Trigger for Friday, April 3 – Apparently, I’ll actually write if I get the afternoon off.
As soon as you finally start to relax, it takes you. Your breathe slows and deepens. Your heartbeat drops to the lowest setting on the metronome. Every cell in your body settles in for a nap and, if we could see it, I’m sure, the molecules in those cells begin to vibrate at a frequency that increases your density.
Then how am I not dead?
Because you aren’t. That isn’t how this works.
And how am I supposed to relax? You’re here. All those people are watching on the screens connected to those cameras. Nothing about this is comfortable. Can’t you just give me something to knock me out?
No. You have to let go.
Let go. As if I’ve ever been able to do that. I think of all the times I tried to sit zazen with Michael and made grocery lists in my head and remembered I needed to clean the toilet. I think of all the times we had sex and I stared at the ceiling above our bed, tracing the spidering crack from the corner above the door to the darkened spot above the dresser worried the ceiling would cave in on us and how embarrassed I would be found dead, naked.
This is not helping. Now I can only see Michael’s face, confused I was leaving. Hurt I could never be still enough to connect with or understand him even though I loved him.
Now would be an inconvenient time to cry. I would probably electrocute myself in the bargain.
Mar laid her hand over mine, covering the back of my hand with her palm and wrapping her fingers into mine. It was the first time in all these months of practice and training she had touched me. She leaned over the table, her face very close to mine.
The tips of her gray hair brushed my shoulder and I could smell her shampoo, sandalwood and smoke like my mother’s library. I was spinning the globe that stood in the corner listening to my mother dictate to her computer. I put my finger on Paris, where I knew my father lived. I traced a line over the pale map-blue ocean to where we lived in New Amsterdam. It didn’t seem so far.
I sat in my father’s lap, his bearded chin resting on top of my head. He was reading and I was pretending to sleep. I knew he was leaving for a long time and I wanted every cell in my body to remember what my father was.
The air around me turned to liquid the temperature of bath water. I could feel it slip into my lungs and slide into my blood stream. I imagined if I could reach out to touch it, it would have swirled in turbulence around my fingertips like the stars in Van Gogh’s painting.
I don’t know if I was awake or dreaming, or both. I walked down the long hall of my mother’s house running my hands over the dark paneling. The scent of beeswax and orange oil hung in the air where I’d warmed the wood with my fingertips. I was walking through the ghosts of a thousand summers’ worth of flowers. The doorknob to my mother’s library cold in my hand, I hesitated at the sound of all those bees thrumming in the wood.
Mar’s voice drifted on the scented water. You volunteered for this. Open the door.