Were I able, there are so many things I would do differently. From the very beginning of your life, I would hare off in a direction completely other… although who knows? It’s likely that one, first choice would negate the necessity of all the rest, and maybe I could have moved forward making good ones, instead of scraping what goodness I could out of the wreckage of that first, well-intentioned but dreadful decision.

I would never have married your father, to.

I’d have stayed with my parents. I would have worked full time, I imagine, and taken classes part time in the evenings. I would have made completing a degree a priority, my first one save for you.

I would have avoided all the gaslit drama of your father’s countless affairs. I would have escaped the emotional warping that let me believe, when I finally had enough, that leaving you with him was the better option.

I would have matured, rather than just got older.

I would not have missed the most critical segments of your childhood, snatched away from me by your father’s arrogant selfishness. I would not have desperately tried to raise you from a distance, imparting what lessons I could every other weekend. Four days– four days!! – out of every month. That’s what I got. So that he could neglect you full time.

I would have spared us both that.

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I wrote a thing.

It’s obnoxious. Don’t read it.

 

(more…)

Currently, I’m struggling with the sense that we are living in the dystopian alt-universe the protagonists accidentally discover via a freak wormhole, the escape from which forms the story arc for a full season. Which is not reassuring, because the dystopian alt-universe folks don’t get to go back through the rip in reality to live in the ‘better’ reality: we’re stuck with what we’ve got, and right now, what we’ve got is kind of shit.

(Further food for thought: what happens to the residents of those alternate realities, when the heroes have been and gone?)

Dear grandma,

I did not have a good day today. I woke up aching, sore from cold and not enough sleep, and I went to work with a sense of quiet resignation: back to this, then, the same litanies of customer complaints and entitled do-this-for-me that in my darker moments I feel forms the boundaries of my job. I spent much of the day heartsick, for a variety of reasons.

And then I came home. I cleaned my kitchen: washed all the leftover dishes, scrubbed down the counters and the stove, and I made two apple pies. I used your knife, and your pie plate (although I confess, I cheated and bought pre-made crusts; it was a long day at work and I don’t have the patience today to make it from scratch. I’ll do better next time, I promise), and I thought of you while I made them. I’m thinking of you now.

It’s comforting to know that muscle memory doesn’t go away, or family memory, maybe, the sort of habit that is so thoroughly ingrained that we can’t help but inherit it: to sit, and chat, and let your hands do the work, slice-slice-slice-slice, wafers of white or yellow-gold apple flesh dropping into the bowl. My wife and I did it tonight, like I remember you and I doing while I was young enough not to appreciate it: sat down at our dining room table, and together peeled and sliced apples. Fifteen or sixteen of them, half Arkansas Black (a strong, tart, nicely crisp apple I just discovered; like a Granny Smith that doesn’t suck), and half my beloved Cortland (Cortland! Finally, I can find them here, at the farmer’s market – all the gorgeous natural sweetness that I grew up with, that is my favorite out of all the countless varieties anyone could offer).

There are pies in the oven now, and my house smells of apple and cinnamon and clove and pastry. And my heart, at the end of the day, is warm.

I miss you. But I have a pie plate, and a paring knife, and apples and muscle memory (because after all, the heart is a muscle, beat-beat-beating blood, and they say, don’t they, that pie runs in the family), and what that means is I still have you.

Love you, grandma. It was good to see you again. The mind’s eye is the sharpest.

I miss my dad. 

Been a while since I wrote any of these. About time I got back into the habit.

“Your spirit’s gone walkin’,” the sparrow says, and flits to another branch. Tail-flick; wing-ruffle. Settle. “Where’s it gone off to, then?”

“Dunno,” says I. Snowflakes drift down, sourceless. Sun’s gone away. Gettin’ cold, cold as icicle-bones, as sap gone syrup-sluggish. Gettin’ hard to move, some, but it ain’t gone yet. Still some life in me, a little. Enough.

“Better find it,” says the sparrow, almost, but words are fragile as bird-bones when they crunch ‘twixt my teeth, all steamy-blood and marrow-hot.

Ain’t got no spirit just now, but ‘til mine comes walkin’ home, sparrow-soul’ll do.

Dark and deep, to be sure.

I can always tell when Big Things are going on; my dreams are weirder, and I remember them better. Not well, but better. Lots of water in them, right now. Water and movement; cars and boats and other things. I suppose this probably means, essentially, that I’m just not sleeping well, that I’m not sinking down underneath the meniscus of active-mind thought that skims the surface of sleep. I certainly feel poorly rested, true enough. Feeling as heavy as I do, though, the metaphor rather breaks down. Heavy things break the surface; heavy things sink.

It’s dark so early. It feels abrupt, this year, although I know it can’t have been. It feels like long summer days were just here, just a moment ago, too-quickly fled. Weren’t they? Wasn’t it just August? I would swear it was. I remember September and October taking AAAAAAAAAAAGES to crawl by, and now I genuinely think they just didn’t happen this year. I think we skipped them somehow.

I’m not ready. The winter-dark is here too soon, I’m not ready to give up the sunlight. I’ve forgotten how koselig works.

:(