I’ve been feeling like I’m going to die tomorrow.
Like there are goodbyes that I need to say, and that every sadness and regret I’ve been able to absorb and excrete has somehow found its way back to the front of my mind, at least everything that was painful enough to register, hard, in the first place.
It came upon me today all the once that I will be getting older, and that I am merely one small wave, one particle, that has a shimmering moment at the peak of the crest.
Lila, who just got married, will be having babies soon. Lila will cease to exist one day, and it occurred to me that this could happen before me, and that I would know her children in her unfortunate absence. And this is how things go; and there would be our generation, Lila’s and mine, and then there would be our children’s generation, and they would have their own immediacy, just like us. And we would give way to them, because this is what we do; this is how we secure future. Because we do not live indefinitely.
It feels like a tragedy, to think of not having the kids and the family. I believe I dreamt about this, a forecast of that possible world, where I lived, in solitude, in Canada, and I was a lesbian and I was an academic and I was terribly, interminably, alone.
It came upon me all at once today, and it flooded me until I was drowning, with no life raft of my own convictions, of standing strong and happy in choices I didn’t even have the chance to make yet, that were preliminary choices. I was drowning, and it came upon me all at once.
To never have been anything that I’ve been proud of. To never have set a direction for myself, and stayed it, because the most important thing would be my mind. What is the point of a mind that perceives and desires, if you just lay down and agree with whatever random soil you have been nurtured by? I thought we were seeds that could get up and walk over to the next best ground.
It was when I got off the bus and happened to look to my right that, afterwards, I was clear. To stop something. To break up what is painful to me. Not to them, to me. They wanted each other to have someone to abuse them, and to be a victim to that abuse. They were comrades. He had her by the neck, pinned down, bent over at the waist, and she was grabbing the stroller handles with both hands. But she was angry when he was arrested. She was incensed and she attempted to fight back with the police to protect him. They were on each others’ sides by the time it was all over and done with. They needed each other, to fill in the razor shard-fingers of their missingness. You can only complete violence with violence. I stopped what was profane to me, and what was comfortable to them.
It was a mess before I stopped it, but it was clear after I stopped it. I wasn’t the first watching them. But I was the first to intercede. The other guy, who had been watching, waiting for it to escalate, wasn’t the first to break it up. He thinks he was. I was the one who walked right up and yelled Hey! What is wrong! And then the other guy came in. I was the first one to act. I was the one to dictate Stay here and watch them as I went in to get the cop. This is what makes me feel good. I did it with my own raised voice.
And then it was clear to me, when Annie was pregnant in the car, driving me, the peace to end all mispeaces this whole morning and afternoon. She reminded me of something I never had, but that everyone knows before they are born, and forgets before they forget. That it’s going to be okay. That as long as we hit the dead end, we’ll be okay. That sometimes you can only learn as much as you can handle, and then you have to close the book. That you can sleep now, at least for now, because in a little bit, you won’t be able to. But it’s still nothing about to worry. For all the waves and motion and flooding this morning, with no anchor, with no life raft, with no explanation of how it’s actually going to work out, with only a drowning in worry and in language about babies and family that I can’t understand, for all of this that came upon me at once, she cleared away. I was reminded that even though I never had this, I’ve always been an owner of it. I never didn’t have access to it. She must have just woken up from a nap, because her closeness to God filled the whole car, and I breathed one round and was convinced. I’d just broken through something that was profane, and I was ready to go swimming.
I couldn’t be the rock star because I doubt all the things that make me rocket forward into space.
If there’s discipline to be learned, where do I go to learn it? Must I cut myself off from everyone and everything that pulls me in and apart? Where do I go to become the person I keep aborting?