Once upon a time there was a girl.
A couple of months after my heart attack, fifty-seven years after I'd given it up, I started to write again. I did it for myself alone, not for anyone else, and that was the difference. It didn't matter if I found the words, and more than that, I knew it would be impossible to find the right ones. And because I accepted that what I'd once believed was possible was in fact impossible, and because I knew I would never show a word of it to anyone, I wrote a sentence:
Once upon a time there was a boy.
It remained there, staring up from the otherwise blank page for days. The next week I added another. Soon there was a whole page. It made me happy, like talking alound to myself, which I sometimes do.
- The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
I was having dinner with The Egyptian up the street at the Thai place. We got on the topic of why the hell do I have so many bruises all the time anyway? Sometimes the bruises are really big, some include a bump, are frequently in strange places and typically turn a deep, dark purple that would be beautiful if not for the fact that they look incredibly tender and painful.
He wondered why on Earth, if I bump into something hard enough to produce such an ugly bruise, I generally can't remember what happened. I don't think I imagined an implication that sometimes I am lying about the origin of such marks.
The truth is, I am a klutz. I bump into so many things and say, "OUCH" so many times in one day that my brain can't possibly retain all that useless information. Why, in just the hour before book club arrived on Sunday I got a piece of glass stuck in my foot and scraped my elbow by smashing it off a door frame. It's a miracle I don't look like I've been in a bar brawl 99% of the time.
I said, "I am a klutz. And, maybe I just bruise very easily?" I think it is possible that I turn purple with less impact than others. Then, I hypothesized that perhaps I have the same (or, okay, a slightly higher number of) bruises than others, but one is simply more likely to notice them on me because my skin is pale.
The Egyptian gaped at me, incredulous. "Baby, that skin is not pale. It's white."
At this moment, a shard of glass inhabits my toe. I had dropped a glass of water onto the tile in the bathroom Monday morning. Here it shattered into a hundred thousand pieces. 99,999 pieces were swept up and deposited in the trash. The last piece stealthily lodged itself into my toe, nearly a week later as I tidied my apartment before my book club arrived.
I am always surprised how stealthy glass can be. These tiny shards, you don't even notice them slip under your skin. You know, there isn't even any blood. You can run your finger over and over the spot where the glass is lodged and never even feel it until you put your foot back on the ground. It seems illogical behaviour for a substance that is so hard and sharp.
Sometimes people wonder when I am going to start up mosaics again and I don't want to do them anymore. Ingrid has a theory: I don't want to do them because that was part of my old life. I like that theory; I think it is mostly true. I had long, long hours to fill while my husband watched every football game, hockey game, baseball and basketball game. That was when he wasn't mudding or playing Counterstrike, talking to people in the game instead of me. Or doing a fantasy sports draft.
But now I have this shard of glass in my toe and it reminds me how once I almost always had glass stuck somewhere in my foot, or even, feet. You can try to clean up glass all you want, but always a renegade sliver will hide somewhere, a grout line in the kitchen say, or a space between the floor boards. And, I think it is a lot simpler than all that. I just don't fucking like glass in my toe, dudes.
I was honoured to be invited to a Seder last night. I learned a lot, although what I managed to learn is the tiniest tip of the iceberg.
One thing I am left thinking about is the idea of leaving Egypt (mitzrayim). My hostess explained that mitzrayim can refer to the actual geography of the Nile Valley, as in the narrow passage the Jews moved through, or it can refer to a more metaphorical state of confinement. In a metaphorical sense we are all trying to get out of Egypt.
I wonder what my life will be like when I finally get out of my Egypt.
I loved this quotation that Tamara included in the Haggadah:
When you are about to leave Egypt - any Egypt - do not stop to think, "But how will I earn a living out there? One who stops to "make provisions for the way" will never get out of Egypt.
- Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav
I really like the name Ingo, but I don't think I could ever really name my kid that. You'd probably have to be Scandinavian to get away with it.
Once I had a little thing that was going to have a name. Its name was going to be Jacob Carmen. Jacob for my Dad, and Carmen for Kevin's grandfather. My Dad is named Phil, but sometimes I call him Jake. It is unclear why this is. Family legend.
Or, its name was going to be Lucy. We just liked it. Middle name undetermined but with a lean toward Anna, my middle name, so she would have the same initials as me. Or Abigail.
If you named a little baby but it didn't keep on growing, can you ever really use those names for another? I still love the name Jacob and I still love the name Lucy but maybe those names belong to that being and that being only. If one day I called down the street, "Jacob, it's time to come in now!" would I, in the same instant, think of the first being that name belonged to? Or eventually, would the connection be forgotten, an idea that feels possibly worse than in fact making the connection every time the name is thought or spoken.
These are things I think about, even now.
so you deleted me off your facebook
and your msn
i hope this makes you feel better
about that shitty fucking email you sent me
i guess this means you don't want
your christmas present either
you'd said you wanted a gift card
for the drug store
so you could get eye drops
once you tried to get me to write
well here you go
i bought body wash and tampons
a silly movie with a
breakfast with kellie
then the one of a kind show
shop for a wireless router with my dad
chinese food with my folks
laugh at our stupid fortunes
try to get motivated to go dancing
read and pass out early instead
turn down random squash invitation
lunch with leeanne
then Queen West in the sunshine
and overdose on coffee
at home later
throw open the windows
clean the kitchen
find a magnet poem ingrid made on tuesday
set up new router
pack bag for dance