December 5, 2011

That Year

That was the year of quiet, one day threaded wordlessly to another. I read a lot. I cooked at least one amazing meal. I ironed joyfully, even my towels. I shoveled snow onto overbuilding hills of blank white drift. I did not delete my grandmother's last message on the phone, promising to call another night.

A reason for silence: What could I say that would not scatter her. What could I say that would not be pitied. Please, get that look off your face.

A reason for silence: I remember the color of the shoes I was wearing on April 1. Blue sneakers, reminiscent of Converse, with orange suns almost exploding on the sides. I bought them in Spain, with a man who'd fallen out of love for me. He said they looked "muy guay." It was the first day I wore them, because it was Spring finally. And then I talked with my brother, and I drove to a friend's house and she held me, she said sorry, I'm so sorry.

A reason for silence: the only thing visible out of a hospital window in Seymour, Indiana was a bar that sold liquor and was open at 11am, and closed at 6pm when we finally left.

If I let go of these fragments, the vivid images swimming up and straining against the surface of my silence, I would remember, maybe, the whole days, not just the essence of them, not just the clear distilled sound but the noise, too, of being human, that anti-essence of us which clamors and will not be satisfied until there is a train in the distance sounding a horn after we have shut off the beautiful music in another room.

Why was I elsewhere isn't the question. The question is, I was whole when it happened. I'm whole, and grateful. I live in a town named after a German city, in an elsewhere's twin. I can hear the train. Good night.

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