Laughing at things that are scary is a positive thing. What most people do with these events that happen, the violence in our country, is really disgusting, which is to pore over it. Everyone congratulates each other about how upset they are. There’s a lot of ghoulish behavior…
‘What do you want out of life?’ I wanted to take her and wring it out of her. She didn’t have the slightest idea what she wanted. She mumbled of jobs, movies, going to her grandmother’s for the summer, wishing she could go to New York and visit the Roxy, what kind of outfit she would wear - something like the one she wore last Easter, white bonnet, roses, rose pumps, and lavender gabardine coat. ‘What do you do on Sunday afternoons?’ I asked. She sat on her porch. The boys went by on bicycles and stopped to chat. She read the funny papers, she reclined on the hammock. ‘What do you do on a warm summer’s night?’ She sat on the porch, watched the cars in the road. She and her mother made popcorn. ‘What does your father do on a summer’s night?’ He works, has an all-night shift at the boiler factory, he’s spent his whole life supporting a woman and her outpoppings and no credit or adoration. ‘What does your brother do on a summer’s night?’ He rides around on his bicycle, he hangs out in front of the soda fountain. ‘What is he aching to do? What are we all aching to do? What do we want?’ She didn’t know. She yawned. She was sleepy. It was too much. Nobody could tell. Nobody would ever tell. It was all over. She was eighteen and most lovely, and lost.
I can’t rightly remember exactly what I was thinking, what images or words or whatever means through which thoughts are formed were playing out. I just remember making plans.
I should cook more when I get back home. I should keep in touch with my wife-type friend who gifted me with DVDs to make bookshelf room for her husband. I would miss spending drunken evenings with them; those were some of the most comfortable and easygoing times of my short life. I should really get back into regular reading habits, and maybe that’ll help my writing habits too. I wonder if there are any letters waiting for me at home; that’s not something to worry about because I’m almost always diligent with my responses. I should do yoga a few times a week, rather than just once. I should get my hair cut boyishly just to spite and shock everybody and challenge myself. I should lose 10-15 pounds healthily, not just by anxiously and unintentionally avoiding food. I should draw and play guitar like I used to.
I talked to Dario for an hour or so. He isn’t one to typically ask how you are. You have to lead into it by asking him first how he is. When I pulled over in Okawville, population 1400 and then some, and checked in at the cheapest motel I could find, he happened to call me. I was relieved to listen to him talk about himself. Even when he excused himself to do something, or to briefly talk to someone else, I listened intently to the shuffle-sounds over the phone, the static, the distant voices when he held his phone away from his ear. I remember fidgeting, keeping my hands busy, moving my things - notebook, laptop, bag o’ toiletries - around without any purpose. I would have been content to keep those sounds on speaker while I got ready for bed. But I realized I wanted quiet despite how much I knew it might frighten me. I told him I was tired; I had driven for over twelve hours. We made plans to see each other when I arrived back in Denver. I was alone again.
This confrontation of silence, I knew, was the first step. Sleeping by myself in the dark I’d grown accustomed to, but the silence. At least while driving, I’d had the wind, rain, and music. Even the darkness was bearable; the sun hadn’t been out since Asheville. It felt like a blanket of sorts. I had tried to write something down to chronicle this day, this sad, smooth day, but I was terrified of the blank page, of remembering anything at all. I fell into an easy, deep and dreamless sleep.
For some reason I think it’s important to remember all of this.
I’m suddenly so tired that I can feel my bones creaking when I try to move. The skin beneath my eyes feels like it’s being pressed down lightly by someone’s fingers. I’m ready for the semester to be over, and for summer to start.
Five friends/acquaintances of mine are now renting a pretty large house in a quiet neighborhood. Wandering around a half-unpacked house that I know I’ll be spending a considerable amount of time in, but not living in, was a bit strange. Not in a bad way, just a new feeling. One of the bedrooms leads onto the rooftop above the garage; I can imagine I’ll be spending much of my summer there. Immediately upon seeing the house, I offered up lawn-mowing services; it was then I realized how much I miss having a yard, a patch of land to take care of, even if it’s just mowing and watering - the suburban routine of keeping your lawn at least as green as the Jones’s, but I’d like to think there’s a little more personal pride involved. Probably not, though.
Fleet Foxes’ “Blue Ridge Mountains” played at work today and my stomach sank a little. I shouldn’t have been sad, but for some reason I staggered under the weight. It’s a beautiful (gag, but true) song that, not just from the title, reminds me of a place I’ve become steadily more familiar with each time I go back. The song is a story that isn’t mine, and it’s a place I don’t particularly belong to. I want to belong where I am, but I don’t know if I do. I feel a certain pride in my hometown(city), my native state. But I don’t know if I’m attached to it. I’m afraid that it will take me leaving for someplace else to realize whether or not I am.
Not a day has gone by this year in which I haven’t felt different from the day before. I don’t feel stagnant, like I’ll be stuck in one state (of mind) indefinitely. It’s wonderful to feel steady growth. Each day I’m slightly closer to determining myself, even if I can’t exactly pinpoint what new Thing I’ve thought or reconciled myself with. I just know it’s happening. I’m recognizing what I do, my quirks and my habits, and I’m determining whether or not they’re for me or for the benefit of other people. And I think I’m a hell of a lot closer to realizing that everything I do isn’t inadequate. In fact it’s quite adequate.