A Fearful Symmetry


I don’t want to go there.  It’s useless there.  It’s all set on land where the dirt is so barren that it back draws away from the seed and leaves it to harden in the open sunlight.  Better to keep busy, keep the hands a’typing away.  Just create the sort of tinfoil of distraction that will keep all those alien radio waves bouncing off your sharp edges.

When you do have a spare moment of quiet and reflection, those sorts of thoughts come crawling, moving from cover to cover, sidling up alongside you as though there were present every minute of the day.  I was sitting in the car today while we were driving to and from a location for some of our autumn and winter events while the boss was taking care of an errand and I thought, I know, I know, I emphatically and logically and sincerely get that he’s not going to email me back.  Whatever I did that precipitated his choice to not email me back is unknowable unless I make the inadvisable move to email to find out.  To shout down the line, hey, did you know it’s been a month?  Did you fall down a well or something?  And I’m not going to do that.  He knows it’s been a month and if his arms aren’t broken and he’s not in such terrible shape that communication even to acknowledge the failure to communicate isn’t possible, then, this is a choice.  And I am not going to put this parrot on the pet shop counter and ask why the bird isn’t so perky lately.  It’s dead, Jim, it’s dead.

But in that car with the buzz of NPR in the background and a thousand business concerns and worries about my aunt on one side of the family and my uncle on the other, I just had the single, sincere wish that despite the logic and the death and the icy chill that frosted over something that seemed ready for life, I wish he’d just write me back.  That I could be back inside that warm and hopeful place rather than trying to destigmatize and recontextualize his absence.  That I could have that frightening build-up I was trying to back off of, and maybe that’s the thing…it doesn’t live where it isn’t wanted.  Maybe my reticence is the thing…oh, hindsight.

I saw my aunt and I realized I wanted to write something to give to her about how much she matters to me, some memories, some times and I don’t want to drop it as a rough draft here, it’s too personal for that.  She held my hand and I told her that I wasn’t worried again, that there was no reason to be, feeling suddenly as though the only reason I might say that is if there were some reason to worry.  But she told me she’d been angry at first, sad, but now, she feels as though perhaps she’s come to terms.

I don’t know.  Everything I feel right now is selfish.  Maybe a night on the mattress on the floor will make me as grateful as I ought to be.

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