that space-cadet glow

She stopped short of backing out of the parking space, turning her neck to see around me and the seat and the large SUV parked next to us.

“Is there anybody out there?” she asked.

“Is there anybody out there?” I said in a low half-sung reply. I put it on. She’d never heard it.

She drove down the long winding road in the twilight, smiling in the oddly peaceful, sorrowful, tortured, melodious air that had taken over the car. I closed my eyes, and the weight of the day was gone. I was back in time in a place she’ll never know I’ve been. A place I’d forgotten. A place ironically ignorant of Roger’s entire point…a point I hope she understands someday. But his seriousness took a backseat on our way home. His cynicism took a nap. All negativity disappeared into the background and for a little while we seemed to float down the road.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As we pulled into the driveway, she said under her breath, “another with spots.”

She started to get it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And I thought I was only expanding her musical horizons.

. . . . .

I didn’t consider the impact.

Then again,

it’s Pink Floyd.

 

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How long has it been since I heard the whisper of a fan in the dark? Just last night, I guess. But I didn’t really listen.

The moon is full and the air feels like a cool night in early summer. I watched clouds pass between the light and me like a thin transparent veil, but they had no power over our gaze. The wind carried them off mercifully. I said goodnight and left him hanging there; but like that moon tends to do, he’ll stay outside my window all night and peek through the curtains.

The fan will whirl and whisper his soft light in swirls above me. Tonight, I’ll listen.

I must keep in good health, and not die.

I took the day off today to collect myself: to reel in raw emotions and face them alone, to process and make sense of them. And who better to help me than she who escapes my emotional understanding: Jane Eyre.

Bronte, the Charlotte one, uses colons every other sentence. I thought perhaps she, being the creator of my recent inspiration, will find something of her own in this post: two vertically aligned dots used occasionally—the only homage I am able to pay.

. . .

I feel as though I’m in a fun house walking through a maze of mirrors that contort my self-image while confusing my sense of direction. Which reflection is the true me? I’ve forgotten. Do I keep walking, keep trying to find my way out? Or do I settle: do I sit and accept the illusion presenting itself at present and find peace in this spot? Isn’t that what life is about: finding a comfortable spot to settle into and ride out the timeline? Or is it to keep moving, keep growing (i.e. altering one’s state in response to new stimuli) until one completes the journey? And what awaits those who find their way through? Are they the victors: the ones who pressed on; or are they the deprived: the ones who never embraced an identity?

. . .

Young literary heroines and heroes tend to be precocious. Perhaps because they are never meant to represent children at all. Children are the goodness in us all. They are the innocence and curiosity, they are fervor without fault of repeating past mistakes. And when we design their characters to have the wisdom and fearlessness of a sage, well, we’ve designed the perfect humans, or at least the kind of humans we’d like to be. On the other hand, without flaws, the characters wouldn’t be relatable, and we’d lose the ability to empathize. It’s that need to empathize that allows us to get emotional satisfaction from a story. Otherwise…what’s the point? So we give them one. Lizzy’s, for example, is passion, though some would argue pride or prejudice, or both. I use Elizabeth Bennet as an example because she is the perfect heroine. (Yes, she is.)

And then there’s Jane Eyre, the most complicated heroine I’ve come across. A very young Jane, in this moment, even beat out my dear Lizzy…temporarily.

“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.

“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”

“A pit full of fire.”

“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”

“No, sir.”

“What must you do to avoid it?”

I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: “I must keep in good health, and not die.”

 

The confidence one must have to say such a thing to such a person at such a time…if only.

.

I’m not here for a full analysis. But my thoughts have led me to this, which may or may not be helpful to me at present. Anyway:

Jane Eyre endures quite a bit and holds herself together with grace. She’s as far out of my league as Elizabeth is. What makes them human to me, the relatable part of them I mean, is that they eventually give in to their deepest emotions. They allow themselves to put down their guard and be vulnerable long enough to be like anyone else.

I tend to hide behind a mask of outward emotion, because when I let the real me out I often wish I hadn’t. Like I wish I hadn’t during that argument I had about thirty minutes ago. I think in that sort of situation, Jane would suit me best. Good ol’ stoic Jane.

. . .

I’m looking in mirrors that aren’t my own. I’m going to close my eyes and feel my way through the maze a little while. I’m not in a rush at the moment to find myself. The goal will still be here when I feel the need to chase it a little more.

.

 

“Then we will fight in the shade.”

New Years Day always feels like a do-over for me. It feels clean and fresh like I just brushed my teeth or cleaned my house, which incidentally I plan to do today. The former occurs no less than twice a day (not true), but the latter, sadly, doesn’t happen as often as it should.

. . .. .

I feel a nagging urge to write this morning. It’s not that I’m avoiding cleaning my house, it’s that I’m accomplishing a necessary task beforehand. A warm up, if you will. Yeah, call it what you wish, procrastination is not the intention.

.

“We are men of action. Lies do not become us.”

.

Sometimes movie characters say just the right things at just the right times in my head. Damn you, Pirate Roberts.

.

I’m not one to quote The Princess Bride or The Meaning of Life (out loud). I’ve known people who are, and they annoy me. If you, Reader, are a member of that group, don’t be offended by my hypocritical remark. I quote Disney Pixar movies, or Mean Girls or Legally Blonde. I have daughters, and that’s my excuse, though I’ve no reason for excuses because the lines are funny as hell in the right context. 300 is chock full of witty comments. I like movies that have main characters who are underestimated underdogs, and 300 not only falls into that category but it’s also fine eye candy, so I forgive the cheesy Spartan one-liners and I use them in my head as silent comic relief when I feel attacked or overwhelmed. Which is often.

*-laundry break-*

I spent New Years Eve watching movies on Netflix from the comfort of my bed in the shield of darkness. I’ve avoided Jane Eyre, but I’m not sure why because I love movies that are set in 1800s England. I finally watched it last night, and it was scary. I didn’t expect to be frightened. I had an odd, uneasy feeling about watching the film or reading the book, and after watching it, my unease was validated. My reaction was an emotion I can’t explain, one I hadn’t unearthed. I think perhaps what I felt was a mixture of feelings, a potion of strong emotions that I’d never ingested. I went to sleep without analyzing my emotional response, and this morning I am haunted by the confusing impact that the story had on me.

I have written myself into a serious place, and I’ll trade that for cleaning my house. I suppose my need to write this morning has been a subconscious means of motivation.

I need to keep today light. Tomorrow I return to work, and an unwelcome heaviness accompanies me.

. .. .. . .

Down, down, down, she goes, and harder she resists the fall.

Joyce and others and late-night reading

I have a strange love affair with words—the ones well placed, anyway. There’s a musical quality to something well written. I’d quote him if I weren’t in the dark on my phone with a cat on my arm. I mean I’d find the quote. He’s in a book, his words are, he is, same difference. He writes about how real writing has rhythm. The good stuff is three-dimensional, it billows and twirls through space. The rest is stuck to a page, listless or apathetic or too eager to please. He didn’t say that part, but I think he’d agree.

12/21/16…73°F…

(not me, but something like it)

… …

Unless you’ve jumped, you really can’t know the thrill of truly, physically, letting go. Back-diving through a blue sky and watching the earth spin passed me thousands of feet below, spinning, flying, floating, hiking the canopy every which way like a sail in the wind, I was free again. Free from every burden, negativity, and hardship. I was swept up in a reality that felt like a dream, playing games with Newton. He smiled…I felt it. I smiled right back at him.

Gliding down, I saw clear from downtown to the bay. The air up high was cool but unexpectedly warmer than it was in August, so my face did not get frost-bitten. My hair, well…

.

“Now that’s the look of a first-timer,” someone said as I walked by grinning, hair stuck every which way.

“It never gets old,” I replied.

It only gets better.

.

And again,

for your pleasure and mine…

As it turns out, it really is possible to walk in darkness with a smile on my face. Never mind the side effects of new medication. Those in themselves are eerie eyes peering at me in the dark. The sedation is two-sided—the negative side causing me to stumble and the positive side allowing me to take it all in stride. And even when the fog lifts, though general motivation lacks, acceptance and comfort exudes somehow and channels its way through humor. Apologizing for falling short has never come easier, and as time laboriously wears on or smoothly glides by, the need to apologize is dwindling.

I’m slowly returning to the land of the living, and a smirk is rising against my cheek right now as I think of what living feels like at its best. So what if I don’t have the means to take off and climb mountains in search of ancient ruins or stand on the edge of that orange plateau I’ve dreamed about? Physically I’ve atrophied to the point of not being able to run a 5k or properly ride a horse, but that will be remedied soon enough. In the meantime, I can leap from a perfectly good airplane. That first step beats all. When the temperature rises above arctic levels I’ll go. In Texas, that could be an hour from now. Either way, I was assured that my face would not freeze off. I was careful to use that exact wording. So my face will not freeze off, then? (Laugh on other end of phone) No, you’ll be fine.

.

I had the bright idea of attempting a handstand about a week ago. In my head I could do it. After the third failed attempt, I remembered that I need to get back to yoga, which by the way I do in the comfort and seclusion of my bedroom where no one can see me lie flat for thirty minutes in pretend meditation after five minutes of hideous and exhausting animal poses. The stretching is nice, though. I’m looking forward to getting back to that. I’m looking forward to getting back to a lot of things. Writing, for instance.