Love Me Tonight

Sometimes it all hits at once, the history of the world and humankind. It builds up over time, laying down easy; deep fleeting thoughts, like looking down while leaping over a bottomless fissure in the earth. There’s the thrill of leaping and never mind what you saw.

Then it all comes, too much of it has accrued over time, and everywhere you look there’s some reminder of it. I’m in a black mood tonight, and I’ve put off writing for fear that I’ll scare my mother. But here I am. I’ve been circling the corral all day and there’s no room to gallop. So I thump at the keyboard.

Every living creature on Earth dies alone. It was spoken in a movie by the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who also played one of the cowboys in the film of Brokeback Mountain. I finished the Annie Proulx collection tonight with that short story. I sat at the table alone, eating and reading, and when the end came, and all that hurt and loss, I was thinking of my own life and the people I’ll lose and the chances I’ll miss and the stupid mistakes I’ll make forever, just for being human and being part of the whole mess.

I sat in the park today and people kept walking by, the same people walking in circles. There was birdsong and sunshine. There always is. And all I thought was how every living person will suffer death, inexpressible pain, unknowable because it belongs to someone else, someone who can’t speak for it. And I wondered if the real reason we fight terrible things like torture and genocide is because we’re thinking of ourselves and when our time comes. I don’t want to go, and if I have to go, God, let it be on a piece of pecan pie my old toothless mouth didn’t have the strength to chew.

I love my girl something awful, her life is matched with mine, and everything I’ve experienced in the last few seasons has been hers, too. It’s harder than anything to love somebody, because they’ll only disappoint you. You open your heart wider and wider for a better rush of that heat, but it leaves you exposed to the sting. I’ve been hurt and I’ve made her hurt, and on those days, you wish you could just sleep through the next bit and wake up clean. Love is love, and it doesn’t matter how much you get on each other’s nerves, you’ll always have that tenderness of feeling. But there’s two meanings of tenderness, and sometimes you only feel the vulnerability.

It was a big family I left behind, and I don’t know anymore how to do that. When I was a kid, I wanted some new kind of life, but now I miss my folks. How do you leave the eight closest people you’ll ever have? We’re scattered to the wind now, spiderlings who ate up their mother and found other nests. I’m terribly old-fashioned, but I wonder if it wasn’t better when people just stayed in their hometowns, close to their kin, and built up a clan and a village and a world. It’s probably been better for world peace that so many of us are migratory instead of territorial. Anyway, my hometown wasn’t anything special to me, but I’ve got a sister in the south trying to import us down there. If I could have anything now, it would be a regular Sunday lunch with my family and friends.

I’m in France, but I’m a stay-at-home traveler. I don’t know the language well enough to engage the locals. I can’t try the local cuisine, because it’s too fleshy and, anyway, I think they execute vegans here for making a mockery of the good things in life. (Wasn’t Joan of Arc a vegetarian?) I’m too caught up in trying to be some kind of somebody to consider this a vacation. We need to take a daytrip soon, because I might as well be in Staten Island, and at least there I would have my baby brother to eat vegan duck a l’orange with.

(Mama, don’t worry, I’m only moody and I miss you. I really am having a terrific time and work is progressing. Love you.)

Comments

LoveMy2Guys said…
well, now we are moving to the sticks. Its practically Dade City. Dade City is a nightmare town to me. Whatever. I love where I live now, but Leo got a promotion, its an hour and a half commute, so we are moving. It won't be forever, I hope its not even for a year. Where I am at now, I get out everyday, socialize..

I am glad you love A a lot. She is wonderful and in our daily thoughts. We passed a very A store the other day. White flowing linen outfits with splashes of carefree color. I turned the stroller around so Josh could see it and get a taste of what A would be wearing and her feeling. Once I run into some Amish men, I will do the same, so Josh will get the feeling of you.

When arriving back to NC from our little roadtrip to NY..it was a sigh of relief that I am home. I hope that carries out throughout the state, and not just my current residence. I know what the deal is, I stay at home with the babies and we do whatever it takes to make this one income situation work. Leo will be 7 miles from work. When we first moved down here, he was 30 miles away..then 17 miles away..now he will be 7. So I guess its good, the more money he makes the more of an opportunity we have to live closer to his job. As a former SI commuter, that was a big thing for us to move on to a new way of life. I feel we have to honor that. Quality of life. We left behind the money for quality of life. He was told to expect a GM spot within the next year and a half to 2. I think it will be sooner. Then onto area manager. Which means he will have money for kayaking, biking, and skiing. ITs hard to live life with no money. I guess its just finding balance.

sorry, your blog, not mine.
Steve said…
All I can really think lately is that, if in fact you think at all of the reasons you live and the outcomes of your death, you are constantly trying to prove to yourself that there is a room for you at the Inn of Earth, and that you are not stiffing the innkeeper.

Nowadays, for the thinking person, it is more than ever a trial to simply live.

there is such a knot in our mental environment, such a knot in our definitions of things like love.

i must convince myself every day that what I do is enough. Even if what I do is useless, at least it is attempting to be useful.

Perhaps the clouds will pass, Jefe, and someday this Spectacle will present to us a ratio of joy to the sorrow we have suffered as ones who give a shit.

Thank you for breathing, Reilly, and keep it up.

I have dibs on some hilarious anecdotes at your funeral, and you are welcome to the same.

-SeanK..
Reilly Owens said…
Gee whiz, Sean, I don't think the situation is quite so dire. I hope I haven't given the impression that I'm gloomy. I'm merely pensive, as I have a lot of time these days to think about where I've been and where I'm going. I miss my friends and family and society; but I'm having a terrific time out here by myself. I read more and cook more, mainly, but I've been writing, too, and am somewhat happy with the results. I am afforded an opportunity to do whatever I like and I've been overwhelmed by it. So I have had to think very hard about what is important to me. It's hard to do the things you think you'd like to do, especially when there are other things you'd like to do even more (e.g., should I continue writing that short story for my continuing education or watch Kill Bill for my continuing education?). You needn't fear; if I am unhappy about anything, it is that you are not here with me.

By the way, I'm really glad to see you're still hanging around. Someone's reading this stuff, not just my family, and that encourages me.
Reilly Owens said…
Janice, I'm sure you'll find a nice new neighborhood to live in. You may have to trade your Starbucks for a roadhouse, but who has any fun line dancing at the Starbucks?
Cathy said…
Reilly, I can identify with Janice's reference to showing her son an Amish person to remind him of his uncle! Conservatism is the hallmark of your presentation to the world. (Expressing extreme good taste though.)

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