I met Lori at a beer pong table. She was tall. A trash talker. Beach blonde hair. Eyes blue, blue as the sky on an afternoon in July, when the weather was cool from a light rain. This was post-college—a house party, for young adults who wanted more from life than the typical 9-5. She wasn’t from NOVA. She was from Weston, FL. Her teammate was a guy she was with at the time—they ended up breaking it off and for a while she was dating Cam, a pro-bass fisher, a long distance relationship, but they loved each other. But at the table, I was competing with her teammate, later on I ended up mentally competing with Cam, which didn’t do any good except to make me chain-smoke jacks and drink bourbon. I had a girlfriend at the time—let’s just call her Voldy. My teammate was Lori’s best friend Erica. This girl had swagger; played beer pong like Dr. J, always got us roll backs. I was tall as **** for a Vietnamese American—still am tall as **** for a Vietnamese American (Don’t worry my guys, my family’s from the Southside)—and in college we had built a beer pong table, at a spot called the pink house. “We,” meaning my roommates and I: CJ, Trevor, and Samuel. The U.N. I had practiced daily, playing before class, playing after class. Height made a difference; some great basketball player once said you need to have game on and off the court. I wasn’t sure what court I was on when I was in that moment. Lori was more than appearance; more body language; more eye contact; more southern twang; and more astuteness, than a TED Talk combined with NPR, combined with The New Yorker, combined with Al-Jazeera and linked with Wikipedia on a ***** binge. I could talk all day about how she looked, how she dressed. But I told you what you need to know. She shot first, her right arm shaped like a swan, the type of swan that sits on a lake in the middle of a spring morning, the type of morning when the sky is blue with the eyes of a girl who has seen too much, been through too much, and has heard too much. She sank the shot. Her teammate roared. But all I could hear was Lori’s voice; soft as the piano notes played by Sakamoto’s right hand, loud as the piano notes played by Sakamoto’s left hand. Blu was not how I was feeling. Or maybe I was.
Because at this table I had to either take a loss,
or seal a win. I didn’t know what I wanted. But I wanted her. Wanted her, like how you wanted a postcard
from Santa when you were 5 years old, and it was opposite day. So you got the address wrong,
and the letter was never received. And your parents told
you to keep trying so you did, you did, and you did,
but you were young and naïve. You didn’t know
what was real and what was not real. And now I was
at a place in time, when the setting didn’t matter,
and the alcohol didn’t matter, and the drugs didn’t matter.
All that mattered was her.
Because when I shot that orange ping-pong ball,
I kept eye-contact with her eyes.
Blue, much more blue
than the water in the red solo cups we were playing with.
I wish it were water from the beaches in Florida,
beaches I could read a Salinger story on,
beaches I could rest on
beaches I could lay on,
lay and take in the sun
that rises above my soul
that aches for something more.
But Lori wasn’t Brett Ashley,
she was more Daisy Buchanan
But does that make me Tom or Jay?
Jimmy or Nick?
I didn’t know and I still don’t know.
What I do know, is this;
the ball sank into the
first cup of the triangle.
Lori’s face went from cocky,
to frustrated, from frustrated
to a smile.
One that I remember, and one,
I won’t forget.
Because all I want to do is forget,
Take my memory and squeeze
the bad **** out,
twist the living **** out of it,
and burn it with a match.
Because she thinks I’m the one,
Who did her wrong, but it wasn’t me.
I put that on my integrity, even if my words don’t mean much to your ears: please listen.
I was inebriated, 3/4ths of the time we chilled.
So I didn’t know what was false and what was real.
You can check my temperature,
Because when you’re in my thoughts I get a fever
And hey, I shouldn’t have made a pass on your roomie
I should have thought before I texted, because now your trust in me has been affected.
We’re not talking. I can keep apologizing for what happened, but you don’t want to listen to a broken record.
I wish the bad memories would pass away and I guess they’re all in the past today.
Look, I don’t have a time machine
strong enough to change all the mistakes that I’ve made.
But take this as a time capsule,
this piece that I’m sharing. Like that piece we were sharing. The one that belonged to you.
The one I wish I could kiss again,
Because your lips touched it,
And mine never touched yours.
Hey, guys this is my first poem. I used to be on Hellopoetry and then I deleted my account a long time ago. But now, I'm back on the site and I'm excited to start reading poetry from others in the community! Hopefully, my creative work is something you can find connect with and find meaning in.