she brings her hands to her mouth in shock.)

  "This ugly little gnome

  with his smug little grin…

  He's the reason I had an excuse to invite you into my house.

  Into my life.

  You took a lot of aggression out on him over those next few months.

  I would watch from my window as you would kick him over every time you walked by him.

  Poor little guy.

  You were so tenacious.

  That feisty, aggressive, strong-willed side of you….

  the side of you that refused to take crap from this concrete gnome?

  The side of you that refused to take crap

  from me?

  I fell in love with that side of you

  because of you."

  (I set the gnome down on the stage and grab the c.d.)

  "This is your favorite c.d.

  ‘Layken’s shit.’

  Although now I know you intended for shit to be possessive,

  rather than descriptive.

  The banjo started playing through the speakers of your car

  and I immediately recognized my favorite band.

  Then when I realized it was your favorite band, too?

  The fact that these same lyrics inspired both of us?

  I fell in love with that about you.

  That had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else.

  I fell in love with that about you

  because of you."

  (I take a slip of paper out of the satchel and hold it up. When I look at her, I see Eddie slide her a napkin. I can’t tell from up here, but that can only mean she’s crying.)

  "This is a receipt I kept.

  Only because the item I purchased that night was on the verge of ridiculous.

  Chocolate milk on the rocks? Who orders that?

  You were different, and you didn’t care.

  You were being you.

  A piece of me fell in love with you at that moment,

  because of you."

  "This?" (I hold up another sheet of paper.)

  "This I didn’t really like so much.

  It’s the poem you wrote about me.

  The one you titled 'mean?'

  I don’t think I ever told you…

  but you made a zero.

  And then I kept it

  to remind myself of all the things I never want to be to you."

  (I pull her shirt from my bag. When I hold it into the light, I sigh into the microphone.)

  "This is that ugly shirt you wear.

  It doesn’t really have anything to do with why I fell in love with you.

  I just saw it at your house and thought I’d steal it."

  (I pull the second to last item out of my bag. Her purple hair clip. She told me once how much it meant to her, and why she always keeps it.)

  "This purple hair clip?

  It really is magic…just like your dad told you it was.

  It’s magic because, no matter how many times it lets you down…you keep having hope in it.

  You keep trusting it.

  No matter how many times it fails you,

  You never fail it.

  Just like you never fail me.

  I love that about you,

  because of you."

  (I set it back down and pull out a strip of paper and unfold it.)

  "Your mother."

  (I sigh)

  "Your mother was an amazing woman, Lake.

  I'm blessed that I got to know her,

  And that she was a part of my life, too.

  I came to love her as my own mom…just as she came to love Caulder and I as her own.

  I didn’t love her because of you, Lake.

  I loved her because of her.

  So, thank you for sharing her with us.

  She had more advice about

  Life and love and happiness and heartache than anyone I've ever known.

  But the best advice she ever gave me?

  The best advice she ever gave us?"

  (I read the quote in my hands)

  "Sometimes two people have to fall apart, to realize how much they
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