April 19th, 2004

[tarkovskiy] hari mirror

place me somewhere on this map

I am the sort of girl who checks the direction of the "To Chicago" arrow on a train platform three times at least before getting on a train aimed that direction. I am the sort of girl whose got her parking spot inked out on her right hand, inked over in her mind three twenty four in verbal, 324 numerical, three for March because it's March, twenty-four because she was born on the twenty-fourth, and still is half chanting as she walks to the daily parking meter: three two four three two four and three and two and four and I am the sort of girl who checks bus schedules a half dozen times, who writes her name on the disturbingly dense cultured milk product in the fridge she is almost certain no one else in the place could stand but write it she does, just in case, who checks old junk mail accounts no one knows about but the Happy Penis Spam Co. because you never know, you might miss out: who whispers how are you to her grandfather's cameras and puts them away gently because you never know, you can never be too sure.

I wish I could tell you this is the result of an unlearned mind, inexperience, irrational fears. I wish I could say it's something I'm growing out of. I wish I could tell you anything than that this is a learned behavior, something I am evolving into, a victim to every half wired anomaly under the sun. Make it a statistical unlikelihood, put it on the minority side of the scale, and there I often am, blinking and lost, the bottom about to fall out. And no, I don't know what I'm doing. And no, no one told me there was anything questionable about wearing this color today. And yes, whatever bus comes through this stop after twelve will have to take you through to the station, eventually, so, trust me, look like you know what it is you are doing no one will ask. You've got nothing to worry about, people are always assuring you, those same people to remark (after the police have been called) ".... how odd."

I was born in three hours. My mother started labor in active labor. Dad got us to the hospital with a good deal of furtive glancing: what would happen if she had to say Joe the baby is coming now? But Dad got us to the hospital and the nurses got us into the wheelchair and chit-chatting, the nurse found out I was Mom's first. So she laughed. Dropped her pace. Oh, well, my girl, then I will slow down. It was everyone's response. They knew the way first babies work. It is the nature of first time mothers to think everything is happening much faster than it actually is. Actually they have hours and hours. Plenty of time for prep. Oh worry not, no need to clear a delivery room: she's barely been in labor two hours. They didn't know who was coming. They were still living in their safe world of most-of-the-time. Mom had an inkling, she'd been peeing for me for eight months after all, she told the nurses "please don't slow down the wheelchair," but they waved her off laughing. Waved her off laughing: until they looked between her legs.


Now the miles are far and the hours are long and you are somewhere far and long from here, and I am not the sort of girl who smiles at the idea of her heart dangled like a silver pendant over a globe, swinging fast over mountains and slow over coasts, circling the plains, gliding back and forth over the desert. Belonging is a relative term. Family or tribe, the wind blows through, the leaves scatter, the seeds spread, the seedlings make their own relative. Once I thought I knew who I’d be by now, and maybe the path is still there: just overgrown and bewildered by twelve years of convincing myself there was not a path there to be found. But the pictures you draw of yourself at 14 or 15 twice your lifetime away are strange and distorted by fairytales and inexperience. But an overgrown bewildering path is a hard one to follow even once you’ve found it again. So we turned from the one closed Mexican restaurant to another, closed, ten o’clock on a Sunday apparently a weakness even here in the city.

Sometimes our lives are looking for an open Mexican restaurant at ten o’clock on a Sunday, but that’s neither here nor there. Here and there. I’d write about the ticking of the clock, but all my clocks are digital. I’d tell you about the turning of the fan, but it’s a circulatory essence. It does not count the time. It does not separate the time. It creates a loop. It whispers over, it turns itself away. It whispers over, it turns itself away. It whispers over, it turns itself away.

Sometimes I see the things I write here as the sorts of things that get left behind in hotel rooms. Not a complete idea, not a tangible essence, not necessarily anything life or death, but the sort of rubble no one realized was rubble until four hours out of Idaho and, anyway, is it really worth turning around? The littlest nephew of the hotel owner might find it in the cardboard lost and found box some day, might snake it into his hooded sweatshirt pocket, might revere it in some more proper way. Sometimes that’s enough. I am the sort of girl who knows a small blessing when she sees it.
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