Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Moon

Another night, watching a movie about love that she had seen a million times before - the most classic of stories about love and loss and redemption - Pride and Prejudice. And then the dog had to go out, or at least she saw a cat or a leaf blowing in the breeze that she must go and investigate.

She wandered around, warm from the wine she had consumed, all on her own, on the Hallmark-holiday that is Valentine's. She fluttered her eyes closed, to the coolness of the breeze that would have chilled her, had it not been for the wine. Then, she looked up and saw the moon, a sliver, a thumbnail that hung heavy. The part of it that was illuminated was on the bottom of the dusty globe, a crescent hung upside-down, like a grin, or a slice of melon turned upwards. She thought, she mused that was all the remaining hope she had of love and life and the idea that things will get better. It represented the waning hope and small idea of finding someone to complete her. It was all the more difficult on a day like today when, no matter how forced and commercial, there were those out there that were devoting a great deal of energy and resources in pleasing another.

She turned her eyes down, away from that moon, that mockery of what she thought she had left in her. Then she looked up again, saw the shadow of the moon that was still there but she could not easily see. The darkness that was blotted out by another, a depth and expanse of space that could have very easily bled into and been confused for the darkness of the sky surrounding and holding it aloft, a darkness speckled with the burning of a thousand stars. She comforted herself that if she were to consider the sliver of light still visible to represent her and her capacity for the hope of the love of another, then she must also take into account the greatness of possibility that was held in the sky, mirroring the shadowed part of the orb that is not detected so easily. She smiled, as her pup pulled her along, taking comfort that she was more than she knew, there were days ahead of her and there was experience that even she could not prepare for or expect. She was not often comfortable with blindness and uncertainty, but took solace in the idea that there is more space, more room for growth and possibility in that which cannot be seen, or felt, or known.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gold Dust

The alarm rang earlier than she would have liked, shifting her relaxed body towards its screeching and then rolling back into the sunken crevice where her lithe form had spent most of the night. She stretched her sore arms above her head, opening her mouth wide in a yawn, inhaling deeply, hoping the fresh oxygen would clear her foggy mind. Get up. She made it out of her cloud-like bed that she loved to fall into and lose herself in a death-like sleep night after night, an eternity of down. She checked her blinking phone and read the text summoning her to work. She showered then carefully began her regimen, as precise and practiced as a painter. She smoothed on her foundation in small circles, moving upwards from her feline neck towards her strawberry blonde hairline. She stroked on concealers and illuminators like one would stroke on a wisp of a cloud or the cusp of a wave on a ocean’s landscape. She fanned out her tools made of brushes and pencils, sifting various hues of powder, highlighting her cheeks and her forehead in subtle bronze and sun-kissed warmth. The coral lips now softened parted slightly to reveal balanced creamy teeth. The eyes served as the grand crescendo to her masterpiece of wearable art. Smoky and smudged, she pulled the wand from the base to her lash’s tip, extending their nature, widening her doe eyes. More liner. She drew on another line of charcoal and left, already ten minutes late. She pulled around back to enter before the others arrived. The day was warm and the air looked hazy rising from the black pavement of the parking lot. It made the trees and stones look like they were shivering, as if fighting their permanent places lined up in rows and waving like seaweed in the sand. As she opened the back door, her eyes squinted and shifted, adjusting to the dark, trying to seek out whatever light could be found. Good morning, thank you for coming at such short notice. She smiled, her painted lips closed so as to protect a potential smudge on her porcelain teeth. Here, she knows it’s a stretch, but let’s see what you can do. You are the best. She took the offered Polaroid, walking the thick carpet, her high heels hushed in respect and bent down to hold the picture under the light of lamp. Pictures were always better than a description of what her clients wanted. Jennifer Aniston. A short bob with a clean bang. Take away the gray and replace with shimmery blonds and caramels. This picture showed a beautiful young girl, riding a horse, her jet hair black and tossed over her shoulder and reaching towards the seat of the saddle. She was smiling, mischievous and fresh-faced, a peach hue at the apples of her cheeks. Sure thing. The soft cream door was opened before her leading into an entirely metal room. The smell and absence of smell hit her simultaneously. She noted chemicals and cleaners to remove the smell of the chemicals - a great charade. The temperature dropped as she approached her client. It felt good at first, her body still warm from the summer heat, but soon the skin on her arms pimpled like gooseflesh. Her heels clicked and echoed in this room. She balanced on the balls of her feet to avoid the interruption of silence and headed towards the center of the room. The client’s hair was nearly white now, cold, and slipped like Christmas tinsel through her hands as she checked its strength. She never forgot that was the most jarring part of this - the absence of warmth. The head was lifted on a foam block just beneath the base of her skull. The thin, grey lips were already shut, glued together, never to grin mischievously again. The tissue-paper skin fell with gravity towards the beveled table. Her small, gray body was delicately covered with a thin blue paper, crinkly and unprotecting. The process of returning the hair to its raven color first involved turning the once-smiling woman around so her head was at the sink. She called for the director to take the shoulders as she took her feet. On the count of one, two, three, they slowly lifted. Stiff as a feather, light as a board. Her full lips frowned as she remembered silly pajama parties and girlfriends sitting in a circle. Their small warm bodies were nothing like this ebony pillar. It mirrored the table, cold and straight, unmoving and strong enough to support her tiny weight. She watched the inky water swirl down the sink, urging it to warm her hands and the hair, wishing it would remain living long enough to finish. But no, the faux-black silk almost immediately returned to ice as soon as it was dry. She brushed it smooth, straight and thin, falling softly over her shoulders. Who were you smiling at? She painted the small face a delicate ivory, filling in the hollow cheeks with the same warm peach she had seen in the photo. She brushed a small amount of color on the lips, enough pink so as to differentiate them from the skin. The eyes were the only parts left. She stood back for a moment, looked again at the picture and saw their hazel-green depth through heavy black lashes. The sun that day dotted her face through her straw hat, causing her to look as if she was wearing a veil. Now what? She chose to fill in the sparse lashes with black and dust a light gold over the creases. Her deeply lined face crowned with the oil-black hair gave her an Egyptian look, an unwrapped Queen. Only at certain angles, in certain light could the gold be seen; it was a trick and illusion of sunlight. It was an illumination guiding her eyes through the dark. She hoped it would give those in the next room comfort. She hoped this is what the girl on the horse would have wanted. Her job was done. She took her check and returned the photo. She had been there less than twenty five minutes, but the day felt as if it had gotten hotter as she left and walked towards her car. She clutched the wheel and noticed a shimmer of gold on her hand that she had used to test before applying. She stretched it out the window and watched it shimmer in the sun. She felt the air dance and ripple around her hand and looking in the rearview mirror, she smiled.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Words Without Meaning

No. I do not want to talk to you. I will not respond to your message that you miss me again because it has become too routine. Of course I miss you too. And I have said it every day since you left. You. Left. We decided it would be best. But you were the one that moved on. And have continued to move on every day since I watched the truck pull you and our relationship away. You have interviews and a new house and opportunities. Why couldn't you have done that with me? Why weren't you able to pull your shit together and be a grown up with me? Why now? Why not then? I would have gone anywhere with you, supported you, stood behind, beside, and in front. You say you need to figure your stuff out. It is just so odd how quickly you were able to do that without me. So, no. I do not want to talk to you right now. I wanted you and to talk to you when you were here. But it has been made so clear so quickly just how little you needed me. In fact, I feel as if I may have been in your way all along.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Shirt

He left his shirt; a white one that I had worn only once before. I had always wanted to wear a man’s shirt and pull it off. I put it on again today but it felt more like a shroud of sadness than a fashion statement hinting towards the sexual revolution and living in this “man’s world.” My mother wondered what I had dressed up for. I told her nothing. It is so simple, white with a single line of buttons down the front. I paired it with cuffed and torn jeans and a pair of hammered metal earrings. So independent, so ready and excited to be on my own, but spent the majority of the day wearing something of his. It looks good on me. It looked good on him. I close my eyes and pretend he is holding me from behind. Then I open my eyes again and he isn’t here. It is my body in this shirt, in this abandoned shell of his. It was just left there, hanging alone in his closet. Several dozen hangers, of varied colors and materials, and the shirt, hanging there alone. Had he thought it was mine? I wore it only that once, washed it and returned it to his closet. Or did he leave it for me – to remember him, a gift and a burden of the memory of him? Nearly seven years knowing this person I can’t determine the meaning of this shirt. So I wore it. The apartment is huge. It is so much larger than I remember it being – even when we moved in, before the movers brought in our three couches, two arm chairs, one dining room table with two removable leaves and six chairs, twenty seven boxes, two beds, two toothbrushes and thirty six shirts (twenty five of which were mine). Now, only my things remain, and his shirt. And they do not fill up this space. They sit awkwardly, uncertain of themselves without their mates and partners in carpet sitting and teeth cleaning. They stand in corners uncertain of whom they are supposed to talk to now that their dance partners have left the auditorium. They have left school completely. Dropped out. Moved on. It is so quiet. He took the TV. It was his and I said that I didn’t want one. Now, I’m not so sure being left alone with my thoughts. This vaulted space on the second floor leaves me craving the sound of Jon Stewart’s voice or even the recorded Rom-Com’s he so consistently mocked me for. I would give anything to be mocked right now. The loneliness is crippling. Before, I had a person waiting at home for me, or someone that would be returning home to me. I had a date. I had a person to go to eat with. I had a person that would watch TV with me and tell me jokes and do the dishes. There are so fewer dishes now. Trying not cry has me clenching my jaw. The hurt reaches to the back of my throat and then travels down to land somewhere between my shoulder blades. I make resolutions to run every day. Eat better. You know, really focus on ME. But that’s such bullshit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A State of In Between

I am neither here nor there. I am not a student nor an adult. I am not in a relationship but we are not yet broken apart. I am not in this room or that room, but standing in the doorway; the threshold, the liminal space. Liminality. It used to be one of my favorite terms. I learned about the idea of not being one or the other but both and neither at the same time when I was an undergrad reading about the post-colonial struggles and complexities of Africa countries after the Western Europeans "left." I loved examining what happened to a person psychologically, spiritually, culturally, and physically when they were no longer able to recognize themselves within a very specific context and definition of a group or single identity. I threw around words like "metropole," "hybridity," and "emotional bulimia." I never thought I would be one of those people. Standing in this doorway, the memories of the life behind me - the joys, the struggles, the defending, the learning, the laughing and the crying. But also the life before me, the uncertainty, the hope for something better and greater, the possibility of moving (moving on, moving away, moving forward, moving up), the fear of being a grownup, the potential and wish for forever being a child, the pressure, the release and the fear, oh God, the fear. I brace myself here in this doorway not wanting to leave so many things behind but wanting to run toward what COULD happen. I wonder if I will be pushed, if I will fall, if I will place one foot in front of the other slowly and deliberately or if I will break out into a run and not look back for a while (for you know I will always look back, remember, never leaving the people we used to be and love and hate and are consumed by behind). So I will wait and remain here, in this state of in between, waiting for an answer, a sign, an email, a call, an open hand or a closing door from behind. But while I wait, I will be preparing. I will lace up my running shoes, set money aside, continue to dream and stretch and save and plan. This doorway will be my shelter for now. And only for a little while.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Passing Ships

There are phrases that I love: ships passing in the night; we are as safe as houses; thick as thieves. Phrases that hold meaning, many people can understand, and stand alone without context but at the same time can signify so much depending on the situation. I originally set about writing a series of essays, collection, montage, personal memoir or, rather my ACADEMIC THESIS to relate what I considered to be my unique manner of growing up, how and who influenced me to become who I am today and who I hope to be tomorrow – a writer. I have discovered while writing though, that I want more than anything is to be able to hold my five, twelve, nineteen and twenty two year old self close and let her know that everything is going to be alright. I want to revisit the ghosts of myself in the myriad of different circumstances I remember finding myself in and realizing that even though I wasn’t sure how everything would turn out, I would somehow figure it out. And I have and still continue to. To look back and reexamine the things that happened to me and my experiences are reminders that we are resilient. We carry on. I carried on. As Didion said, I want to “keep in touch with the people we used to be” because everyone else is transient and only I carry myself with me. I share the memories with myself that happened to me. I can look back and reflect upon what I did and said and experienced. I can share that with others now. Because I wasn’t able to voice how I felt and what I thought when I was five. Now I can. I do not want to disappear. I have always feared slipping away, dying an old lady, mute and quiet and without a struggle. And I feared being forgotten. But somehow, it would seem I decided, somewhere along the line to head toward the path of a writer. And if I produce a work or many pieces of text and print and blogs then I will not disappear. I will leave a trace. It was completely unconscious and seemed like the only alternative to use my degree. I do not want to teach high school English and I thought for a minute I could be a lawyer but my complete lack of remembering codes and rules and laws themselves prevented me from getting past the intro to law class I took my senior year. So I will try to write. I will make every effort to remember so that I will not be forgotten.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Little Truths

Sometimes its just easier to tell it like it is. We so often fool ourselves into thinking we're actually sparing feelings, or being polite, or just letting people live but sometimes, very rarely, it helps to just say what's on your mind. Sure, it may hurt a feeling or two, damage a relationship, ostracize you from a group, but however much the truth hurts, it is still at the end of very long days, the best of all possible scenarios. Speak the truth. As much as you can.