Casualty of Love: Day Twenty

“Every day.” She said softly and took the book out of Annie’s hands and held it closed between her hands as though she were waiting for it to pulse and come to life.  Annie thought she was waiting for her to say something, but instead, gestured towards her steaming cup.

“I think you should try some of the tea.  You’re anxious.”  Moira turned her head.  Annie found herself thinking of the last time she was across the table from an opponent which is what the psychic felt like, not the advisor Mary had promised.

“Why? Is it magical?”  Annie’s words rode out of her with a sneer.  The silence of the room was uncomfortable and the baby had begun to kick hard enough to make her eyes water.

“It’s soothing, a sort of magic.  Drink it, please, and quit the attitude or I can be of no further help to you.”

Satisfied that Annie had actually swallowed some of the tea, tea which tasted as much like any other green tea Annie had ever come across, no secret unguent to unnerve her or give her pause, Moira closed her eyes for a second.

Annie found herself involuntarily leaning in, watching the woman, listening for a hum or a crackle, or a knee knocking against the table meant to be a spirit from the great beyond.  There was none of that as she opened her eyes with a concerted breath and read the first thing her eyes seemed to see.

“Then Agammemnon called a council of his wisest and bravest chiefs.  Nestor advised that an embassy should be sent to Achilles to persuade him to return to the field; that Agammemnon should yield the maiden, the cause of the dispute, with ample gifts to atone for the wrong that he had done.”

She closed the book, and looked up, her eyes sad and stoic.  Annie was uncomfortable with all the emotion that seemed to run through the woman like the Nile. “Do you see what you’re being told? Do you hear the message in the words?”

Annie shook her head,  “I’m no maiden.  This King of yours…it means nothing.”

Moira did not waver this time, “No.  You will have a daughter. ”

Her hand fell to her belly, the little piglet, the little creature was a girl.  If she believed, and she found that she did, Annie could start to love her.  She chuckled. Alright.  Maybe.

“You should give appease him and give her up.  That is the wise council of the chiefs.”

“Give her up to him?”  Her plan, her secret unspoken plan was being dictated to her by some sort of witch.  This wasn’t right.  He…what did he want with her?”

“You know what happened the Trojans ignored this wise council? Ten years of war.

“What the hell kind of advice is this?”  Annie bolted up out of her chair, a pang of maternal power galvanizing her.  She ripped the book out of Moira’s hand who let it loose, but met her eyes and kept Annie standing in front of her.

She drank another slug of tea. “But this is not my council.  Mary sent you here to protect herself, her family.  To keep your King from taking more from her after he lit Charlie’s corpse alight.  I tell you this not for Mary’s sake, or mine, and certainly not for yours, but for the sake of that child, you should leave Falls Valley.  Go into hiding, instead of a war, perhaps he’ll forget.”

“There is no such place.  And you don’t know shit if you think I can sidestep this man.”

“This man?”  At this, she laughed.  “Your King is no man.  Was once, surely, but that was long ago.   It’s a bad miracle that he had the life in him to make a child. And whatever purpose he sees in you, in the child you bear, it will not serve anyone but himself.”

Flashcard

It feels like progress.

Maybe it shouldn’t, but I am busting ass at work.

Of course,  I would be writing this while at work and belying that point, but I feel kind of alert and alive and I want to remark upon that.

….

So this is the strange thing about lately: I have been doing alright.  I have been honestly, and without hormonal attack and intercession, happy.  Buckling down at work and doing the things I don’t like has been possible because I’ve stopped making it all so personal.  I cannot hold back any tide on my own and my job is not to hold it back, but to stand firm and do what is asked of me and when the co-worker is not there to make faces at me and distract me and treat me like her personal rag doll to haul around and absorb all of her emotional detritus and backwash, I like my job.  I like accomplishing things.

…….

I try to remember…but my mind is no longer clear.

Matthew and the Atlas are doing their best to make me feel a bit cooler, and the fan is doing the yeoman’s work.  I got my sister to open her other window and if the door would stay open, I’d leave it so, but we have enough of a breeze below these threatening clouds that it keeps drawing closed.

And the boys are at Glastonbury this weekend and there should be ways to watch them there and I cannot wait to see them again.  More or less.

I’ve got plans and Dragon Age to play.  I have fair little to sour me.

….

This isn’t about the past, but it’s about you, Mr. Future.  I take the briefest moment to remark to you about the strange, anguished, spinning, movie-like clouds above.  They don’t portend anything, I swear, nothing for us and I am not predicting anything, but maybe if I think of how it will be to have you adjacent and below this same sky, it will wake this long-sleeping fatedness we have with one another.

If I am doing anything whatsoever to slow our progress towards meeting one another, towards destroying one another’s Towers down to their foundations, for being whatever we are to one another in the end, I pledge to quit.  Or start if there is some ignition.  Some starter pistol to fire.

I am saying I see the charge in the sky, the will to surge and pour and all the forecasts say it will amount to nothing.  I have no say over that.  But one day it will rain.  It’ll do it here, and hard, and these will be the crops to flourish under the flood.

If you see my metaphor, and you, Mr. Future, being Mr. Future and being someone I will one day love, certainly will.

In the meantime, I am eating right.  As is required.   And walking more, which is required, too.  I should definitely have 10,000 steps here by the time I fall asleep tonight. I’ll make sure I do.  That’s the report.

 

A Thin Red Thread

I am aware, Mr. Battery, that you don’t like to work on your own.

Nevertheless, we forge ahead.

Things I love:  CreateTV’s primetime lineup.  I’m watching Pati’s Mexican Table.   The smell of fresh garlic.   Bioware putting out new Mass Effect 3 DLC.   Salsa chicken.  Improving on a recipe and getting ideas about how to improve upon it.  Having leftovers so I don’t have to re-invent the wheel.   Feeling ever so slightly tighter and smaller.  The phrase “dick holster.”  Anything and everything Le Creuset.   The Great British Bake Off.   The genuine happiness of others.   Sitting so still I can balance a cup of coffee on the couch without spilling.   Re-reading old thoughts and finding a tinge of truth in them.

This video:

Things I am grateful for: being able to drive myself home after it already started snowing.   Being able to push my legs enough to make them sore the next day.  The Keurig brewing me up some Starbucks medium roast decaf to warm up my toes.  Family buying me a bookcase, putting it together and soon enough, bringing it over so that it frames my bed.  Having enough books to fill two bookcases and getting to pull out more books out of storage.   Having strength inside to seek help and, I’m finding, strength to bear the tasks at hand and do the best that I can and be all right with whatever that level is.  I’m grateful for the ability right at this very moment to stop.  Eating, daydreaming about eating, craving being completely subsumed by the intake that I can’t process the world.   Attractive people on the internet.  Friends and new acquaintances willing to set me up with genius media.   Water.  Gum.  Breathing.      Shepard’s advice to just worry about the next twenty meters.  That tomorrow is already Tuesday.

Wouldn’t it be nice if:  I would like to have a big kitchen one day and fill it with Le Creuset cookware.   And sharp knives and room to work and experiment.   It would be nice if everyone just took a step back and breathed tomorrow and since everyone won’t, it’d be nice if I took charge of myself and allowed myself room to do that.  If I made time to practice ukulele or guitar tomorrow?  If I threw away my trash instead of staring at it and imagining the possible futures in which I would throw away my trash?  If I got to go on a long vacation somewhere sunny and where it didn’t matter what I wore, and on that long vacation, someone became deeply infatuated with me, wit and all.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if I knew that I only could last so long on treating myself sanely and well and I just advanced right along, bumblebee style anyway. If my body could just relent and make a lesson for my mind.  I woke up rested and assured and didn’t quaver at the maybes I must confront but thought instead of the things I love and the things I am grateful for.

Spelunkery

Does this have to do with the mythical power of oak?  Oh, http://www.answermethispodcast.com, I love you wildly.

I’m dealing with an issue at work that I can’t explain here but is giving me a lot of stress.  Stress, you know is liable to make your hair fall out and and make you eat things you shouldn’t and in this case, there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it and I am doing all I can to set it aside and remember that I both need to and can write my words without, you know, dying?

Life is remarkable.  I’m trying to keep my peripheral vision open to strangeness and let it seek out new aesthetic terrain, let it feed on images and kindness and unexpected connection.  My boss has returned home from vacation and brought us little bud vases with blue glazing on the rim and that cobalt color, tripped a string of memories of the old house we used to live in – one I drive past most days – and the kitchen my father installed and the little island where they put in ceramic tiles.  They were mostly white except for a couple where this cobalt blue.  And then I think of that kitchen and running through it as a child, waiting for supper, flying in and heading outside and there were summer evenings there when school was out when the light would come in from the west so gold and gentle and light up the trellises and that little stage that was really the wooden coverings for the unused well and you’d turn the corner and there was the snowball bush beneath my parents’ window and then the crabapple tree by our window and the compost heap we’d put eggshells and coffee grounds and grass clippings in and we would stir every now and then stir it up and a big waft of steam would rise up from all the hot decay taking place at its center.  Everything breaking down into delicious, ripe, life that would break up the red clay that my mother had to fight through and roto-till to make the garden take root.  But she did and there were stargazer lilies and Nellie Moser clematises and nasturtiums for my grandmother and roses and California poppies and peaches and cream verbena and daffodils by the glass house and dianthus and grape hyacinth and little pansies with their faces that I would name and talk to quite importantly and make a part of all the stories I acted out when I thought no one was watching.

I don’t know why I remember that just now, but it was a beautiful place.  We took care of it when we lived there – a far cry from its current owner’s take – and it’s sad to see it so overgrown and unkempt.  It feels like an absence of love.   So unfair a fate for a place that carried so many dreams for so long, that was so long a home.

All I can do is love what I do have, where I am now.

Tilt-A-Whirl

What I have at the moment is a runaway horse.  It’s my horse.  I don’t need it to live, to survive, but it would make my life easier and better to have it. This metaphorical horse is running, capering and gamboling just along the horizon.  It doesn’t mind being caught and it doesn’t mind being free.  It just needs me to go after it and climb on.

I am letting my anxieties reach up and grab me by the throat, letting them tame me.

I am not going home early today.

There’s something in my head lately that is making me miserable.  I’m not talking about being sick, I just feel overwhelmed and what’s worse is I’m playing into my own expectations and reinforcing this negative sense of the world as if I genuinely can’t escape.  What’s genuine is that stasis has just as much danger long-term as action.  As life.

This must stop!

I have got to shake things up!  Embrace exclamation points! The glass of water has been drunk! We’re already well on our way!  Things are miraculous and brave and true and remarkable.  Life amidst the horror and endless march.  Magic amidst the material.  Bravery and goodness and the weighty charge of purpose that animates our bodies.  A great and holy faith.  A swathe cut through the overgrown and choking work product of our minds.  A machete of will.  A heart that sees through reinforced walls.  The removal of scales and sashes and gleaming light that blinds us with its beauty, blinds it from truth.  A fearless language that bears the water to the parched, funnels it away from those overwhelmed.  A language that finds truth with a laser focus.

We have access to everything we need and when we don’t, we will find a way to get up out of where we are and what we are and we’ll take care of it.

I called someone today for work, just a cursory call, the kind of thing that should be old hat to me by now but yet still causes me dread.  I’ve been playing phone tag with him for weeks, essentially leading him on about the possibility of him working on a project with us and it’s become clear and I’ve been told that it isn’t going to work out.  Finally, I just fucking called him and it felt wonderful even though I had to disappoint him.  It felt great that whatever dread I have is gone because it’s been handled. I’m learning.

I’m learning that there’s such a wide variety of emotion out there and that I don’t have to be a grump, even though I was a grumpy bitch today. (I can usually cover that by saying I don’t feel well and I get sympathy for my bitchiness!)  I still have a soft heart and a desire to see everyone do well and heal and those who are suffering find protection and succor.

Too much of anything makes me delirious.  Tedium and delirium are good counterweights so long as you end up somewhere in the middle.

It is time to go chase down a horse.  I know you don’t entirely understand but it was enough to try and say it.

Gamer Funk

Well, we all know what is coming.  My frantic admission that my five hundred words today will be mostly made up of completely meaningless wordplay, double talk, and slyly constructed, but entirely weightless rhetoric.   This is Saturday and I know I should give it my all, but I’m engrossed in my game and being here and focusing on the creative aspect of myself: the writer persona, is grating.

I’m enjoying someone else’s creative turn, the epic immersion of working a character up through a grandly-paced game, feeling her experience grow as she gets stronger and faster and smarter and suffers all the slings and arrows that the game makers can throw at her.  It does make me think about how nice it would be to be able to give someone else that completely fluid and three-dimensional experience through my writing.  To leave someone absolutely drooling with the vividness of this invented world and the richness of character.  It would be well beyond nice, it would be reaching a bucket list type of goal.

Someday, it will happen.  It’ll happen when and if I put the work in to write and edit my work and let myself free of the shackles that say if I write or do something even in rough draft form that isn’t perfect, we’ll all go up in smoke and be revealed as the great, royal frauds we are.

But, my dearest ones, today is not that day.  Being here and talking about the frame of things (quite appropriate to Dragon Age 2, though) is not quite getting to the meat.  I think I don’t know how to carve right to the quick, but it probably would be an easier feat if I had a point in advance of my beginning to write.   I have no point.  Just the effort of circuitous writing to prove that I am not just twisting in the wind as some soulless administrative assistant beating her head against the desk in between coffee runs and complete meltdowns.

Let’s not think about meltdowns.  I am happy to report that I have at least conquered one aspect of the deadly “gamer funk” and got myself up and washed and moved out of this blissful self-induced coma that marathon gaming provides.  We were talking about it in the car today when my sister mentioned going to a midnight game release at a local Gamestop.  The overwhelming gamer funk.   It’s the smell of decay, and sweat, and food and settling into your greasy clothes and rubbing your orangey, snack food caked fingers all over your face and not caring because you are in your zone.

I can get in that zone, uh, I’d like to say to a degree.  I like to cut off access to all the parts of myself that so disapprove and are so critical and just play.  But at the same time, the game will eventually come to a close and the story will have to end and reality will return and the solid truth will look you in the mirror that there’s never a bad time for a bath. Just splash some water on yourself.  Please.

Think about it, won’t you?  Thank you.

Dichotomies

It’s curious to me how a worldwide phenomenon can be going on in Japan with the earthquakes and resultant tsunami, the vast suffering of millions, thousands lost to the water and yet, somehow,  on the other side of the earth, we can plod along entirely at ease. 

I don’t know if this is a gift or a sin.  The human spirit will soldier on, will saunter on, will root through rock, will take a breath and rise to the surface, forcing all chaff and tailings to part as it goes.  The human spirit knows no noble death. 

The impulse to pray feels foreign, other, and so we believe in it much more strongly than we believe in ourselves.  

Whether the prayer works, the people on Japan and here in on our shores must make some expedient decisions in this aftermath.  How frightening it must be in the darkness.  I pray and hope and believe and will  from my great distance that safety can be quickly restored, those who have lost friends and family can bear their sorrow and help others to do the same, that we may learn by this unexpected horror how near the keen blade passes by our necks so that we might love as relentlessly and recklessly as the earthquake itself.

I am trying to temper the excitement I feel over a weekend, a chance to rest, a chance to turn off the office face and the grand facade with the world news.  I’m trying to hold these two experiences in my head at the same time, and not judge myself for either of them.  It’s okay to care with your gut and bones about a tragedy at the same time you plan dinner and are considering whether or not to go to Home Depot tomorrow to replace your sink.  We are connect to one another, but we are also individuals.  We fight these fights in every instance as to where to put our attention and care.  Sometimes, you have to look in another  direction to get the strength to look back.

The play we saw last night was excellent.  It was all about two fraudulent people – writers, naturally – revealing themselves to one another under the fire of terminal illness.  Breaking each other’s hearts and coming back together and it was really well done by our theatre.   I hadn’t wanted to stay for it, but when I got there and we had about fifty of our group and everyone was kind and had brought food and was so genuine that I felt like a really culture-less jerk to blow them off to run home and play video games.  I’m glad that I had some impulse within to settle down and throw off the negativity for a moment, even if it’s sort of been an omnipresent and cliched raincloud over my head in the past few weeks.

I know that if I ate better, slept more, drank more water (working on that right now), I would be able to toss off those heavy curtains in an instant.  It would be so easy, I think, that I have no desire to try.