Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The day I died

You might presume that I should be glad for what I had-- after all... deadness??? Uhhh!

Yet, I looked over the landscape, saw the refuge and shivered in distaste: A marriage that had been "on the rocks, since the words "dearly beloved" were uttered; Children that I loved, well, adored really but who had been crookedly raised in a home where loving really only involved them; A church "family" that was increasingly suffocating and contentious; and a family (grandmother, parents and two brothers) that were what they always had been-- the thing that kept me tied to all of the above in the way that I was.

I had a job that was, essentially, a throwaway job- someone needed to be in the library and I had popped in at the right moment just after the captain of the ship had taken residence. Need a body? She has one! I had been going to school but finances made my participation sporadic and motivation for getting a degree that was not beneficial was on the ebb. I didn't need initials after my name to follow my bliss- just pen and quill (well, laptops really work better for me).

In theory, I might have been in a good place... well, a not-as-bad-as-it-had-been place, anyway. I had something in my life that made me happy, that gave me fulfillment and it wasn't something that was going to force me to spend more money on education or moving or some other life changing episode and I wasn't too old to do it either...

There was just one difficulty: I couldn't do it. I would sit down at my desk, excitement at the task energizing. But the moment no sooner began then ended. The keyboard became mortal enemy- the bane to bliss. Words flew out of the barrel with vigor, then faltered and plopped to the ground, duds that had no charge and could not even break past the surface of poetic license. Ideas that had been ripe and ready for plucking had become mush between my fingers, the sweet fragrance of harvest under my nails a sad aftereffect. What was begun... sat. And Hemingway's logic started to make sense.

I wasn't completely devastated by my inability to write... this whole "getting my own life", "finding my identity" was new to me. I wasn't raised to have any expectations of self realization- in fact the very idea was an anathema, an idea born of a selfish and sinful generation. It had taken me several years to even allow myself to consider buying myself clothes that were not mere function. I hadn't purchased a CD for myself since they were called albums-- well, at least a non-religious album.

At any rate, the day I died, there was simply not a whole lot to sort through, no carefully cared for memorabilia to tenderly caress and shed a tear over. I had a few books- occasional paperbacks that were purchased when I didn't want to risk spending more on fines at the library for a book I didn't mind having anyway. The kitchen contained my few treasures: a heavy-duty mixer, stone cake pans and cookie sheets, an incomplete set of silverware and stoneware that had been given as a wedding present and a set of 500 count percale, soft-as-silk sheets that I loved slipping into at night. A couple of pictures on the wall and two Bugs Bunny plates, given to me by a friend, were the closest thing in the house to express who I was although I rarely felt any need to have such expressions and the items were rather shabbily kept. An assortment of family pictures carefully scrapbooked or randomly shoved in boxes made up the bulk of reminders and they were hastily packed, avoided for the emptiness they recalled rather than their ability to recall happier days.

What makes it all so difficult to sort through, to look at, to reconstruct, is the blankness. Screaming... a child shoved into a dark closet with nothing to eat... whippings... name calling... make for a dramatic and Oprahatic bestseller. But my life was generally quiet and gentle, the occasional lost temper an aberration that begets an amused smile more than condemnation.


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