Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Quiet & Abandonment

Sometimes I draft things and forsake them. I'm like a teenage mother unprepared for the consequences of my actions, stuffing my offspring into an ill-fitting bassinet and depositing the whole caboodle, sans note, in the pet supply aisle of Wal Mart. Only no one wants to adopt my discarded ideas (not cute enough; no bootees) and so they linger, mummified, forever marked DRAFT in my posting queue. They are one line long, sometimes two. They are timorous and strident, exotic and dull. Sometimes the ideas behind the drafts have disappeared, leaving only a strange, dry chrysalis of words.

I was going to compose something exceptionally dreadful about the landscape of the mind, but instead I'll just talk about rocks.

Being smart, being stupid.


Is there anything you've ever wanted to ask me that you haven't asked me?

This last is, I believe, a direct quote from... well, from one of two people in the documentary 51 Birch Street. Father and son are sitting at a table hashing over the past and one of them -I think it's the son, but it's been a while and I can't be sure- says to the other: Is there anything you've ever wanted to ask me that you haven't asked me?

For me, this draft still has a glimmer of life to it, though in the interval between when I watched the documentary and when I sat down to write this post, the nature of that life has mutated, crescendoing from a whimper to cry. I used to fixate, as one does with questions, on answers. Was there, at the core of every relationship, an un-asked question? And if you could find that question, if you could pinpoint the informational gap in your relationship with your mother, father, sister, friend; if you could dig up that question, stuff it in your mouth, and spit it out, what would happen next?

Time has passed, life has rather dramatically narrowed, and I'm less interested in answers. I know there are un-asked questions. There are un-asked questions scattered the whole length of the ground between every pair of us. They are small and large, explosive and innocuous, sterile and festering. Do you love him? How could you stay? Why did you laugh? How did I hurt you? Why her? Why me? Why now? Did you mean it? Do you believe? Would you have kissed me back?

The thing is, none of it matters. Or rather, it only matters insofar as you know that, whatever you know, there is always, always, more. It's almost -but not quite- comforting, a tiny glimpse of infinity for those of us who've misplaced God.

Q: Is there anything you've ever wanted to ask me that you haven't asked me?

A: Yes.

No, yes.

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