emma b. says

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm Not There

It was a twenty four hour trip back home.

When the clouds broke over the bridge at eight thousand feet, I seriously thought about jumping, not to die, not at all, just to plunge into that cold pacific sparkle and commune with the sea stars and the detritus, the current at that distance is so concise and inviting, the westward sun so magnanimous. The rolling topography inching towards green, rolling and rolling to the sea. We'll all go under some day.

oh, but lovely, crowded California, I miss your sandy green undulations and tetchy fault lines.

but I am not there, not anymore.

I got to P's house and settled into my familiar spot in the kitchen, dicing and slicing and searing have always been my swords against the awkwardness of sociability. Had I had a fish, I would have gladly flayed it while struggling against the winsome pull of familiarity.

In the end, I surrendered. How nice to not to have to explain oneself, how lovely to fall into shared jokes, what a comfort that old camaraderie. And after an absence, what a delightful joy, like an effervescence, or a phosphorescence, maybe just a holy luminescence... ride that sweet wake until you get shot down by friendly fire and you remember why, in part, you left. It's a quince paste reminder after an evening of weinies.

After you finish the bottle of calvados with M in the kitchen as you are doing the dishes and are the last men standing, you stumble towards sleep rather than free the thundercloud of sublimated emotions gathering in your mid-section, flooding your lungs and threatening the detente in your mind, they gather like knit socks, just on the horizon, stealth confounding in the laundry basket. But what do I know, I am neither here nor there.

In the morning we take my former usual trajectory through the park, the trees are unchanging, the sky is unchanging, the path is not even that much more careworn, cities and parks don't mark your absence, just as they don't mark your presence - short of an honorific street name, short an accidental or deliberate tragedy, and even then, the memory of sidewalks and buildings is short lived and entirely incidental. That's the superfluous beauty of personal history, ain't nobody marking time but the metronome of your heart, the finite story and the inside jokes lost to clouds of champagne and the insidiousness of the quotidian.

I am not sure that I am sorry that I am not there and I am sorry that I am not entirely here, either. I wish the music was louder and what I wanted to hear, I wish money grew on trees, I wish there was a warm boy here, even when I am nearly not.

Tomorrow I get the keys to the house, to the advent, to the prospect of a different sort of permanence.

Part of me is unbridled.

The other part of me wants to get back in the car and follow the ocean until the ocean runs out, put the car in park and walk the tundra, polar bears and eskimos and penguins -- plus I hear they put their couglets (cougars in training) out on ice floes and the cold takes them to mighty dreams.

fuck sweet release by ice floe, I've got a house that needs tending. And I have a date.


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