Because the truth is I force myself to forget how these things feel – saltwater on our feet, later flowing into my throat (an accident, as with everything between those people who wear our names like seaweed caught between their teeth), the sound of our barely-human voices deep into the night, the reason behind the bringing of the camera yet the refusal to use it, flash a few lights, lead the way across rock and sand and boulder, toss stones out to sea, capture whatever there was of those few moments marked by the swift shadows of mermaids and minute fish, flying through the moonlight and the mountain following waves following why and when and what, finally falling into the singular sharp syllable of wait –
Still we foster
The acquiescent shape
By our rejection,
Giving voice, blood, name
To the random breath;
Love is many and truth is just:
And so we are: Both
What we choose,
And we refuse.
– Edith L. Tiempo (Afternoon Of A Sea Faun)
You returned home yesterday.
You just finished fixing your closet, emptying the valise that contained the clothes. Some of them now rest in the hamper beside the dog, waiting to be picked by the house help (you note how her hands didn’t seem to change all those three weeks you were gone; still, they scrape and soak clothes, patiently without complaint). Your room is still a mess. Piles of books and envelopes and notes and pens litter your desk. Some of them managed to crawl their way to your bed, competing with your pillows. Dust lies sleeping on the shelves.
You woke up this morning to complete quiet.
You realize your mother has left with your youngest sister for that day trip they were talking about. You recall the conversation with your mother while she drove you from the airport. You both laughed at your mother’s updates of Life While You Were Away (your younger sister’s stone-like dance moves to endless repeats of Lady GaGa’s songs, how the cat spends all day asleep – lazily shifting through various positions, your youngest sister’s sudden weight gain, and so on). She tells you of the three or four movies the family has watched while you were being all “writerly” in the mountains of Valencia. You remember mustering enough strength to tell your mother of how you plan to take writing seriously this time. “It’s going to be difficult,” you remember the sound of your own voice, parsing some words “but I want to make this one work.” You remember her reply “Remember what your priorities are.” And you do, of course you do. You always have. You remembered telling someone in the workshop that our minds have the same containment area for fear and memory.
You look at your fingertips.