Friday, October 07, 2005

without a safety net

I was happy and then.

Something about the figures asleep on the train, the man snoring beside the paper discards, something about the beer, the conversation, the table. No, the bed, the way I seemed suddenly too tall for my bed, could not get comfortable, could not get cool from sheets, could not fall asleep.

Something about this paragraph:

I have tried and tried to remember what I felt. Surely I must have felt surprised, but no sense of it comes back to me. All I can recall is happiness, happiness in my mind and in my heart and flowing through my whole body, happiness like the warm cloak of sunlight that fell round me on the tower. It was darkness, too—and the darkness comes again when I try to recapture the moment…and then I find myself coldly separate—not only from Simon, but from myself as I was then. The figures I see in the candlelit pavilion are strangers to me --Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle.

You believe you are grown up. You believe you are wholly not innocent. You have lived in the city. You have parallel parked. You have dyed your hair. You have been robbed. You have seen rats. You have broken hearts. You have had yours pieced together. You are over it. You’re good.

But what was taken from me this summer: something I didn’t even know I had, some vestige of magic, some innocence, some bit of child, maybe the last bit left, maybe the last me uncorruptable.

How do I write knowing there was a part of me like that left? There was a part, and it came out, like the stray that lived beneath the couch, and then it then it was taken, then it was gone. How do I get work done, make up lives, make syllabics out of my own life, make sense, make a new story, knowing there is that kind of pain in this world, and it came for me, and it took a part of me away?

Then I think, I try to think…if there was that part, maybe there are others. Maybe one that makes Valentine’s, one that carves pumpkins, one that believes Victorian novels, one that still believes in good intentions, in trust, in us.

I am still that girl who stays up all night writing a poem, then prints it out, and sleeps with the pages, literally falls asleep with the pages beside her in the bed, so they can be the first thing she reads upon waking.

I make a decision to surround myself with magic.

The d├ęcor of my bedroom is circus caravan: long purple curtains studded with silver stars, blue scarf thrown over bedside lamp, strings of pink flowers tacked to the walls black and white postcards. At night, I pretend we are moving on wagon wheels. I will wake up to a new town, dewy with light, coffee smells, hay smells, hope.

I will wake up and put on my satin slippers and my leotard and shuffle through the sawdust and climb up the rope and do something daring, without a net. And that’s just my warm-up.

That’s just the beginning.