The narrowing of distance

I mean, can you imagine? That a place can feel like a person? That a place can talk and sing, and make you feel that same bubbling under the skin that a lover can when you’re just one corner away from meeting? I love that feeling. That sort of pleasurable terror at what’s to come. He made me feel like that. Like this. But! This is a city of sensation, and I can push away those sad feelings, those reminder feelings, just by going for a walk somewhere new. I walk like some people drink, I suppose. Too early, too late, until my head is spinning with everything I’m forgetting.

I never expected to be happy.

Carl bought me a pair of sneakers. I came home and they were there in a box on my bed, the sticker with the price scratched off, so only the .99 part was left. Purple, thick-soled, smelling of rubber and dye, and so much newness. My size, too. It was like sliding my feet into the future. Into all the possibility ahead. That’s what I felt, and I may have cried a little, but I didn’t tell Carl that, or say thank you, because I’m learning he doesn’t like that kind of thing. I just wrote out another I.O.U on our post-it pad, and stuck it on the fridge door. They’re layered on top of each other now, all the little notes, and I don’t know if he ever looks, but there are a couple I’ve snuck into the pile that just say – Friendship. Or Loyalty. Things like that.

The things I can pay back sometime.

I’ll be 25 one day. And 30 and 40. By then I will have accumulated so much, and I’ll buy Carl a farm, or an animal shelter, or a farm that is an animal shelter, somewhere in upstate New York, where I’ve never been, but people go, and I think it must be beautiful there. I haven’t put that on a post-it note, though. I’ll keep it as a surprise for Carl one day.

I have Carl, and I have my sneakers, and my camera. And I have this place. This city that runs in straight lines and sprawls, so you can’t ever get too comfortable with one or the other. Sometimes, when I’m crossing the street up here, I stop in the middle and look both ways, just to see the avenues run on in either direction. I love the perfect lines they make, the narrowing of distance to something you can see, understand. But I ventured further south yesterday, and one street turned into another, right under my feet, no warning, just a little veer to the right, and I wasn’t where I was before. That happens a lot, too.

It’s amazing how little I mind getting lost.

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures on my walks. People sometimes, but the city mostly. Like I said, a place can feel like a person. Sometimes more like a person than the strangers blurring past in their sneakers and suits. I do not like this by the way. The quick legs and stiff arms of people in a hurry. I do not like the way they look unfinished. When I am 25 and 30 and 40, I will not wear a pencil skirt and sneakers. I will learn to stride along in lovely heels, or maybe never wear pencil skirts at all. This is something I haven’t yet decided.

~ Alice, What We Have Left

Just 500 words, someone reminded me. So I wrote these 580 or so before breakfast. I may even keep a sentence or two, ha.

nychome

Take Three

loved

A comment on a forgotten piece. News of a friend’s much deserved success. A restless night after too much wine and rain. And suddenly-

Third time has to be a charm, right?

(It was always about being loved).

“This story is about love, mostly. The kind of love you find in movies and songs, and also in quiet afternoons. This story is about a girl. A girl who loved a man. It’s about how this man knew she loved him because she told him. Once, and many times after that, because you only stumble with such words the first time. So she loved him, and he knew it, and it was then that the battles began.

Because love can so often feel like war, don’t you think?”

 

 

March

One foot in front of the other, my sisters. One foot in front of the other.

I’ll be there right beside you, every step of the way.

jennifermaravillas-ourbodiesourminds-2

*Poster Art: WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON – JENNIFER MARAVILLAS*

Know your history. Know her story. Seek out Audre, Alice, MayaGloria – seek out all the incredible women who speak bone deep, beautiful truths. Then go tell your own story, loud, clear and proud. Your voice has never been more needed in this world.

Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women. ~ Maya Angelou

Something small and true

He thinks about it like this. I am a song he can’t quite remember. A melody he used to know, but now he only hears the same fragment, a last clear note hanging in the air, until it turns back on itself, repeats what came before.

He knows that he knows. But he can’t get to that place yet, not far enough inside his own head to where other people, other men, reside. I see him try every day, see the times he places his thick fingers at both temples and pushes down hard, elbows against desk, eyes squeezed shut.

Someone took a photograph of him like that once. Printed it out, labelled it The Thinker. It’s still pinned on a wall, some busy wall, amongst dozens of other snapshots that document people and places and moments passed. No matter that the real Thinker man has his hand at his mouth. The photographer recognised the intent, the turning in on oneself, the folding of thoughts over and over. Until they’ve been reduced to something small and true.

The truth always wants to be told.

Come on Detective Matlin. You’re almost there. Press down a little harder. Here, I’ll help you. I won’t leave a mark. See, that’s a clue right there. I can’t help it. I never did like a mystery. Long before the question was me.

~ Alice, What We Have Left

Riverside Park

Maybe it’s the weather. Something in the air …

You have been loved

I imagine it’s something like lights turning on all over the world. One by one the illumination, as continents glimmer then glow. I see it as gravity pulling the stars back down. Collective sadness, collecting love. The bright flame of grief making our shared surface deeper.

Know this. You have been loved.

It’s not dimming, ever. To remember, to honour, to love in this way. We should do so well with the living. We should send out our sparks and turn up our songs while we’re both on the ground. Don’t you think?

You should know you have been loved.

lighthousekeeping

♥ Jeanette Winterson, Lighthousekeeping

I expect so much more from you in 2017. 

Aftermath

Week-old red wine. Just one more sip from the glass. I’ve been saturated for days. Imbued thoroughly. Isn’t that a way to put it. I’m soaked right through.

I can’t shake you off or swim clear.

There is work to be done, I know.

But I like the sinking. The aftermath, then, is always this. My tendency to get lost in the deep. And the way life reaches down, pulls me back up. As if she knows.

That I might sometimes prefer to drown.

Magdalene 2

“I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths. And a great fear of shallow living.” ~ Anais Nin