Lucy was a time bomb. She was always ready to blow.
She knew it. We knew it. She knew that we knew it. We knew that she knew we knew, etc.
Her mother was a go-go dancer and her father was a Saudi prince with his own private jet plane and a shade of desert sand named after him. Or maybe he was just an oil baron… I forget the details exactly, but either way, Daddy was somebody with enough money on hand to buy a go-go dancer for the night.
And on the day Luce was born, her mother stamped an expiration date on her and she whispered in her ear, “Tag, you’re it.” So Lucy was a time bomb from day one. She was always ready to blow.
We’d all sit around and watch her fuse burn down, speculating about the burn rate. Then we’d chart out the expected end, with an ongoing betting pool that you would not believe.
And Lucy had this thing she did, where she’d bend completely over backwards and she’d grab around behind her knees. She could fit inside of anything.
A washing machine.
The bottom drawer of the cabinet next to the sink.
You name it.
Used to be, I’d go to open some leftovers – yesterday’s pot roast or maybe a tuna casserole – and there would be Lucy, hiding inside the bowl. Just a set of big brown Lucy-eyes, her body twisted into some impossible shape behind them. I mean, you can only imagine: It used to scare the bejeezus out of us!
And then Lucy would just laugh and she’d laugh, but the fuse would burn down a little bit more.
Lucy had a telescope she used to peer through all the time. She had a theory on this thing she called “astral shadows” that I never did understand. Something about red shift and the trajectory of Earth and reflections off polar ice. It was all much too heady for someone like me, you understand, but our Lucy?
Standing there, squinting into her telescope, Lucy’d say, “You’ll see!” She’d say, “I’ll see back. Back, back through years, to that very moment of my very own birth. Back and see the date that Momma stamped.”
She’d say, “I have to see the date that Momma stamped on me!”
Poor Lucy! Looking for herself in the sky!
And her fuse burned down a little more.
On the night she blew – and we all knew it was coming – we all lay out on the grass next to the creek, up on the hill where we’d have the clearest view of things. Jackie did an interpretive dance in honor of Lucy, and there seemed to be too many birds flying around, like maybe they knew something, too.
And just before she blew, when we knew the end was so, so near, Lucy called me over. Down beside her. She whispered, “Tag, you’re it, Katy!” Then she stamped something on the back of my neck, on a spot where to this very day I cannot see it. Not with three mirrors and a Polaroid camera.
Lucy exploded into the night in a shower of red sparks, blue spiraling lights, in green comets and in yellow flames and spitfire. We all sat down below. Gasping. Applauding. Everyone agreed it was the best show we’d ever seen.
Well done, Lucy! Good show.
But now, what about that stamp? That expiration date you put on me? And how does one go about getting it removed?
(photos by Daniel Gonzalez over here)