pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Struggle with the words then give up

15 April 2016

Struggle with the words then give up


Governor's Palace gardens
Williamsburg, Virginia
23 March 2016

I rarely rerun posts. But sometimes I've already said what I want to say perfectly. In between doctor's offices and labs, I've been in a very creative place, working with the idea of story. Story isn't always words so much as a sense, an atmosphere, a feeling. A photo, a measure, a few seconds of film. Not easy to describe. Then I found something I wrote six years ago and yup. This was it.

And I fell in love with everyone I saw...

We have a secret, you and I. We are neither of us sure what the other thinks, but something lives there, in the space between. Something happened, at some time, though no one can pinpoint the moment. There were eye witnesses. Tales were told, conjectures were made but the story lives between us. And we wait and wonder what the other saw, what the other thinks.

If anything.

And then it all sort of fell apart. I had an idea and I knew what I wanted to say and I had my device and framework, and it just wouldn't work. I was following the cards, and for the first three, it was ripping and then...nothing. The words came with difficulty and awkwardly and didn't say what I meant to say.

I dreamed. I dreamed about a house, grey, stone or concrete, an older style. I walked through the garden and you were there, arm held out to me, and as I approached, your hand settled in the small of my back, guiding me along, without constraint. The air was soft and filled with flowers, and the moment seemed quite real, no feel of dreaming. There was a sense to it of the dreams I used to call the road dreams, where I was driving down the same road, but it was in varying degrees of decay or in good repair. The road was infinite, and I never dreamed of starting the drive or ending it. They went on for years. Oddly, this night, I felt like I'd reached my destination with your calm and wordless welcome.

I am prone to wild bouts of joy. Everyone may be; I don't know since I'm only me and can't speak for the rest of the world. I will suddenly be taken with the desire to laugh, for no reason other than just random happiness. It's hit me in the strangest places: at work, in airports, as I start a morning walk, up on a mountain, in the middle of a crowd of people. The world suddenly seems limitless and I have a clarity of vision that is quite perfect, the feeling of being transported. If I were a believer, I'd suspect it to be mystical, a bout of religious ecstasy, but I'm not, so I accept it as a gift of joy. It happened that night, as the wind blew my hair around my face, and I was filled with a warmth I didn't recognize and when I pushed my hair out of my eyes and looked around, there you were, filling my vision. By then you were already precious to me, but the emotion in that moment was so enormous, so transcendent, that I fell in love with everyone around me.

Turn the card toward what might be. They look content, don't they, in their sunshiny colors? There is nothing sweet here, nothing sappy. It's communion, real accord, commitment and communication. They know their cups are full. When I ask myself what it is I want, this is what comes to mind. When I tell my friends that I cherish them, it is the long conversations and moments of contentment that I am thinking of. The sense is not exclusive of love. It is instead inclusive of what makes love possible.

On Mad Men, Kitty, a minor character, is lovely, but bereft and only just beginning to realize that something is very, very wrong with her husband Sal, poor sad man. "I don't need much," she said to him, "but I need tending." Her words resonated, but her courage was what surprised me. I don't need much, I ask for little, but I am clueless about how to voice what I want. I have been responsible for so much, so many, so long that my desires sound awkward, more like demands, and I handle them more like bargaining chips instead. It hasn't quite occurred to me that the only bargain you are looking to strike is that I return your regard.

But here, now, it's the fall of the light, late summer or early autumn, as the sun slides behind the trees, that I think of you. This, the light, reminds me of you, of the way you laughed, which made me laugh, too, and I fell just a little in love, just enough that it showed in my face. Just enough that I still seek the laughter as it looked on your face, the lift of your eye that matched the curve in the corner of your mouth.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000. Go listen to some good music: "Spitting Games" from the album Final Straw by Snow Patrol. From the original "liner notes:" This started out life as a very different bit of writing (and I've been interrupted how many times?) but ultimately, I think I like where it ended up. I'll know when I read it again in a few months (N.B.: or 6 years later). But really, the problem was how exactly do you describe a sensation wracking your body and mind, something that doesn't exactly allow for words?
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