It’s late, too late for me to be awake on the Pacific Coast (only because it’s even later on the east coast). I’ve spent too much time online, my eyes glossing over, eating an entire package of graham crackers without noticing, reading blogs. I was reading a strange essay/story/novel excerpt/ memoir on a blog that I had reached through another and another blog in a long river of blog slogging—but in fact isn’t this more lovely an activity than “slogging”—and the thing I was reading made me feel inferior and I thought I must blog something myself, right now, I must say something. The thing I was reading, however, seemed more interesting at the moment and so I stayed there with it after I got the package of crackers, and ate the crackers as I read the thing, finding shortly that the piece was going right into a tunnel of heart-break that I wasn’t entirely ready to enter.
A part of me is numb here on the Pacific Coast, walking at dusk along the tar path that leads finally out to a beach, the dunes, I don’t know where, afraid to unbutton even one inch of me. Reading and reading the fragrant color of the sky; the sky and the sea and their fluid movement impenetrable; my lens captures nothing of it all. I speak foggy sentences to my husband, on the phone, neither of us interested in phone chats. I try to remember to say, are you okay? Mainly, to know that I said it should later on I discover he had not been.
The baby cries and the cry to me is a sweet sound, though it hurts her mother. I watch and watch her. I go online and discover old, sort-of-kind-of friends on FB, I discover someone got married, had a baby, and her birthday is tomorrow. I look at her wedding photos, then the infant, then nothing…life taking place in the empty space of time.
I am numb to something. I am numb to literary websites and blogs and my fellowettes posting on FB about literary blab, to agents and publishers and publishing and stories. I read a thousand different things; they cloud my mind:
Tome for my story…Homebirth…agent…Hag…Pollack…Baby…Wedding…Autumn…Attention.
And trying to recall all the slog, my mind shuts down, blankness and a splendid ache.
It rains. I walk to the thrift shop. I do the laundry. For a brief moment we sit to eat grilled cheese and tomato soup. The baby suckles. Georgia showers and I bounce Claribel Lolly in my arms, humming away her cries, distracting her. I sing, “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly,” and think how the next time I see her she will be three, four times this size.
I stand in the window of the store that sells bird things. I hear the wind rattle the windows. The air here is wet, cold, sweet, and wet. My heart aches. Really it does. I think of the desert and of Mama Sally and I see a bright orange flower, because of course she is a bright orange flower. I miss Sally. I miss everything already even as I am already missing VT and Josh. I again remember how divided we all are and I think of the ending of My Antonia, how Antonia says that she always has Jim with her and Jim realizes that he carries that part of his childhood with him as well—a type of fate written into our pasts. I think too of the ending of the Anthony Doerr story “Afterlife” in his brilliant collection, Memory Wall. We go away, but our childhoods remain, waiting there for us to come back and dig them up.
I do not like to leave or to come or to go, to be here and not there, but those I love now live in half a dozen places: NYC, Vermont, Minnesota, Montreal, Michigan, Seattle, Hawaii, Minneapolis, Florida, California…
I am being melodramatic, slightly, a little, right?
Lolly, Lolly, Lolly.
It’s way too late to be up, here, online, somewhere, not home and home. Wondering.