“As Far As I Can Throw You”

Photography by Shaun Liriano

He threw her.  Just threw her with full force like you chuck a football through a field. He threw her. She flew through the air.

I always knew I could fly, she said.

For the first time there was someone he could trust with his life and he wanted to show her that he cared.  He wanted to show her that she was special.  He wanted to show her that he’d be “mush” without her.

I trust you about as far as I can throw you, he said.

Then he threw her.  He hurled her body and watched it spiral through the air. His love poured out of the sweat that beaded on her forehead.  His faith sprouted wings in her back.  His hope stripped her naked and replaced her bland clothing with an aerodynamic super suit colorful enough to match her vibrant personality.

At first, she was afraid. Fretfully, she gathered herself and tried to get her bearings.  She tried to get used to being in the company of birds, high branches, and jet planes approaching their landings. She screamed in excitement.  No one seemed alarmed that she was up there.  They expected her to be in the sky.  It was as if she didn’t belong on the ground and everyone knew it.

He didn’t look at her though. Once he threw her he didn’t wonder if she could take flight.  He BELIEVED she could. So he obliviously kicked a ball through a field and watched it roll on. He read an article from time to time. He viewed television shows at leisure. He felt the warmth of an onlookers admiring glance. He chugged along knowing she was soaring through the sky for the first time.

Isn’t he wondering if I am okay?  How does he know a larger creature hasn’t consumed me?  Hasn’t he thought about my loneliness? Sometimes it’s cold up here.  I don’t know anyone up here.  Sometimes I’m scared.  I’ve never flown before.  I’ve never been thrown before.  At first it was fun but where is he?  What is he doing?

Her fear ignited a fire so fierce it singed her beautiful wings. It incinerated her custom costume.  It sent her flailing through the sky clumsily…falling.

She landed in a bed of roses.  The thorns, long and sharp, pierced her skin and her blood mixed with the crimson red of the rose petals.  Her body naked and covered in ashes and blood writhed in pain.

She screamed out in horror, “My love! Where are you?  Why didn’t you fly with me?  Why did you leave me all alone?”

Silence.  She waited in the cold.  Naked. Vulnerable.

All the while, he returned to the field of her original launch every day after breakfast.  He wondered why she never returned. He assumed she must be enjoying the clean air, the ascension.

Why didn’t she ever try to throw me?

He felt her absence but he also felt her presence.

-By: Shaun Liriano

*Dedicated to my muse.

My life is part humor, part roses, part thorns.

~Bret Michaels

 

 

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What’s In Your Wallet?

Sunday night I watched a movie called, “The Grey” with Liam Neeson on Netflix.  I watched the film with my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and my mother’s boyfriend.  We aren’t the stereotypical Black American family but we do try to make a habit out of Sunday dinner. Sunday dinner isn’t like the movie, “Soul Food.” We don’t eat artery clogging food and gossip. We’re too uppity for that. We eat whatever health conscious yummy meal my grandmother makes and then we watch a movie on Netflix. Most of the time we ad lib through the whole film so it’s necessary to put the subtitle feature on just so we don’t piss anyone off. We jumped and gasped through the whole film. While this is going on, the neighborhood hustle man is outside washing every car in the household inside and out for about $5 a pop.  Can’t beat that price! So whoever has seen this film knows there’s a part where the main character collects the wallets of the each man as he gets murdered. His intention is to bring them back to the deceased mens families. In one very dramatic scene he’s lookIng through the photos in the mens wallets. My mother interjected and said, ” That’s not realistic. No one keeps pictures in their wallets anymore! You would have to go through their cell phones. They’d probably have a lock on the phone. Or a password on the gallery. ” I ignored her but she persisted. She asked her gentle-spirited ultra-romantic boyfriend who must have given her some sweet reply. He’s so soft-spoken that no one heard him but her. He probably said something clever like,” Your face is painted on my soul so I don’t need your photograph.” Anyway, she asked me and I told her (while simultaneously trying to watch the movie) I have an infant photo of my 9 yr old god-daughter. I have a couple photo of a high school friend who’s now married that I don’t even speak to anymore. I have a group photo with some college buddies from queens day at Roy Wilkins park 3 summers ago. So my wallet is in no way a reflection of my immediate family. To support my mothers case…Wolf- killing hunter survivor sad man would have to find my cell phone!  Of course for some men…they’ll probably have a shot of Kim K as their cell phone wallpapers—->  The moment that touched me was when my mother asked my grandfather. My grandfather can be very serious due to his military background and Caribbean descent. Yet he is mostly known for telling some inappropriate joke at inopportune moments. This time, he reflected on the question. He looked away from the television. He stared at my grandmother intently and said ,”I think I only have a picture of Shaun.” I don’t know how everyone else in the room felt but that sure was special to me. His cell phone wallpaper is a picture of my sister and I. This would still leave my mother, grandmother, and uncle out. My whole life my grandfather has been diligently playing the lotto. Once an entrepreneur and now a retired sanitation worker, he’s always obsessed about money. I don’t expect anything to be in his wallet but cash and lotto tickets. But I’m in there.

If my grandfather was in that depressing dramatic and dreadful movie, the camera would scale over a shot of his wallet and I would be there. From a cinematic point of view, it would seem as though I mean a lot to him. Maybe it was time for us all to redecorate our wallets. Or buy new ones (because every man had a genuine leather  brown wallet).

The movie was also about fear and faith. It was about coming to terms with your accomplishments (or lack thereof). If you could replace your fear with faith and move forward, you’d either live or make peace with your death. Then those faces in those brown leather wallets would have fond memories and someone to be proud of.

What’s in your wallet?

Tell me whats in your wallet in my comments section.  Add us on twitter @shutyamouthnow.