Saturday, October 12, 2013

One Swift

I nearly typed, "do I exist?" as a Facebook status update, but I realized that no answer I received there could be convincing.

No answer here could be convincing either: but here there's room to unpack a little. To ask, for instance, "why do you ask?"

Well, obviously, because a sense of unreality is growing on me. The gears of my soul are stripped. The wheels are turning, but nothing is happening.

So, well -- just stop, then.

Take a few breaths.

Think about it. What do I really want? There are a number of shadowy people lingering here, who want a variety of things, but I think that even when they seize the steering wheel, the conviction that they are not real is altogether appropriate.

It is not any particular falsity about myself, however, which produces these phantoms. It is the unreality of this life. No one could feel real in these circumstances.

So. Therefore?

Therefore, do something real. It's pretty much as easy as that.

There is no changing the falsity of the modern world. But that's finite, and I am not. Not by any measure. Mortal, yes, but that's the answer to a different question.

This, actually, is a start. Just to write it down. Even if it is like picking out one swift to follow, from the swirl over Chapman School.

The house where I did a couple massages today looked out over the Valley, with the trees turning, and a bit of river showing like a steel plate under long grass. The sky a patchwork of grays and whites and silvers. And my client lying on the table like the statue of a crusader on his tomb, with his hands crossed on his breast, his bones too large for his flesh.

Later, when I lifted one from under the blanket -- such large hands men have! He asked for more pressure. "It hurts, but it feels good," he said. I wondered, he was so thin, if he was ill. Or -- my imagination running somewhat wild -- if he had been captive and ill-fed for many months. I suppose my medically-minded massage friends would consider me remiss for not pressing him, and finding out. But sometimes people don't want to be pressed. Sometimes they want to drop their identity and leave it behind, like their clothes, for the duration of the massage: and why not? I've never wanted to take on a medical role. Not qualified, not by education, not by temperament. Even when I know something, I don't know best. I have no intention of knowing best: not now, not ever.


Zhoen said...

I often don't ask my patients too much, as I'm not their doctor. I watch and glean what I can, and accept whatever they offer.

Found this this morning,


Kristen Burkholder said...

Love that, Zhoen. "I watch and glean." YES.

Dale I'm with you, I leave them be. Unless an obvious contraindication is there, most of my clients prefer to be mum. When they are with me, they get to be anonymous, mysterious, and loved.

rbarenblat said...

The description of your client like a Crusader on his tomb -- beautiful.