Saturday, February 04, 2006

living with ghosts

Tonight three new good friends came over for an Anne of Green Gables marathon. We watched the wonderful Canadian mini-series-at least the first two tapes-and ate chicken dumplings and sipped raspberry cordial spiked with vodka. I was surprised to discover I remembered almost every word. I was surprised to discover after my friends left, as I was cleaning up, pushing back the couch, letting the dog out, blowing the candle light away, how thoughtful I was, how sad. I cried a little, washing the dishes, listening to Tom Petty crooning in the next room.

I first read Anne of Green Gables when I first read everything: Emily of New Moon, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice. I was a child. I stayed up very late in my room at the top of the stairs. I had only a vague idea of how things would be. I re-read the books when I was a teenager and being told things, things by older adults in the small town where there were no young adults. Or the young adults were suddenly made old by children, families, no prospects.

Go, go, go now, they said.

I thought I would figure it out when I got there. Now I am here and I am finding no directions.

Some of the streets don't even have names.

There's no one to say don't give up because the ones who said don't give up gave up, or died. I don't know. Got lost. I got lost. Do they wonder what I am doing?

Tomorrow: I'll post the recipe for raspberry cordial. I'll talk to you on the phone. I'll run again. I'll go the post office. I'll maybe buy that red bench I have my eye on. Watch a video. Have a date. But tonight I need to be alone, and listen to music in low low lighting, and maybe, yes, maybe time, time again, print out that book again, again, again, and spread the poems in a circle with candle, smooth stone, sorrel, around me.

Sit in the center of the storm and wait for more rain.

I'm taking the old poems out. I'm not that girl anymore. I'm done with her. There's no one to tell me no.

Here is what I am doing. I moved to California to be a writer. No other reason. No job. No love. No family. This would be exciting to my little girl self. This would be living. I can go out whenever I want. I have leather pants and silk dresses and very high heels and men have loved me (I have the letters) and I can make my hair straight sometimes. There's no one to tell me no.

And here I am sitting cross-legged on the floor of my second-floor San Francisco apartment in jeans that need patching, straining to hear voices. I don't have to strain. I want the best for you, they say.

I want the best for me too. And it's not the same. And that's good to know.