Tuesday, February 01, 2005


That for just this one moment, the whirl and the seasickness would stop; the forgetting and wounding, the remembering and being wounded.


I reach up and we grasp each other's wrists firmly. Rowan pulls me half up off the mat, twisting my spine deliciously, and then lays me gently back down. A deep breath. Again the linked hands, again the lift and the torque. Again she lays me down.

She's probably half my weight, yet she seems to do this effortlessly.


On the drive home I remember the way she tucked my foot into the angle of her hip, so as to lean forward and stretch my back, with a little spurt of desire. The desire flares into my awareness like a lit match, and then slowly goes out. It almost never flares during the massage. It's afterwards, when my mind goes sorting through the memories, that I think (we use the word "thinking" for this kind of habitual motion of the mind, but I wish we didn't; we should have a different word for these hackneyed involuntary mental twitches) -- oh Lord, I could construe all that sexually and make it into serious wanting.

"Why would you want it to be serious wanting?" I ask. No answer.


Martha is back from her retreat. Left Friday morning, returned Monday afternoon. Shamatha and vipassana. She loved the silence. "If nobody talks," she said wryly, "nobody hurts my feelings."


We hugged in the doorway of the kitchen. "I don't want to lose my attachment to you," she says, semi-seriously.

I'm supposed to say "I don't want to lose my attachment to you, either," but I find I can't say it. I simply can't say those words. Martha's mad at me and amused, all at once -- how much of each, I can't tell. "Say it!" she hisses. "Say it!" -- tugging at my shirt, like an insistent child tugging at his mother's skirt. Then she laughs.


Down in the basement, we sort laundry together. "The reason we don't want to lose our attachments," I say, sounding ridiculously pompous in my own ears, "is because we imagine losing them while we still have them. Or losing their objects while we still have the attachments. Because we can't imagine what it would be like, not to have them."

"I know, I know what you're saying. -- (You're still in trouble)," she adds parenthetically. "But really, you know, who can want to lose their attachments? That's what makes them attachments, isn't it?"

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