keep trying to tame my out-at-elbows, brimming-over, running-at-the-edges life; when what needs taming is my broken heart. (broken hearts cannot be tamed, only mended.)
the printed word. there are times when a string of words left behind by authors of another space, another chronology suddenly makes everything ok again. the darkness is a little less impenetrable, i a little braver. that i-am-doing-it-all-wrong filter falls. i breathe.
our brave little gooseberry bush gave us 6 pounds of fruit this year. He and i spent hours at the diningroom table, with our respective scissors, topping and tailing the giant bowl of berries between us. Kitten prowled about, occasionally dipping his head into the bowl, surfacing stems in teeth, dangling gooseberries. his green veined marbles to bat and roll along the wood floor.
this is summer.
riding on a brown and tan schwinn cruiser one early spring morning, basket in front, sparkling sun above. i thought, “i would like this to be my life–ride my bike, and attempt to draw the perfect Miffy everyday.” that would be enough.
yesterdays are like spilt milk or whipped cream, they can not be undone. all that i’ve been ferries me to this moment, where i can choose still where to go, who to be. the past matters, but it’s not everything.
thoughts that undrown me: all my neighbors sleeping in their beds, soaking in their tubs, eating, kissing, dreaming in their houses, on this very block, at this moment; people driving by in their cars, with anticipation, with dread, with distraction; the whole city turning on their lights, pouring cereal into their bowls, walking, dancing, sitting by their windows. all of us. how big we are; how small we are. going about our days in our singular fashion, surviving. trying to make something out of our lives. unknowingly. unknowably.
we lost White Kitty on New Year’s Day.
This house has lost an inhabitant.
Insistently empty spaces where
fuzzy paws and pink nose
life went on after White Kitty left us. how exactly, i don’t quite comprehend; but it did, because it does. just as life did when Mom died. just as when Black Kitty died.
i eventually went back into the kitchen to concoct meals that were not for him, the weight of the kale and psyllium and turkey and eggshell powder that nursed him through his last year on my shoulders. even kale eventually made it back to our table. if we could stop time for a little while after a loss that cleaves our world, would we ever be brave enough to start it again?
miss my black bear kitty.
it’s good being married to a man who believes in stormdoor poetry. he put up a P.L. Dunbar for fall and pestered me for days on the winter selection.
carrying around my suitcases of pain, packages of failures, boxes of guilt. somewhere in there is also a slim sheaf of accomplishments. my elephantine memory. wish i understood what it means for something to not matter anymore.
saw my first strapped-atop-a-car christmas tree today; my heart grew from a burst of festiveness.
don’t want writing to be a hoarding of memories, a desperate and tedious grasp for passing time. i want words to add richness and textures to my days. a filtering of thought. a distillation of experience. so my hours don’t disappear in a half-conscious haze.
Kitten suddenly seems grown up, a little more mellow, a little sweeter, a little better at caring for others. he’s a good snuggler… sleeps on my chest, rolling about, rubbing his forehead against me, stretching his paws against my chin, not caring where he ends and i begin.
a couple of weeks ago, White Kitty got on the bed by himself, using his stepping stool and a little prompting from M. i thought to myself, remember this. White Kitty walked onto the bed by himself today.
he has been so weak all summer. lying under the clothes drying rack “tent” most of the day, wide-eyed and ill at ease. requiring regular coaxing for trips to the litterbox. there is a big list in my head of things White Kitty doesn’t do anymore, and his walking onto the bed was a significant triumph to cling to.
but right now, at this moment, he is sleeping soundly on the bed with Kitten to one side and M to the other. he was the first to bed tonight, climbed right in with no one else about the room. a little later Kitten added himself to the scene, and we found them curled up together, Kitten’s face buried in White Kitty’s side. that’s after sleepy mornings and evenings in bed with us yesterday and today. he slept soundly enough this morning to twitch, soundly enough this evening to growl in dreaming (hope he caught something good). we are having a couple of really good kitty days.
read Aimee Bender’s “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” in one day–1.5 sittings, one long overnight marathon that consumed me until 4am. it broke me into pieces–the 8-year-old emotional wunderkind, a mother who needed mothering. it made me feel real, made me wonder if she grew up like me.
i have a particular fondness for the name Rose because of Doctor Who. it was the way her name was uttered in those series, wonder and longing.
been thinking about the particular pathos of emotionally precocious children. there is no “don’t grow up too fast” and “aren’t you a special kid” for their particular brand of intelligence. only “don’t be silly” for the unhappiness we sense and the intangibility of burdens we don’t know how to carry.
i was a smart kid, very smart. but i wasn’t “the smart one,” because that title had already been claimed by the eldest.
Bender is all lit fic and magical realism and delicate hearts. improbable to the modern American aesthetic. she is a literary paradox that makes me feel a little safer in this world.
i’m out of my element in my new field of study. it’s a daily bruising of ego to be in class, a bath of inadequacy. i dash myself to pieces trying to catch up, trying to be like them, wilting into an insecure, impoverished version of myself. i forget who i am. i need these thoughtful, delicious, artful books as reminders.
life belongs to the observant.