Posted on March 21st, 2017
It is somewhere in the neighborhood of five in the morning and you are standing in the bare bulb light of your narrow counter-less hallway kitchen holding your cat that you’re secretly worried is huffing paint every night and she has just drooled on your t-shirt. You have been painting the back and only bedroom and, knowing its carpet is not long for this world, have been letting the paint fall where it may the entire time and now nightly you find her in there, on the floor in the middle of a half circle of three paint cans, purring, and you think you’ve created a problem.
So you scoop her up and think about how this is a tender broken-open sort of time, five in the morning in late winter with its variable weathers and you notice a spot of chipped finish on the fridge and think there’s a crack in everything and then think that’s how the light gets in and then think a line from a poem from Charles Wright ‘to the time before the pen/oh i was the resurrection’ and then wonder if that’s even the line but know the feel of it again, here, in the pre-dawn kitchen.
When you think about Saturday it is in snapshots in a way that nothing has been for a long time, and it’s both an old animal gladness and a new one, driving to another small city, finding friendship because you are saying yes again instead of no, finding something like persistent green stubbornness in a layer of scraped-up plow at the edge of a parking lot. You went to Troy and you brought a bag of vegetables and slid into someone’s life for a day and felt the magic stealing back, the way the light has been, steadily, surely, climbing the glass.
When you break, or things do, it isn’t that you put them together again, exactly, so much as it seems the pieces teach you how to assume a new shape. You will go through several iterations of this, and lose the thread of it, but feel that you are maybe learning the way of calling it to you, of getting it back again more quickly, by allowing the wind that comes through the new empty spaces to feel clean, instead of lonesome.
The feeling of driving to Troy to meet someone (that a dating app paired you with two years ago that you’ve somehow become supportive friends with in the interim the way that gravity slyly acts on bodies despite or because of never dating or just because you find your way to your people if you just make space for it to happen which is the backstory you don’t say when you somehow end up telling this to his roommate’s dad in their high-ceilinged kitchen, blushing furiously) ends up being the same as:
The day in the summer that you put yourself in the car and did not go to work and instead drove (and driving itself was new again too, and the place where your ankle was broken hurting with each clutch depression but the hurt is freedom) to New Hampshire, paying tolls and emptying out of feeling until you reached the sea. It is hard in prose to explain how certain choices make you exquisitely aware of all choices, everywhere, that you have ever made, and how often you might have said yes to yourself and instead said no, and how learning the habit of that yes isn’t yet static, and the flicker, when it takes on solid shape and is suddenly you standing facing the open Atlantic in the numb water with salt salt salt is the space you would willingly inhabit always, if you could. And maybe doing so is the work. And maybe practicing finding yourself there is the purpose. And maybe to do any of those things is to stay soft, to stay vulnerable, is to stand in your own body in a cold ocean in a crowd and to find a way to be still and anonymous and perfect and mutable and constant and you and not you and to find a way to be willing. You didn’t see how small you had allowed yourself to become until you were in proximity to the largest thing. You take on the sea like a blanket. You take it on like a sweater. You take it on like oxygen. You pack it into the spaces between your bones, until you have a shape you recognize.