rediscovering the joy

So better take the keys
and drive forever
Staying won’t put these
futures back together
All the perfect drugs
and superheroes
wouldn’t be enough
to bring me up to zero

— Aimee Mann, “Humpty Dumpty,” from Lost in Space

A perfect rainy Saturday; a late breakfast, up sleepily after a late night watching Jeeves and Wooster episodes with friends and eating ice cream, innocent pleasures. Shopping for special things at the grocery store (I’m going to try my hand at filo pastry, a decision made somewhere in between the cereal and soap), a trip to the corner bookstore for browsing, with a few purchases and conversation with the hunched-over proprietor, who talks with me about anthropology and shows me the illuminated edition of The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, something that I didn’t know existed. A long conversation about everything with J., about going to Europe. [Talking about the past is just as relevant as talking about the future when planning; where were we, where are we going? We talk a lot about our childhoods; we have a commonality of both having a good experience but both feeling slightly lost nonetheless. We both moved up here to this corner of the country on a whim, we have that in common too.]

A trip to the public library; rediscovering the joy of wet feet taken in on the carpet, coming in out of the cold into a house full of books all of which could be yours, and browsing and discovering, delightfully, things that I have wanted half-remembered for ages. Rediscovering the joy of my youth, this house of books. I came in for one thing specifically and left with six. Look, the library has cd’s, look, three of my favorites that I do not own there for the taking. Now I am listening to Aimee Mann (Lord have mercy that woman sends chills up my spine); I am content, and wondering why it has been so long.

[What is next? School starting on Monday; a little more sorting at S.’s house — the other day we miraculously excavated a livable space, like a rabbit out of a hat; there is more to be done, though, always more. He and I conversed over Thai food midway through for what feels like the first time in forever, and it wasn’t good but it wasn’t completely terrible, and there were hints of a remembered form. We know how to sit across a table from each other, and have a conversation over a plate of curry. I wonder how many thousand times we have done this, in all our lifetimes together, how many meals of Thai food and painful things? We have more to say to each other but it will keep for the long haul. Let us talk about paperwork; let us talk about life, let us recover. What is next for me? Interview next week, more jobs to apply for, this and that and the other, a party tommorow, perhaps I shall cook for it — there is filo, after all.]

A call from my cousin, and now some paperwork; a little cleaning of my messy and exploded room and I’m going to work on my taxes. I am creating Easter menus in my head and thinking about what I want to read next. [It has become acceptable to me that my life is bittersweet; the true ending to this fairy tale is not crying too much but only just enough. It is acceptable that the stasis that we might reach is just a sort of balance between the good and bad, between the longing of the past and the wanting more for the future. My bad habits follow me around, my nervous tics of criticism and bitchiness like lapdogs biting my ankles. It is only this tracking me through thick and thin that has really brought it home to me that they are bad habits. We are all doing our best; true grace is realizing and acknowledging this.]

So far so good.

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