Buddy Would Have Been the One by Renee-Louise Carafice

Nothing could be more absolute than the city that surrounded her at night when she slept in her empty home. The phone book had a picture of the city loudly emblazoned on it, and she almost had to be sick every time she passed it. Here she was, and she didn’t know if she could handle it here. An immigrant: and it brought to mind images of women with shawls covering their heads and shoulders, carrying baskets and wandering snowy streets of their new country; she wore combat boots.

In the days when the sun used to shine, before this time when there was no light, there was a boy that she loved. He was a real good one, this one, he was bouncing off the walls. When he would walk into a room everyone would stop. He would demand things. He was a kicker. There is no way to describe this young man. It was one of those situations where the world just opens up and a guy drops onto the floor of your apartment and there he is. A perfect human being.

What makes him more perfect is that he was lost in the end, lost in a big way, as all good things are. So she was here alone, and she was versus this city like a dog versus a dog. Friends at her new job knew there was some kind of dark sadness in her life and let her judge the puppy competition held in the community fair. People really tried in these ways to make her okay, she appreciated it. Another time her work mates took her to the graveyard and showed her the little girl who moves when you’re not looking. The little girl had tears sculpted onto her eyes; everything like this seemed so distant because she could only see herself as a foreigner. If you’re a foreigner, everything is sick and foreign.

Setting up the computer was a big thing. There was no furniture in this house. She slept on the ground. Someone had given her this computer and it was so that she could reconnect with the world after this big change. You see she had expected to come to America, but not without Buddy. She looked at it. All those cords and pieces. There was a way she could fix this thing up and she would be free in a way, she would be able to see the world in front of her again. Buddy would have been the one to set something like this up. He was a genius at little things like that. Of course he was, he was a lost thing and lost things are geniuses.

When she had it hooked up and connected, she saw an image of herself flash up in her mind as the ‘we can do it’ woman. Muscle flexed. It was a sharp image, and one that stuck with her. She cried with joy to see such a thing. It was so different from the woman with the shawl.

Renee-Louise Carafice is a critically acclaimed, New Zealand-born songwriter. She was raised by the sea and forest in a Maori (native New Zealand) community. As a young adult she fought mental illness, kicked its ass, and publicly humiliated it. As a twenty-five year old she moved to the United States permanently with only a suitcase. She is writing a book of prose-poetry about those three things.