Sometimes I feel like I was born here. There, or here, or other places. Every place. At a time a distance seems to be cut away. And every station feels like a long station. The past becomes faded; the points and emotions don’t sting anymore. You literally feel refreshed. Did I forget your face? Parts of it. I forgot what your face looks like to you, because I cannot see you or have not seen you. It’s transitive, infinitely regressing. Do you know my face?
You knew it. It is bound to be incomplete.
I was isolated on a long dirt road for a summer. I had no car, no telephone, no television and practically no internet. I drank and I read, and I talked with the other residents. It was the closest thing I’ve had to a community.
This is not my life. Nor is it between a life or another life. There are no gray zones. I am not going to try to build a readership, or accurately predict and shape my thoughts to illustrate my grace. There is no theme – no mantra – no perspective: no marketable, tangible concept. This life, this world, these things you can reach out and touch, it was not meant to be reread and touched up to fit a standard or a demographic. It must show the ability to be surprised – because if you cannot be surprised…why go on? There are no such things as free radicals.
This happened another time. I was a world away, near a glowing screen. I forgot my own troubles, my past: effectively everything tangible and real. I was born again, every night, at intervals of 45, or 23 minutes. If I was lucky.
These roads – the actual, physical, paved roads, the streets – there are maybe a dozen I truly know. Places that I have felt actualized and comfortable, when I am not staring out the window with actual interest of the next bend or the next hill. I have spent maybe eight hours total in the district. I work around the corner – my commute is on foot. Everyone is locked inside a car, and most people tend to talk about how bad the traffic is – or worse yet the parking.
I want to say I am late to work because of the traffic. It’s not funny though, when I am late. I don’t have an excuse.
There was a large field next to the first battle site rolling down a hill and around a stream. We were walking on the treeline. I looked at her, as she walked a few yards ahead of me, and I turned back and saw a line of about a dozen cars at an intersection – a red light. I could not hear the cars. It dawned on me that this was the first time I could not see the lights of the neighborhood, or the roll of a car down the pike fifty yards away. I could only hear things men and women had organized – nothing we had created. The trees had been cut down or re-sodded. The field was cut. The cars existed in that blur of visible heat – a veritable mirage. It was quiet.
I had trouble sleeping when I first left the Northwest. Wyoming had no patter of rain to calm me to sleep. I could not hear the rain, I could not hear anything, except the humming of the pipes, or the occasional footsteps or slamming doors.
This was true as well at the house on the dirt road, at night I could not hear anything – but it was good. There was no modern plumbing or sustained self-correcting-noise of a large building. The structure itself was older than America. Cars never passed the curve on the road. I used to walk out to the bench, half-nude and smoke, and only hear the burn of the paper and the wind moving across the water, maybe two hundred yards away.
I would wake up in your basement, sleeping at an awkward angle on your short-couch. You were already upstairs with your housemates, listening to music and drinking really, really good coffee. Bacon sizzled. It turned out that your housemates – the couple – were friends with her. They knew each other. She had been to your house, been to your basement, way back before you lived there, before we knew that neighborhood. I looked on the internet, at your old house. I knew it was dated though – the bar next to our bar was still the bar it was two bars ago. And your old house had a different car in the driveway. Or you could have been out of town – it is anyone’s guess -it’s anyone’s place if they pay some money and sign a paper. Whoever lives there now (we know who lives there now) probably have no idea of what did or did not happen while you lived there, just as they probably have no idea that these words are being committed. And these gaps of discovery are the only gaps – they close in more with everyday.
It feels good knowing that you don’t know anything. You have known bad or good before, but it feels good walking out with an empty slate. When your world is free of expectation – or direction- it seems lighter and effortless. So the rush of the water in the pipes don’t keep me up at night. The clunk in her engine fades after a minute. Yes – the dust and dirt are still in the corners, but it is gray and infinitesimal, nearly near invisible. Frankly, so small it is not worth mentioning or looking for.
It is like the odd patterns I cannot place in you and everyone’s face.