January 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Here’s another original, written in the middle of the night. Nobody ever said inspiration was convenient. In these short pieces I usually explore a feeling, a thought, a question, a memory. They are far from perfect-just little pieces, scribblings almost. Every time while I am writing these, or shortly afterwards, I come to realize something I was blind to at the onset. It’s very fulfilling and exciting to start with a vague set of ideas and end with a clearer understanding of myself, someone else, or this life. I am really deep in a process of discovery as I write, moving right along with my reader.
My style has become very flowy of late-long sentences, some fragments and repeats. I don’t really question it. My style has always been subject to change. It is what it needs to be to communicate the particular story. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to leave any feedback, questions or comments.
When I was a little girl, I used to like to disappear.
There was something exhilarating about getting lost. Comforting, even. I would sneak upstairs to my parents’ room, creak open the closet door and steal away inside, pushing through my father’s suit jackets and my mother’s neatly ironed sweaters. I breathed in that smell of quiet places, untouched places, where the air is so still it rings in your ears and all that exists is weighty silence. Dust glittered in the dim glow from the naked bulb above me, particles of nothingness reverberating with that hollow sound of undisturbed quiet. Everything from old drawings for Mother’s Day, an abandoned earring, a yellowing report card, all existed in a separate reality, a reality far from all the pain and confusion of a little girl’s life. As I sat underneath that dim glow, arms wrapped around my knobby little knees, that silence ringing in my ears, I tried to melt away. I wanted to be like these insignificant things, tossed away to the remote corners of the world where there is nothing. Nothing. Silence.
But I couldn’t.
Because downstairs I could still hear my mother and father yelling, and everybody crying, and doors slamming and I could smell bacon burning and there was the dump truck slushing by in the snow. Because it might have been muffled but life was outside the closet door. And as much as I wanted to disappear into the still air, I couldn’t fit into the Nothing. My heart was beating far too loudly and even my small frame was far too bulky and my soul was far too alive.
So I would slip out and reenter my world and work hard to stop my thoughts, to not feel, to be nothing at all. I moved and smiled and laughed and spoke while the rest of me drifted somewhere far away. I stopped hearing my mother crying and my father yelling and my older sister screaming and my little sister asking why. I stopped seeing the way the morning sun sparkled night rain puddles or the way worry had tired my mother’s pretty face. I tried with all my might to make nothing real, and when I could I would sneak away to the quiet and close my eyes and stop my heart and hold my breath and wait. And wait. To disappear. But each time my body fought me, my lungs would scream and my heart resisted and I’d exhale, watching my breath, that signifier of life, disturb the silent air. My heart would be hammering in my chest and tears would be streaming down my face and I was a little girl hidden away in the closet and whether I liked it or not I was there. Alive. Alive.
I was a little girl when I climbed out from the back of that closet for the last time, but I was a much bigger girl when I stopped existing and started living. When I embraced my life, my humanity instead of running in the other direction and wishing for anything, anything else. Sometimes I am still tempted by Nothing, where all the beauty of happiness and the stab of sorrow are forgotten, where my heart doesn’t have to ache for my mother’s illness or the lost love and my mind is relieved of all the thoughts, the questions, the memories.
Life will find you no matter where you are, even if its in the back of your parent’s closet in your childhood home.
So now I let the fire into my heart.
Sometimes it warms.
Sometimes it burns.
Sometimes it devours.
But it cannot, cannot be put out.