Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Bend in the River

It's been five years, and we're leaving.

Leaving- a word with so many lobes and limbs.

One of these- though it doesn't become obvious until you actually leave, do the deed, pull up stakes, get gone-  is arrival, the way its memory flares up like a rash.

You may not think you remember arriving, but you do, and suddenly it's all over your body.  I remember it was summer then, too, late July, and I was sick to leave -quite literally sick: feverish and puking and late and alone and driving badly.

I was (am?) a terrible driver, dangerously cautious, epically unreliable, trundling up and down the mountains with my heart yammering and the wheel welded to my hands.  I pissed off truck drivers, obeyed every advisory speed limit, missed the exit and missed the exit and finally, finally-  arrived.

Miles up from the river, the crepe myrtle burst from the trees.  There was heat and sweat, mosquitoes and flat, slick sidewalks and a scatter of fireflies drawling their way toward dusk.  Our new home was five rooms, 700 square feet.  Plus a side porch, the joy of the apartment, upon which we perched every evening, swatting our legs and sipping our drinks.

It is idyllic only in hindsight, glowing under the shellac of memory.

And maybe this leaving, too, will seem, in some faraway pass of my life, sweet.

The boxing and and unboxing and the great sloughing off the pieces of your life, bits of your past falling away until you're not sure they happened to you -or if they happened at all.

Until suddenly -or not so suddenly- you're in transit.  Or some facsimile of you is in transit-

because without the hard mold of your former life you can't seem to keep hold on your own outlines; you blur and run and bleed and waver until you're left with a name and a number and a body on its way to-