Thursday, June 28, 2012

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Tired, as I often am these days: year after year of trying, failing, trying again: respites brief and seldom. I am not easy in my skin. I shift, squirm, glance out the window.

In the morning, every morning, before the world is awake, I go outside and gaze at the sky, at the tumble of clouds or the strangely shifting veils of blue, the eastern sun struggling up through dirty rags and bandages, the power wires. Crows, gulls, hawks. Wandering frets of rain. The cement is cold on my bare feet. I examine every horizon, like a prisoner examining his walls. I try to imagine that I'm at peace.

At breakfast, I read my Spanish book, enter my fifteen new words into my flashcard program. Review my chemistry. Half a dozen new books by friends that I need to get to, reviews I should write. Responses I should make. Who knew that my friends would prove so prolific? I'm proud of them; they amaze me. But I hold them at arm's length. “This needs to be settled first,” I say, and I know that I've found the right words: the only trouble is that I don't know what they signify. What do I mean, “this”? What needs to be settled?

In the evening I do massage, touching mortal men doomed to die; I touch my own decay, feel the fading traces of my own desire. The conversations become more and more telegraphic. This upper trap, between my thumb and forefinger. You know what this means! Remember? This cradling of the head, these fingers gently pulling your hair, this rain of tapotement on your calves: you remember? We've had this conversation before. Just my hand closing on your wrist, and the whole story replays, of pulling your arm over your head, of reaching under your shoulder. Eventually I'll be able to give a whole massage by resting my hand for ten seconds on your sacrum.

I become more and more superstitious. I hoard talismans. Look for signs. Count crows crossing the milk white sky.

June is almost done. The Sun is growing old too, the light will be getting gentler. The year, thank God, is already on the ebb.

6 comments:

Zhoen said...

No shoulds. Never any shoulds. Will or will not. Do or do not.

Jayne said...

Imagining we are at peace. How many of us do this? I imagine all the time. At peace. What brings peace. Why can't we be there. Why can't we just mark peace and take a seat there?

Signs. Hunting for a new car a few weeks back, I liked the feel of the car I was testing. Comfortable, really nice drive. Noting in my head, clearly, this was the car. Then, thwack!--a bird hits the windshield at 40 mph and its feathers scatter in every direction, the carcass slides off the hood. Shaken a bit, I quietly struck a line through that note. And the search began all over again. :/

Anonymous said...

The first paragraph speaks to me. Yes, so much falling down, so much fear, so much stumbling onward.

Moria

Dale said...

:-) Shouldn't be no shoulds? Not sure how to work that, Zhoen!

Hugs, Jayne. I hope you find something comfortable and well-starred!

Moria, yes, we started out with similar disadvantages, in this realm. Emotionally responsible for everything, physically responsible for nothing. We hit the precisely wrong historical moment :-)

Zhoen said...

Ban shoulds, don't just try to should them away. That's the problem with should, it plans to do, lavishes in it's good intentions, but the dishes never get clean.

marly youmans said...

I'd like to hear about your hoard of talismans...